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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Wildbase Recovery visit

    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.

    More images

    Image of Wildbase Recovery manager Chris Smith with Dame Patsy and Sir David

    Image of Big Boy, another resident tuatara

  • New Year Message 2019

    Happy New Year, New Zealand! Dame Patsy wishes you all the best for a brighter, more sustainable 2019.

  • Stakeholders and suppliers reception - Auckland

    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. 

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy with Jonathan Maze, furniture restorer and pianist Ben Fernandez and Maria Fernandez

  • Auckland arts patrons dinner

    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.

    Image gallery

    Image of Lucien Johnson performing

    Image of Opera singer Madison Nonoa performing

  • Kauri Flats School official opening

    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.

    Images of the opening

    Image of senior students performing with poi

  • 2018 Arts Patron Dinner, Wellington

    This evening Government House celebrated the arts in New Zealand with the people who help to make it possible for artists, writers and performers to develop their talent, create new works and make us think about who we are and where we are going.

    Composer John Psathas spoke about the role that arts patronage had played in his career and Paula Morris was presented with the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Musical interludes were provided by the NZSO String Quartet and bass Martin Snell sang arias, accompanied by Bruce Greenfield.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Ms Paula Morris recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship with Mr Richard Cathie, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Fellowship
  • Heart Kids Wellington 30th Anniversary

    Heart Kids Wellington couldn't have asked for a better day to celebrate their 30th anniversary, with blue skies and sunshine the order of the day at Government House.

    Maia the Heart Kids Bear and Marshall from Paw Patrol proved popular, as did the bouncy castle and face painting. An appearance by Anna and Elsa from 'Frozen' who sang, danced and told stories was also a huge hit.

    Special guests, Heart Kids founders Linda Davies and Michelle Mann spoke about their experiences dealing with the hospital system that led to the foundation of Heart Children, the organisation now known as Heart Kids.

    Event photos

    Image of ADCs Emma and Grace with Maia, the Heart Kids Bear

    Image of Elsa and Anna from 'Frozen' arriving

  • Visit to Waiouru for the 2018 New Zealand Commissioning Course Graduation Ceremony

    The sun shone for today's visit by helicopter to Waiouru, where 34 New Zealand officer cadets and 8 officer cadets from 5 other nations graduated from their commissioning course, and performed precision parade ground drills to the accompaniment of the Army Band. Friends and whanau were on hand to congratulate the new officers. We couldn't stay for the dinner and ball this evening, but it's sure to be a wonderful night of celebration.

    Speech transcript        Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David arriving in the jeep used by HM Queen Elizabeth in 1953
    an image of Dame Patsy inspecting the officer cadets
  • Canine Friends Pet Therapy

    Coco had competition for the affections of Dame Patsy and Sir David after a visit to Te Hopai Home and Hospital in Wellington this morning. They were there to observe the work of Canine Friends Pet Therapy, a volunteer organisation that takes dogs into hospitals and rest homes. Pet therapy has been found to be very valuable for older people and it was obvious that many of the residents had a strong bond with the therapy dogs.

    Star of the show was Jack, the well-trained Border Collie who did a skateboard demonstration for the residents and a rather impressed Dame Patsy and Sir David.

    More images

    Canine Friends Pet Therapy

    Image of a schnauzer mix dog, Lainey

    Image of Dame Patsy, Canine Friends volunteer Margaret Ranum and Lainey with Te Hopai resident Suzanne McCrea

  • Bold Steps Conference

    Yesterday Dame Patsy joined 800 plus women at the Bold Steps Conference in Auckland. The conference was initiated by women who are leaders in their field and provides the attendees with opportunities to hear inspiring advice about career progression and networking.

    Dame Patsy was a guest speaker, and noted that New Zealand has normalised having women in top positions. She spoke about the importance of respect for the people that we work with directly, of understanding oneself and what we are capable of doing, and remaining positive.  

    Image Gallery

  • Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand Reception

    Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand has been supporting individuals and families for 50 years. Tonight's reception at Government House acknowledged the tireless efforts of volunteers, medical personnel, researchers and families who have made a difference in the lives of people living with CF, which is the most common incurable disease in New Zealand, currently affecting over 500 children and adults. At tonight's reception, a memorial candle was lit alongside a book recording the names of New Zealanders who have lost their lives to CF. We wish CFNZ all the very best with its quest for a new meaning for CF - Cure Found.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the official party
    an image of Dame Patsy and Professor Bob Elliot
  • State Welcome for the President of the Republic of Korea

    Dame Patsy welcomed the President of the Republic of Korea, HE Moon Jae-In and his wife HE Kim Jung-sook to New Zealand during a ceremony at Government House in Auckland.

