Yesterday Dame Patsy and Sir David paid a visit to Kaibosh Food Rescue, which collects and distributes food to over 65 charities around Wellington. The organisation's mantra of 'Zero Waste, Zero Poverty' is eliminating needless waste, providing nutritious food to people in need, and keeping tonnes of food out of our landfills. Over 200 volunteers give their time to keep the operation going.
Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Rocket Lab in Auckland and it was just as cool as you'd imagine. Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck gave Their Excellencies an overview of the company's mission to open access to space to improve life on earth, and took them on a guided tour of Mission Control as well as the factory where the rockets are built.
Dame Patsy and Sir David welcomed the President of the Republic of Poland, HE Andrzej Duda and Agata Kornhauser-Duda at Government House in Auckland. Wet weather meant the planned ceremonial welcome had to be curtailed but the Presidential couple were still greeted with a hongi and the presentation of a dart before meeting with Dame Patsy.
After the welcome, Dame Patsy accompanied Their Excellencies to the Auckland Museum for a wreath laying and later hosted a dinner for the couple and members of the New Zealand Polish community at Government House.
Last night, Scottish Country Dancing enthusiasts came from around New Zealand to attend a ball to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the New Zealand branch of the Scottish Country Dancing Society.
The theme of the day was aviation as Dame Patsy and Sir David officially opened the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy then headed to Ohakea for a welcome at RNZAF Turangawaewae and then a tour of No 14 and No 3 Squadrons
The second day of the Whanganui visit started with a trip to the Gonville Community Library to meet the Gonville knitting group. Dame Patsy also read a story to a group of pre-schoolers.
Pacific Helmets is celebrating 40 years of manufacturing top quality helmets for the New Zealand and international markets. Dame Patsy and Sir David toured the factory and also received their very own American style "Fire Chief" helmets.
Next it was off to First Vets to meet the Kotuku Foundation and their wonderful assistance dogs. Dame Patsy got cuddle time with new puppy Lyra, who has just started her training.
The evening ended with a community reception where Dame Patsy and Sir David were able to mix and mingle with guests from Whanganui businesses and community organisations.
Dame Patsy and Sir David's first day in Whanganui began with a powhiri at Putiki marae which was followed by Dame Tariana Turia's investiture. The day finished with a visit to Glassworks and a chance to play with glassmaking techniques
Our thanks to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame for forwarding images from the Gala Dinner on 27 July, which acknowledged New Zealanders who have made outstanding contributions to New Zealand business: Tony Nightingale, Alan Gibbs, James Dilworth, Dame Trelise Cooper, Bill Buckley, Elspeth Kennedy, Graeme and Craig Turner, and Sir Russell Matthews.
The whakatauki "Manaakitia te tangata ahakoa ko wai, ahakoa no hea" (Take care of others, no matter who they are, no matter where they come from) sums up the kaupapa of Home and Family Counselling, who have looking after the needs of individuals, couples and families in Auckland for 125 years. It was an absolute pleasure to host staff and supporters at Government House Auckland, acknowledge the vital work that they do, and celebrate their big milestone.
Staff and dancers past and present were invited to Government House to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Displays of costumes and other memorabilia and a birthday cake addded to the party atmosphere.
Yesterday's engagements affirmed the theme of renewal and transformation so evident during this visit to Otautahi/Christchurch. The official opening of the new hall and classrooms at Linwood North School was cause for celebration for the pupils, staff, and parents, after years of challenges and delays.
Green Fuels NZ transforms used cooking oil into bio-diesel, which burns more efficiently than standard diesel, and therefore contributes to the lowering of carbon emissions. Used cooking oil would otherwise end up in land-fills. Green Fuels has recently become a subsidiary of Fulton Hogan, which will use the bio-diesel its trucks and heavy machinery.
The Governor-General's visit to Canterbury this week has a theme of transformation and renewal. Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) catchment was a perfect place to begin, to see what is being achieved by the partnership between Ngai Tahu, ECAN and scientists from Lincoln University working together to restore waterways and wetlands that sustain Te Waihora.
This evening was about transformation of a different sort - the drive to increase female leadership across all sectors of society. Dame Patsy joined two inspirational women leaders, Toni Brendish, CE of Westland Milk, and Sian Simpson, who until recently led Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco, in speaking to the 150 attendees at the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Women's Leadership Forum.
