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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Graeme Dingle Foundation 25th Anniversary Excellence Awards 2020

    Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the Graeme Dingle Foundation Excellence Awards, where Dame Patsy presented the Sir Edmund Hillary Youth Achievement Award to Nicola Biss.

    The Excellence Awards recognised the work of some outstanding students, mentors and coordinators involved in Graeme Dingle Foundation youth development programmes in schools across the country. 

    It has been a challenging year for the students and mentors alike, but they managed to rise to the challenge and remain connected virtually to keep the programs running no matter what Covid alert level the country was in.

    This year is also the 25th anniversary of the foundation itself. Sir Graeme and Jo-anne gathered a group of notable New Zealanders at One Tree Hill, former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves among them, to discuss their plan to help at-risk kids across the country through outdoor education, teaching resilience, respect and how to overcome lifes obstacles.

    Now, 25 years later the foundation has spread across the country and has seen almost 300 000 children go through the programme. 

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    Dame Patsy and Sir David with Sir Graeme Dingle and Jo-anne Wilkinson, Lady Dingle



  • New Zealand Olympic Women in Sport's Leadership Academy Graduation

    This afternoon, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the 2020 graduates of the New Zealand Olympic Women in Sports Leadership Academy. The academy was created in 2017 to encourage female athletes coming to the end of their competitive career to build on their knowledge and apply it to sports administration.

    Despite the growing popularity of women’s sport both in New Zealand and worldwide, there remains a gender disparity in sports administration. WSPA aims to encourage Olympians to develop their leadership skills and apply that to a career behind the scenes in sports. The end goal is to make sports more diverse and accessible to everyone.

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    Dame Patsy Reddy, Olympic Women In Sport Leadership Academy

  • Christchurch investitures

    Nine more New Zealanders were recognised for their acheivements at an investiture ceremony in Christchurch this morning. Former All Black Captain Kieran Read received the insignia of an ONZM at the ceremony which took place at the rebuilt and refurbished Christchurch Town Hall - a gem of 70s architecture.

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    Keepiong the sporting theme going, later that afternoon former International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister received the insignia of a CNZM, alongside others who have acheived in the world of nursing, Māori language education, choral music, horticulture and ploughing.

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  • Frances Clarke Memorial Awards 2020

    On the 8th of October, Dame Patsy held the 30th Frances Clarke Memorial Awards. The awards recognise great achievement in the Wellington Down Syndrome community, and this year the guest speaker was Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 

    The first winner of the morning was Ava Saba. From the Wairarapa, she is a keen dancer and has achieved level 4 highly commended in the Dance New Zealand Made Syllabus. Her favourite dance styles are jazz and hip hop. She recieves the award for the 16 and under category.

    Michael Holdsworth was the winner of the 16 and over category for his work with IHC and as a pianist. He is a mentor at the IHC library, and has played piano since he was a child. Michael has been on hand to play the piano at almost every Frances Clarke Memorial Award ceremony right back to the first one 30 years ago. 

    Finally the winner of the community category was Gordon Cumming. Gordon was recognised for his work mentoring Kapiti group The Independance Collective. This group of young entrepreneurs with intellectual disabilities, with the guidance of Gordon, have worked together to become their own boss and start a micro business selling their own brand of beer, Change Maker.

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    Heidi Jones, Dame Patsy Reddy



  • Farewell call from the Ambassador for the Argentine Republic

    This afternoon Dame Patsy and Sir David received a farewell call from Ambassador for the Argentine Republic, HE Fausto Lopez Crozet and wife Adriana Tabiera Britos.

  • NZ Police Wing 100 35-Year Long Service and Good Conduct Presentation

    Members of Wing 100, the Police Centennial Wing, received the 35 year clasp for their Long Service and Good Conduct medals at Government House in Wellington this afternoon.

    Wing 100 began their training in the NZ Police's centennial year and their graduation in February 1986 was attended by the Queen and Prince Philip. Around 20 or so of the original intake are still with the police and 19 were recognised for their long service today

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    Image of the 35 year long service clasp and pin recipients

    Image of the Wing 100 official photo from 1986

  • Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal Awards

    Recipients of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand Silver Medal were honoured at Government House Wellington this afternoon. These awards are given to those who demonstrate extraordinary acts of bravery when other lives are in danger.

    The Governor-General has been patron of the Royal Humane Society of New Zealand since its inception in 1898, and has hosted ceremonies to award recipients ever since.

