This morning Dame Cindy welcomed four new Diplomatic Heads of Mission to New Zealand at a credentials ceremony. Welcome to HE Mrs Kairangi Samuela, High Commissioner for the Cook Islands; HE Mr Reza Nazar Ahari, Ambassador to The Islamic Republic of Iran; HE Ms Kira Christianne D. Azucena, Ambassador to The Republic of the Philippines; and HE Dr Nor Eddine Benfreha, Ambassador for The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. We wish them the well in their new diplomatic roles.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies returned from an official visit to the Cook Islands yesterday – Her Excellency’s first to the Cook Islands since taking office. The four-day trip represented an opportunity to acknowledge some of those special connections between our two countries, and attend events reflecting Dame Cindy and Dr Davies’ interests in education, health, and wellbeing.
Upon arrival onto Rarotonga on Wednesday, Their Excellencies were very warmly welcomed with a special Kiriti Maro Tai ceremony at Atupare Marae. As part of the ceremony, Dame Cindy placed a mauri stone sourced from Government House Auckland at the pito of the marae, symbolising the deep and enduring connection between the New Zealand and Cook Islands peoples. Dame Cindy also presented Te Ui Ariki with the gift of a specially commissioned hoe, or paddle, chosen to represent the whakapapa links between New Zealand and the Cook Islands through our shared voyaging ancestors. You can find more images from the turou here.
On Thursday morning, Dame Cindy met with the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Hon Mark Brown. Dame Cindy and Prime Minister Brown discussed the very special relationship between New Zealand and the Cook Islands – our deep historical, cultural, and interpersonal links – and hopes for the future of that relationship. You can find more images from their meeting here.
Following Dame Cindy’s meeting with Prime Minister Brown, Her Excellency attended the inaugural graduation ceremony at Te Vānanga Are Tapere o Takitumu – the Cook Islands’ first performing arts school. The school has a Tuakana-Teina relationship with Te Wānanga Whare Tapere o Takitimu in Hastings, and seeks to ensure the retention and strengthening of Cook Islands reo and tikanga.
As Dame Cindy said, quoting the whakataukī in her speech: ‘Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku māpihi mauria. My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul.’ You can find more images from the graduation ceremony here and Dame Cindy's speech here.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies then attended the launch of the Healthy Schools Programme at Apii Avarua. During the launch, Dame Cindy spoke to the children about the importance of diet and exercise for physical and mental wellbeing – and for doing their best, down whichever of life’s paths they choose to take. Their Excellencies also joined in with a little impromptu dance session and enjoyed some of the beautiful island produce. You can find more images from the event here and Dame Cindy's speech here.
That evening, on a beautiful Rarotonga evening, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies attended a reception hosted by Her Excellency Ms Tui Dewes, High Commissioner for New Zealand to the Cook Islands, in celebration of our countries’ ancient shared tradition of Matariki.
The evening also marked the launch of Matariki Korikori – a cluster of events organised by the High Commission to observe Matariki over the coming weeks. The reception included a dinner celebrating the culinary links between New Zealand and the Cook Islands – as well as a Matariki performance by the Kahurangi Māori Dance Company. You can find more images from the reception here and Dame Cindy's speech here.
The following day was spent on the beauitful island of Aitutaki . Dame Cindy were greeted upon arrival by representatives from the Island Council, before travelling to Araura College, where all of the students on Aitutaki had gathered to meet Their Excellencies for a special assembly. You find Dame Cindy's speech at that assembly here.
Following their time with the students, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies toured the island to see some of the projects supported by Ngā Hoe Tuputupu-mai-tawhiti – New Zealand’s International Cooperation Programme – including the Manatua cable landing station. They also learnt about the impact of climate change on marine life in Aitutaki’s world-renowned lagoon. You can find more images from Their Excellencies' day on Aitutaki here.
On Their Excellencies' last morning in the Cook Islands, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies visited the Autism Cook Islands Community Hub to take part in their Lego Robotics Clinic. Their Excellencies joined in building lego robotics with the children, heard about the difference this kind of play therapy can make in building the children’s confidence, and officiated a successful robotic car race. You can find more images from their visit here.
