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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Investiture Friday 27 September 2019 Larnach Castle

    Dame Patsy hosted the final investiture ceremony of 2019 in the ballroom of Dunedin's famed Larnach Castle.

    19 New Zealanders were recognised for their services to documentary filmmaking, natural history, conservation, sexual and reproductive health,wildlife conservation, tourism and recreation, the State, sport, youth,seniors, local government, journalism,women, the community,education, cycling, the Pacific community, the environment, broadcasting, theatre and Antarctic science. 

    Congratulations to all today's recipients.

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    Image of Rod Morris, of Dunedin, ONZM, for services to documentary filmmaking, natural history and conservation

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with all recipients

  • Investiture Friday 27 September 2019 Larnach Castle

    Dame Patsy hosted the final investiture ceremony of 2019 in the ballroom of Dunedin's famed Larnach Castle.

    19 New Zealanders were recognised for their services to documentary filmmaking, natural history, conservation, sexual and reproductive health,wildlife conservation, tourism and recreation, the State, sport, youth,seniors, local government, journalism,women, the community,education, cycling, the Pacific community, the environment, broadcasting, theatre and Antarctic science. 

    Congratulations to all today's recipients

    More images

    Image of Rod Morris, of Dunedin, ONZM, for services to documentary filmmaking, natural history and conservation

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with all recipients

  • SPCA Giving Hearts legacy programme launch - Wellington

    "I dub thee ... Coco!"

    That's not actually what Dame Patsy said but the black and white SPCA puppy who was given her forever name this morning at Government House seemed quite happy as the SPCA launched its Giving Hearts legacy programme in Wellington.

    The programme allows people to remember the SPCA in their wills and also offers help with looking after and rehoming pets when their owners pass on. Participants in the programme also get to name SPCA animals, a lovely way of remembering a treasured pet. 

    So Dame Patsy's Coco now has two namesakes - one in Auckland and one in Wellington.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Coco's new family Judy and Ian Porter

    Image of Coco

  • Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship Awards

    To date, nearly 900 New Zealanders have been Churchill Fellows, travelling overseas to further their knowledge in an incredibly diverse range of fields. The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established in the 1960s, with fellowships awarded to people whose research will have practical outcomes, and result in a report on their findings on their return to New Zealand. From this year onwards, Churchill Fellows will be able to write CF after their names.

    Phil Squire, representing the 25 Fellows at today's ceremony, spoke about his research trip to Germany and the UK to look at urban sustainability measures that might be implemented in New Zealand.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript

  • Farewell calls

    Dame Patsy received a farewell call from the Ambassador of Switzerland, HE David Vogelsanger at Government House in Wellington this morning. New Zealand was the final posting for the Ambassador who will retire from diplomatic life in six days.

    Image of Ambassador of Switzerland, HE Mr David Vogelsanger

  • Investiture Ceremony 20 September 2019

    Services to governance, the community, women, library information management and the arts, television and theatre, sport, woodchopping, youth, philanthropy, and the Tokelauan community.

    Dame Kerry Prendergast was recognised for her many leadership roles in local government, the arts, and various organisations at a national and local level.

    Image Gallery

  • Waitangi Day Garden Reception ballot closes soon

    Last call for entries to the ballot for invitations to the 2020 Waitangi Day Garden Reception.

    The ballot closes at midnight on Tuesday 24 September.

    Enter online here

    Strawberries at the Bledis


  • Investiture Ceremony 19 September 2019 pm

    This afternoon's honour recipients received insignia for services to Cook Islands business and tourism, people with intellectual disabilities, design, the New Zealand Kennel Club, education, rugby, gliding, Maori and Maori arts, horticulture and the arts.

    Image Gallery

    Their Excellencies with honours recipients, 19 September 2019, pm
  • Investiture Thursday 19 September, 2019 AM

    Congratulations to the 16 New Zealanders recognised at Government House this morning for their services to local, government, the community, conservation, people with rare health disorders, the blind community, music education, wildlife conservation, the wool industry and sustainability, the arts, sport, Māori, mental health support, badminton, and pipe bands.

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    Image of Pat Seymour, of Gisborne, QSO, for services to local government and the community

    Image of Dame Patsy, Sir David and the recipients

  • Investiture Wednesday 18 September 2019 AM

    Science, youth health, wildlife conservation and opthalmology were just some of the areas this morning's 16 honours recipients have made an impact on.

