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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Red Cross "Taste of Cultures" dinner

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a fundraising dinner for the Red Cross to mark World Refugee Day. The food was based on the organisation's "Taste of Cultures' cookbook, which gathered together recipes and stories from former refugees now living in New Zealand. The dinner was cooked by guest chefs Pratheepan Neruraya from Sri Lanka; Veronica Montane from Chile and Hajar Masraeh from Iran, working alongside the Government House chefs.

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    Image of a guest at the dinner

    Image of Guest chef Pratheepan Neruraya from Sri Lanka plating up

  • Reception for Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP! Foundation

    Every year in New Zealand, one in three girls, one in six boys and one in two disabled people experience some form of sexual abuse. For Maori girls and women, the likelihood of sexual violence is twice as high as the general population.  The LBGTQI+ community is even more at risk.

    Last night's reception for Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP! Foundation at Government House brought together people who are determined to both help the victims of sexual abuse and bring about the social change required to eliminate this terrible scourge in our communities.

    Their commitment, courage and aroha was inspirational and we wish them every success with their mission.

    Image Gallery                 Speech Transcript

  • A visit to Zealandia

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary in the suburb of Karori in Wellington. Zealandia's 500-year vision is to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems to their pre-human state. So far, Zealandia has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.

    Zealandia's success has seen a rise in native birds across Wellington.The 'halo effect' has even seen kaka make their home in the Government House gardens.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with Zealandia Chief Executive Paul Atkins
    Image of a takahe feeding from a plastic container

     

  • Official Opening of Iqra Elementary School

    Members of the Muslim community celebrated the official opening of Iqra Elementary School's new premises in Auckland today. We were impressed by the children's and staff's use of English, Te Reo Maori and Arabic. Congratulations to all the people who have worked so hard to bring their vision of the school to reality, and we wish Principal Fatima Zaheed and her staff all the very best in the years ahead.

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    Iqra Elementary School students
  • Spend My Super Launch

    Sir David stood in for Dame Patsy at the launch of not for profit organisation Spend My Super at Government House in Auckland this evening.

    The brainchild of former social worker Liz Grieve, Spend My Super encourages New Zealanders to donate all or part of their superannuation to support great New Zealand charities including Pillars, which helps children affected by having a parent in prison; Child Poverty Action group and KidsCan.

    Find out more about Spend My Super

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    Image of Sir David with Spend My Super founder Liz Grieve and CEO Sarah Trotman

    Image of guests at the reception

     

  • D-Day 75th anniversary commemorations

    Dame Patsy represented New Zealand at the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. As well as attending the official ceremony, she had the opportunity to meet with leaders of 15 other nations as well as Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales. 

    Later, she attended a special lunch for D-Day veterans.

    Image of the leaders attending the commemorations
    Image of Dame Patsy with a D-Day veteran at the veteran's lunch

  • Otago 150 Commemorations

    Otago University, our oldest university, is celebrating 150 years this year. It took just 29 years from the arrival of the first Scots settlers till the University was opened in 1869. It now has over 20,000 students and as Dame Patsy said, is the beating heart of Dunedin.

    Today Dame Patsy attended a special convocation ceremony, where Honorary Doctor of Law degrees were conferred on Emeritus Professor Atholl Anderson, Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton, Sir Bill English and Brigid Inder.

    A spectacular fireworks display in the early evening was followed by a celebration dinner in the Town Hall.

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    Speech transcript

  • Te Runanga o Otakou Marae

    Te Runanga o Otakou Marae is situated in a spectacular setting near the mouth of Otago Harbour. It was there that two Ngai Tahu chiefs signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in June 1840. Next to the wharenui there is a church built in 1940 to mark the centenary of the Treaty signing.

    During today's visit to the marae, Kaumatua Edward Ellison and Dame Patsy both spoke about the connections forged between Ngai Tahu and the Crown that persist to this day.

    We were privileged to be entertained with a series of waiata performed in impeccable style by students from Kings High School and Queens High School.

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    Speech transcript

  • Dunedin visit: Tuhura, Otago Museum, and the Royal Albatross Centre

    Protection of the natural world and innovative research was a strong theme in today's visits to the Otago Museum and the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. The impact of global heating on Antarctica, and subsequent sea rise was the subject of an extremely informative film screened at the Museum's planetarium, and it was a delight to be able to see multi-coloured tropical butterflies in the rainforest.