We were delighted to welcome students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students this morning for a tour of Government House. Their visit to Wellington follows several days in Christchurch where they were hosted by members of the Student Army. Today they were welcomed with an incredible performance of waiata and kapa haka by students from Te Wharekura o Ngā Mokopuna, Wellington East Girls College and St Catherines College.
Yesterday 79 recruits of Wing 316 at the Police College graduated . As Patron of that Wing, Dame Patsy was delighted to congratulate the graduates and present them with their identity cards. We wish them all the very best as they begin their careers in police districts around New Zealand.
It was a day of celebration for 31 young women as they received their Queen's Guide and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at Government House in Auckland on Saturday. Fiona Harnett, GirlGuiding NZ's National President did the honours handing out the awards, while Dame Patsy spoke of the hours of work each recipient had put into the programme and how proud they should feel of their acheivement. Afterwards, Dame Patsy had a chance to meet the recipients and their families during afternoon tea.
This afternoon we were delighted to host a group of young student leaders from around New Zealand who are meeting in Otaki to discuss Future Leadership, as a way to celebrate the 75th Otaki Scholar to come to New Zealand. The 75th Scholar is Cameron Stephen.
The Otaki Scholar comes from Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, and their stay is funded by the Otaki Scholarship, set up in memory of the Captain of a merchant ship Otaki, Captain Archibald Bissett-Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The Otaki was sunk during the First World War.
One of the most popular features at Government House is the collection of carved armorial bearings that hang in the hall. Every Governor-General from 1910 onwards, the date the House was built, is represented.
Sculptor Paul Deans has carved for armorial bearings for the last four Governors-General (Sir Michael Hardie-Boyes, Dame Silvia Cartwright, Sir Anand Satyanand and Sir Jerry Mateparae.)
This week, Paul and wife Kate visited Government House to see his most recent carving of Sir Jerry Mateparae's armorial bearing on display.
Interestingly Paul and his wife both have family links to Government House. Paul's grandfather MAJ George Hutton was an ADC to Lord Liverpool, while Kate's father LT COL John Masters served as an ADC in 1977.
On Friday Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, acting in her role as Administrator of the Government in Dame Patsy's absence, attended a reception to mark the change of command of the Defence Force. She thanked the outgoing Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating and congratulated the new Chief of Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshall Kevin Short.
This is based on a traditional Persian stew called Fesejan, which is usually made with poultry braised in a walnut and pomegranate sauce. This vegetarian version of the sauce is served with roasted sumac and chilli spiced butternut squash, toasted bulgur with fresh pomegranate and grilled baby cos lettuce hearts.
This versatile sauce goes well with roasted meats or vegetables or as a side to stews or warm salads.
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 bay leaves
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp honey
500ml vegetable stock (or water if none available)
2 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the oven to 170C. Toast the walnuts until golden, then set aside to cool. When cool, blitz in a food processor until they look like fine breadcrumbs.
Warm the oil in a heavy pan and fry the onion until soft, about four or five minutes. Add the spices, cook for a minute and add the puree, bay leaves, molasses, honey, stock and ground walnuts. Season with salt, bring to a simmer and turn the heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. At the end, add the lemon juice.
In the Matariki spirit of imparting knowledge and extending hospitality, last night we were joined by STEM students from around Wellington to hear from astronomer Hari Mogosanu. Her wideranging talk included everything from the relationship between earth and the night sky to the fact that all are, at molecular level, essentially stardust. Our thanks to Museums Wellington staff for helping us see the stars through four telescopes set up on the Terrace.
This morning,Dame Patsy hosted the 2018 Pukaki Scholars for morning tea at Government House. Pukaki was an 18th century Maori warrior, who was a Rangatira of the Ngati Whakaue iwi of Te Arawa in the Rotorua district. An image of the famous carving of Pukaki is on the New Zealand 20 cent coin. The Pukaki Scholarships were created to recognise the links between Ngati Whakaue and the Reserve Bank and every year, Year 10 student leaders affiliated with the iwi are selected to travel to Wellington to visit the Reserve Bank and other notable Wellington institutions
New Zealand Down Syndrome Association celebrated their annual awards with a high tea at Government House. Performer and TV show host Lily Harper; powerlifting champ and artist Josh Cooke and leader and advocate Caroline Quick received National Achievement Awards. Tania Grose and Linda te Kaat shared the Val Sturgess National Volunteer Award for their work on the annual Unforgettaball in Christchurch and former Disability Rights Commissioner Paul Gibson received a life membership for his support and advocacy for the Down Syndrome community.