    Tropical rainstorms did not dampen the enthusiasm of the New Zealand Defence Force, who performed a stirring haka under cover of a marquee.

    After the welcome, an official call between Dame Patsy and President Moon took place, followed by a State Luncheon.

    More photos

    Image of the President of the Republic of Korea accepts the challenge

    Image of Dame Patsy with the President of the Republic of Korea HE Moon Jae-In and his wife HE Kim Jung-Sook

  • Sir George Elliot Scholarships - 20th Anniversary

    In 1999 the Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust launched the Elliot Scholarships. Each year since then, the Trust has awarded three scholarships worth $25,000 to students who fit the criteria of being academically successful, with future leadership potential and who have faced challenges in their personal or family circumstances.

    The three 2018 scholars Matthew Manukuo, Nicole White and Jennifer Thonrithi were presented with their awards at a special dinner, with guests including Elliot Scholarship alumni.

    Event photos

    Information on the Sir George Elliot Trust 

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the 2018 scholars Matthew Manukuo,Nicole White and Jennifer Thonrithi


  • Suffrage 125 morning tea

    Today marks the 125th anniversary of the first general election in New Zealand where women were able to cast their vote. Dame Patsy hosted a morning tea to mark the occasion and thank the staff from the Ministry of Women for their work organising Suffrage 125 this year. 

    Over 355 events marking Suffrage 125 took place in New Zealand during the commemoration period.

    More photos

    Image of Dame Patsy with Acting CE of the Ministry For Women, Helen Potiki and Suffrage 125 Project Manager, Kim Young

  • Credentials at Government House Wellington

    The rain fell and the wind blew but the scheduled credentials ceremonies at Government House continued regardless, although in a somewhat truncated form.

    Dame Patsy was delighted to receive the credentials of the envoys from Ukraine, Ghana, Mozambique, Mauritania, Malawi, Qatar and Slovenia. Welcome to New Zealand!

    Images from the morning ceremonies

    Images from the afternoon ceremonies

    an image of HE Mr Saad Abdullah Al Mahmoud Al Shareef, Ambassador for the State of Qatar accepting the challenge

    Image of HE Mr Dmytro Senik, Ambassador of Ukraine

  • New Zealand Film Commission 40th Anniversary

    Dame Patsy and Sir David were delighted to host a reception to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Film Commission at Government House in Wellington this evening.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David have close ties to the Commission having both served as Chair at various times.

    The guest list featured a notable roster of New Zealand's producing and directing talent, with Cliff Curtis adding a little bit of thespian star power (He also produces, mind you)

    Image gallery (Click on the individual photos for more info on some of the guests.)

    Dame Patsy's speech

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with Bill Sheat, Annabelle Sheehan and Kerry Prendergast

  • Appointment ceremony for the Chief Justice and a Judge of the High Court of Niue

    Today Dame Patsy officiated at the swearing-in of the Chief Justice and a Judge of the High Court of Niue.

    Judge Miharo Armstrong and new Chief Justice, Judge Craig Coxhead each swore an Oath of Allegiance and a Judicial Oath in front of Dame Patsy. The High Commissioner of Niue, HE Fisa Pihigia assisted with the administering of the Oaths.

    In attendance were Judge Patrick Savage, outgoing Chief Justice of Niue and Judge Wilson Isaac, Chief Judge of the Maori Land Court.

    More images

    Image of Judge Miharo Armstrong swearing the Oath of Allegiance

    Image of Chief Justice, Judge Craig Coxhead after signing his oaths

  • New Zealand Women in Leadership Alumnae Symposium

    Dame Patsy delivered the opening address at the NZ Women in leadershop Alumnae Symposium at Victoria University today. The NZWiL programme exists to support and encourage the development of women who are, or aspire to be, leaders within the university sector.

    The two day symposium has the theme of Hautūtanga: Creating opportunities through leadership.

    As well as speaking, Dame Patsy also took part in a leadership Q and A session.

