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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Auckland Art Fair

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited the Auckland Art Fair this morning.

    A showcase for dealer galleries and artists, the Fair also offers opportunities for art lovers of all kinds to view one of a kind artworks, attend artist talks and even try some creative 'mark-making' of their own.

    Following a welcome by representatives of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Dame Patsy and Sir David's first stop was the Gow Langsford Gallery to take a look at some 20th century works from Frances Hodgkins, Colin McCahon and sculptor Henry Moore.

    Galleries from all around New Zealand were represented with some Australian galleries also sending works. Rarotonga's Bergman Gallery was there in person with some stunning work from Mahiriki Tangaroa and Sylvia Marsters which caught Dame Paty's eye.

    Another favourite were the Present Tense projects - works from upcoming contemporary practitioners which incorporate objects designed to be given away to audiences. Becky Richard's An Egg, A Seed, A Stone's clay forms are intended to be incorporated in the users everyday life - a pacifier, a comforter, a meditation object. The choice is yours!

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy with John Gow

    Image of "An Egg, A Seed, A Stone" by  Becky Richards

     

  • Christchurch Earthquake 10th Anniversary Memorial Service

    Today Dame Patsy went to Christchurch to attend the ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the earthquake that wrought massive destruction in Christchurch and the Canterbury region. The assembled crowd honoured the memory of the 185 people who lost their lives and the first responders who worked to save people trapped in the rubble of collapsed buildings and vehicles. Dame Patsy read a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

    Message from HM Queen Elizabeth to mark the 10th anniversary of the Christchurch earthquake
  • Southland Regional Visit, Day Four, Rakiura

    At the wharf at Oban, there was a quick check of our luggage by ace rat-detecting dog, Detector Gadget before we boarded the Department of Conservation vessel taking us to Ulva Island, a predator-free sanctuary for endangered flora and fauna.

    On the island, we heard kakariki, and saw kieke, weka, and Stewart Island robins. A juvenile sea-lion watched us eat our lunch, and on the trip back to Oban flocks of titi flew overhead. 

    DoC staff then drove us to the beginning of the Rakiura track, before returning to the Rakiura Museum, the perfect place to learn about Rakiura's fascinating history from local people whose complex whakapapa reflects the intermingling of nationalities in the island's history.

    Image Gallery

  • Southland Regional Visit, Day 3

    The visit to Riverton had particular significance as Dame Patsy had recently learned of the slight to the community by Governor James Fergusson in 1874. The Governor had decided to change his itinerary and thereby arrived several hours late for a civic reception and lunch. To add insult to injury, he left the town soon after he had changed his horses.

    Dame Patsy's visit to Te Hikoi gave her an opportunity to 'make amends' with the community and to learn more about Southland's heritage of sealers, whalers, loggers, miners, and the intermingling of cultures and personal histories in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    Image Gallery 

    Their Excellencies with a replica settler house, built without nails
  • Southland Regional Visit 2021, Day Two

    Day two of the visit to Southland began at the Eastern Southland Gallery in Gore, home of the extraordinary John Money Collection of African sculptures, Aboriginal paintings and objects, and works by Rita Angus. Dame Patsy and Sir David also saw some of the Gallery's Ralph Hotere collection, as well as a stunning exhibition of contemporary works by Sue Cooke.

    Gore's Networking Trust was next on the agenda. Their Excellencies learnt about the different agencies working under the umbrella of the Trust, and their work to improve the wellbeing of youth, families and elderly people in the community.

    Then it was back to Invercargill to Transport World to see some of its 300 vintage vehicles, including Henry Ford letter cars, as well as an ever-increasing range of fascinating memorabilia.

    The day concluded with a cultural evening with the Southland Multicultural Council, where Their Excellencies met members of ethnic communities that have settled in the region.

    Image Gallery Eastern Southland Gallery

    Image Gallery Community Networking Trust

    Image Gallery Transport World

    Southland Multicultural Council

     

  • Southland Regional Visit, day one

    Due to the restrictions on gatherings under Alert Level Two, a scheduled powhiri for Dame Patsy and Sir David at Te Rau Aroha marae in Bluff was cancelled and will be re-scheduled at a later date. Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Stirling Point to see the famous international signs and the sculptured chain that symbolises the links between Te Waipounamu/the South Island and Rakiura/Stewart Island.

