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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Royal Society Te Aparangi Research Honours Aotearoa 2020

    Last night Dame Patsy presented awards to eight recipients of the Royal Society Te Aparangi Research Honours, including the most prestigious award, the Rutherford Medal to Distinguished Professor Brian Boyd.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery 

    Distinguished Professor Brian Boyd - Rutherford Medal
  • Tiger Moth pilot Rona Fraser, MNZM

    This week saw the conclusion of the Queen’s Birthday investiture ceremonies, where many amazing Kiwis received their New Zealand Royal honours. The citations merely scratch the surface of a lifetime of outstanding work achieved by the recipients – a great example of this was Tiger Moth pilot Rona Fraser, MNZM.

    The nonagenarian pulling up to Government House in her new Kona blue Mustang was a hint there was more to her than you might think! (blue was her second choice, she would have preferred purple). Rona arrived to receive an MNZM for services to women and aviation; among her achievements was founding the New Zealand Association of Women in Aviation in 1959.

    Rona Fraser, Dame Patsy Reddy
    The NZAWA has helped encourage more women to join the world of aviation through mentoring and scholarships. The group includes female pilots, flight attendants, balloonists, parachutists and everything in between. After Rona met with her in Rotorua, New Zealand’s most famous aviator, Jean Batten, was patron of the organisation for many years until her death.

    Rona’s own journey to the skies began after being inspired to fly from World War II pilots. She went on to become the first woman gain a private pilot’s licence after World War II, and the first woman to fly solo from the Wellington Aero Club. She began her aviation training in 1952 flying Tiger Moths and her first solo flight happened after just four and a half hours of dual flying. Rona then became licenced to fly an Auster Aiglet, Chipmunk, Piper Cub, Tri Pacer and a Citabria.

    Image of Rona Fraser and Dame Patsy Reddy
    Rona Fraser and Dame Patsy Reddy

    As well as being an accomplished pilot, early in her career Rona was a skilled welder; she was the only woman welder in the General Motors body shop in Petone at the time. She was also a welder at Seaview’s Ford plant and later worked at an engineering firm where she learned to use the lathe machine. Rona then started a riding school at her farm in the Wairarapa, where she bred Arabian horses.

    In 2012 she was interviewed by Radio New Zealand, it’s worth hearing more about her trailblazing life - click this link to listen.


  • T G Macarthy Trust

    Today Dame Patsy hosted the annual meeting of the Thomas George Macarthy Trust. The Trust has had a huge impact on charitable funding in the Wellington Region since it was established by T G Macarthy in 1912.  Governors of the Trust included the Prime Minister, the Catholic Archbishop of Wellington, the Governor, and Wellington's Mayor. It is one of New Zealand's largest perpetual charitable trusts with assets in excess of $90 million, and is administered by the Public Trust. Each year Trust income of around $2 - $3 million is disbursed.

    The aim of the T G Macarthy Trust was to help improve the quality of life for the disadvantaged and marginalised, to help young people develop and realise their potential, to look after and provide dignity for older people, and provide essential medical and emergency services.

    T G Macarthy came to Otago in search of gold. He established a brewery in Charleston before moving to Wellington and diversifying his business interests. He was a respected businessman and public figure,  was director of the Wellington Opera House and was on the Board of Directors for the Bank of New Zealand and the Wellington-Manawatu Railway.

    The Trust has given over $80 million to diverse not-for-profit community based groups in Wellington, the Wairarapa, Kapiti, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Whanganui Districts.


  • Troy Kingi, 2020 Artist-in-Residence

    Composer, musician, singer and actor Troy Kingi, Government House’s most recent Artist-in-Residence, confirmed his reputation as an artistic powerhouse during his stay here.

    There was a slight blip in his ambitious goal to release 10 albums in 10 genres in 10 years. In 2018, he didn’t release anything, but he is making up lost ground in 2021 with his plans to release four albums.

    Troy told us he relishes deadlines and song-writing comes easily to him. For him, each musical genre is an opportunity to re-invent himself with a new sound and persona. He wants each album to sound like a it has been made by a different artist.

    During his time at Government House, Troy completed two projects. The first involved translating the lyrics in his 2019 reggae album “Holy Colony Burning Acres” into Te Reo Māori, and then recording the vocals. The second was to write, record and mix an acoustic folk album, in collaboration with Delaney Davidson. Troy says it will be his most personal album to date.

    Work on the next genre album – inspired by 80s music – will have to wait until June 2021. That’s because there are several film commitments coming up. (Troy first appeared in Mount Zion in 2013, and has most recently appeared in Toke – there’s talk of a TV spin-off further down the track.)

