Baroness Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General shared the following message on the secretariat's website following the Christchurch mosque shootings:
On behalf of the Commonwealth family I convey my deepest sympathy to the people of New Zealand and to all those directly affected by the appalling acts of hate-fuelled violence that have been inflicted on the community in Christchurch.
“It is particularly shocking that such an attack should take place in houses of prayer, and our thoughts are with the families and others close to those who have been killed, or are casualties and suffering physical or mental distress. We salute the emergency services and all who are working to deal with the aftermath of this outrage.
“The people and nations of the Commonwealth, including New Zealand, work together to bring understanding and cohesion. And we will not be swayed from our collaboration and determination to build peace and understanding, and to counter violent extremism and hatred in all their forms and from whichever quarter they come.”
Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the people who lost their lives in the devastating attack in Christchurch.
We have all been fortunate to spend time in Christchurch and have felt the warm, open-hearted and generous spirit that is core to its remarkable people.
No person should ever have to fear attending a sacred place of worship.
This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship.
We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.
We send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in New Zealand today.
Today’s tragic events in Christchurch have shocked all New Zealanders.
Our hearts go out to the people of Christchurch, especially the people directly affected by this afternoon’s terrible violence. Our thoughts are with them, their families and friends.
Now more than ever is the time to affirm the values that we hold dear - compassion, kindness and tolerance. I have no doubt that all New Zealanders join with me in expressing their condolences and support
Dame Patsy and Sir David visited the Auckland Bioengineering Institute to find out more about the cutting-edge research being undertaken there.
The Institute applies engineering sciences and technical innovation to medicine and human physiology. The results of their work are already being rolled out commercially for use in labs and hospitals around the world.
Dame Patsy met researchers working on improvements in the delivery of drugs under the skin; investigating the role of abnormal electrical wave activity in digestive illnesses; and using computer modelling to better enable surgeons to make the best decisions in joint replacement surgery.
Commonwealth diversity and Commonwealth connections were celebrated in a wonderful gathering in the Beehive Banquet Hall this evening.
Dame Patsy delivered the Commonwealth Message from HM Queen Elizabeth:
Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members. The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs.
Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth. In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people.
We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw. With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real.
We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth. I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.
At Government House's morning tea on International Women's Day, three women spoke about what the day means to them: Vanessa Stoddart, Global Women Chair; Dr Hiria Hape, Kuia at Government House for many years; and Michelle Huang, who spoke about what it is to grow up as a member of a double minority group in New Zealand.
In the evening, Dame Patsy attended a fundraising event at the Sugar Club for Turning of the Tides/Te Huringa o te Tai o Ngā Wahine, a programme which works with Otara Blue Light in support of young wahine from Otara to enable them to embrace their culture and make better life choices.
Last Friday Dame Patsy formally opened a stunning new sports complex at Dilworth School's junior campus. The opening took place on Founders Day, when the school remembers the extraordinary generosity of the school's 19th century founders, James and Isabella Dilworth, whose bequest enables full scholarship education and board for 640 boys every year. A previous Governor-General, Sir David Beattie, was a Dilworth old boy, and Dame Patsy presented David Beattie Awards to Dilworth graduates who are pursuing post-graduate study. The Dilworth ethos of providing a well-rounded education was evident in the extraordinary kapa haka and singing by the choir. Dame Patsy was delighted to learn that the school is keen to open a similar school for girls in the future.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a farewell dinner for the Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias, Chief Justice of New Zealand at Government House in Wellington. Dame Sian is retiring after nearly 20 years as head of New Zealand's judiciary.
Guests at the dinner included past and present New Zealand Supreme Court judges and judicial colleagues from Australia
Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the inaugural NZ Maori Secondary Schools' XI vs Governor-General's XI cricket match at Karori Park in Wellington. The Maori schoolboy team is a new venture for New Zealand cricket and is a chance for aspiring Maori cricketers to showcase their talents and connect with other cricketers. The players were selected from secondary schools all around New Zealand on the basis of their playing ability, character and what the experience might do for their development as a player.
The Governor-General's team included promising age-grade Wellington and NZ representative players and current and former first-class NZ cricketers alongside some longstanding members of the Wellington Wanderers and other members of the Wellington cricket community.
The match is expected to become an annual fixture and may potentially be expanded to girls in the future.
The Governor-General's XI won the game by seven runs
Dame Patsy and Sir David hung out with people wearing some rather crazy, enormous hats at the opening of Performance Arcade 2019 last Thursday night. The Performace Arcade is an annual event that brings performance, art and performance art to Wellington's waterfront.
Then on Thursday, she hosted the Rare Disease Day Awards. Coco also showed up for the event. Rare Disease Day recognises the over 377,000 New Zealanders who live with a rare disorder. This year, new awards were introduced to acknowledge the outstanding work of researchers, medical practitioners and patient advocates.
This week Dame Patsy has presented Mentioned in Despatches Awards to veterans of the Vietnam War, to family members, or to friends of deceased recipients.
Mentioned in Despatches Awards were given in recognition of gallantry and high levels of service. The Award is visible on the Vietnam Medal as a bronze oak leaf.
At the time, the citations were generally written by the commander of the unit involved and sometimes were read out on a Unit Parade. At this week's ceremony, as the citations were read, the acts of gallantry and service of each recipient was acknowledged, and a written copy was given to the recipients or their representatives.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted around 2000 people at Government House's Waitangi Day commemorations this afternoon. They were entertained by Te Whare Kura o Nga Mokopuna, the Beat Girls, and NZ Opera Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists Pasquale Orchard, Angus Simmons, and Will King.