    They then went to Invercargill to meet local supporters of the Southland Charity Hospital, which is being developed at the site of a previous tavern. The project was initiated by Melissa Vining as a memorial to her late husband, Blair Vining, and has attracted financial support from across Aotearoa and around the world.

    Image gallery

    Dame Patsy and Sir David with a Bluff sculpture signifying links with Rakiura/Stewart Island
  • Dress for Success reception

    This evening Dame Patsy hosted a reception for Dress for Success, which works to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing professional work clothing, career development tools and a support network.
    Two Dress for Success clients shared their stories with guests and a fashion parade showcased New Zealand designers before turning attention to outfits styled by the Dress for Success team.
    The Pop-Up Shop in the Conservatory did bumper business with many guests picking up some fashion bargains.

    Image of Dame Patsy with the Dress for Success models

    Image of Dame Patsy with Philippa Wells, Helen Corrigan, Irene Corpuz, Arzoo Sayeddah, Ayesha Ratanpal from Dress for Success

  • Governor-General’s XI v NZ Māori Schools Cricket Match

    Despite the blustery weather at Karori Cricket Club, it was a great afternoon for the annual Governor-General’s XI v NZ Māori Schools cricket match. This year, the captains presented Dame Patsy with signed cricket bats as a memento of the day. The two-day competition is designed to give cricket more visibility in Māori communities, and is part of making cricket in New Zealand a game for everyone to get involved in.  

    While in Wellington, all the teams stayed at Pipitea Marae to have an immersive experiance connecting with tikanga.

    The day at Karori ended up being a very sucessful outing for all of the Governor-General's teams; the Womens XI won by 102 runs and the Boys XI won by 15 runs.

    Scroll down for video of two of the games, courtesy of New Zealand Cricket's YouTube account.

    More photos

    The four captains with Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Mary Potter Hospice Camellia Heritage Club 20th Jubilee Morning Tea

    This morning Dame Patsy hosted a high tea in the ballroom at Government House in Wellington to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mary Potter Hospice Camellia Heritage Club. The Club was formed to thank and recognise those who have promised a gift in their will to Mary Potter Hospice. In honour of the Club, a special camellia- patterned Foley tea-set was used at Dame Patsy's table with other pieces on display. The Hospice relies heavily on fundraising and gifts and bequests as only around half of its yearly operating budget is funded by the Government.

    More images

    Image of guests at the morning tea

    Image of the Foley tea set with a pink camellia pattern

  • Waitangi Day 2021

    This year's Waitangi Day Garden Reception was smaller than in other years, but certainly made up for it in terms of a warm sense of community and fellowship. The nearly 500 guests included MPs, four local mayors, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, former Governors-General Sir Anand Satyanand and Sir Jerry Mateparae and former Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer. MC Ward Kamo set the tone for a wonderful afternoon and the grey skies were replaced by sunshine. The Army band played magnificently, Government House Kaumatua Joe Harawira provided a karakia, and Dame Patsy delivered her final Waitangi Day Address in her role as Governor-General, where she spoke of the centrality of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in our understanding of who we are as a nation.

    Speech transcript

  • Beat Retreat at Waitangi 2021

    For the final event during her visit to Waitangi, Dame Patsy inspected the Guard of Honour at the 2021 Beat Retreat Sunset ceremony, hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy. She was greeted on arrival by Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor. Along with more traditional tunes, the Navy band treated the gathered crowds at Waitangi Treaty grounds to their version of Stan Walker’s ‘Aotearoa’ – a particularly appropriate song choice as the ship Dame Patsy is sponsor of, the HMNZS Aotearoa, was anchored offshore. 

    Dame Patsy Reddy on a podium observing the Guard

  • Waitangi National Trust Board and Diplomats Luncheon

    Dame Patsy and Sir David began their final day at Waitangi by attending a meeting of the Waitangi National Trust Board. While they were there they were able to have a quick viewing of the He Kaupapa Waka exhibition.

    Later it was off to Russell for the annual luncheon with the members of the Diplomatic Corps.