Our very sincerest thanks to the people of the Cook Islands for such a warm and joyful welcome to your wonderful home.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies share an interest in the reduction of drug harm in Aotearoa. At last night's reception at Parliament for the New Zealand Drug Foundation Parliamentary Symposium, Dame Cindy thanked clinicians, researchers, harm-reduction practitioners, policy-makers, peer support workers, and the Cross-Party Mental Health and Addictions Wellbeing Group for their commitment to transform the way New Zealand addresses drug issues. Dame Cindy presented gifts to Lotta Dann, MNZM for her work to help thousands of New Zealanders to sobriety, and to Wendy Allison, MNZM, for her work in establishing KnowYourStuffNZ, a licensed drug-testing initiative.
This afternoon, in a very moving ceremony at Government House Wellington, Dame Cindy presented New Zealand Bravery Awards to five extraordinary New Zealanders, for their actions in response to the Whakaari/White Island eruption on 9 December 2019. As the Governor-General remarked in her speech: 'The efforts of these brave New Zealanders serve to remind us of our lifelong responsibility to each other, and bring to mind the whakataukī: he toa taumata rau – bravery has many resting places.'
Sir Ashley Bloomfield was among the eleven recipients receiving their honours this morning at Government House. Sir Ashley was recognised for his role in leading the health sector’s response and management of the COVID-19 pandemic. He became a familiar face to New Zealanders, fronting daily reports. He led the Ministry of Health’s management of the pandemic by establishing national contact-tracing, managed isolation, and undertaking a vaccination programme which saw over 90% of the eligible population fully vaccinated.
Dr Kath Walker received an ONZM for services to wildlife conservation. Dr Walker helped establish bird sanctuaries on Motuara and Chetwode Islands, and discovered the Mount Augustus snail (Powelliphanta augusta). She has worked with DOC to keep this critically endangered species alive in captivity while its natural habitats are restored. Congratulations to all this morning’s recipients.
This afternoon's ceremony welcomed 10 further recipients to Government House Wellington, including Sir Haare Williams, who received a knighthood for services to Māori, literature, and education. Sir Haare is a champion of te reo Māori, and was a pioneer of Māori broadcasting. He is currently kaumātua of Kotahi Rau Pukapuka – an organisation aiming to produce 100 great books in te reo Māori.
Trevor Maxwell received a CNZM for services to Māori and local government. Mr Maxwell has been a Councillor with the Rotorua Lakes District Council for 45 years, and has held many governance roles promoting Māori arts and culture.
Melony O’Connor received an MNZM for services to basketball. Mrs O’Connor has spent 20 of her 40 years in basketball as a referee, and is the first woman to officiate 400 NBL games, including nine finals. Congratulations to all this afternoon’s recipients.
You can find all the images from this afternoon's ceremony here.
Dame Miranda Harcourt received the insignia of a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit this morning for her immense contributions to the New Zealand screen industry and theatre as an actor, acting coach, producer, director, and writer. A pioneer of verbatim theatre in New Zealand, Dame Miranda also served as Head of Acting at Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School from 1998 to 2005, and continues to work globally with leading directors and actors. Long-serving members of Fire and Emergency New Zealand were also acknowledged for their commitment to the safety and wellbeing of their fellow New Zealanders.
For this afternoon’s investiture, 11 further recipients were honoured for their contributions to Aotearoa New Zealand. Among them was Hayden Wano, who received a QSO for services to Māori health. Mr Wano is CEO of Tui Ora, a Kaupapa Māori health and social service provider. Since 1998, Tui Ora has grown to provide over 35 services and programmes in the Taranaki area.
Since he became Rotorua Boys’ High School principal in 1991, Mr Chris Grinter has worked in partnership with Ngāti Whakaue to create a bi-lingual teaching programme, opened a Māori education complex, and opened a boarding hostel for students with challenging backgrounds. Today, Mr Grinter received an MNZM for services to education and Māori.
Rosemary Ensor was awarded a QSM for services to the community. Mrs Ensor has been widely involved in organisations across Hanmer Springs, including the Plunket Group, Pony Club, Community Board and the Hanmer Springs Forest Camp Trust. Congratulations to all this afternoon’s recipients.
Wellington philanthropist Sir Mark Dunajtschik was among 11 recipients honoured at Government House today. Sir Mark received a knighthood for his contributions to the Wellington community, including a substantial donation to help build the newly-opened Wellington Children’s Hospital, Te Wao Nui.