    Dame Sue Bagshaw was recognised for her 30 year career in the youth health sector, while Professor Charlie Eason's CNZM was for science leadership and expertise in predator control.

    All this morning's recipients 

    Image of Dame Sue Bagshaw, of Christchurch, DNZM, for services to youth health

    Image of  Professor Charlie Eason, of Nelson, CNZM, for services to science and wildlife conservation
    Image of Dame Patsy and recipients

  • Investiture Tuesday 17 September 2019, PM

    Congratulations to everybody recognised for their service at this afternoon's investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington.

    Sir Paul Adams received the insignia of a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to philanthropy and the community while others were recognised for their contributions to local government; rehabilitative programmes; mental health and addiction services; Māori art, the Catholic Church; softball; children and State; theology; Māori and education; music; theatre; Scouting; athletics; family support and health and the community.

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    Image of  Sir Paul Adams, of Tauranga, KNZM, for services to philanthropy and the community

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with all the recipients

  • Investiture Ceremony, 17 September 2019, am

    Members of the Defence Force, Police, Fire and Emergency and the Coastguard received insignia for the Queen's Birthday Honours at a ceremony at Government House this morning. In addition, services to criminal psychology and victim support were acknowledged.

    Image Gallery 

    Their Excellencies with the 14 honours recipients
    Their Excellencies with Defence Chiefs of Staff and Defence honour recipients
  • Eureka! Symposium 2019

    As a tribute to one of our most distinguished scientists, the late Sir Paul Callaghan, the Eureka! Young Science Leaders programme was established to encourage and recognise excellence in science communication. The 12 finalists come together in Wellington to compete for the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Premier Award. This year's winner was Lila Madden.

    The finalists also participate in a Eureka! Symposium, this year held at Government House. Guest speakers were Professor James Renwick (climate change), Dr Jo Horrocks (disaster resilience) and Lisa McLaren (Zero Carbon Act). The topic for the following workshop was Resilience, and science broadcaster Veronika Meduna was rapporteur.

    Broadcaster Kim Hill and Dr Peter Buchanan also received Paul Harris Awards for their contributions towards science communication.

    Image Gallery

    Speech Transcript

    Dame Patsy with students attending the Symposium
    Dame Patsy and the finalists
  • Waitangi Day Garden Reception Ballot 2020

    The 2020 Waitangi Day Garden Reception is being held at Government House in Wellington on Thursday 6 February.

    We want as many New Zealanders as possible to have the opportunity to join Their Excellencies in marking this special day, so once again we're making a number of invitations available via a public ballot.

    Each successful entrant will receive an invite for themselves and a friend to attend next year's reception, which includes entertainment, food and beverages as well as Dame Patsy's Waitangi Day address.

    We've streamlined the ballot form so this year you should find entering easier. 

    Enter the 2020 Waitangi Day Garden Reception ballot here

    Waitangi Day GHW 2015 Lawn


  • Investiture Ceremony, 6 September 2019

    The final investiture ceremony for the week saw nine women and three men receive their insignia from Dame Patsy. Services to Maori and Maori language education, haemotology and obstetrics, midwifery, health, dancing, the arts, and diverse communities were all recognised at the ceremony.

    Image gallery

  • Investiture Ceremony, Thursday 5 September 2019

    There was a strong Pasifika presence amongst the thirteen recipients at this afternoon's investiture ceremony. Honours were awarded for outstanding sporting achievements; and for dedicated service to communities, youth, education, workers' rights, and music.

    Image Gallery

    Investiture recipients, 5 Sept 19 pm
    Mr Mafaufau Tua , of Auckland, ONZM for services to youth, boxing and the community
  • Investiture ceremony Thursday 5 September, AM

    12 more recipients were honoured for their services to youth and education, family violence prevention, women, engineering, domestic violence prevention and the State, rugby, victim support, seniors, the community, the Niuean community and sport.

    Coaching great Sir Graham Lowe was recognised for his contribution to youth and education and a special moment was provided by taonga puoro practitioner (and former Government House Artist in Residence) Horomona Horo, who welcomed the recipients in with the conch and later accompanied the waiata for recipient Roma Balzer, his mother-in-law.

    There was also a stirring haka performed for recipient Hinewirangi Morgan by a group of guests.

