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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Reception for State Services Commission Crown Entity Board Chairs

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for State Services Commission Crown Entity Board Chairs at Government House in Wellington this evening.

    Crown entities include an incredibly wide range of New Zealand institutions from universities and health boards to organisations like the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Independent Police Conduct Authority. As Dame Patsy said, crown entities represent a key point of contact with the government for many New Zealanders. They also account for over $40 billion of expenditure every year and collectively are the largest employer of state servants - a huge part of the New Zealand labour force.

    Dame Patsy thanked the board chairs and their organisations for their commitment to serving the public of New Zealand.

    Image gallery

  • Governor-General's XI v NZ Māori Schools

    Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David watched the Governor-General’s XI versus the NZ Māori Schoolboys and Schoolgirls at the Karori Cricket Club in Wellington. This is the second year the Governor-General’s XI has played the NZ Māori Schoolboys. As last years match was such a sucess, the 2020 game had the addition of three girl’s teams as well.

    While the Governor-General’s XI teams were mainly made up of promising Wellington cricketing talent, the NZ Māori Schools teams were nominated from Whangārei, Dunedin and everywhere in between.

    In the end, the NZ Māori Schoolgirls XI won both matches they played, and the Governor-General’s XI won by 69 runs over the NZ Māori Schoolboys.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy presents a badge to the cricket captains

  • Downtown Community Ministry’s 50th Birthday Reception

    This evening, Dame Patsy hosted a reception for the Downtown Community Ministry’s 50th Birthday. DCM has been a safe, supportive environment for rough sleepers in Wellington since 1969, providing essential services like mental health and medical care, financial advice and an outreach programme. Their ultimate goal is helping people in to stable accommodation and ensuring they are supported in their journey along the way.

    Both Dame Patsy and DCM Director Stephanie McIntyre praised the increased funding organisations such as their own have had to help end homelessness, but the major issue now is finding enough appropriate housing.

    The reception at Government House this evening brought together many of the people and organisations who have worked with DCM to help end homelessness in Wellington.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy's speech

    DCM website

    Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy and DCM Kaimahi Neavin Broughton

  • SheEO networking reception at Government House Auckland

    Dame Patsy hosted a networking reception for SheEO at Government House in Auckland. SheEO is a women-led inititative that raises investment capital and distributes it to women-led businesses in the form of interest-free loans. 

    Five ventures are chosen a year in each SheEO region, with the organisation having helped 63 businesses to further success since being founded in 2015.

    SheEo founder Vicki Saunders spoke of how difficult it can be for women-led businesses to attract financing and how this in turn leads to good ideas being wasted.

    Guests also heard from SheEo Venture leader Sue De Bievre, CEO of Beany who spoke of the importance tof SheEO support for the growth of her company.

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking at the SheEO function

  • Hidden Government House

    While visitors to Government House Wellington are treated to familiar sites like the ballroom or the reflection pool, a wander off the beaten track can uncover something unexpected. Click through to see some of our lesser-known areas.

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    Image of old stairs in the Government House grounds

    Image contains a brick wall with a wooden gate

  • Pūkaha return

    Today Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the ceremony to mark the return of Pūkaha Reserve to Rangitāne, as part of the iwi's Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

    As representative of the Queen of New Zealand, Dame Patsy spoke about the beginning of a new chapter for Rangitāne. During the ceremony, Dame Patsy wore a korowai, incorporating weka and kiwi feathers. Woven by Rose Bittle, the cloak took three years to complete.

    After Dame Patsy spoke, the korowai was handed to Jason Kerehi, Chairperson, Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust and from him to each succeeding speaker. The korowai will be permanently displayed in the Pūkaha Visitor Centre.

    Today's ceremony marks the beginning of a year of celebration for Rangitāne. 12 months from now, they will officially gift Pūkaha to the people of New Zealand

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    Dame Patsy's speech

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking

  • Ward Kamo - Waitangi Day MC

    Following Dame Patsy's Waitangi Day address, MC Ward Kamo made a few observations about Waitangi Day. Here's what he said:

    On this day 180 years ago, one of the founding documents of this nation, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

    I want to take a moment to consider the lead up to that signing. 

