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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • 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

  • Confirmation of the Speaker

    The first task of a newly elected Parliament is to elect a Speaker. Today, after the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard was elected by his colleagues, he came to Government House to have his election confirmed by the Governor-General.

    The Speaker is third in the order of precedence, after the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.

     

  • New Zealand Festival of the Arts and Wellington Jazz Festival patrons, partners and artists reception

    This afternoon Dame Patsy hosted a reception for New Zealand Festival of the Arts and Wellington Jazz Festival patrons, partners and artists at Government House in Wellington. Both events faced challenges due to the pandemic but planning is underway for 2022. Appropriately, given it was the final day of the Jazz Festival, the music waFestival of the Arts and Wellington Jazz Festival receptions supplied by the RNZAF Jazz Band, who didn't miss a beat - even when Dame Patsy popped over for a quick photo opp.

    More images 

    Image of Dame Patsy and RNZAF Jazz Band

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir david with Festival Chair Geoff Dangerfield, Creative Director Marnie Karmelita, Executive Director Meg Williams and Claire Mabey

  • Ahuwhenua Awards 2020

    On Friday 20 November Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the 2020 Ahuwhenua Awards dinner in Rotorua. Until this year, the awards have recognised excellence in sheep, beef or dairy farming. This year marked the first time in the Awards history that excellence in horticulture was recognised.

    Dame Patsy presented the Ahuwhenua Trophy to Norm Carter, Chair of Te Kaha 15B, Hineora Orchard, which produces gold kiwifruit.

    Speech transcript

    Dame Patsy speaking at the Ahuwhenua Awards dinner
    Dame Patsy and Norm Carter with the Ahuwhenua Trophy
  • New Zealand Olympic Family lunch

    The sun shone for the New Zealand's Olympic Family as Dame Patsy hosted a lunch at Government House in Auckland to thank the people and organisations who play a role in getting the New Zealand Olympic team to the games, and in keeping support for our teams high in between times.


    The Tokyo Olympics will definitely be happening with announcements expected before Christmas as to how the event will be run. Great news for our New Zealand athletes who have kept up their training during the challenging events of this year.


    New Zealand has had a marvellous record of success at the Olympics over the last 100 years. Check out some of the best moments in this video from the New Zealand Olympic Committee

    100 Years of the New Zealand team

    More images

    IMage of Dame Patsy with NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith, President Mike Stanley and members of the board

    Image of Olympian Barbara Kendall

  • Global Women honorary life membership presentations

    A very special evening at Government House in Auckland tonight as nine members of Global Women were presented with honorary lifetime memberships. Global Women's objective is to increase diversity in leadership by facilitating the development of women leaders and the guest list reflected this mission.
    Unusually Dame Patsy was not the one presenting the awards this evening. As a founder member of Global Women she was one of the honorees alongside former Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, lawyer Mai Chen, academic Dame Marilyn Waring, public policy reformer Ruth Richardson and business leaders Dame Alison Patterson, Joan Withers and Faye Langdon,
    The nine new life members were also honoured with a special haka from members of Titahi Ki Tua, a student group from AUT.

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy and Dame Marilyn Waring

    Image of the nine Global Women Honorary Life Members

  • Paralympic Celebration Project

    As part of Paralympics New Zealand’s Celebration Project, this evening 18 Paralympians were presented with their Paralympian number pins at Government House Wellington. They are part of the group of 209 Paralympians who have represented New Zealand at the Paralympic Games since 1968 in Tel Aviv.

    The Celebration Project has been holding events all throughout 2020 to honour every member of our Paralympic family in the 52 years of New Zealand Paralympic history. There will hopefully be around 30-40 extra names to add to the prestigious list if the upcoming Paralympic Games are successfully held next year in Tokyo.  

    More photos 

    Group photo of all the Paralympians and those representing Paralympians honoured this evening

     

    Jan Apel

  • Gift of Hine Maioha by Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa

    Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa is a national weavers' committee, whose mission is to develop and extend the skills of weaving across Aotearoa. Today the committee members presented Dame Patsy with Hine Maioha, an exquisite example of a tarapouahi (flax shawl), created by weavers in various locations around the country. The exterior of the tarapouahi is tasselled and the interior facing features taniko patterns. The tarapouahi was woven especially for Dame Patsy.

  • Zealandia 25th Anniversary Reception

    This evening at Government House, Dame Patsy hosted a celebration for the 25th Anniversary of Zealandia. 25 years ago, Jim Lynch’s plan for an urban eco sanctuary nestled in the hills of Karori began, it would be a pest-free environment where Aotearoa’s native flora and fauna could thrive. The urban eco sanctuary has been so sucessful, native bird sightings around the city have dramatically increased over the past 10 years, some by as much as 700%!

    The sanctuary is surrounded by an 8.6km fence which is designed to keep out harmful pests like possums, stoats and mice. This gives native flora and fauna a place to thrive away from unnatrual predators.

    More photos

    Jim Lynch, Denise Lynch and Nicola Willis

  • I'll Tell You This For Nothing - My Mother The War Hero

    The ballroom at Government House transformed into a theatre this evening with a performance of Kate JasonSmith's one woman play "I'll Tell You This For Nothing - My Mother the War Hero". Kate took the audience on a journey through her Mother's life, from rural Ireland to nursing service on the battlefields of World War Two. By turns comedic, dramatic and ultimately moving, it was an acting tour de force.

    Image of Kate JasonSmith on stage

    Image of Dame Patsy and Kate JasonSmith

  • Watch Here - Appointment of the New Ministry 2020

    Aotearoa New Zealand’s new Ministry was appointed this morning at Government House Wellington. The 26 Ministers and two Parliamentary Under-Secretaries were welcomed into the ballroom with a karanga from Kuia Ranui Ngarimu, which was returned by newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta.

    More photos

     

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