    Today’s recipients were Mr Heath Bagnall and Mr Matthew Rogatski, Mr Aaron Burgess, Mr Kostantinos Kothroulas, Mr Geoffrey Mathieson, Mr Cameron McCallum , Mr Jason Rewita and Mr Scott Quate. A heartfelt thank you to each outstanding recipient for their actions in a time of real crisis.   

    More photos and the citations of the recipients can be found here.

    Dame Patsy Reddy, Kostantinos Kothroulas

  • New Zealand, Australian and South Pacific Remembrance Day Service

    Today Dame Patsy attended a service at the Royal New Zealand Police College to mark New Zealand, Australian and South Pacific Rembrance Day. On this day, we remember the police officers who have been killed on duty, or who have lost their lives while on duty.

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    Police Commissioner Andrew Coster, Dame Patsy and Hon Stuart Nash
  • Investiture Ceremony 26 September 2020

    Our final ceremony in this month's round of investiture ceremonies in Auckland saw recognition for services to the music industry, engineering, mathematics education, people with disabilities, art education, youth, and services to Niuean art and the community. Recipients included a pioneer of New Zealand music journalism, Murray Cammick ONZM; engineer Terry Kayes ONZM; and expert in mathematics education, Dr Bobbie Hunter, MNZM.

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    Mr Murray Cammick, of Auckland, ONZM for services to the music industry
  • Investiture Ceremony 25 September 2020

    This morning six New Zealanders received their insignia for honours received this year. Services to health, the community, governance, people with disabilities, music education, surf life-saving and conservation were acknowledged. The recipients included Dr Dianne Webster, CNZM for services to health, particularly paedriatrics; Lisa Woolley, ONZM for services to the community and governance; and Susan Sherrard, MNZM for services to people with disabilities.

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    Dr Dianne Webster, of Auckland, CNZM for services to health, particularly paediatrics
  • Investiture Ceremony 24 September 2020 PM

    This afternoon seven Honour recipients were recognised for their contributions to education, services to health, the arts, hospitality, philanthropy, and their communities.

    They included the developer of the first teacher-training programme in Special Education, Maureen Corby, CNZM; midwife Vicki Masson, ONZM who has expertise in high-risk pregnancies; and Russell Burt, MNZM, who has initiated transformational education programmes in low-socioeconomic communities.

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    Mrs Maureen Corby, of Auckland, CNZM for services to early childhood education
  • Investiture Ceremony 24 September 2020 AM

    This morning's investiture ceremony acknowledged services to medicine and health, Maori and Pasifika, education, fashion, seniors, our communities and historical research and heritage preservation. The recipients included world-leading neonatologist Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding, DNZM; Invercargill surgeon George Ngaei, who received his CNZM for services to health and the Pacific community; and high-end fashion designer Kiri Nathan, MNZM.

    Dame Jane is pictured in a kakahu designed by Kiri Nathan for Government House. The kakahu  is worn by the recipients of a DNZM during investiture ceremonies.

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    Distinguished Professor Dame Jane Harding, of Auckland, DNZM for services to neonatology and perinatology
  • Investiture Ceremony 23 September 2020

    This morning's investiture acknowledged contributions to financial literacy, education, local government, wildlife conservation, publishing and literature, and recipients included author Dr Tessa Duder CNZM; financial literacy expert Mary Holm, ONZM; and whale expert Ramari Stewart, MNZM.

    Dr Tessa Duder, of Auckland, CNZM for services to literature
  • Investiture ceremony Auckland 22 September PM 2020

    Six recipients this afternoon were honoured at Government House Auckland for their contributions to arts, culture and their communities. Honoured this afternoon were Mr Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, CNZM, for services to Māori and heritage commemoration, Ms Judy Darragh, ONZM, for services to the arts, Dr Maureen Lander, MNZM, for services to Māori art, Mr Clint Baddeley, MNZM, for services to local government and the community, Afamasaga Agnes Rasmussen, QSM, for services to education and the Pacific community and Mr Afiff Shah, QSM, for services to the Muslim community and football.

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    Dr Maureen Lander, of Whangamata, MNZM for services to Māori art



  • Investiture ceremony, Auckland 22 September AM 2020

    Services to education, poetry and refugees were some of the fields recognised this morning at Government House Auckland. Recipients included a leading Māori educator and a former New Zealand Poet Laureate. Recipients were Dr Cilla McQueen, MNZM, for services as a poet, Mrs Priscilla Dawson, QSM, for services to refugees and the Burmese community, Mr Rex Crowther, ONZM, for services to the motor vehicle industry and Mrs Ngareta Timutimu, MNZM, for services to Māori and education.