    After finishing his observation of the transit of Venus in 1769, Captain Cook opened secret instructions from the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. 

    The instructions noted that he was to ‘fall in with the eastern side of the land discovered by Tasman now called New Zealand’ – Cook knew he was coming to NZ so there was nothing to discover.

    Cook was instructed “with the consent of the Natives, to take possession of …. The country in the name of the King of Great Britain.”

    I want to take a moment to reflect on the words ‘with the consent of the Natives’. 

    That term is illustrative of how Native peoples were really thought of.  Fully capable of interacting and making agreements with Crown.  This is a wonderfully enlightened view.

    Not 70 years later, Lord Normanby instructed Captain William Hobson to make a treaty with Maori to enable Great Britain to take possession of New Zealand.

    His instruction included these amazing thoughts:

    “The natives may probably regard with distrust a proposal which may carry on the face of it the appearance of humiliation on their side and of a formidable encroachment on ours.

    These, however, are impediments to be gradually overcome by the exercise on your part of mildness, justice and perfect sincerity in your intercourse with them.”

    Justice and perfect sincerity.  I love those terms.

    Because despite ructions in the relationship, the late 20th century and the last two decades we are in have seen these terms ‘justice and perfect sincerity’ came to the forefront.  We live in good times.

  • Waitangi Day 2020 - Reception at Government House

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for around 1800 New Zealanders at Government House in Wellington. The sun shone and the sun screen tent was kept busy. The Government House chefs offered up a showcase of our best food and drink and guests were entertained by the Royal New Zealand Air Force band.

    The message of Dame Patsy's Waitangi day address, about our joint responsibility for creating a better New Zealand using the principles of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga, struck a chord with many.

    Dame Patsy's speech

    Images of the reception

  • Message from HM The Queen on Waitangi Day

  • Waitangi 2020, Day Three

    A very eventful day, beginning with the opening of Te Rau Aroha - the gift of love-a new museum on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is dedicated to the story of Maori service in armed conflict since 1840, in New Zealand and overseas. Cutting the ribbon was a group effort, shared between Dame Patsy, the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Bob Gillies (one of the two remaining 28 Maori Battalion members) and Willie Apiata, VC. We had the briefest of tours of what appears to be a very impressive museum.

    Speech transcript                                   Image Gallery

    Next it was over to Russell, where visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps were hosted by Dame Patsy and Sir David.

    Speech transcript

    And finally this evening - a spectacular evening programme Te Rau Aroha, staged on the Treaty Grounds by the New Zealand Defence Force to celebrate the opening of the museum. A large crowd was treated to military parades, waiata, korero, and the wonderful musicianship of the New Zealand Army Band.


    Dame Patsy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Bob Gillies and Willie Apiata VC
  • Day Two, Waitangi 2020

    Today Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a promotion ceremony for 17 cadets of the Leadership Academy of 'A' Company, an educational institution in Whangarei. All the young men are affiliated with the men who served in 'A' Company of 28 (Maori) Battalion in the Second World War.

    A meeting with the members of the Waitangi National Trust Board followed. Dame Patsy is Patron, and her yearly meeting with the Board is an opportunity to hear about their plans for the future. The Board is charged with overseeing the care and development of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, its historic buildings and its museums.

    The day concluded with a reception hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy on HMNZS Wellington, at Opua. Dame Patsy and Sir David joined other guests in commemorating our Navy's long association with Waitangi.

  • Powhiri at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, 2020

    It was a perfect still morning at Waitangi Treaty Grounds when Dame Patsy and Sir David were welcomed back to Waitangi with a very moving powhiri. They were accompanied by Sir John Clarke as Kaumatua and Dr Hiria Hape as Kuia. The tangata whenua speakers, Isaiah Apiata, Hirini Henare and Waihoroi Shortland paid homage to Piri Sciascia, Dame Patsy's Kaumatua who recently died.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

    Kaumatua Sir John Clarke leads the official party forward
  • Credentials Ceremony 29 January 2020

    Yesterday Dame Patsy received the diplomatic credentials of new Heads of Mission: HE Ms Nina Obermaier, Ambassador of the European Union; HE Dr Mohammad Reza Mofatteh, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran; HE Dr Abdulla Mausoom, Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives; HE Mr Henrik Cederin, Ambassador of Sweden; and HE Mrs Kersti Eesmaa, Ambassador of Estonia.

