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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Dress for Success Wellington

    Dress up was the theme for the Dress for Success Wellington reception, hosted by Dame Patsy at Government House in Wellington. Committed to empowering women find success, Dress For Success provides women with clothing and development tools to help them find jobs and keep them.

    Dress For Success client Rheanna Taylor Robertson soke. There was also a fashion parade and unsurprisingly, a pop-up shop of gently used clothing proved popular.

    Image of Dame Patsy with Dress for Success board members and staff

  • Tuesday 11 September

    It was a case of hello and goodbye today at Government House. Coco watched on as Dame Patsy and Sir David welcomed the latest Matairangi Mahi Toi - Massey Artist in Residence to Government House. Horomona Horo is a Taonga Puoro composer and practitioner, who has collaborated with groups and artists from the NZ String Quartet to Fat Freddy’s Drop. We’re looking forward to hearing the work his time at Government House inspires.

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking

    Later,  the outgoing Ambassador of Portugal, Paulo Cunha Alves arrived for a farewell call. All the best for your new posting, Your Excellency

    Image of Ambassador of Portugal HE Paulo Cunha Alves with Dame Patsy


  • Women's Sport Leadership Academy

    Last night, Dame Patsy congratulated the New Zealand Olympic Committee for promoting leadership roles for women in New Zealand sports organisations. Seventeen of the first intake of the NZOC's Women's Sport Leadership Academy were presented with graduation certificates. 

    All of the women previously represented New Zealand at the Olympic Games and many of them are already involved in coaching, mentoring, and governance roles at national and international level.

    Speech transcript        Image Gallery

  • Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Young Science Leaders Forum

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Young Science Leaders Forum in association with the Eureka! Awards at Government House in Wellington.

    The young science leaders attending were challenged to examine a significant issue facing New Zealand and make recommendations. In this case, the issue was the "Agriculture Dilemma" - do we have the balance right between well-being, the environment and economic production and if not, what steps do we need to take to optimise that balance?

    Some fairly in-depth discussions took place, guided by advice from some top scientists and after lunch, the recommendations were reported back to Dame Patsy.

    She also presnted the Sir Paul Callaghan Eureka! Premier Award to George Mander. 

    Photo gallery

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking

  • Visit to St John's Auckland headquarters

    We gained a new appreciation of St John's work today during our visit tuo its Auckland Headquarters. The call-centre staff have to respond calmly and clearly to people who are distressed, injured or ill, and the dispatchers have to monitor operations around the country. We also saw how much ambulances have evolved, and how their sophisticated medical and communications equipment is making a significant difference to patient outcomes.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David at the St John Headquarters garage
  • Consular Reception in Auckland

    Last night Dame Patsy hosted a reception for members of the Consular Corps in Auckland.

    Image Gallery

  • Northern Club Lunch

    Governors-General have a long association with the Northern Club and today Dame Patsy and Sir David were invited to a lunch where Dame Patsy spoke about her goals during her term of office and answered questions about our constitutional arrangements. Their host was Victoria Carter, the first ever female President at the Club.

    Speech transcript

  • 2018 White Camellia Awards

    Winners of the 2018 White Camellia Awards this evening were Westpac, ANZ, Sovereign and Ebborn Law. We were inspired by the determination and enthusiasm of the representatives from these organisations, and hope other organisations will follow their example.

    The White Camellia Awards are jointly run by UN Women, the Human Rights Commission, Diversity Works, BPW New Zealand and Zonta. Judges recognise businesses that are promoting gender equity by introducing measures that support the UN's Empowerment Principles; leadership promotes gender equality; equal opportunity, inclusion and non-discrimination; health, safety and freedom from violence; education and training; enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices; community leadership and engagement; and transparency, measuring and reporting. 

    Dr Jarrod Haar outlined some of the more significant conclusions from the UN Women's Empowerment Principles Survey 2018, which showed some gains, but areas where businesses are lagging behind.

    Speech transcript      Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy and the Westpac team
  • The Wallace Art Awards

    This is the 27th year of the Wallace Art Awards, and it's bigger than ever, attracting over 400 entries. The finalists' works are currently on display at Pah Homestead in Auckland, the home of the Wallace Arts Trust, and will then travel to selected galleries around New Zealand. Dame Patsy was on hand to congratulate the Award winners, some of whom will travel to Europe and the United States to take up residencies.