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    Dr Cilla McQueen, of Bluff, MNZM for services as a poet



  • Investiture ceremony, Auckland 21 September PM 2020

    This afternoon Government House Auckland welcomed recipients being recognised for services in hockey, police, education and the community. Recipients this afternoon were Mrs Carrol Elliott, of Auckland, for services to nursing and the community, Mr Lehi Hohaia, of Rotorua, for services to the New Zealand Police and Māori, Mrs Gayle Marshall, of Auckland, for services to the community, Ms Barbara Ala’alatoa, of Auckland, for services to education, Mr Neil McCorkindale, of Auckland, for services to hockey administration and Mr Michael Chopping, of Auckland, for services to the electrical industry.

    Mr Lehi Hohaia, of Rotorua, QSM for services to the New Zealand Police and Māori


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    As well as changing up the way the ceremonies were held to reflect current level 2.5 restrictions, there was a new twist to food service. Recipients and their guests were treated to afternoon tea to go, with a box of sweets, savouries and a cold beverage perfect for the sunny weather.

    A bagel and a croissant



  • Investiture Ceremony, 21 September 2020 AM

    This morning's investiture ceremonies at Government House Auckland featured a new format in light of the current rules around the size of gatherings and social distancing. Each recipient, accompanied by their guests attended a private ceremony, where the Governor-General presented them with their insignia. This morning's recipients were Rachael Le Mesurier, CNZM for services to governance and the community; James Griffin, ONZM for services to the television and film industries; Penny Hulse, MNZM for services to local government; Aseta Redican, MNZM for services to health and Pacific peoples; Bevan Bradding and Margaret Bradding, QSM for services to the community; and Morris McFall, QSM for services to the community and philanthropy.

    Mrs Aseta Redican, of Auckland, MNZM for services to health and Pacific peoples

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    Ms Rachael Le Mesurier, of Auckland, CNZM for services to governance, the community and health
  • From the archives: An invitation to a showcase of the King George VI needlepoint chairs

    Some of the most popular items in Government House Wellington are the needlepoint chairs surrounding the dining table in the Norrie room. Each chair represents some of the major towns in New Zealand, with the four main cities represented on carver chairs.

    Needlepoint chairs Government House Wellington
    The project that led to their creation was one of the many plans initiated in 1951 by Lady Barbara Freyberg, wife of Governor-General Lt Gen Bernard Freyberg, to celebrate the upcoming Royal visit of King George VI. Together with esteemed Wellington tapestry worker Mrs A. L. B. Nairn, Lady Freyberg sent letters to Mayoresses of 38 major New Zealand towns and cities asking each to find experts to contribute to a needlepoint design of their respective location’s coat of arms.

    The completed chairs were to take pride of place in the Norrie room as a way to not only involve many New Zealanders in the upcoming Royal visit, but also to remind King George VI of some of the places in New Zealand he might not get to visit in what was planned to be a short tour.

    The request for contributions from expert needlepoint practitioners was a huge success, with each group working to strict instructions to ensure uniformity of the designs. The designs were stitched on canvasses created by the Ministry of Works, who also provided the wool. In total the whole project took around five months to complete. The majority of the work was done by women but there were some men who took up the challenge to contribute as well.

    Lady Freyberg invitation Government House Wellington

    Unfortunately, due to the King’s rapidly declining health the planned Royal visit was cancelled. A short time later in February 1952, King George VI died. Still wishing to thank the many New Zealanders who answered the call to contribute to the needlepoint chairs, on Friday 30th May 1952 Lady Freyberg hosted an afternoon tea to showcase the end result. It was attended by 200 representatives from the respective cities and towns that had helped with the project. Pictured is a copy of the invitation that was sent to those who had contributed to the needlepoint chairs, almost all of whom gladly accepted.

    At the reception, Lady Freyberg gave particular thanks to Miss Dorothy Wills from the Ministry of Works who assembled the necessary materials to create the needlework, Miss Margaret Nairn who drew the charts for the designs and Miss Hilary Newton who painted the designs on the canvasses. Lady Freyberg reserved the highest praise for Mrs A. L. B. Nairn, who not only supervised working parties at Government House, but also voluntarily travelled to almost each town and city to offer guidance to the groups working on their respective pieces. The completed chairs were arranged in the ballroom and were lit up with spotlights to accentuate the work of the attendees.