    The years of research into the life-cycles of albatrosses and predator control have certainly paid off at Taiaroa Head. Other threatened species of seabirds have also found a haven there, including shags, gulls, spoonbills, penguins and herons. Seals, sea-lions and elephant seals have also flourished in the wildlife sanctuary.

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    Prof Piri Sciascia and Dame Patsy, who is holding a life-size model of an albatross chick
  • Christchurch visit

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Christchurch on Wednesday.

    First stop was  Blinc Innovation's 'Sustainable Protein: Healthy People & Planet' event at Tai Tapu near Christchurch.  Dame Patsy spoke of how New Zealand's innovative mindset and reputation for quality food products ideally places us to lead change

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the Blinc Innovation team - Toni Laming, CE; Steve Saunders, Director; Victoria Stark, Marketing & Development Manager; Carolyn Reid, Operations Manager; Katie Browning, Community & Events Manager.

    This was folowed by a visit to the Canterbury Museum to see the fascinating exhibition 'Breaking the Ice: The First Year in Antarctica" about the 1898-1900 Southern Cross expedition.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David also looked through the Museum's Antarctic gallery.

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    Image of Lizzie Meek, Antarctic Heritage Trust, Programme Manager- Antarctica with Dame Patsy and Sir David

  • New Zealand School's Debating Championships Grand Final 2019

    Dame Patsy spoke at and presented the prizes at the New Zealand School's Debating Championships Grand Final at Parliament today.

    Wellington Black and Auckland Blue were the finalists and the moot was "That this house will only allow female lawmakers to vote on women's health issues." 

    It was a close debate and Wellington Black were judged the winners by 3-2.

    Congratulations to everyone who competed over the weekend.

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    Image of Millie Caughey, First Speaker for Auckland Blue and judged Most Promising Speaker  of the competition

     

     

  • Jane Goodall Institute of New Zealand Reception

    Dame Pasty and Sir David hosted a reception for the Jane Goodall Institute at Government House. Guest of Honour Dr Jane Goodall's speech had the guests full attention and later she presented the inaugural Jane Goodall Trailblazer Awards to Chloe Swarbrick and Maha Fier.

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    Image of Chloe Swarbrick receiving her Jane Goodall Trailblazer Award
    Image of Mahi Fier of Paraparaumu College receiving the Roots and Shoots Trailblazer Award

  • Auckland Investitures Tuesday 21 May

    Congratulations to the recipients who received their insignia at Government House in Auckland today. Recipients included Jennifer Ward-Lealand for services to theatre, film and television; our Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh for services to poetry, literature and the Pacific community and Vic Tamati for services to the prevention of family violence

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    Dame Patsy and Sir David with all the recipients

  • Investiture Ceremonies, 20 May 2019

    Today there were two investiture ceremonies at Government House Auckland. The first was for The Rt Hon Dame Helen Winkelmann, the Chief Justice of New Zealand. Dame Helen will be Administrator for the Government when Dame Patsy is unable to perform her duties as Governor-General.

    This afternoon's ceremony for ten honour recipients recognised outstanding contributions in community service, the wine industry, orchestral performance, support for people with multiple sclerosis, journalism, religious history, governance, the Pacific Community, women, and the Niuean community.

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  • Auckland Grammar 150th Commemorations

    Yesterday, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended two of Auckland Grammar's 27 events to mark the school's first 150 years. At a special assembly, Dame Patsy noted the long-standing association with the office of Governor and Governor-General, beginning with Sir George Grey's 1850 endowment to establish a grammar school. Their Excellencies then attended a cocktail function in an enormous marquee on the grounds, along with decades of Auckland Grammar Old Boys.

    Speech transcript

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    Principal Tim O'Connor escorting Dame Patsy and Sir David to the evening event
  • St Cuthbert's scholars assembly

    Today it seemed like all the students at St Cuthbert's turned out to welcome Dame Patsy when she arrived at the school. The younger students waved flags that they had made to symbolise love and diversity, the senior girls performed a haka, and then Dame Patsy addressed a scholar's assembly, where high achieving senior students received awards.

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    Speech Transcript

  • Investiture Auckland Thursday 16 May 2019

    Congratulations to all today's recipients for their work in human rights, design and business, rugby and rugby league, the LGBTIQ+ community, fashion, Cook Islands art and culture, athletics, and education. 

  • Auckland Investitures Wed 15 May

    Two more investiture ceremonies were held at Government House today.

    The morning saw  the arts, sport and science mix together with Dame Gaylene Preston, Dan Carter, Lydia Ko, Barbara Kendall and Glen Ashby receiving their insignia.