    Speech Transcript      Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy with Wallace Art Awards winners
  • Christchurch visits

    Dame Patsy made two visits to Christchurch this week. On Thursday, she visited Burnside High School in Christchurch for a tour of their art department and a chance to met the young people involved with 'Into Motion', a student initiative bringing together high school students from around Canterbury to discuss gender equality. In the afternoon, she was the opening speaker at the Canterbury Women’s Legal Association’s Professional Women’s Conference.


    On Saturday, Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted receptions for the Christchurch recipients of the Queen's Guide Award and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Aotearoa New Zealand- Hillary Gold Award at the Airforce Museum of New Zealand.


  • Credentials ceremonies

    Dame Patsy hosted credentials ceremonies for the diplomatic envoys from Russia, the Netherlands, Ireland, Pakistan and Laos at Government House in Wellington.

    Morning ceremonies

    Afternoon ceremonies 

    an image of Professor Piri Sciascia greeting HE Mr Peter Ryan, The Ambassador of Ireland

    Image of Ambassador of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, HE Mr Sisavath Inphachanh

  • Visit to Kaibosh in Wellington

    Yesterday Dame Patsy and Sir David paid a visit to Kaibosh Food Rescue, which collects and distributes food to over 65 charities around Wellington. The organisation's mantra of 'Zero Waste, Zero Poverty' is eliminating needless waste, providing nutritious food to people in need, and keeping tonnes of food out of our landfills. Over 200 volunteers give their time to keep the operation going.

    an image of Dame Patsy with Matt Dagger, General Manager
  • Queen's Guide Awards

    Comgratulations to the 45 young women who received their Queen's Guide awards at Government House at the weekend. Well done and best of luck for the future.

    Queen's Guide Award photos

    Image of the Queen's Guide award presentation in front of the portrait of the Queen

  • Visit to Rocket Lab

    Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Rocket Lab in Auckland and it was just as cool as you'd imagine. Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck gave Their Excellencies an overview of the company's mission to open access to space to improve life on earth, and took them on a guided tour of Mission Control as well as the factory where the rockets are built.

    Rocket Lab images

    Image of a powerpoint display at Rocket Lab

  • State Visit by the President of the Republic of Poland

    Dame Patsy and Sir David welcomed the President of the Republic of Poland, HE Andrzej Duda and Agata Kornhauser-Duda at Government House in Auckland. Wet weather meant the planned ceremonial welcome had to be curtailed but the Presidential couple were still greeted with a hongi and the presentation of a dart before meeting with Dame Patsy.

    After the welcome, Dame Patsy accompanied Their Excellencies to the Auckland Museum for a wreath laying and later hosted a dinner for the couple and members of the New Zealand Polish community at Government House. 

    Welcome photos

    Dinner photos

    Image of the Dame Patsy and  President of the Republic of Poland, HE Andrzej Duda

    Image of Dame Patsy, Sir David and the President of the Republic of Poland, HE Andrzej Duda and Agata Kornhauser-Duda

  • Scottish Country Dancing Society New Zealand Branch 50th Anniversary Ball

    Last night, Scottish Country Dancing enthusiasts came from around New Zealand to attend a ball to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the New Zealand branch of the Scottish Country Dancing Society.

    Speech transcript


    an image of Dame Patsy with Elaine Laidlaw
  • Whanganui Visit day 3

    The theme of the day was aviation as Dame Patsy and Sir David officially opened the  New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy then headed to Ohakea for a welcome at RNZAF Turangawaewae and then a tour of No 14 and No 3 Squadrons

    New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy

    RNZAF Turangawaewae

    No 14 Squadron

    No 3 Squadron

  • Whanganui Day 2

    The second day of the Whanganui visit started with a trip to the Gonville Community Library to meet the Gonville knitting group. Dame Patsy also read a story to a group of pre-schoolers.

    Pacific Helmets is celebrating 40 years of manufacturing top quality helmets for the New Zealand and international markets. Dame Patsy and Sir David toured the factory and also received their very own American style "Fire Chief" helmets.

    Next it was off to First Vets to meet the Kotuku Foundation and their wonderful assistance dogs. Dame Patsy got cuddle time with new puppy Lyra, who has just started her training.

    The evening ended with a community reception where Dame Patsy and Sir David were able to mix and mingle with guests from Whanganui businesses and community organisations.

