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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Weekly Roundup

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hung out with people wearing some rather crazy, enormous hats at the opening of Performance Arcade 2019 last Thursday night. The Performace Arcade is an annual event that brings performance, art and performance art to Wellington's waterfront.

    Performance Arcade photos

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with one of the 'Tourists'

    On Tuesday, Dame Patsy hosted a reception for ShEO. 

    SheEO is a recently formed organisation, whereby women support female-led businesses through a fund for interest-free loans. Inspiring people to do inspiring things.

    SheEO reception photos

    an image of Rebecca Stewart and Dame Patsy

    Then on Thursday, she hosted the Rare Disease Day Awards. Coco also showed up for the event. Rare Disease Day recognises the over 377,000 New Zealanders who live with a rare disorder. This year, new awards were introduced to acknowledge the outstanding work of researchers, medical practitioners and patient advocates.

    Rare Disease Day Awards image gallery

    an image of Their Excellencies and guests


  • Mentioned in Despatches Awards in Auckland and Wellington

    This week Dame Patsy has presented Mentioned in Despatches Awards to veterans of the Vietnam War, to family members, or to friends of deceased recipients.

    Mentioned in Despatches Awards were given in recognition of gallantry and high levels of service. The Award is visible on the Vietnam Medal as a bronze oak leaf.

    At the time, the citations were generally written by the commander of the unit involved and sometimes were read out on a Unit Parade. At this week's ceremony, as the citations were read, the acts of gallantry and service of each recipient was acknowledged, and a written copy was given to the recipients or their representatives. 

    Image Gallery for Thursday, 14 February AM

    Image Gallery for Thursday, 14 February PM

    Image Gallery for Friday, 15 February PM


  • 2019 Auckland Lantern Festival

    Dame Patsy officially opened the 2019 Auckland Lantern Festival at The Domain in Auckland last night. The Festival celebrates its 20th year this year and is the largest outside of mainland China.

    After declaring the Festival open, Dame Patsy and Sir David toured the lantern displays, which ranged from traditional shapes to elaborate standing figures.

    Image gallery

    Image of a Monkey God lantern at the Auckland Lantern Festival

    IMage of Dame Patsy and Event Producer, Eric Ngan


  • Bledisloe Waitangi Day Garden Reception 2019

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted around 2000 people at Government House's Waitangi Day commemorations this afternoon. They were entertained by Te Whare Kura o Nga Mokopuna, the Beat Girls, and NZ Opera Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artists Pasquale Orchard, Angus Simmons, and Will King.

    Speech transcript      Image Gallery

  • Onuku Marae - Waitangi Day 2019

    Dame Patsy and Sir David began Waitangi Day 2019 at Onuku Marae near Akaroa. It was Dame Patsy's first Waitangi Day in the South Island and while the weather was unexpectedly chilly, the welcome from Ngai Tahu was warm.

    Dame Patsy was loaned a beautiful korowai, made by Ngai Tahi weaver Paula Rigby , for the event. Another highlight of the day was an erudite and meaningful speech from Tā Tipene O'Regan.

    Image gallery

    Image gallery 2

    Speech transcript

    Image of a hongi with kuia Karen Morgan

    Image of the challenge at Onuku Marae

  • 2019 Beat Retreat at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds

    The annual Beat Retreat ceremony at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds this evening commemorated longstanding naval connections with Waitangi. It was perfect weather for the crowd to witness marching by the Guard of Honour, the precision movements of the navy band, and performance by the cultural group, all against the glorious backdrop of a Bay of Islands vista.

    Image Gallery

  • Lunch for the Diplomatic Corps in Russell

    Diplomats accredited to New Zealand are currently in Northland on a tour related to the history of nationhood in New Zealand, dating from the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840. Today Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a lunch for them and their partners in Russell.

  • HMNZS Wellington Reception 2019

    Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David were guests at a reception on HMNZS Wellington where they met people from Northland, naval personnel and guests from around New Zealand.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David disembarking from HMNZS Wellington
  • Powhiri at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Investiture Ceremony for Sir Hec Busby

    One of Northland's favourite sons, Sir Hec Busby, received his knighthood from Dame Patsy today in front of a huge crowd of well-wishers at the Treaty Grounds in Waitangi. Sir Hec was recognised for reviving the tradition of building waka hourua, traditional ocean going waka, as well as the skills required to navigate by the stars and ocean currents. As a result, the voyaging tradition of Polynesian seafarers who came to Aotearoa, and returned to the Pacific Islands on return journeys, has been replicated, and strengthened the connections with our Pacific whanau. Dame Patsy thanked Sir Hec for adding another chapter to our history.