John Darby received an ONZM for services to wildlife conservation and science. Mr Darby contributed widely to the conservation needs of the Hoiho (Yellow-Eyed Penguin), and helped negotiate the purchase of their largest breeding area in the South Island. Congratulations to this morning’s recipients.
This afternoon 12 recipients further recipients were welcomed to Government House, including record-breaking Black Caps batsman Luteru Ross Taylor. Mr Taylor played 450 international cricket matches from 2006-2022, and has been active in promoting Pasifika and Māori cricket.
Janine Morrell-Gunn received an ONZM for services to children’s television and the community. She co-founded WhitebaitMedia, which has produced iconic New Zealand television including ‘The Son of a Gunn Show’ and ‘What Now’.
Kevin Watkins was recognised with a QSM for services to the community. He has built floats for the Hastings Blossom Parade and Christmas Parade since 1957, and created the Chinese Lantern Festival. Congratulations to all this afternoon’s recipients.
This morning’s investiture honoured 11 further recipients, including three-time Rugby World Cup winning Black Ferns captain, Dame Farah Palmer. Dame Farah was honoured for her outstanding contributions to rugby, both on the field and in governance. She is also a Professor at Massey University, and was recently appointed as Pou Ākonga Executive Director – Māori Student Success.
BJ Clark was recognised with an ONZM for his contributions to the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association. Mr Clark was involved with the RNZRSA for 30 years, and has recently concluded an eight-year term as President.
You can find more images from this morning's ceremony here.
Wellington investiture ceremonies continued this afternoon at Government House, with Dame Cindy presenting insignia to 11 further recipients of Royal New Zealand Honours. Mr Paul Morgan was acknowledged for the instrumental role he has played in supporting iwi to build social and economic wellbeing. Father Paulo Filoialii was also acknowledged for his services to the Pacific community through his leadership roles in both the Catholic Church and Etu Pasifika. In 1990, Father Filoialii became the first Pacific Priest to be ordained in Rome.
The Wellington New Year 2023 investitures began this morning, with eleven recipients honoured for their outstanding contributions to New Zealand. Dame Jan Wright was recognised for her services to the State and the environment. Dame Jan was Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment for ten years, and has delivered major reports on climate change.
Outstanding services to the environment, drug harm reduction, health, the State, the community, and social justice were acknowledged.
Jimmy Gordon, QSM for services to the community, is making and gifting poppy bowls to every Returned and Services Association and marae in New Zealand.
This morning, on the grounds of Government House Wellington, Dame Cindy planted a young totara as part of He Rā Rākau Tītapu – marking the coronation of King Charles III. This programme – launched in partnership between Trees that Count and the Department of Conservation – will ultimately result in 100,000 native trees being planted across New Zealand, and aligns with His Majesty's own commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.
You can find more images here and Dame Cindy's speech from the event here.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies have concluded their time in London, where they were part of the New Zealand delegation attending the coronation of HM King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey. Their time in the UK began with a reception on the HMS Diamond with the First Sea Lord, who is the military head of the Naval Service in the United Kingdom.
The following day included a visit to Brookwood Military Cemetery – the final resting place of 230 New Zealanders who died in the First and Second World Wars. Brookwood Military Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the United Kingdom, and is part of one of the largest cemeteries in Europe.
Photo credit - Sergeant Vanessa Parker, NZDF
They also met the New Zealand Defence Force contingent as they prepared to march in the Coronation procession alongside almost 7000 others, 600 being from Commonwealth Defence Forces. Later, Their Excellencies attended a welcome for the delegation representing Aotearoa at the coronation, hosted at the High Commission for New Zealand.
Day three of the visit included engagements at Buckingham Palace, where King Charles and other senior royals welcomed Realm countries for a luncheon. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies also attended a reception for Small Island Developing States, which included representatives from many of New Zealand’s Pacific Island neighbours.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies were then hosted for a dinner with their counterparts from Australia, HE General the Hon David Hurley, and Canada, HE the Rt Hon Mary Simon.
Saturday the 6th was the day of the Coronation, where Their Excellencies were joined by over 2000 representatives from around the world to witness this historic occasion. They were led into the Abbey by New Zealand flagbearer Sgt Hayden Smith, who had very recently been to Government House Auckland to receive his DSD for services to the New Zealand Defence Force. The visit concluded with Dame Cindy and Dr Davies in attendance at the Coronation concert.