    Image Gallery

    HE Ms Nina Obermaier, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union
    HE Mrs Karati Eesmaa, Ambassador of Estonia with Dame Patsy Reddy
  • Roy Cowley special investiture

    Dame Patsy officiated at a special investiture for Roy Cowley, who received the insignia of an MNZM for his services to charity governance and the arts. Roy volunteered in governance roles for charity and the arts community in Wellington for more than 30 years and has been closely associated with The Cancer Society, the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts and the New Zealand School of Dance. Due to ill health, Roy is unable to attend a ceremony at Government House.
    Congratulations Roy and thank you for your valuable service to the community.

    Roy Cowley's Citation

    Your Excellency


    Mr Roy James Cowley, for services to charity governance and the arts

    Mr Roy Cowley has volunteered in governance roles for charity and the arts community for more than 30 years.

    Mr Cowley has contributed thousands of hours to advising the Cancer Society of New Zealand at a governance level for more than 20 years. He was elected Chairperson of the Wellington Division from 2006 to 2016 and represented the Division on the Society’s national board from 2011 until 2016. He guided the organisation during the expansion of its Supportive Care and Health Promotion Services and overall growth. He was granted Life Membership in 2016 and awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 2017, the Cancer Society’s highest award for volunteer service. He has also supported the growth of the arts in New Zealand as a trustee of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts from 1996 to 2010 and the New Zealand School of Dance from 1998 to 2004. He oversaw the evolution of the New Zealand International Festival into a permanent institution and assisted with transforming the Festival into a major contributor to the arts in New Zealand. Mr Cowley was also an independent advisor for more than 25 years to the Little Company of Mary in New Zealand, overseeing the financial management of the organisation’s healthcare facilities including the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.

    Image of Roy Cowley and Dame Patsy

  • Pacifica Mamas - Matairangi Mahi Toi reception

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception to mark the successful completion of the Pacifica Mamas' Matairangi Mahi Toi arts residency. On display was the magnificent ei (garland) and harakeke installation the Mamas worked on during their time at Government House in Wellington. The Matairangi Mahi Toi artist in residence programme is run in conjunction with the Massey University's College of Creative Arts.

    More images

    Image of Mama Mary Ama

  • Government House Kaumatua, Professor Piri Sciascia, ONZM

    Government House's Kaumatua, Professor Piri Sciascia died last Saturday morning. Dame Patsy joined the Prime Minister at his tangi on Monday, and today at his funeral in Porangahau. During his time at Government House Piri was responsible for introducing appropriate elements of tikanga to events, particularly investitures. He was respected and loved by us all and we deeply mourn his passing.

  • Message to the World Holocaust Forum Conference 2020

    Dame Patsy sent this message to the participants at the World Holocaust Forum Conference 2020 taking place at Yad Vashem on 23 January

    Remembering the Holocaust and Fighting Antisemitism

    As your conference on “Remembering the Holocaust and Fighting Antisemitism” convenes, I am reminded of my visit to Yad Vashem in October 2017.  My reactions were very much like those of the many thousands of others who have gone to Yad Vashem.  Although I knew the experience would be a harrowing one, nevertheless it was personally challenging to take in the Museum’s narrative of the events leading up to the Holocaust and then its horrifying implementation.  Knowing that New Zealand had denied entry to some desperate Jewish refugees in the 1930s, I felt deeply saddened by my country’s own small part in these grim events.  I was glad of the opportunity to pay my respects afterwards by laying a wreath in commemoration of the Holocaust victims.  As Patron of the Holocaust Centre in New Zealand this was a particularly important aspect of my visit to Israel.

    The Holocaust is one of the greatest tragedies of modern history.  The systematic execution of millions of innocent people is a terrible reminder of what can happen if extreme ideology and hatred is left unchecked.  We must all remain vigilant.  New Zealand has this year experienced the devastating effects of hatred which culminated in the terror attacks on mosques in Christchurch.  This has further strengthened our commitment to standing with our international partners against hatred and intolerance.  To this end, we are ever committed to our friends in Israel.