This morning bad weather forced us to shift the powhiri and inspection of the Guard of Honour for our Credentials ceremony from the South Lawn into the ballroom.
Dame Patsy received the credentials of HE Mr Ta Van Thong, the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, HE Mr Fernando Curcio Ruigomez, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, and HE Mr Jaime Bueno-Miranda, the Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia.
The sun shone for the presentation of 10 Queen's Scout Awards and 3 Duke of Edinburgh International Gold Awards on Saturday 9 June at Government House in Auckland.
Friends and famly heard from each Scout about what they've learned from their Scouting experience and later Dame Patsy was able to have a bit of time with each recipient and their family over afternoon tea.
Tonight, Cabaret Government House-style featured Wyn Davies, Musical Director of Opera New Zealand and special guest Natasha Wilson, who is currently appearing in the touring production of The Elixir of Love. The guests at tonight's fundraiser for Opera New Zealand were delighted with Wyn’s virtuoso piano performance, wit and showmanship - and Natasha's exquisite singing.
Head chef Simon Peacock says it's soup season and we have to agree. This is one he made earlier this week - parsnip, black lentil and fresh chestnut soup. Seriously yum! Lentils are brilliant in soups, being nutritious,tasty and inexpensive so Simon has found this recipe for Moroccan lentil soup from Annabel Langbein that you might like to try at home. It only takes 10 minutes to prepare too!
Congratulations to the five new Blake Leaders - Peter Beck , Sandra Alofivae, Dr. Miles Gregory, Soana Pamaka and David Cameron and the first Blake Leader-Environmental Assoc Professor Rochelle Constantine.
Dr Rhian Salmon was guest speaker at the Zonta Science Awards last night. Her speech was inspiring, informative and pertinent and deserves to be shared.
The Zonta science award is about celebrating women in science. There are three important words in that sentence – celebrate, women, and science. And arguably, the most important of these is Celebrate.
Celebrations are so important to our cultural and personal identity. We use them to not only remind ourselves of the things that we value, but to actively live those values. We use them to show our value for individuals who are important in our lives – people who have just been born, who have passed away, are making a life commitment to each other, or marking a significant anniversary. We also use them to reinforce national identity – from the haka at the start of an All Blacks game to staying up late to watch Meghan and Harry’s wedding – by participating in these celebrations we actively contribute to keeping these aspects of our culture alive, valued, and relevant. So, too, with an event like today.
The Zonta Club of Wellington didn’t just choose to provide funding for an up-and-coming female science star, it put on a full fanfare to acknowledge this event – in Government House no less! And by all of us coming today to join this celebration, we reinforce the values that underpin this prize. By doing so, we are all doing our bit for reinforcing cultural values that support and acknowledge the role of women, and science, not to mention women in science, in our society.
So let’s move onto the next word: women.
A few years ago I would have wondered if such a prize was really necessary – surely we had got equality by now, I’d have thought.
I was fortunate - I was born into a time and place, a family and community, a generation, and a changing national culture, that encouraged women into science. Girls who were good at science were celebrated at school and strongly encouraged to keep those studies up at University. Whenever I was at a transition, considering my next career stage, I got advice about which doors to knock on, and barely had to knock before they were opened. I’m not saying there was no skill there – just that the system seemed to be excited to welcome more women where opportunity arose. We were still a minority, but at that point a needed and acknowledged, dare I say appreciated, minority. And I thank the generation of feminists before me, men and women, for fighting for and creating that welcoming and fertile ground in which I could grow a successful science career. (Among them I include my parents and my grandparents so tonight I’m deliberately wearing jewellery from both my mother and grandmother to remind me of the role all of us play in this journey.)
Still – we all thought there would be equality by now. It’s 2018! And, thankfully, women in science have, to a large degree, been normalised on a legal and societal level. School and university classes have a much more equal gender balance, women have smashed through almost all the glass ceilings of science, and there is a common commitment by both men and women these days to work towards increasing diversity in the work environment. Completing a degree, or a PhD or a post-doc is still hard…. but we try to make it equally hard for everyone.
I’m not sure if I can yet say the same for establishing a career in research and academia – that it’s equally hard for everyone. Unfortunately, as you move higher up the career ladder, there are still inequalities, glass ceilings, and pay gaps, some of which were highlighted by research published this week by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
One of the things I love about Motu is that they summarise every research output with a haiku. The one released this week read as follows:
Being a mother
means decreased hours and wages.