    The afternoon saw people honoured for services to Plunket, the State, governance, football, aviation, seniors, Maori health and development, children with genetic immune deficiency disorders, Asian communities and youth.

    Wednesday morning ceremony

    Wednesday afternoon ceremony

     

  • Investiture Ceremonies 14 May 2019

    Two knighthoods were conferred at today's ceremonies at Government House Auckland. Sir Stephen Tindall's knighthood was elevated to a GNZM and Sir Rob McLeod received his KNZM for services to business and Maori. Carmel Fisher, of Fisher Funds Management received a CNZM and Barbara Chapman, former CE of ASB, received her CNZM for services to business. Rob Tapert, producer of 'Hercules' and 'Xena Warrior Princess' received his ONZM for services to the film and television industries.

    Image Gallery AM Ceremony

    Image Gallery PM Ceremony

  • Investiture Thursday 2 May, Morning

    Congratulations to the 17 New Zealanders who received their insignia at an investiture at Government House in Wellington this morning

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    Scroll down to view video 

    Image of recipients with Dame Patsy and Sir David

  • Investiture Wednesday 1 May, Afternoon

    Congratulations to the 17 New Zealanders recognised at Government House today for their contributions to Maori carving and bone art, business,environmental resource management, conservation, basketball, science education, tourism and heritage preservation, highland dancing, television and theatre, education, seabird conservation, their communities, sport, the Girls Brigade, outdoor education, ethnic communities and dentistry.

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    Scroll down to see video of the ceremony

    Image of Wed 1 May Afternoon Investiture recipients

  • Investiture Ceremonies, Wednesday 1 May, 2019

    Outstanding contributions to areas as diverse as health, documentary film-making, science, history, refugee communities, optometry, conservation, water management, karate, and the arts and broadcasting were recognised at this morning's investiture ceremony.

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    Scroll down to see video of the ceremony.

    Their Excellencies with the Honours recipients
  • Investiture ceremony, 30 April, 2019 PM

    17 New Zealanders received the insignia  this afternoon's investiture ceremony at Government House in Wellington. Amongst the recipients - Sir Kim Workman for services to prisoner welfare and the justice sector; Terry McTavish of Dunedin for services to theatre and education and the late Georgina Salter for her contribution to netball.

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    Scroll down to see video of the ceremony

    Image of Kim Workman, of Levin, KNZM, for services to prisoner welfare and the justice sector

  • Investiture Ceremony, 30 April, 2019 AM

    The 12 recipients at this morning's investiture ceremony included retired Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General Timothy Keating, CNZM, and Fire Service, Police, Defence and Coastguard personnel. Vivien Leachman received the insignia for the late Mr Andrew Leachman, whose maritime skills and navigation were invaluable to scientific research, and access to Antarctic waters.

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    Dame Patsy and Sir David with recipients
  • Investiture Ceremony, 29 April 2019

    Our first investiture ceremony for 17 recipients of New Year Honours was held at Government House this morning. They included New Zealand's longest serving mayor, Sir Tim Shadbolt, KNZM; Professor Peter Crampton, CNZM of Dunedin, acknowledged for his contribution to health care; and Maryanne Tipler, ONZM, who is New Zealand's leading author of mathematical textbooks.  

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    Scroll down to watch video of the ceremony

    Dame Patsy and Sir David with investiture recipients
  • Anzac Day 2019

    Dame Patsy began Anzac Day by giving the Anzac Address at the Dawn Service at Pukeahu National War Memorial. She also laid a wreath alongside HE the Hon Patricia Forsythe, High Commissioner of Australia and He Ahmet Ergin, the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David then attended the National Commemoration at Pukeahu later in the morning, where Dame Patsy and Hon Grant Robertson spoke.  The Service included readings by youth representatives from New Zealand, Australia and Turkey. The Air Force Band and the Supertonic Choir provided a moving backdrop during the wreath-laying ceremony. 