    More images 

    Image of Dame Patsy partcipating in a Q and A about leadership

  • State Welcome for President Sebastian Pinera of Chile

    This morning His Excellency Sebastian Pinera, the President of Chile received a State Welcome at Government House Auckland.

    Image Gallery

    an image of President Pinera greeting a member of the cultural party
    an image of Dame Patsy ad President Pinera
  • Order of New Zealand Dinner 2018

    Some very special guests at Government House tonight for the annual dinner for Members of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ). The order is the highest honour that can be awarded to a New Zealander and it is a privilege to host people whose outstanding contributions have been recognised in this way.

    Speech transcript            Image Gallery

    an image of Their Excellencies, ONZ members, and Rachel Hayward, Deputy Secretary (Constitutional and Honours)
    an image of Dame Patsy with Jim Bolger, ONZ and Sir Peter Gluckman, ONZ
  • Rhodes Scholar reception 2018

    This evening Dame Patsy and Sir David held a reception for the 2018 Rhodes Scholarship finalists. The eight finalists, Joel Bateman, Mattea Mrkusic, Rosie Collins, James Ranstead, Johann Go, Michelle Huang, Lucy McLean and Isobel Campbell, will be interviewed by the selection committee tomorrow but this evening was a chance for them to meet the committee and their fellow finalists informally. Good luck everyone!

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy and the 2018 Rhodes Scholar finalists

    Coco arrived late for the finalists photo (not like her at all) but proved popular with all the guests. 

    Image of Coco in the Blundell Room

  • At Government House

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a lunch for departing Heads of Mission at Government House on Wednesday. Congratulations to NZ High Commissioner to Malaysia, Mr Hunter Nottage; NZ High Commissioner to Singapore, Ms Joanne Tyndall; NZ High Commissioner to Rarotonga, Ms Tessa Temata and NZ Ambassador to Egypt, Mr Greg Lewis on their new postings.

    Image of Dame Patsy with departing Heads of Mission

    Today Dame Patsy and Sir David received a farewell call from Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral John Martin and Sue Martin. After being mysteriously cropped out of yesterday's photo, Coco was back in the frame alongside ADCs LT Emily Keat and LT Caitlin Wiseman. 

    Image of Dame Patsy, Sir David, CN-RADM John Martin, Sue martin and ADCs

  • Armistice Day Commemorations - Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

    Yesterday, Dame Patsy officiated at the Armistice Day National Ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.   The peace bell tolled, the crowd joined in two minutes' silence, then stunning dance, music and song evoked the jubilation, relief and sorrow our forebears experienced in November 1918.

    More images     

    an image of Dancers evoking the spirit of jubilation

    Later that day, Dame Patsy and Sir David returned to Pukeahu for a Sunset Ceremony. The ceremony included the final Last Post of the WW100 commemorations. The NZDF has been conducting a daily Last Post at Pukeahu every evening since Anzac Day 2015.

    More images              Official photos       Speech transcript

    Image of NZDF regimental colours

  • New Zealand Memorial, London

    On Tuesday, Dame Patsy and Sir David laid a wreath at the New Zealand Memorial at Hyde Park Corner, accompanied by New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, HE Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, our previous Governor-General.

    The Memorial, named Southern Stand, was made by New Zealand sculptor Paul Dibble, whose First World War commemorative sculpture for Featherston will be unveiled this Saturday. 

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David at the New Zealand Memorial in Hyde Park
  • Visit to Oxford

    On Monday, Dame Patsy and Sir David had a busy day in Oxford, where they met up with our Rhodes Scholars and caught up with their news about their studies and their plans for the future. A fascinating visit to the Bodleian Library including opportunities to see rare maps and letters associated with New Zealand, along with items associated with the suffragette movement. UK women did not win the right to vote until 1918, 25 years after New Zealand led the world in women's suffrage. Today, special commemorations are being held in the UK Parliament to mark that important milestone.

    Image Gallery

  • Royal Visit overview

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex received an enthusiastic welcome from New Zealanders during their recent four day visit. We've put together a selection of images by photographer Mark Tantrum that tell the story of their time in New Zealand

    Royal visit image gallery  


  • Waitangi Day Garden Reception ballot announcement

    The successful applicants in the Waitangi Day Garden Reception ballot have been selected and emails have been sent out. Congratulations to everyone who will be joining us at Government House in Wellington next year.

    If you have not received an email (and have checked that it hasn't mistakenly ended up in your spam folder), please note that we have had a few emails bounce back. We will be getting in touch with those applicants by other means.