    More images

    Image of Sir Graham Lowe, of Silverdale, KNZM

  • Investitures Wednesday 4 September 2019 AM

    Congratulations to New Zealand's newest theatrical knight, Sir Roger Hall and the 12 other New Zealanders who were recognised at Government House in Auckland for their contributions to ballet, health,mental health awareness and suicide prevention, photography, the Pacific and LGBTQI+ communities, literature, athletics, education, the Samoan community and the community.

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    Image of Sir Roger Hall, of Auckland, KNZM

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with all recipients

  • Investiture ceremony, Tues 3 September PM Auckland

    Congratulations to the 11 New Zealanders, recognised for their contribution to social policy, Māori, psychiatry, the New Zealand Defence Force, women, the State, woodturning, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, art and governance and Māori art at this afternoon's investiture ceremony at Government House. Thank you for the difference you have made in your fields of expertise and your communities.

    More photos

    Image of Associate Professor Susan St John, of Auckland, CNZM
    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with recipients at the Tues 3 Sept PM ceremony

  • Investiture Ceremony, 3 September 2019, am

    Contributions to the arts and conservation was a strong theme at this morning's investiture ceremony, along with services to Maori, the community, counselling, palliative care and equestrian sports. Congratulations to Dame Fran Walsh and the twelve further recipients of Queen's Birthday Honours.

    Image Gallery

    Dame Fran Walsh
    Their Excellencies with the recipients of the investiture on the morning of 3 September, 2019
  • Suffrage in Stitches

    Yesterday Dame Patsy visited the Suffrage in Stitches exhibition at Wellington Museum. The exhibition consists of panels depicting a personal response to particular women who signed the suffrage petition in 1893. Hundreds of people responded to the invitation to become involved in the project and used various media on the panels to convey something of the women's lives. It's a fascinating homage to women's suffrage and an addition to the historical record.


    Dame Patsy at the Suffrage in Stitches exhibition
  • Credentials Ceremony, 22 August 2019

    This morning we were fortunate to have clear skies for the official welcome for new diplomatic envoys at Government House. HE Mr Sudesh Maniar, High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore, HE Mr Stefan Krawielicki, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany and HE Mr Tomas Ferko, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic were welcomed with a powhiri, before presenting their credentials to Dame Patsy.

    Image Gallery

    Image of Dame Patsy with HE Mr Sudesh Maniar, High Commissioner of the Republic of Singapore
    HE Mr Stefan Krawielicki greeting a member of the cultural party

    IMage of Dame Patsy and Sir David with HE Mr Tomas Ferko, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic, his wife and children and Minster of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Hon Ron Mark

  • 25 Years Changing Lives - Duffy Books in Homes

    Children were front and centre at a reception celebrating 25 years of the Duffy Books in Homes programme. Stemming from an encounter author Alan Duff had with a group of children who didn't own books, Duffy Books in Homes will give out it's 13 millionth book this year - that's more books than are held in the entire New Zealand library system.

    Amongst the speakers was one of the first people to receive a Duffy book, Charles Ropitini. A former opera singer who now works for Napier City Council, Charles told guests how the book he received was the first thing that had ever solely belonged to him and spoke movingly of how illiteracy closes down people's opportunities.

    The stars of the night were the students from St Anne's School who sang the Duffy song and did some kapa haka.

    Image of Dame Patsy hanging out with the St Anne's School students
    Image of Dame Patsy and Alan Duff
  • Morning tea for Gandhi Nivas

    This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted Gandhi Nivas staff, counsellors, researchers and Police liaison at Government House Auckland.

    Gandhi Nivas offers early intervention programmes to prevent the escalation of family violence, working on the principle that it is better to have a fence at the top of the cliff rather than at the bottom. Gandhi Nivas operates three houses in the Auckland region, where men are offered accommodation and counselling 24/7, while their families back in the family home are also offered support.

    Massey researchers have been following the programme closely and the results are very promising. It is hoped that the model can be applied in other regions in New Zealand.

    Image Gallery

    Guests at the morning tea for Gandhi Nivas
  • Foundation North Tohu Autaia

    Last night Dame Patsy hosted Foundation North's inaugural Tohu Autaia - Community Stars- at Government House Auckland. Foundation North has established the awards as a way of celebrating a billion dollars returned to communities in Auckland and Northland.

    The recipients, who all work for not-for-profits, have received funding from Foundation North for initiatives that have had a positive impact in their communities, socially, educationally, culturally, in sporting activities and in the environment.