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the members of the Waitangi National Trust Board

    Image of Dame Patsy with the members of the Diplomatic Corps

  • Reception aboard the HMNZS Otago

    This evening Dame Patsy was welcomed aboard the HMNZS Otago for a reception as part of the Waitangi celebrations in Northland. She was greeted on arrival by part of the ship’s company and saw a performance from the Navy’s kapa haka group. Chief of Navy RA David Proctor spoke of the many areas the Navy has been assisting with this past year; everything from research in Antarctica to helping with New Zealand’s Covid response efforts.

    The reception was also a chance for former Governor-General and the HMNZS Otago’s sponsor, Dame Silvia Cartwright, to see how her ship was getting on.

    Dame Patsy also met Te Hemo Ata Henare, who is deputy chair of national weavers’ committee Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa. They organised the weaving of Dame Patsy’s tarapouahi (flax shawl) Hine Maioha, which she wore earlier that day at Te Whare Rūnanga on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

    More photos

    A group performs kapa haka

  • Pōwhiri at Te Whare Rūnanga

    On February 4, Dame Patsy was welcomed on to Te Whare Rūnanga at Waitangi Treaty Grounds for the final time as Governor-General. She was greeted with a stirring pōwhiri while being guided to the mahau by Titewhai Harawira. The speakers included veteran broadcaster Waihoroi Shortland and Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon. In Dame Patsy’s speech, she urged all New Zealanders to visit Waitangi to better understand what it means live in Aotearoa. Also welcomed with Dame Patsy and Sir David was Chief of Defence AM Kevin Short and Chief of Navy RA David Proctor.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy Reddy and Waihoroi Shortland

  • The Dedication of He Rua Whakautu mō te Riri

    On the 3rd of February Dame Patsy attended the unveiling ceremony of a memorial for the 12 British soldiers, sailors and Royal Marines killed at the Battle of Te Ruapekapeka in 1846. The battle was the final of the Northern Wars, fought between around 400 Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine warriors against 1600 British armed forces.


    The commemoration ceremony, also attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and British High Commissioner Laura Clarke, took place on the site where the British troops camped 175 years ago and where the British who fell were buried in a mass grave. The grave was rediscovered in 2017 after an archaeological dig set out to find the missing soldiers.

    Those with keen eyes could look up to the Pā at the top of the hill and see where the innovative earthworks and shelters constructed by the 400 Maori defenders shape the landscape to this day.

    The commemoration acknowledged all those who fought at Te Ruapekapeka and the different perspectives of the events of that day.
    He Rua Whakautu mo te Riri - In remembrance of the Conflict

    Speech Transcript
     

    To learn more about the Battle of Te Ruapekapeka, please visit https://www.ruapekapeka.co.nz/ 

    More photos

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David laying a wreath at the Te Ruapekapeka commemoration

  • Credentials ceremony, 2 February 2021

    This morning Dame Patsy received the credentials of new diplomatic envoys to New Zealand: HE Mr Koichi Ito, Ambassador of Japan; HE Dr Hajdin Abazi, Ambassador of Kosovo; HE Mr Ran Yaakoby, Ambassador of Israel; and HE Mrs Maria Belen Bogado, Ambassador of Argentina.

    Image Gallery

    HE Dr Hajdin Abazi greeting a member of the cultural party
    HE Mrs Maria Belen Bogado and her family with Their Excellencies and Hon Prinyanca Radhakrishnan
  • Invitation applications closed until end of April

    As the final year of Dame Patsy's term, 2021 looks set to be busy. 

    She currently has a full schedule of events from now until the end of April 2021 and no more invitations can be accepted.

    Invitations for the period May - August can still be submitted.

    Invitations for the Governor-General

     

  • Chinese New Year Multicultural festival

    To say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a Chinese New Year celebration hosted by the Multicultural Council of Wellington.

    The festival was held in Te Marae at Te Papa Tongarewa, and included a speeches from Mayor Andy Foster and Deputy Prime Minister Hon Grant Robertson, and performances from many different cultural groups across the Wellington region.

    Dame Patsy had the best seat in Te Marae for the opening performance of a Lion Dance, which brings prosperity to the New Year.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy Reddy and a Lion Dance

     

  • International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    Last night Dame Patsy spoke at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. She noted New Zealand's history with Jewish refugees from the Holocaust, the contribution Holocaust survivors have made as immigrants to New Zealand, and her support for the Holocaust Centre's goal to ensure every New Zealand student has an opportunity to learn about the Holocaust before they leave school. 

