This afternoon, one week after the killing of 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealanders gathered in our towns and cities to observe two minutes' silence.
For that moment, Dame Patsy and Sir David chose to be with 1500 school students on the Kapiti Coast. First they heard the soaring notes of the Muslim call to prayer. After the two minutes' silence, there was a mass haka by the students.
Dame Patsy addressed the students, noting that coming together in this way helped to affirm the values that we hold dear: tolerance, inclusion and kindness.
Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence is Vice President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which is responsible for caring for the war graves of Commonwealth service personnel from the First and Second World Wars.
During a visit to New Zealand, Sir Tim attended a dinner in his honour at Government House.
Dame Patsy and Sir David travelled to Christchurch to pay their respects following the Christchurch mosque shootings.
Dame Patsy's first meeting was with the Vice President of the Republic of Turkey, HE Fuat Oktay and Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who expressed their sympathy for the people of Christchurch and the local Muslim community. Image Gallery
Later Dame Patsy met with Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and rounded off the evening by catching up a group of St John New Zealand paramedics, who were on duty during the Christchurch attack. The team talked to Dame Patsy about their experiences on the ground in a dangerous situation and how they respond to large scale emergencies Image Gallery
The second day of Dame Patsy's visit to Christchurch began with a meeting with the Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre. A more somber experience than Dame Patsy's last visit to the Centre, the meeting was a chance for members to talk about their sadness following the attacks and how it has affected them and their community. Image Gallery
Dame Patsy then went to Hagley Park to lay flowers at the memorial that has sprung up there. While there she also spoke with overseas media and took the opportunity to chat with police and St John New Zealand staffers who were in the area.
The Emerge Aotearoa choir was there, singing in tribute to the shooting victims and Dame Patsy stopped to listen, even joining in on Tutira Mai Nga Iwi. Image Gallery
This afternoon Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Kilbirnie Mosque. Dame Patsy added flowers to the many hundreds of floral tributes already in place and met with Tahir Nawaz, President of the International Muslim Association of New Zealand and other members of Wellington's Muslim community.
As well as expressing her condolences to the Muslim community, Dame Patsy and Mr Nawaz talked about subjects ranging from tolerance, the role of social media and how we move forward together following the Christchurch attacks.
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.
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.”
Message from the Governor of New South Wales and Governor-General Designate of Australia, General The Hon David Hurley.
" Your Excellency,
On behalf of the people of New South Wales, I write to express my sincere condolences over the tragic events that have taken place in Christchurch today.
The crime is heinous - an act of violence in a place of faith carries with it a particular element of horror. For this outragous act to have taken place in a city that has faced wide scale loss and grief over recent years, is even more heartbreaking.
We stand alongside you and the victims and indeed the nation of New Zealand as you oppose such violence and hatred.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.