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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Credentials Ceremony, 12 November 2019 am

    This morning Dame Patsy received the credentials of the Ambassador of Switzerland, HE Mr Michael Winzap, the Ambassador of Mexico, HE Mr Alfredo Rogerio Perez Bravo, the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, HE Mrs Dina Farouk El Sahy, and the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, HE Mr Lisualdo Menezes Coimbra Gaspar.

    The ceremony included a powhiri and inspection of a Guard of Honour, followed by the presentation of credentials to Dame Patsy.

    Image Gallery

  • Inaugural presentation of ceremonial hieke to WO1 Mark Mortiboy

    Defence chiefs wear ceremonial korowai that are passed on when a new incumbant takes up the role. Now Warrant Officers of the Defence Force have a harakeke hieke (rain cloak), woven especially by WO1 Robert Jobe.

    This afternoon the hieke was blessed and then presented for the first time to WO1 Mark Mortiboy. Chief of Defence, Air Marshall Kevin Short and Dame Patsy did the honours.


  • Papawai Marae Wananga

    Today Dame Patsy attended a wananga at Papawai Marae, near Greytown, in honour of Sir Kim Workman, who was knighted earlier this year for his contributions to prison reform.

    Papawai Marae's national significance was recognised this year with its addition to the National Heritage List as a waahi tupuna, the first marae to recieve such recognition. In the late 19th century, it was the centre of a thriving community, a centre of cultural knowledge, and the host of two sessions of the Maori Parliament.

    Today's wananga reflected that history, with its focus on nationhood and identity. The speakers included Dame Patsy, Sir Kim Workman, Sir John Clarke, Hon Christopher Finlayson and Sir Tipene O'Regan.

    Speech transcript                                                          Image Gallery

  • Dame Patsy at HERE: Kupe to Cook

    On Monday night,  Dame Patsy spoke at Transparency International's AGM in Wellington. Transparency International is a global civil society organisation that works to counter corruption.

    Image of Dame Patsy speaks at the AGM of Transparency International

    Then on Wednesday, she and Sir david made the trip to Porirua to visit the "HERE: Kupe to Cook" exhibition at Pataka Art + Museum in Porirua. The exhibition tells the story of the Maori, Polynesian and European navigators who were the first to come here and features art by leading contemporary artists, including Dame Robin White, Greg Semu, Michel Tuffery and Rachael Rakena. The exhibition is on until 24 November

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    Dame Patsy observing an art work

  • Florence Nightingale Medal

    Congratulations to Felicity Gapes who received her Florence Nightingale medal at Government House this afternoon

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    Read about Felicity's work

    Image of Felicity gapes being presented with her certificate and a framed portrait of Florence Nightingale

  • Good Bitches Baking Celebration of Kindness

    Happy Birthday to Good Bitches Baking, who came to Government House to mark five years of service to New Zealanders with a celebration of kindness.

    Founders Nicole Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick have marshalled a troupe of volunteer bakers from all around New Zealand who bake for people who are going through a rough time. Nic and Marie estimate far in excess of half a million moments of sweetness have been distributed since they started and the organisation continues to grow.

    Dame Patsy got in on the baking action by asking Government House chefs Yann Robert and Vicki Young to bake a special cake. Yes, that is a chocolate rolling pin and beater on top!

    Thanks to all those Good Bitches all around New Zealand who keep demonstrating that kindness matters.

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    Image of the top of the cake

    Image of Dame Patsy and Good Bitches Baking founders Nicole Murray and Marie Fitzpatrick cutting the cake


  • Breastscreen Auckland-St Mark's Breast Centre opening

    Dame Patsy officiated at the opening of a new facility for Breastscreen Auckland and St Marks Breast Centre following a Powhiri led by Ngāti Whatua Orakei. The special purpose facility has been designed to suit the specific needs of its female clients. Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in NZ and screening is available free to all women aged between 40 and 69. The survival rate for women whose cancer is detected through mammogram screening is over 92%.

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  • Official visit to Japan

    Dame Patsy and Sir David have been in Tokyo, where they represented New Zealand at the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, the 126th monarch of Japan. This was followed by a Court Banquet at the Imperial Palace. Yesterday they visited Nezu Museum to see some of its significant collection of pre-modern Asian art. At Waseda University, Dame Patsy spoke to students about female leadership in New Zealand, and in the evening, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a banquet hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.

    Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a court banquet in Tokyo
    In the Nezu Museum garden
  • The Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards 2019

    Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David joined guests at the annual Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards to celebrate the achievements of young graduates of the Foundation's youth development programmes - and to acknowledge the mentors, volunteers and leaders who delivered the programmes to over 27,000 students this year.

    The award winners' personal accounts highlight the transformative and empowering aspects of the Foundation's programmes.

    Dame Patsy presented the MYND Youth Achievement Award to Dontae Marino.

    Speech transcript                             Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy with Dontae Marino Winner of MYND Youth Achievement award
  • Crimestoppers 10th anniversary reception

    Crimestoppers had plenty to celebrate as they marked their 10th anniversary at Government House in Wellington. Displays offered an insight into exactly how much crime the anonymous tipline has had a hand in solving and their work isn't over yet.

    Based on a UK initiative, Crimestoppers commitment to anonymity for the people who contact it has never been shaken. Guests heard from a number of speakers about the organisations origins and the incredible work it does passing on information to the Police and other agencies.

    Inaugural chair John Perham was acknowledged for his massive contribution to the organisation over the last decade.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Crimestoppers inaugural chairman John Perham

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with members of the Crimestoppers board - Howard Broad, Megan McKenna, Alan Freeth, John Perham, Richard Chambers and Fraser Callaway

  • Tuia Welcome for European Ships

    On Tuesday in Gisborne, the Tuia 250 flotilla was enlarged with the arrival of European vessels: HMB Edeavour, R Tucker Thompson and Spirit of New Zealand. 

    This will be the start of the flotilla's journey around New Zealand, and a journey into the history of Aotearoa. The presence of the waka hourua Haunui and Ngahiraka Mai Taiwhiti, and the Tahitian va'a Fa'afaite will highlight the voyaging traditions of Polynesia and iwi Maori, and encourage the telling of the iwi stories of encounter with Europeans and the impact of colonisation.

    This week the rebalancing of history was celebrated in cultural expression at the Tairawhiti Arts Festival and in the new sculptures adjacent to the early 20th century Cook Memorial; and the memorial to Te Maro on the hill above.

    Speech transcript            Image Gallery

  • Tuia 250-Encounters commemorations in Gisborne

    Yesterday the Tuia 250-Encounters commemorations commenced in Gisborne. The commemorations celebrate the Polynesian voyaging tradition, the beginning of Polynesian settlement of Aotearoa, 750 years ago, and the meeting of Maori and Pakeha on land, when the crew of the Endeavour ventured ashore at Turanga (Gisborne) 250 years ago.

    The crew of the waka were met by a large crowd, including a delegation from Tahiti and proceeded around the waterfront to be received in a pohiri.

    Another haka pohiri and hakari followed at Te Poho o Rawiri Marae, where the Tahitian delegation was welcomed and performed.

    A busy day concluded with a visit to the theatre to see the world premiere of Hapai Productions' Witi's Wahine, based on female characters in Witi Ihimaera's fiction. The performances by Mere Boynton, Roimata Fox, Ani-Piki Tuari, Ngapaki Moetara were outstanding, reflecting the sure hand of Nancy Brunning's direction.

    Image Gallery    Image Gallery                                      Speech transcript

  • Katherine Mansfield House and Garden re-opening reception

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception celebrating the successful conclusion of a major refurbishment of the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden.

    The project saw the roof replaces, an upgrade of the heating and ventilation systems, the installation of a kitchenb plus a refresh of the interior.

    Guests included contractors, furniture experts and volunteers who had all played a part in the restoration.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with members of the board and staff

    Image of the restoration and refurbishment project taking place


  • Opening of Defence House

    The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake made the building that housed Defence and the Ministry of Defence uninhabitable. Today Dame Patsy and Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence, formally opened a new Defence House by unveiling the signage. Dame Patsy also cut a ribbon at the front entrance.

    The building, which is behind Parliament buildings, has been gutted, earthquake-strengthened to 100 per cent of New Building Standard, increased in size by nearly 9000m2, refurbished and provided with a new facade.

    In her speech, Dame Patsy recalled the times in the 19th century when Governors took on the operational responsibilities of a Commander-in-Chief. 

    The opening concluded with the ceremonial cutting of a cake by Dame Patsy and Chief of Defence, Air Marshall Kevin Short.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery





  • 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

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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

  • 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.

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    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

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