    The 2020 Māori Music Awards were held (virtually) during Troy’s time at Government House. He pre-recorded five acceptance speeches for the categories he was nominated for, and he came away with three: Best Solo Māori Artist; Best Reggae Album and Best Music Video.  He was also a finalist in last night’s Silver Scroll Awards for his song “Mighty Invader”.

    Troy says that he will think back to his time in the Government House residency and recall how despite being out of his comfort zone, he was able to achieve so much.

    Troy does his best work in the wee hours. After his stay here, he can confirm that Government House's many tui are all-nighters as well.




  • Our Lady's Home of Compassion - visit and QSM presentation

    Today Dame Patsy visited Our Lady's Home of Compassion in Island Bay to meet the sisters and posthumously present the Queen's Service medal awarded to the late Sr Catherine Hannan.

    Sister Catherine, a member of the Sisters of Compassion for 66 years and a dedicated advocate for human rights in New Zealand and overseas, passed away before she was able to attend an investiture ceremony. Her insignia was presented instead to Congregational Leader Sr Margaret Anne Mills and will be added to the substantial number of honours awarded to members of the Sisters of Compassion already held in the order's archives.

    Dame Patsy also toured the museum, the Suzanne Aubert Heritage Centre and the chapel - the final resting place of Sisters of Compassion founder Suzanne Aubert.

    Image of Sr Margaret Anne accepting Sr Catherine's QSM for the Sisters of Compassion archives

    Image of a photo album from a previous Governor-General visit - Lady Fergusson receives flowers

  • Investiture Wellington Tuesday 27 October 5pm

    This evening concluded the Queens Birthday honours list investiture ceremonies at Government House Wellington, where 13 recipients were presented with their insignia. Among them was Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts, recognised for her significant contributions to Māori wāhine and the community. Her extensive work in the health and education sector was acknowledged along with her contributions to the Māori Women’s Welfare League. Other recipients this evening include former Mayor of Whakatāne Tony Bonne and former Mayor of Central Otago Tony Lepper plus Helen Plume, who has contributed significantly to the global fight against climate change.

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    Image of Helen Plume, of Porirua, CNZM, for services to the environment

  • Investiture Ceremony 23 October 2020 PM

    Central Otago poet Dr Brian Turner, ONZM and former Silver Fern Joan Harnett-Kindley, ONZM were among the 12 investiture recipients this afternoon at Government House. Other recipients were Scilla Askew, ONZM for services to music; Dr Jeremy Hill, MNZM for services to the dairy industry and scientific research; Jenny Noble, MNZM for services to health, particularly research for rare diseases; Tofilau Bernadette Pereira, MNZM for services to the Pacific community and women; Robyn Bisset, QSM for services to the community; Chandhu Daji, QSM for services to the Indian community and sport; Bill Sharp, QSM for services to youth; Terence Tauira, QSM for services to the Pacific community; Marie Taylor, QSM for services to horticulture and native revegetation; and Jim Thomas, QSM for services to victim support and the community.

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    Dr Brian Turner, of Oturehua, ONZM for services to literature and poetry
    Mrs Joan Harnett-Kindley, of Wanaka, ONZM for services to netball and the real estate industry
  • Investiture Ceremony 23 October 2020 AM

    Another ten outstanding New Zealanders received their honour insignia from Dame Patsy this morning: Professor Richard Bedford, CNZM for services to governance; Steve Tew, ONZM for services to rugby and sports administration; Jackie Edmond, MNZM for services to sexual and reproductive health; Dr Janet Turnbull, MNZM for services to health; Angelica Edgley, MNZM (Honorary) for services to forensic science; Gillian Bishop, QSM for services to conservation; Dave Butler, QSM for services to conservation; Turangapito Parata, QSM for services to Maori, health and youth; Cushla Scrivens, QSM for services to historical research and heritage preservation; and Neil Taylor, QSM for services to people with intellectual disabilities and the community.

    Image Gallery

  • Investiture Ceremony 22 October 2020 PM

    At this afternoon's investiture ceremony, insignia were presented to Helene Quilter, QSO for services to the State; Dr Garry Forgeson, ONZM for services to oncology; Tony Wilding, ONZM for services to the dairy industry and the community; David Crerar, MNZM for services to mountaineering and outdoor recreation; Billy Graham, MNZM for services to youth and the community; Dr Sarah Leberman, MNZM for services to women, sport and tertiary education; Don Mackay, MNZM for services to seniors and the community; Mary Thompson, MNZM for services to netball administration; Kayla Whitelock, MNZM for services to hockey; Ella Buchanan Hanify, QSM for services to music; Andrew John, QSM for services to conservation and education; Trevor McGlinchey, QSM for services to Maori and the community; and Terry Roche, QSM for services to the community.