  • New Zealand Secondary Student's Choir performance at Government House

    Christmas was in the air as the New Zealand Secondary Students' Choir performed at Government House. Covid-19 may have curtailed the choir's 2020 programme and ruled out a trip to Europe, but the choir's polished performance was a testament to their professionalism and talent.

    Joining them for the performance was choir alumna and vice-patron Simon O'Neill, who added his soaring tenor voice to 'O Holy Night' and left guests wanting more with "Nessun Dorma".

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy and the choir

     

  • Reception for the Diplomatic Corps

    Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted one of their final official engagements for 2020 - a reception for the Diplomatic Corps. The reception was originally scheduled for earlier in the year, and had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Dame Patsy and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, HE Mr Leasi Papali'i Tommy Scanlan, the Samoan High Commissioner, both spoke about the testing times experienced by people around the world and their hopes for a better year ahead.

  • Waitangi Day 2021 ballot - Entry Information

    Government House is holding a ballot for 30 people, each with a guest, to attend the Waitangi Day reception at Government House in Wellington from 4.30pm-6.30pm on Saturday 6 February, 2021.

    To enter, please email the following details to waitangi.reception@govthouse.govt.nz :

    • your name including your title (e.g Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, Rev)
    • your postal address including postcode
    • your phone number
    • the name of the guest you would like to bring

    The draw for the ballot closes at midday on Thursday 17 December, 2020 and successful invitation recipients will be notified by email on 21 December, 2020.

    There is no requirement to bring a guest - solo applicants are welcome.

    Ballot entrants need to be 18 years of age or over at the time of entry and guests can be of any age.  

    Terms and Conditions

    Please note the following:

    The invitation includes entrance to the reception and light refreshments. All transportation, accommodation, parking arrangements and costs are at the entrant’s expense.

    Entrants may enter the ballot only once. Multiple entries will be discarded.

    Government House reserves the right to remove any person from the ballot. This includes incomplete entries. 

    Government House reserves the right to cancel the Waitangi Day reception in the event of adverse weather or a change in Covid-19 alert levels. Government House takes no responsibility for costs incurred by invitation recipients in the event of any cancellation.

    Invitations are not transferrable. Only the person who originally entered the ballot can be awarded the invitation

    Guests at the reception will be required to bring ID to enter Government House grounds.

  • Zealandia Sculpture at Government House Auckland

    After being postponed earlier in the year due to COVID-19, Gill Gatfield’s sculpture ‘Zealandia’ was officially welcomed to the gardens of Government House Auckland, where it is currently on loan. Zealandia stands 2.3m tall, carved from ancient stone sourced from the South Island. The top reaches towards Ranginui and the bottom connecting to Papatūānuku. Attending the event were some familiar faces; Dame Anna Crighton who earlier in the year received her DNZM from Government House Wellington, and former Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright.

    The sculpture is quite a well-travelled piece, it was sent to Italy to be included in the prestigious 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. Gatfield was the only New Zealand artist represented that year.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy Reddy, Dame Silvia Cartwright and Gill Gatfield

  • Waitangi Day reception 2021 - ballot announcement

    Good news for those of you hoping that the ballot might return for the Waitangi Day reception at Government House.
    We've done some number crunching and found room for a few more people on the guest list for next year.
    We'll be opening the ballot to find 30 people, each bringing a guest, to join us at the 2021 reception in Wellington.
    The ballot will open at midday on Tuesday 15 December and will close at midday on Thursday 17 December.
    Check back here on Tuesday for more details.

  • Whakaari Commemoration

    On Wednesday 9 December Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the commemorations at Mataatua Marae in Whakatane marking the first anniversary of the Whakaari eruption. They joined the Prime Minister, Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Defence and Emergency Response representatives, Ngati Awa and whanau of those who lost their lives in a ceremony that honoured the memory of the 22 people who lost their lives as a result of the eruption.