'Every Anzac Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary courage and selflessness shown by all those who have served their fellow New Zealanders – both at home and abroad. And as we pay our respects this morning, let us also reaffirm our commitment to a future where we may all live freely, in dignity and peace.'
This was the conclusion of the address given by the Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, Administrator of the Government, at this morning’s Anzac Day Dawn Service. After the moving service at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Dame Helen met with some veterans who were part of the thousands gathered in Te Whanganui-a-Tara to pay their respects.
Later on in the morning morning, Dame Helen attended the Anzac Day National Commemoration at Pukeahu. Distinguished guests and members of the public lay wreaths and poppies at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, while the New Zealand Youth Choir sang beautifully throughout the service.
You can find more images from the Dawn Service here and the National Commemoration here. And you can find Dame Helen's address at Dawn here and at the National Commemoration here.
Today Dame Helen Winkelmann, Chief Justice and Administrator of the Government received the credentials of the following members of the Diplomatic Corps: HE Mr Antonis Sammoutis, High Commissioner for the Republic of Cyprus; HE Mrs Dorothy Hyuha, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda; HE Mr Beka Dvali, Ambassador of Georgia; HE Mr Kemal Muftic, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and HE Dr Elias Munshya, High Commissioner for the Republic of Zambia.
Dame Helen presented insignia to eight further Royal Honours recipients this afternoon at Government House Auckland. These outstanding New Zealanders were recognised for their contributions across the fields of plant and food research, powerlifting, the performing arts, Pacific arts and education, community and heritage preservation, defense, and Antarctic heritage preservation. This afternoon's ceremony concluded investitures for the week. Very warmest congratulations to all recipients.
You can see more images from this afternoon's ceremony here.
Olympic and world champion rower Mr Eric Murray was among those acknowledged by Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann at this morning's investiture ceremony at Government House Auckland. Mr Murray, along with Hamish Bond, recorded 69 consecutive wins in the men's coxless pair, and won seven consecutive World Rowing Championship titles. Mr Roger Donaldson also received his insignia for his immense contribution to film – including directing two classics of New Zealand cinema: 'Sleeping Dogs' and 'Smash Palace'. He has since forged a hugely successful career in Hollywood. Dame Helen will also host this afternoon's ceremony as Administrator of the Government, while Dame Cindy is overseas.
This afternoon at Government House Auckland, Sir Anand presented insignia to eight further Royal Honours recipients. Professor Helen Danesh-Meyer received the insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to ophthalmology, as the first female Professor of Ophthalmology and the second female Professor in any surgical specialty in New Zealand – while Mr Sully Paea received the insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his immense work to improve the lives of Pacific youth in South Auckland. Sincere congratulations to all of today's recipients.
Among those acknowledged at this morning's investiture ceremony in Auckland was the Honourable Mititaiagimene Vivian, who served as Premier of Niue from 1992 to 1993 and again from 2002 to 2008. During his terms, he oversaw Niue's response to Cyclone Heta and the construction of the Niue Foou Hospital. Other recipients were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements and service across social housing, public health, governance, palliative care, the arts, and education.
During this morning's investiture ceremony at Government House Auckland, recipients were acknowledged for their achievements and service across a range of disciplines and causes – from hospitality and education, to literature and equestrian. Among those who received their insignia was Ms Michèle A'Court, one of the country's most highly-acclaimed comedians, who has long been blazing a trail for women in the entertainment industry. Mr Michael Barnett was also acknowledged for his significant contributions to New Zealand's business community, including through helping disadvantaged youth gain employment.
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand presented insignia to seven further recipients of Royal Honours this afternoon at Government House Auckland. Dr Bruce Clarkson received the insignia of an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his outstanding academic career in the field of ecological restoration – while Mr George Flavell received the Queen's Service Medal, for services to Māori culture and heritage preservation, through his work to ensure the appropriate management of cultural sites and taonga. Warmest congratulations to all of today's recipients.
You can find more images from this afternoon's ceremony here.