    Speech transcript 

    Image Gallery

  • SPCA Giving Hearts Legacy Programme

    This morning Dame Patsy was the first member of the SPCA's new Giving Hearts legacy programme to have the privilege of naming a rescue animal - in this case, a foxy-chihuahua cross - which she named Coco after her own dog.

    The SPCA receives approximately a third of its income from bequests - and Giving Hearts donors will ensure that their vital work to assist 40,000 animals annually can continue.

    SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen noted that education programmes for children, now in over half our primary and intermediate schools, are aimed at developing a new generation of New Zealanders who understand their responsibilities to look after animals in their care. 

    Speech transcript

    Image gallery

    Dame Patsy presenting Coco to her new owners, Ann and Amy Luxton
  • Bold Steps for Young Women

    Today we welcomed year 13 students from secondary schools in the Auckland region who had spent the rest of the day as guests of On Being Bold, a network of high-achieving women.

    On Being Bold's goal is to empower women to develop their potential, particularly in the workplace. We wish all the young women we met today all the very best with their next bold steps into adulthood, further study and the world of work.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript


    Dame Patsy and guests at the Bold Steps afternoon tea
  • Malvina Major Foundation Concert 2019

    The Malvina Major Foundation assists emerging talent in New Zealand through an emerging artists programme, in partnership with NZ Opera; a Young Artist or Fellowship programme, which offers more experienced singers a principal role in a New Zealand Opera production; prize money in the Lexus Song Quest; and the Arts Excellence Awards, which support overseas study for young performing artists.

    Yesterday's concert at Government House showcased the virtuoso talent of two emerging singers, Michaela Cadwgan and Lj Crichton, along with established stars Wade Kernot and Emma Pearson, all accompanied by Bruce Greenfield, who has been performing at Government House since Lord Cobham was Governor-General (1957-62).

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript

  • Colin McCahon Centenary

    The centenary of Colin McCahon's birth is being marked by a series of events around New Zealand. Government House's reception last night was held 100 years to the day of his birth, and we were privileged to have three of his works on display.

    In addition, three of our eminent artists, Dame Robin White, Shane Cotton, and Eve Armstrong spoke with great eloquence about the impact of McCahon's work as a painter, teacher, curator and writer on their own art practice.

    Some of their own work was also temporarily on display, and a Shane Cotton painting, Whakapiri atu te whenua has been loaned by Te Papa for longer-term display in Government House's ballroom.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

  • Launch of Te Wiki o te Reo Maori

    On 1 August, 1987, te Reo Maori became an official language of New Zealand. Today, 32 years later, Dame Patsy officially launched Te Wiki o te Reo Maori 2019 at the Wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront. Dame Patsy joined Pere Wihongi as Ambassadors for Maori Language Week this year, and fellow Ambassador, Guyon Espiner joined by video. Dame Tariana Turia and Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Maori Development helped Dame Patsy cut the celebration cake.

    Preparations are now underway for another fantastic Te Wiki o te Reo Maori, from the 9th to the 15th of September. Kia kaha te reo Maori!

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

    Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Patsy and Hon Nanaia Mahuta cutting the celebratory cake
  • Bay of Plenty Visit Day Three

    It was Rotorua's chance to shine with a stunning welcome at Te Papaiouru Marae. A particular highlight was the magnificent performances of the Rotorua Girls' and Boys' High School kapa haka group.

    A tour of the carving and weaving schools at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia was next up, offering a fascinating look at wood and bone carving, brass casting and flax weaving.

    The final event of Day Three was a community reception, again at Te Puia, with everyone relishing the opportunity to chat to Dame Patsy and Sir David as well as others from their community.

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy and Mayor Steve Chadwick

  • Bay of Plenty Visit- Day Two

    Dame Patsy was welcomed at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane this morning, where she got to grips with robotics in the Robopa, before seeing some demonstrations of the cutting edge tech being used to train nursing students. The demos at the nursing school included a very hands on resuscitation, with Dame Patsy helping out.

    State of the at technology is key for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, whose aim is to provide education with a Maori focus. The Robopa travels around giving students the opportunity for hands-on work with robotics while the nursing school is the only one in New Zealand to give all students access to hololens technology

    Later that day, Dame Patsy and Sir David had the chance to say thank you to the organisations they've visited so far at a special reception at the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building. We've loaded a few shots of the guests in our image gallery

    More pics

    Image of students and staff singing at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David arriving for the community stakeholders reception

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