    Gonville Community Library 

    Pacific Helmets

    Kotuku Foundation

    Community Reception


  • Whanganui Visit - Day One

    Dame Patsy and Sir David's first day in Whanganui began with a powhiri at Putiki marae which was followed by Dame Tariana Turia's investiture. The day finished with a visit to Glassworks and a chance to play with glassmaking techniques


    Dame Tariana Turia investiture


    Image of Dame Patsy with Dame Tariana, who is Wearing a cloak and holding the sword of Te Keepa, a link to Queen Victoria

    Image of dame Patsy and Philip Stokes inspecting the paperweight


  • 2018 New Zealand Business Hall of Fame Gala Dinner

    Our thanks to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame for forwarding images from the Gala Dinner on 27 July, which acknowledged New Zealanders who have made outstanding contributions to New Zealand business: Tony Nightingale, Alan Gibbs, James Dilworth, Dame Trelise Cooper, Bill Buckley, Elspeth Kennedy, Graeme and Craig Turner, and Sir Russell Matthews.

    Image Gallery             Speech Transcript

    an image of Dame Patsy with Precorqtion Rawiri and inductee Dame Trelise Cooper
  • 125th anniversary of the founding of Home and Family Counselling

    The whakatauki "Manaakitia te tangata ahakoa ko wai, ahakoa no hea" (Take care of others, no matter who they are, no matter where they come from) sums up the kaupapa of Home and Family Counselling, who have looking after the needs of individuals, couples and families in Auckland for 125 years. It was an absolute pleasure to host staff and supporters at Government House Auckland, acknowledge the vital work that they do, and celebrate their big milestone.

    Speech transcript         Image Gallery

  • Royal New Zealand Ballet 65th anniversary

    Staff and dancers past and present were invited to Government House to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Displays of costumes and other memorabilia and a birthday cake addded to the party atmosphere. 

    Image of Dame Patsy, RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker and RNZB executive director Frances Turner cutting the cake

  • Day Three Christchurch: Linwood North School and Green Fuels NZ

    Yesterday's engagements affirmed the theme of renewal and transformation so evident during this visit to Otautahi/Christchurch. The official opening of the new hall and classrooms at Linwood North School was cause for celebration  for the pupils, staff, and parents, after years of challenges and delays.

    Image Gallery  Speech transcript

    Green Fuels NZ transforms used cooking oil into bio-diesel, which burns more efficiently than standard diesel, and therefore contributes to the lowering of carbon emissions. Used cooking oil would otherwise end up in land-fills. Green Fuels has recently become a subsidiary of Fulton Hogan, which will use the bio-diesel its trucks and heavy machinery. 

    Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening
    Various stages in the process of transforming used cooking oil into bio-diesel
  • Christchurch Visit - Day One:Te Waihora catchment and the Women's Leadership Forum

    The Governor-General's visit to Canterbury this week has a theme of transformation and renewal. Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) catchment was a perfect place to begin, to see what is being achieved by the partnership between Ngai Tahu, ECAN and scientists from Lincoln University working together to restore waterways and wetlands that sustain Te Waihora.

    Speech transcript   Image Gallery

    This evening was about transformation of a different sort - the drive to increase female leadership across all sectors of society. Dame Patsy joined two inspirational women leaders, Toni Brendish, CE of Westland Milk, and Sian Simpson, who until recently led Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco, in speaking to the 150 attendees at the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Women's Leadership Forum.

    Speech transcript

  • Visit of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students

    We were delighted to welcome students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students this morning for a tour of Government House. Their visit to Wellington follows several days in Christchurch where they were hosted by members of the Student Army. Today they were welcomed with an incredible performance of waiata and kapa haka by students from Te Wharekura o Ngā Mokopuna, Wellington East Girls College and St Catherines College.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
  • Wing 316 Graduation

    Yesterday 79 recruits of Wing 316 at the Police College graduated . As Patron of that Wing, Dame Patsy was delighted to congratulate the graduates and present them with their identity cards. We wish them all the very best as they begin their careers in police districts around New Zealand.

    an image of Dame Patsy with Police Minister Hon Stuart Nash, Constable Zoe Bennett and her family
  • Queen's Guide and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards

    It was a day of celebration for 31 young women as they received their Queen's Guide and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at Government House in Auckland on Saturday. Fiona Harnett, GirlGuiding NZ's National President did the honours handing out the awards, while Dame Patsy spoke of the hours of work each recipient had put into the programme and how proud they should feel of their acheivement. Afterwards, Dame Patsy had a chance to meet the recipients and their families during afternoon tea.