Dame Patsy and Sir David began Waitangi Day 2019 at Onuku Marae near Akaroa. It was Dame Patsy's first Waitangi Day in the South Island and while the weather was unexpectedly chilly, the welcome from Ngai Tahu was warm.
Dame Patsy was loaned a beautiful korowai, made by Ngai Tahi weaver Paula Rigby , for the event. Another highlight of the day was an erudite and meaningful speech from Tā Tipene O'Regan.
The annual Beat Retreat ceremony at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds this evening commemorated longstanding naval connections with Waitangi. It was perfect weather for the crowd to witness marching by the Guard of Honour, the precision movements of the navy band, and performance by the cultural group, all against the glorious backdrop of a Bay of Islands vista.
Diplomats accredited to New Zealand are currently in Northland on a tour related to the history of nationhood in New Zealand, dating from the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. Today Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a lunch for them and their partners in Russell.
One of Northland's favourite sons, Sir Hec Busby, received his knighthood from Dame Patsy today in front of a huge crowd of well-wishers at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. Sir Hec was recognised for reviving the tradition of building waka hourua, traditional ocean going waka, as well as the skills required to navigate by the stars and ocean currents. As a result, the voyaging tradition of Polynesian seafarers who came to Aotearoa, and returned to the Pacific Islands on return journeys, has been replicated, and strengthened the connections with our Pacific whanau. Dame Patsy thanked Sir Hec for adding another chapter to our history.
This afternoon Dame Patsy received the credentials of the Ambassador of the Lebanese Republic, HE Mr Milad Raad; the Ambassador of Iceland, HE Mrs Kristin Arnadottir; and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, HE Mr Paul Gulleik Larsen.
This morning, Dame Patsy received the credentials of the High Commissioner of the Cook Islands, HE Mrs Elizabeth Foster Wright-Koteka; the High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia, HE Mr Frank Francis Bwalya; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HE Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Alsuhaibani; and the Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, HE Mr Makarimi Abissola Adechoubou.
Dame Patsy and Sir David spent yesterday afternoon at Papakura Military Camp with the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment, learning more about the Regiment’s history and culture. Their Excellencies also visited the camp’s memorial area and chapel and particularly enjoyed meeting serving NZSAS personnel.
In this photo they were joined by current Aides-de-Camp, Captain Grace Blanks and Lieutenant Dany Rassam, and outgoing Aide-de-Camp Lieutenant Emily Keat.
Government House Auckland was gifted to the Queen for the use of Governors-General by Sir Frank and Lady Mappin, who were noted horticulturalists and philanthropists. The grounds that they created, a garden of national significance, needed to be protected and developed in a sympathetic manner.
The Grounds Committee has been tasked with advising on that work, and today, at a lunch to mark 50 years of its work, Dame Patsy planted a kawaka on the lawn. Sir Rob Fenwick, grandson and inaugural member of the committee, marked his retirement from the role by planting another kawaka.
Governor Hobson provided a naval guardship for the first Auckland regatta, and every year since, the Royal New Zealand Navy has kept up that tradition for the Auckland Anniversary Day regatta. Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David joined the crew and guests on HMNZS Canterbury, which proved to be a perfect vantage point to see yachts of all sizes and vintages competing in the ocean races, as well as several cruise ships in the harbour.
Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the final concert of the NZ Opera School's 2019 season. The concert, "Great Opera Moments 2019) featured 20 up and coming New Zealand singers who were specially chosen to study with international tutors.
After the concert, Dame Patsy presented some prizes with Samson Setu being awarded the Dame Sister Mary Leo and Guy and Sue Haddleton scholarships.
Dame Patsy and Sir David were given a special tour of the new Wildbase Recovery facility in Palmerston North. The facility, which is in it's commissioning phase, is will be a rehabilitation centre for some of the many New Zealand birds operated on at Massey's Wildbase Hospital.
Dame Patsy is Wildbase patron and was interested to see the faciltities and hear more about the work of the centre, which will have a strong educational focus alongside its conservation work.
Over $4 million of the $7 million cost was raised within the community, with school mufti days and cake stalls adding to the totals raised from local businesses and sponsors. Substantial support was also received from the Central Energy Trust.
Once it's opened to the public, the facility will be free to visit. Despite there being no guest birds receiving rehabilitation, Dame Patsy did get to see the resident tuatara, tui and kaka.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a function for people and organisations who have had a role in the running of Government House in Auckland over the last year. Guests ranged from electricians and security specialists to cleaning company staff, art experts and all points in between.
Thank you to everyone who played a part in helping us maintain the high standards of Government House this year.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a second dinner to thank arts patrons for their support for New Zealand's creative sector, this time at Government House in Auckland.
Actor and Arts Foundation Laureate Cliff Curtis spoke about the effect philanthropy has on the arts and the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency was officially presented to dancer Lucy Marinkovich and musician Lucien Johnson.
The evening was rounded out by a performance from up and coming young opera singer Madison Nonoa.
Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Kauri Flats School in Takanini, Auckland.
Pupils have been attending the school since 2017 but building only finished recently. The area is experiencing lots of growth and the roll of 130 is expected to expand by at least another 100 students next year.
Dame Patsy spoke and declared the school officially open and then watched some very impressive student performances.The haka featuring the whole school was particularly impressive.