    Although the chairs were never seen by King George VI, they were in Government House when Queen Elizabeth II arrived for her first Royal visit (also the first in New Zealand from a reigning monarch) in December 1953. They have remained in the Norrie dining room ever since and are used for the many formal dinners and luncheons held there each year. The frames of the chairs were replaced by David Kirkland in the early 90s, but the original needlepoint inserts still remain.  

    1952 newspaper article about the reception at Government House Wellington




  • Election milestones

    The Governor-General's role in the election process included the signing of a proclomation dissolving Parliament and yesterday, the signing of the writ and associated documents, directing Alicia Wright, the Chief Electoral Officer to hold a general election on 17 October. The writ will be returned to the Clerk of the House of Representatives after the election, along with the names of the successful candidates in the general election.

    Dame Patsy and Alicia Wright
  • Waitangi Day garden reception ballot

    The Waitangi Day Garden Reception has become something of a highlight in the Government House calendar. Unfortunately event planning in the Covid-19 era requires us to do things differently, so there will be no public ballot for next year's event.

    Thanks to every one who's supported the ballot over the last six years. We've enjoyed welcoming so many of you to Government House to share Waitangi Day with us. Hopefully the ballot will return at some stage in the future.

    Strawberries at the Bledis


  • West Coast Visit Days 2 and 3

    Day Two took Dame Patsy to Greymouth to Westland Workgear, a clothing supplier using innovation to sell their goods and services to the rest of New Zealand. Dame Patsy heard about the challenges of selling nationally from a West Coast base and also about how the team had found solutions to those problems, increasing sales and profitability. 

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    From there, Dame Patsy and Sir David travelled to the Pike River Mine site for briefing on the recovery process. Dame Patsy laid flowers at the Pike River Memorial site before joining some of the Pike River families for afternoon tea.

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    On Day 3, Dame Patsy headed to Westport for a Mayoral welcome and a visit to some local businesses and organisations, including the Epic Innovation Hub, the Kawatiri Coastal Trail and the Westport News. 

    Mayoral welcome

    Epic Innovation

    Kawatiri Coastal Trail HQ

    Westport News

  • West Coast Visit - Day One

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking at Arahura Marae
    Dame Patsy and Sir David received a warm welcome at Arahura marae on the first day of their three day visit to the West Coast. 

    Lunchtime saw them meeting with local DOC staff for a round up of the opportunities and challenges facing conservation in the region, followed by a trip to the West Coast Treetop Walkway and a walk along the newly-extended Hokitika Gorge track.

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David are having dinner with Mayor of Westland District, Bruce Smith and wife Jenny, and Mayor of Grey District Tania Gibson and husband Stephen.
    Dinner that evening was a good opportunity to catch up with the Mayors of Westland District and  Grey District.

    Arahura Marae images

    DOC lunch images

    West Coast Treetop Walk images

    Hokitika Gorge images


  • Act of Remembrance for the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II

    An act of remembrance was on the 15th of August by the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, to mark the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The 15th of August historically marks VJ Day, the day Japan surrendered and fighting in Asia and the Pacific ended.

    Around 140 000 New Zealand men and women served in World War II, and 12 000 of them lost their lives while serving. The war remains the bloodiest in history, with an estimated 50 million casualties world-wide.  

    At the act of remembrance, Dame Patsy and Sir David were joined by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins, Chief of Defence Air Marshal Kevin Short, Minister of Defence Hon Ron Mark, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps HE Mr Leasi Papali'i Tommy Scanlan and Rear Admiral (Rtd) Jack Steer of the RSA. Due to Covid-19 alert level 2 restrictions, the event was not open to the public.

    Click here for Dame Patsy's speech.

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    Dame Patsy Reddy, Sir David Gascoigne, Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Hon Ron Mark, Ari Marshal Kevin Short

  • Government House Tours on hold

    Tours of Government House have been suspended due to Level 2 restrictions.

    Heather and Owen look forward to seeing you when we return to Level 1.

    Government House Reflecting Pool

  • Investiture Ceremony Queenstown Wednesday 5 August 2020

    Congratulations to the six honours recipients who received their insignia at an investiture ceremony in Queenstown this afternoon.

    Today's recipients were acknowledged for their services to search and rescue, mountaineering, kea conservation, education, the Blind Foundation and the coommunity.