Investiture ceremonies continued this afternoon at Government House Auckland, hosted by Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand. Emeritus Professor David Simmons received the insignia of a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for his pioneering work on sustainable tourism across both tertiary institutions and government – while Ms Betty-Anne Monga received the insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to music, including as part of the legendary poly-funk group, Ardijah. Many congratulations to all of today's recipients.
You can find more images from this afternoon's ceremony here.
This morning at Government House Auckland, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand hosted the first of this week's very special investiture ceremonies. Among those receiving their insignia was Professor Emerita Jennie Connor, for her lifetime of work advocating for research-based alcohol policy, and Mr Campbell Smith, for his immense contributions to the New Zealand music industry. Sir Anand, who served as Governor-General of New Zealand from 2006 to 2011, will continue to host investiture ceremonies in Auckland this week while Dame Cindy is overseas.
Last night Dame Cindy and Dr Davies enjoyed meeting members of Auckland’s Consular Corps at Peter Gordon’s renowned restaurant Homeland. Dame Cindy acknowledged the consuls’ service on behalf of the nations they represent, as well as their efforts to keep international lines of communication open, particularly when COVID 19 put distance between families and nations.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies were wrapped in a traditional Cook Islands quilt presented by Keu Mataroa, the Dean of the Consular Corps.
Yesterday, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies joined St Kentigern pre-schoolers in officially opening their stunning new classroom block. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies then met the children in their classrooms, which back onto native bush, and face inwards to a garden and play area modelled on a Celtic Cross design. Dame Cindy and Dr Davies were met on their arrival by St Kentigern’s impressive pipe band, and were welcomed to the site by a powhiri from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
Last night at Government House Wellington, Dame Cindy hosted a dinner for attendees of the 2023 Asia Pacific Judicial Colloquium. The Colloquium provides an opportunity for the Chief Justices and final appellate court judges of Australia, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand to come together and discuss issues of common interest. The Colloquium is hosted on a rotational basis by each of the attending nations, with New Zealand last hosting in February 2010. The theme of this year’s colloquium is: ‘”Let justice be done [as] the heavens fall”: Judging in times of disruption’.
You can read Dame Cindy's speech here, and find more photos from the event here.
Last night Dame Cindy and Dr Davies hosted a concert by the young string players from Arohanui Strings. The Arohanui Strings programme is modelled on the Sistema system of musical education in Venezuela, whereby children who normally would not have access to musical instruments or musical tuition are provided with both, free of charge.
The concert proved the great worth of the programme, with inspirational performances by the orchestra and talented soloists.
At the conclusion of the concert, Dame Cindy invited the audience to join her in singing Pokarekare Ana, accompanied by the orchestra.
Following her welcome at Ōtākou, Dame Cindy last night attended a dinner at the University of Otago's Staff Club, celebrating 50 years of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Study. The Dunedin Study, as it's more commonly known, has been widely described as the broadest and most in-depth study of human beings ever conducted. Led by Professor Richie Poulton at the University of Otago, this world-leading piece of work continues to provide answers to the profound questions of nature versus nurture, and why we ultimately become who we are. You can find out more about the study, its extraordinary findings and real-world impacts, here.
You can find more images from the event here, and Dame Cindy's speech here.
Yesterday afternoon, at the beautiful Ōtākou marae, Dame Cindy was officially welcomed into the Otago region for the first time as Governor-General. Situation on the eastern side of the Otago Peninsula, Ōtākou was significantly one of the places where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by iwi chiefs in 1840. During her welcome, Dame Cindy heard about the important role that the marae plays in the wider community, and noted in her speech: 'I fully appreciate and support the vision of Kāi Tahu to foster economic, social, and cultural wellbeing – and to focus on education as a tool to unlock potential and grow the leaders of tomorrow.'
You can see more images from the welcome here, and read Dame Cindy's speech here.
Dame Cindy and Dr Davies were Lyttelton Harbour been cheering on Amokura and the New Zealand SailGP Team, who were competing in the first-ever New Zealand leg of SailGP. Before the race, Dame Cindy and Dr Davies met with the team and had a tour of the SailGP base, seeing how these wind powered F50 Catamarans are able to reach around 100km. The New Zealand team had an amazing first day of racing, and ultimately came second in the final when Canada crossed the line first.
The New Zealand team's charity partnership is with Live Ocean - an organisation founded by Peter Burling and Blair Tuke which backs science, innovation and outreach to help restore our oceans.