No such change for dads.
And yes, their study found that even highly educated and high achieving, professional, women experience a significant pay gap and slower career progression than men, especially after having children, and even if they return to work very quickly.
The knock-on effect of this is that we still have very few women in senior decision-making positions. Even though there are now an increasing number of individual superstars like our Prime Minister, the Governor General, and many other amazing pioneers who are in this room – that is still what they are: pioneers. The exception, rather than the norm.
The institutional culture set at these senior levels, therefore – of Boards, of Panels, and of Executive Committees – is largely defined by male-dominated, Pakeha, groups. I genuinely believe that the decisions made by these leadership teams would be fundamentally different if they had more diverse representation – and not just by gender. And since the decisions they make effect all of us in various unseen ways, they in turn define our society today.
The explosion of the #metoo movement this year has also unearthed a particularly unpleasant aspect of the different experiences men and women can have in the workforce. Unfortunately, it’s one that science has also not been immune to. And a reminder to all of us that we need to hold ourselves, our colleagues, our institutions and our norms to account.
Hopefully, many of these inequalities will dissolve as the generations age through the system. But to achieve that, several unspoken obstacles need to be acknowledged, and norms redesigned. Men who choose to stay home to look after kids should be as celebrated and supported – and normalised – as women who wish to stay in the workforce when they have young children. We need to experiment with new ways to allow career success – for both men and women – while working part time or after taking a career break.
Appointment Boards and panels need to take a close look at their own composition and see if they are unwittingly favouring people who look, and talk, and act like themselves. It’s slow work, it’s important work, and it’s work that’s not over yet.
The last word in the trio is science.
Dame Margaret first heard me speak outside Te Papa at the March for Science last year. That was also an event that my former self would never have dreamt might have occurred, been necessary, or been one that I would have spoken at.
To be honest, during the fifteen or so years that I was embedded in the science system, I thought that I thought quite a lot about the value of science in society. But I didn’t think much about how that actually played out. About the mechanisms by which science can inform society, about policy processes, about the appropriate role of science in society. This now forms the foundation of what I do in my day job – I’m an academic in the Science in Society group at Victoria University – and I spend a lot of time thinking about, talking about, and researching the processes that connect science within society. And the more I look at this, the more convinced I am that it’s not the role of science to tell society what to do. Rather, it’s the role of science to inform democratic and wise decision-making about important issues like climate change, river quality, health, conservation, and the potential of new technologies.
In facing these issues, however, we assume that the people doing the deep thinking and policy-making are well-informed and educated, value democratic principles, and value scientific information. It is the last – the value of scientific information – that has increasingly been questioned recently. In New Zealand and overseas, we have had ministers, prime ministers and presidents who see scientific information as just one more opinion in a number of voices they have to weigh up. And sure, while it is one of many factors that need to be considered, I do believe that scientific research outcomes are more than just another opinion. And for me, that is what the march for science was about. It was about reinstating, and reminding ourselves, of the validity and role of science in decision-making.
It seems a funny thing, bordering inappropriate, to be talking about a political protest march, and the #metoo movement – at a celebration like this at Government House, but they’re all connected. By marching with placards, tweeting our support for women around the world, and gathering to celebrate an award that acknowledges women in science, we are reinforcing the values that we believe are important in our society, and the values that we expect to be held up in the future. We are, literally, creating a new future. And, I think, a better future.
As Gandhi is supposed to have said (although I couldn’t find a direct reference anywhere) – Be the change you want to see in the world.
Keeping this in mind, I want to end by acknowledging women in science.
The greatest celebration of women in science is carried out, day in, day out, by women scientists. Women, like our prize winner, who are probably not doing science for political reasons, for feminist reasons, or to prove a point about science and democracy. Rather, they are following a passion to learn more about the world, their particular discipline, and the sub-field within their discipline, right down to the equation, molecule, theory, or species that they dedicate years of their lives to thinking about in more depth than any other person in the world.
The truest celebration of women in science is carried out by these women who walk the talk, who make the most of having the freedom and opportunity to be a scientist, and by doing so actively create the kind of future that we all want to be a part of.
So – while it’s important to step back and look at ongoing inequities between men and women in our society, to be concerned about the role that science has in decision-making, and to publicly acknowledge the work of women in science, like we’re doing tonight, it’s the everyday work of so many women doing science that is the real celebration of how far we’ve come.