    If you have any queries, please email our invitations secretary


  • Le Quesnoy centennial commemorations

    Dame Patsy and Sir David have been attending centennial commemorations of the liberation of Le Quesnoy by New Zealand troops in the closing days of the First World War. A special bond exists between the people of Le Quesnoy and New Zealand to this day, because the New Zealand troops chose not to use artillery, which would have resulted in destruction of the town and many civilian deaths. Instead the assault was via a ladder placed against the 17th century ramparts. Dame Patsy opened Le Jardin de la Paix, unveiled a friendship plaque and spoke at several commemorative events, including the New Zealand National Commemorative Service held 100 years to the day since the liberation of the town.

    Speech transcript        Image Gallery       Image Gallery

  • Women in Infrastructure Network Reception

    The Women in Infrastructure Network (WIN) was set up by Infrastructure New Zealand in 2016 to promote women in the sector. It now has over 1100 members in 7 chapters across New Zealand. Tonight's reception at Government House, hosted by former Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, provided an opportunity to hear about efforts to get more women into leadership roles, some of the barriers women are still facing in the sector, and what WIN members themselves have said in a recent survey.

    Dame Silvia's speech transcript         Image Gallery

    Dame Silvia Cartwright and WIN advisory board
  • TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Government House

    Dame Patsy and Sir David were delighted to host TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at Government House at the beginning of their four day tour of New Zealand.

    The North Lawn was the scene of the Ceremony of Welcome, featuring the NZDF cultural party and a tri-service Guard of Honour. Young New Zealanders from Paparangi Scout Group, Kairanga School (Feilding), Kelburn Guides and Maranatha Christian School were in attendance and the Royal couple were also treated to a fierce haka from from Hato Paora College.

    Ceremony of Welcome for TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex

    Later that day, after a wreathlaying and public walkabout at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, the couple returned to Government House for calls with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. This was followed by a reception in the Ballroom celebrating Suffrage 125.

    The Duchess of Sussex gave a very well-received speech and guests also heard from New Zealand's poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh and singing group Le Art.

    The evening finished with a kapa haka performance from Te Wharekura o Ngā Mokopuna. 

    Evening reception image gallery

  • Visit to Christchurch

    A quick day trip to Christchurch today to see the new library, Turanga, and the newly restored Nurses Memorial Chapel. The chapel was erected in 1928 to honour the memory of nurses who died in the First World War and during the devastating influenza epidemic that swept through New Zealand in 1918. In particular, the chapel honours the ten nurses who died when the Marquette was torpedoed in the Aegean Sea, en route to Salonika.  The chapel was built with public subscription and is considered to be a unique memorial to First World War nurses in New Zealand. The chapel suffered considerable damage during the Canterbury earthquakes, and a $2 million grant from Christchurch Council enabled the painstaking rebuild to be undertaken.

    Image Gallery              Speech transcript

    an image of Dame Patsy unveiling the plaque to mark the restoration and re-opening of the Nurses Memorial Chapel
  • Royal Visit Information

    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be visiting New Zealand from Sunday 28 October to Wednesday 31 October. Their four day tour will include time in Wellington, Auckland, Rotorua and the Abel Tasman National Park. You can follow the couple's activities on the Governor-General's Facebook, Instagram and twitter feeds (links in the sidebar!)

    Official media release

    Here are the details of the Duke and Duchess's public appearances in New Zealand:


    Wellington offers the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Their Royal Highnesses will be undertaking a public walkabout at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Wellington on Sunday October 28th between 4.45pm - 5.30pm

    Their Royal Highnesses will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and visit the newly unveiled UK War Memorial before meeting members of the public.

    For all updates on parking and road closures follow Wellington City Council's Facebook page.


    Aucklanders can see the Duke and Duchess atViaduct Harbour between 3.55pm-4.20pm on Tuesday, 30th October. The Royal couple will be on walkabout on the wharf from Brigham St to Karanga Plaza.


    The Duke and Duchess will undertake a public walkabout in the Government Gardens in Rotorua on Wednesday October 31st between 3.30pm and 4.00pm.

    The Duke and Duchess will walk along Queen's Drive.

    This will be the couple’s sole walkabout outside Auckland and Wellington.

    For all updates about parking and road closures keep an eye on the Rotorua Lakes Council Facebook page and website

    Image of the Duke and Duchess

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