    In our own day, it is for national leaders and their people around the world to stand firm against every form of intolerance wherever it may be found.  It is only through a deep understanding of the lessons of history that we can ensure atrocities such as the Holocaust never happen again.

    May your conference reinforce the message of diversity and inclusion to which we in New Zealand are firmly committed.  With all best wishes.

    Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

    Governor-General of New Zealand



  • Royal Assent for the Rua Kenana Pardon Bill at Maungapohatu

    Dame Patsy travelled to Maungapohatu, a remote Tuhoe settlement in the Ureweras, where she gave Royal Assent to the Rua Kenana Pardon Bill, which in addition to pardoning Rua Kenana, also conveyed an apology from the Crown.

    Rua Kenana was a religious leader and established a community at Maungapohatu with his followers. In 1916, armed police arrived at Maungapohatu to arrest Rua Kenana on charges relating to the sale of liquor. Two of the local people were killed by the police, and Rua Kenana and another man were arrested. After a lengthy trial, all the charges against Rua Kenana were dropped, apart from the charge of 'moral resistance'. He was convicted on that charge and imprisoned. On his release, he returned to Maungapohatu to find that many of his followers had drifted away and what had been a flourishing community was a shadow of its former self.

    The Rua Kenana Pardon Act restores the mana and reputation of Rua Kenana. The event at Maungapohatu was attended by some of his many descendants.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript


  • Waitangi Day reception 2020

    The ballot invitations for next year's Waitangi Day garden reception were posted today (20 December)

    Waitangi Day 2020 information

  • Stakeholders and suppliers reception 2019

    'Come a little bit closer" Dame Patsy urged.

    There's no point in giving a speech thanking everyone for their help over the year if everyone's way down the back of the ballroom!

    One of the last functions for 2019 was a thank you to the many organisations and businesses who played a role in the successful delivery of the Governor-General's programme during the year.

    As Dame Patsy said, it takes a very large village of people to keep Government House in tip top condition and the many events running smoothly. Thank you to everyone for their help and support during 2019.

    More images 

  • Visit to Eden Garden

    The weather was ideal for Dame Patsy's visit to Government House Auckland's next door neighbour Eden Garden.

    Once a quarry, thanks to the efforts of the Eden Garden Society and a host of volunteers the site is now a magnificent garden featuring some wonderful plant collections, including a host of very impressive bromeliads. There's also a butterfly breeding programme to help increase numbers of our native butterflies.

    More images

    Image of dame Patsy and a Yellow Admiral butterfly

  • Tuia 250 Voyage

    Dame Patsy visited the flotilla taking part in the Tuia 250 Voyage when they berthed in Welington Harbour.

    See more images

    Image of the replica 'Endeavour'

  • Official opening of SPCA Hobsonville Centre

    The SPCA has an impressive brand new centre in Hobsonville, purpose-built to serve the needs of the organisation and their animal charges. It is also intended to be self-supporting, with a Doggy Day-care centre and Veterinary services in the same building.

    Dame Patsy officially opened the building today and had a tour of the facilities.


    Dame Patsy and Sir David touring the Doggy Day-care Centre
    Dame Patsy with SPCA Hobsonville staff
    Dame Patsy and SPCA kitten Nigella
  • NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards

    Last night Dame Patsy spoke at the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards and presented the Supreme Award to Little Yellow Bird, which supplies corporate uniforms and ethical clothes to businesses, while providing ethical employment and education opportunities for workers in developing countries.

    Speech transcript


  • Sir George Elliott Scholarships 2019

    The Sir George Elliot Scholarships for tertiary study are awarded to high-achieving students who have overcome challenging personal circumstances. This year's recipients are Zahra Habibi, of Mangere College, who arrived as a non English-speaking refugee from Afghanistan in 2015 and has achieved remarkable scholastic results; Nellina Vaovasa of Auckland Girls Grammar, who is also a high achieving student and a leader in the school and her community; and Sarah Poulter, of St Mary's College, who has overcome significant medical injury to become an outstanding student. As always, we were hugely impressed by these young women and wish them all the very best in the years ahead.

    Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy presenting the Scholarship to Zahra Habibi
    Dame Patsy presenting the Scholarship to Nellina Vaovasa
    Dame Patsy with Scholarship recipient Sarah Poulter
  • HM Queen Elizabeth - Message for Erebus 40th Anniversary

  • The 40th Anniversary of the Erebus Accident

    Dame Patsy hosted a moving service at Government House in Auckland to mark the 40th anniversary of the Erebus accident.

    There were muffled sobs from assembled family members of the 257 people killed in the accident as the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern apologised on behalf of the Government of New Zealand and Dame Therese Walsh apologised on behalf of Air New Zealand.

    Musician Warren Maxwell, an alumna of the 'Artists to Antarctica' programme played his composition 'Te Paerangi Ataata - Skysong'

    More images

    Image of The Prime Minister looking on as Dame Therese Walsh apologises on behalf of Air New Zealand



  • Three days in Auckland

    mage of Dame Patsy's favourite 'St. Matthew: lightening'
    There was an arty undertone to Dame Patsy's stay in Auckland this week.

    First stop was Auckland Art Gallery for the exhibition "A Place to Paint: Colin McCahon in Auckland"

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    Later that evening, Dame Patsy spoke at Zonta International's centeneray celebrations and helped them launch their "Light the Bridge Orange' initiative.

    One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of the Auckland Girls' Choir, featuring girls aged from 9-16 from 25 schools across Auckland

    More Images

    Tuesday began with a visit to The FoodBowl in Mangere, a business accelerator supporting established and new food and beverage manufacturers.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David got to try some healthy turmeric and activated charcoal shots and while the non-alcoholic gin was met with scepticism at first, but proved to be a refreshing drink.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and guests
    That evening Dame Patsy hosted a reception for the Auckland City Mission, thanking the Mission for their work with Auckland's most vulnerable people. Guests were asked to bring a donation of food or other items with everything going to the Mission food bank for distribution to clients.

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    On Wednesday, Dame Patsy and Sir David headed to Titirangi to the McCahon House Museum  

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    The day ended with a trip to cast glass artist Ann Robinson's workshop

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Ann Robinson

  • HRH The Prince of Wales Waitangi Speech

    Scroll down for audio of the speech delivered by HRH The Prince of Wales at Waitangi.

    This was recorded live so please be aware that there is background noise

    Image of Prince Charles at Waitangi

  • Visit of TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall 2019

    TRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were officially welcomed to New Zealand with a ceremony at Government House in Auckland.

    The Duchess of Cornwall returned in the afternoon for a reception for the global movement Women of the World.

    The day's activities were rounded off with an official reception where the Royal couple mixed with notable New Zealanders.

    More images

  • Rhodes Scholar 2020 announcement

    Today Dame Patsy hosted the Rhodes Scholarship committee meeting and candidate interviews at Government House in Wellington.

    There were 8 candidates and Dame Patsy said the committee was impressed by their enthusiasm and ability.

    The three Rhodes Scholars selected to study at Oxford in 2020 are Isabella Lenihan-Ikin of Victoria University, KDee Ma'ia'i of University of Auckland and Oliver Pooke of University of Otago.

    Image of Dame Patsy and the 2020 Rhodes scholars

  • The Frances Clarke Memorial Awards 2019

    This morning Dame Patsy hosted a high tea for the Wellington Down Syndrome Association's annual Frances Clarke Memorial Awards,  which recognise and encourage the special achievements of people born with Down syndrome in the greater Wellington region.

    This year's award winners were Hinerangi Collins-Mohi, Mithu Sathiyaseeian and Sue McFarlane, who received the Community Service Award.

    Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy and Hinerangi Collins-Mohi, winner of a Frances Clarke Memorial Award
    Dame Patsy with Frances Clarke Memorial Award Winner, Mithu Sathiyaseeian
    Dame Patsy and Jacob Dombroski with Sue McFarlane, winner of the Community Service Award

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