    More images

    Image of the recipients with Dame Patsy

    Image of Dame Patsy meeting recipients and families

  • Otaki Scholar

    This afternoon we were delighted to host a group of young student leaders from around New Zealand who are meeting in Otaki to discuss Future Leadership, as a way to celebrate the 75th Otaki Scholar to come to New Zealand. The 75th Scholar is Cameron Stephen.

    The Otaki Scholar comes from Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, and their stay is funded by the Otaki Scholarship, set up in memory of the Captain of a merchant ship Otaki, Captain Archibald Bissett-Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.  The Otaki was sunk during the First World War.

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with Otaki Scholar, Cameron Stephen
  • Paul Deans Visit

    One of the most popular features at Government House is the collection of carved armorial bearings that hang in the hall. Every Governor-General from 1910 onwards, the date the House was built, is represented.

    Sculptor Paul Deans has carved for armorial bearings for the last four Governors-General (Sir Michael Hardie-Boyes, Dame Silvia Cartwright, Sir Anand Satyanand and Sir Jerry Mateparae.)

    This week, Paul and wife Kate visited Government House to see his most recent carving of Sir Jerry Mateparae's armorial bearing on display.

    Interestingly Paul and his wife both have family links to Government House. Paul's grandfather MAJ George Hutton was an ADC to Lord Liverpool, while Kate's father LT COL John Masters served as an ADC in 1977. 

    Image of Paul Deans with his carvings
    Image of Paul and Kate Deans (right) with their friends Carol Linehan and Peter Cogswell
  • Audience with Her Majesty The Queen

    Yesterday Dame Patsy and Sir David had an audience with Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

    Image of  HM The Queen meets Dame Patsy and Sir David
    Photo by Getty Images
    Image of Dame Patsy and HM The Queen
    Photo by Getty Images

  • From the Kitchen - Parsnip and Chestnut Loaf

    This loaf is one of Dame Patsy's favourites. The image shows it served both baked and steamed with savoy cabbage, artichoke puree, roast pumpkin and artichoke chips but it goes well with anything.

    Image of Chestnut and Parsnip Loaf


    1 Tbsp oil

    3 shallots, finely chopped

    1 garlic clove,

    2 Tbsp chia seeds

    1 Tbsp ground flax seed

    4 Tbsp of your favourite Vegan Bbq sauce

    2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

    3 cups grated parsnips

    1 cup blanched chestnuts

    1 x can drained cannellini beans or Chickpeas, red kidney, lentils etc.

    1 cup, toasted and chopped hazelnuts or almonds

    ½ cup fresh bread crumbs, or Gluten free crumbs

    3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    Handful chopped sage

    Salt, pepper, spice or chilli 


    3 Tbsp BBq sauce

    2 Tbsp tomato ketchup

    3 Tbsp maple syrup

    1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

    1 tsp smoked paprika

    A dash of liquid smoke


    Preheat oven to 170.C

    In a frypan, saute shallots and garlic in oil until translucent and beginning to brown.  Set aside.

    In a small bowl soak the chia and flaxseed with the bbq, Worcestershire and mustard until swollen and jelly like.

    Combine cooled shallots, soaked seeds with the parsnip, chestnuts, beans and nuts and stir to combine, leaving as coarse as desired.

    Season to taste with yeast, sage and seasonings.

    Adjust consistency to a thick paste with breadcrumbs.

    Pack into a greased and paper lined loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes until dark brown and firm to touch.  Allow to cool 5 minutes and turn out onto paper lined oven tray.

    Combine sauce, ketchup, maple, mustard and spices and spread liberally over baked loaf.

    Return to oven for ten minutes or until sticky and caramelized.

    (alternatively roll raw mixture into meatballs and bake for less time on paper lined tray.  Repeat the technique for glazing.)



  • Defence Force Change of Command

    On Friday Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, acting in her role as Administrator of the Government in Dame Patsy's absence, attended a reception to mark the change of command of the Defence Force. She thanked the outgoing Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating and congratulated the new Chief of Defence Force, Air Vice-Marshall Kevin Short.

    Speech transcript

    an image of Dame Sian Elias and Air Vice Marshall Kevin Short
    an image of Lieutenant General Tim Keating, Dame Sian Elias and Air Vice-Marshall Kevin Short

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