    Anzac Address

    Image Gallery for National Commemoration

    Dawn Service Speech given by Dame Patsy

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    Image of Dame Patsy speaking at the Anzac Day Dawn Service

    Image of wreaths laid by the Australian High Commissioner, Dame Patsy and the Turkish Ambassador

  • Credentials at Government House

    Today we had perfect autumn weather for the powhiri and military parade associated with our credentials ceremonies. This morning Dame Patsy received the credentials of new Heads of Diplomatic Mission to New Zealand: HE Mr Javier Augusto Prado Miranda, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru; HE Mr Zakaria Ahmad, High Commissioner of Brunei Darussalam; HE Mr Antonio Pedro da Vinha Rodrigues da Silva, Ambassador of the Portuguese Republic; and HE Major General (Rtd) Lineo Bernard Poopa, High Commissioner of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

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    HE Mr Javier Augusto Prado Miranda inspecting the Guard of the Honour

    This afternoon it was the turn of the Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia, HE Ms Betty Pavelich Sirois and Ambassador of the Czech Republic, HE Mr Tomáš Dub.    

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    Image of Ambassador of the Czech Republic HE Mr Tomáš Dub with kaumatua Prof Piri Sciascia

  • Terracotta Warriors and Royal Assent

    On Thursday Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Te Papa for the Terrcotta warriors exhibition. They were also lucky enough to visit Te Papa's stacks and see some of the treasures stored there.

    Image of Te Papa Head of Art, Charlotte Davy escorting Dame Patsy and Sir David into the stacks

    Later that day, Dame Patsy gave the Royal Assent to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Act in the Council Room at Government House.

    Image of Dame Patsy and Deputy Clerk of the House, Suze Jones at the signing of the Arms Amendment Act

  • Reception for the Child Cancer Foundation

    This afternoon, Dame Patsy hosted a reception for the Child Cancer Foundation, to honour Pat Wilkes with a Life Membership of the Foundation, in recognition of twenty years of selfless service to young cancer patients and their families.

    Speech transcript                                        Image Gallery

    Pat Wilkes, Kathie Wilkes, Dame Patsy and Eilish Wilkes
  • Visit to Queenstown and Wanaka

    Dame Patsy and Sir David spent a couple of days in the Southern Lakes last week. The focus of their visit was innovation in the arts, tourism and sustainability.

    Day One saw the Dame Patsy attending the Festival of Colour. Based in Wanaka,with satellite performances all around the Central Otago area, the Festival takes place every two years, offering a varied programme of arts events.

    While in Wanaka, Dame Patsy introduced a performance by Jordy Savall and then dropped in on a rehearsal of “Permission to Speak”, a theatrical work featuring Mount Aspiring College students.

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    Festival of Colour speech

    Image of Dame Patsy, Sir David and cast in a discussion group

    On Monday 1 April, Their Excellencies began the day at The Hills Golf Club with a tour of the sculpture collection. From there they travelled to Shotover Jet for a briefing on tourism and sustainability.

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    Image of Dame Patsy with kaumatua Michael Skerrett

    The final day of the visit saw the couple tour Arrowtown’s historic Chinese settlement before receiving a briefing on the wilding pine situation from DOC. The wilding pine theme continued at  New Zealand Essential Oils/aoTERRA, where wilding pines are being used to manufacture essential oils. The last event was a trip to Camp Glenorchy to find out more about the eco- retreat’s sustainability focus.

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    Image of Dame Patsy outside Ah Lum's Store

  • In Christchurch, for the National Remembrance Service

    Before the National Remembrance Ceremony yesterday, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a breakfast  for the Australian official delegation, the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove; Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Mrs Jennifer Morrison; and Hon Bill Shorten and Mrs Chloe Shorten. Hon Dr Megan Woods also attended the breakfast.

    After the service, Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel hosted a reception where Dame Patsy met members of the Muslim community, members of the Diplomatic Corps, international visitors and first responders on 15 March.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David then hosted a lunch for Pacific leaders: President Jioji Konrote and Madam Sarote Faga Konrote of Fiji ; Prime Minister Henry Puna and Mrs Akaiti Puna of the Cook Islands; His Highness Afioga Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi ll and Her Highness Masiofo Faamausili Leinafo Tuimaleali’ifano of Samoa; Mr Gaston Tong Sang, President of the Assembly of French Polynesia; and Hon Kelihiano Kalolo and Mrs Atene Kalolo of Tokelau. 

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  • National Remembrance Day in Christchurch

    Two weeks after a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, where 50 worshippers lost their lives and many more were injured, today's National Remembrance Service brought together the wounded and survivors of the attack, along with citizens of Christchurch, members of the Diplomatic Corps, and dignitaries from the Pacific and beyond. The names of the dead were read by members of the Muslim community and the healing power of music and words affirmed the overwhelming message of love, peace and harmony.

    Speech transcript              Image Gallery

    Dame Patsy and the Prime Minister speaking to members of the Muslim community
    Farid Ahmed, a survivor of the terrorist attack

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