    Also making an appearance at today's ceremony, trainee guide dog Beau, who behaved impeccably throughout the afternoon.

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    Group shot QT

  • Investiture Christchurch Monday 3 August 2020

    Sporting excellence was one of the themes for today's investiture ceremony held in Christchurch.

    Former All Black coach Sir Steve Hansen was honoured for his efforts in coaching our international team and Roly Crichton was recognised for his efforts guiding the career of top Paralympian Sophie Pascoe. Top cyclist turned coach Hayden Roulston was also acknowledged.

    As well as rugby, coaching and cycling, the 14 New Zealanders who received their insignia today have made contributions to kayaking and outdoor education, local government and the community, seniors and the community, paralympic sport, migrant and refugee women and crafts, environmental rejuvenation,outdoor recreation and youth, seniors and the disabled, the community and tennis, the community, and music.

    Scroll down for video.

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    Image of Sir Steve Hansen, of Christchurch, KNZM, for services to rugby

    Image of Roly Crichton, of Christchurch, ONZM, for services to Paralympic sport

  • Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre

    Dame Patsy and Sir David received a warm welcome at the Canterbury Refugee Resettlement and Resource Centre in Christchurch this morning. Her last visit was in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch shootings, a traumatic time for many who use the Centre. It was lovely to return and see how the Centre and its people are moving forward and supporting each other.

    Dame Patsy heard from a humber of speakers including Farid Ahmed, whose wife Husna was killed in last year's Christchurch terror attacks. Farid has written a book about his journey to forgiveness as a tribute to his wife and today  he gifted Dame Patsy a copy. All proceeds from "Husna's Story" go to St John Ambulance.

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    Image of Farid Ahmed gifts Dame Patsy a copy of his book

  • All-of-Government Dinner

    Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted representatives from government agencies that are engaged in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Chief Executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Brook Barrington spoke about the extraordinary effort that has been required of public servants in working together at pace and collaboratively, and enacting new measures.

  • Afternoon tea at Government House

    Yesterday Dame Patsy hosted an afternoon tea for Eric Barlow, who has retired as a duty policeman at Government House Auckland after 28 and a half years of service. Also in attendance were Mark Leys, Murray Morrissey and Adrian Mowatt-Wilson, who were also recognised for their service as duty policemen.

    Image of Dame Patsy and GHA duty policemen

  • Commissioning Ceremony for the HMNZS Aotearoa

    Dame Patsy spoke at the Commissioning ceremony for the HMNZS Aotearoa at the Devonport Naval Base in Auckland yesterday.

    Dame Patsy is Ship Sponsor and as such has a role in the life of the ship as long as it remains a part of the RNZN fleet.

    As well as speaking and inspecting the Guard of Honour, Dame Patsy also cut the cake, with the asistance of the ship's youngest sailor Able Marine Technician Samuel Marsh

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    Image of Dame Patsy inspecting the Guard of Honour

    Image of Dame Patsy cutting the cake with the youngest sailor Able Marine Technician Samuel Marsh

  • Investiture ceremony, Auckland, Tuesday 28 July

    The final investiture ceremony for this Auckland round saw six notable New Zealanders recognised for their contributions across a range of spheres.

    Congratulations to Dr Mike Matthews, of Hamilton, CNZM, for services to food technology and the food industry; Dr George Mason, of New Plymouth, ONZM, for services to conservation, philanthropy and the community; Gary Wilson, of Pukekohe, ONZM, for services to Māori and Pacific journalism and broadcasting; Dr David Codyre, of Auckland, MNZM, for services to mental health;Barb Cuthbert, of Auckland, QSM, for services to cycling and transport advocacy; Gillian Vaughan, of Papakura, QSM, for services to wildlife conservation

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    Image of Dr Mike Matthews, of Hamilton, CNZM, for services to food technology and the food industry

    Image of Gillian Vaughan, of Papakura, QSM, for services to wildlife conservation


  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 28 July AM 2020

    There was a real focus on positive work within communities at the penultimate investiture ceremony at Government House Auckland to celebrate New Year honours recipients. The recipients were Ms Suzanne Sinclair, ONZM, for services to the community and governance, Mr George Chan, MNZM, for services to philanthropy and the community, Mr Rod Brown, QSM, for services to conservation, Mr Terry Wade, QSM, for services to scouting, education and the community and Reverend Kalolo Fihaki, QSM, for services to the Tongan community.

    Reverend Kalolo Fihaki, Dame Patsy Reddy

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