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    Ms Helene Quilter, of Wellington, QSO for services to the State
  • Investiture Ceremony 22 October 2020 AM

    This morning's honour recipients were senior diplomat John McKinnon, CNZM; media educator Dr Brian Pauling, ONZM; pioneering aviator Rona Fraser MNZM; gerontologist Dr Sally Keeling, MNZM; publisher Don Long, MNZM; eminent weaver Veranoa Hetet, QSM; aviator John Lamont, QSM; Tongan community leader Kolovula Murphy, QSM; and women's advocate Barbara Thompson, QSM.

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    Veranoa Hetet, Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Investiture Ceremony 21 October 2020

    South Island rural communities were well represented in this morning's investiture ceremony for 12 honour recipients at Government House. Five volunteers from Fire and Emergency New Zealand received honours, and recipients were also acknowledged for their services to communities, interfaith communities, addiction support and treatment, health and cycling, wildlife conservation, sport and historical research, women, and football and historical research.

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    Mr David Zwartz, of Wellington, ONZM for services to the Jewish and interfaith communities
  • Investiture Ceremony, 20 October 2020

    Eleven outstanding New Zealanders received their insignia at this afternoon's investiture ceremony for honour recipients at Government House. They were recognised for tireless work in our communities and for their contributions to various sectors, including health, the cattle industry, horticulture, martial arts, motorsport, conservation, sport, and choral music. Pictured is Helen Heffernan, who received a CNZM for services to health.

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  • Investiture ceremony - Wellington 19 October, 5.00PM

    Ten more New Zealanders received their honours insignia at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington this afternoon.

    Trailblazing politician and LGBTIQA+ rights activist Georgina Beyer was recognised, alongside leading medical specialist Professor John Nacey and eight-times World Masters Triathlon Champion Dr John Hellemans. Congratulations to all recipients

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    Image4 of Ms Georgina Beyer, of Wellington,MNZM, for services to LGBTIQA+ rights

    Image of Professor John Nacey, of Wellington,CNZM, for services to health and education


  • Investiture Ceremony, Wellington 19 October 2020 1.00pm

    This afternoon marked the start of the Wellington ceremonies celebrating the Queen’s Birthday honour recipients, recognising some people doing amazing things for their community. Among them was former Police Commissioner Mike Bush and Bev May, who was the first woman to gain a cycling licence to compete against men.

    Bev May, Dame Patsy Reddy

    Dame Patsy also honoured new Knight Sir Robert Martin, who has done some outstanding work for the self-advocacy movement. Sir Robert was the first person with a learning disability elected onto a United Nations Human Rights Treaty Body, and is currently serving a four year term on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
    Congratulations to all 12 of our recipients for all they have done for their communities.

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    Sir Robert Martin, Dame Patsy Reddy


  • Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand conference

    This morning Dame Patsy opened the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand's conference in Wellington. The Society has been a Governor-General patronage since it first started in 1931- Lord Bledisloe was a great supporter.

    After her speech, Dame Patsy was presented with a conference medal while she presented President David Galt with, what else, a Governor-General coin.

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    Image of Dame Patsy speaking at the Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand's conference opening

  • McCahon Centenary closing reception at Government House Auckland

    Just over a year ago at Government House Wellington, Dame Patsy opened the McCahon Centenary celebrations, and tonight Government House Auckland hosted a reception to bring it to a close.

    The McCahon Centenary has celebrated the works of Colin McCahon, and the legacy he has had on New Zealand art and culture.

    One of our most prominent artists, he began his 45 year career as a painter in the 1930s. He spent his early years in Dunedin, Nelson and Christchurch before moving to Auckland in the early 1950s. He is most known for painting abstract landscapes and works of painted text.

    The evening also featured a presentation from Hideaki Fukutake about the regeneration of a community through art, architecture and nature. Together with his father, Mr Fukutake operates the Benesse Art Site Naoshima in Japan. This comprises of three main islands that were previously polluted with from industrial waste and have been re-established as havens for art and architecture. Community buildings on the islands operate like museum galleries as its residents live alongside living art spaces.

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    Dame Patsy Reddy, Shinichi Hamada and Ian Kennedy

  • 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



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