    Speech transcript 

    Image gallery

  • Judges Dinner

    Tonight Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a dinner for the Judges of the Supreme Court and Heads of Bench at Government House in Wellington. Heads of Bench are the senior judges of the Court of Appeal, District Court, Family Court, Youth Court, Employment Court, Coroner, Court Martial, High Court, Maori Land Court and Environment Court.
    In honour of the season, Christmas wreaths were much in evidence on the table in the Norrie Dining Room

    Image of Judges

    Image of table setting at the judges dinner

  • The Opening of the Restored Donald Woolshed

    On Sunday, Dame Patsy cut the ribbon to officially open a restored piece of Wairarapa’s agricultural history. The exact date the Donald Woolshed was constructed is not known, but estimates date it from around 1850-1870. It is constructed from totora wood, and was one of the oldest buildings in the area.

    The woolshed, now located at Cobblestones Museum in Greytown, has been largely restored with the help of dedicated volunteers in the area.

    Dame Patsy cuts the ribbon to open the Donald woolshed

    Representing Pāpāwai marae, Sir Kim Workman performed a karanga to bless the woolshed before it was opened.

    The Donald family had an important impact on New Zealand’s agricultural landscape, with William Donald being one of the first people to bring Romney sheep to New Zealand. Romney now makes up around half of all total sheep in New Zealand.

    William’s youngest son, Donald, was the inventor of the Donald (or Solway) Woolpress. This machine was at the time, the most cutting-edge woolpress in the country, faster, cheaper and more efficient than the competition.

    A descendent of the Donald family, Andrew Donald, attended the ceremony and spoke of his family’s legacy in the region.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy speaking in front of the Donald woolshed

  • Morning tea for the Aspen Institute New Zealand

    This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a morning tea for the Aspen Institute New Zealand, which was recently established as an affiliate of the Aspen Institute in the United States. Co-patrons Sir Don McKinnon and former Prime Minister the Rt Hon Helen Clark were amongst the guests, along with two other former Prime Ministers, the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer and the Rt Hon Sir Bill English.

    Image Gallery                          Speech transcript

  • Pet Refuge Christmas Celebration Dinner

    While working with her charity KidsCan, Julie Chapman discovered that over half of people facing domestic violence, they delay leaving for fear of what might happen to their pets. She decided to do something about this worrying statistic and along with Glenda Hughes, created Pet Refuge. The refuge will be a safe haven for pets to stay while their owners seek the help they need, and can later be reunited when they are in a stable environment.

    On Thursday night, Dame Patsy hosted Pet Refuge’s Christmas Celebration, to help them get closer to their goal of opening the refuge doors by mid-2021. The evening included speeches from Olympic gold medallist Rob Waddell, broadcaster John McBeth and a performance from Julia Deans.

    Julia Deans singing and playing guitar

  • Whakamana Hiranga Icon Awards 2020

    Actor Sam Neill, author Joy Cowley and artist and educator Dr Sandy Adsetts' long and inspirational careers were acknowledged at Government House this evening, with the presentation of the Arts Foundation's Whakamana Hiranga Icon Awards. Limited to a living circle of 20, the Icon medallion holders include Albert Wendt, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Sir Peter Jackson.
    Scene stealer of the night was Joy Cowley, who told a story about taking her tiger to the dental nurse, instead of giving a traditional speech.
    Performance artist Kalisolaite 'Uhila carried the torch for mid-career arts practitioners when he was announced as the latest Harriet Friedlander Residency recipient. The all-expenses paid residency will see him soaking up the the creative energy of New York - once the borders open of course.

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the recipients of the Whakamana Hiranga Icon Award recipients and the Harriet Friedlander Residency

  • Royal Commission of Inquiry Report into the Terrorist attacks on the Christchurch Mosques

    This afternoon Hon Sir William Young, Chair of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on the Christchurch Mosques, and Jacqui Caine, Commissioner, presented the Commission's report to the Governor-General.

    Hon Sir William Young, Dame Patsy and Jacqui Caine
  • State Opening of Parliament 2020

    Rain may have curtailed some of the normal ceremonial flourishes but there was still plenty of colour at this morning's 53rd State Opening of Parliament in Wellington. Dame Patsy delivered the Speech from the Throne to the assembled Members of the House outlining the Government's priorities for its term and following the ceremony, Dame Patsy joined the Prime Minister, Speaker of the House, members of the diplomatic corps, youth representatives and others at the Prime Minister's Reception.

    More images

    Highlights video

    Speech from the Throne

    Image of Dame Patsy heading through the Grand Hall to the Legislative Council Chamber

    Image of a member of the kapa haka group

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