    Image Gallery           Speech transcript

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with SIr Hec Busby and his whanau
  • Credentials Ceremony 31 January, afternoon

    This afternoon Dame Patsy received the credentials of the Ambassador of the Lebanese Republic, HE Mr Milad Raad; the Ambassador of Iceland, HE Mrs Kristin Arnadottir; and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, HE Mr Paul Gulleik Larsen.

    Image Gallery

    Image of Ambassador of the Lebanese Republic HE Mr Milad Raad
    IMage of Ambassador of Iceland HE Mrs Kristín Árnadóttir
    Image of Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway  HE Mr Paul Gulleik Larsen
  • Credentials Ceremony, 31 January 2019, morning

    This morning, Dame Patsy received the credentials of the High Commissioner of the Cook Islands, HE Mrs Elizabeth Foster Wright-Koteka; the High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia, HE Mr Frank Francis Bwalya; the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HE Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Alsuhaibani; and the Ambassador of the Republic of Benin, HE Mr Makarimi Abissola Adechoubou.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Hon Aupito William Sio, HE Mrs Elizabeth Foster Wright-Koteka, Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne
    an image of HE Mr Frank Francis Bwalya and Dame Patsy Reddy
    an image of HE Abdulrahman Abdulaziz Alsuhaibani and Dame Patsy Reddy
    an image of HE Mr Makarimi Abissola Adechoubou and Dame Patsy Reddy
  • Visit to Papakura Military Camp

    Dame Patsy and Sir David spent yesterday afternoon at Papakura Military Camp with the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment, learning more about the Regiment’s history and culture. Their Excellencies also visited the camp’s memorial area and chapel and particularly enjoyed meeting serving NZSAS personnel.

    In this photo they were joined by current Aides-de-Camp, Captain Grace Blanks and Lieutenant Dany Rassam, and outgoing Aide-de-Camp Lieutenant Emily Keat.

  • 50th anniversary of the Grounds Committee at Government House Auckland

    Government House Auckland was gifted to the Queen for the use of Governors-General by Sir Frank and Lady Mappin, who were noted horticulturalists and philanthropists. The grounds that they created, a garden of national significance, needed to be protected and developed in a sympathetic manner.

    The Grounds Committee has been tasked with advising on that work, and today, at a lunch to mark 50 years of its work, Dame Patsy planted a kawaka on the lawn. Sir Rob Fenwick, grandson and inaugural member of the committee, marked his retirement from the role by planting another kawaka.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Retiring Grounds Committee member Sir Rob Fenwick planting a kawaka
  • 2019 Auckland Anniversary Regatta

    Governor Hobson provided a naval guardship for the first Auckland regatta, and every year since, the Royal New Zealand Navy has kept  up that tradition for the Auckland Anniversary Day regatta. Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David joined the crew and guests on HMNZS Canterbury, which proved to be a perfect vantage point to see yachts of all sizes and vintages competing in the ocean races, as well as several cruise ships in the harbour.

    Image gallery

    an image of a Yacht sailing past Devonport
    an image of A cruise ship and yachts from the stern of HMNZS Canterbury
  • Call from Chief of Navy

    Today Dame Patsy received a call from new Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor and wife Wendy Proctor.

    Coco came along to supervise proceedings and was happy to join in the photo along with Sir David, the Chief of Navy's Flag Lieutenant Caitlin Wiseman and new ADC Dany Rassam.

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral David Proctor, Wendy Proctor, Flag Lieutenant Caitlin Wiseman and ADC Dany Rassam

  • NZ Opera School 2019

    Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the final concert of the NZ Opera School's 2019 season. The concert, "Great Opera Moments 2019) featured 20 up and coming New Zealand singers who were specially chosen to study with international tutors.

    After the concert, Dame Patsy presented some prizes with Samson Setu being awarded the Dame Sister Mary Leo and Guy and Sue Haddleton scholarships.

    Image of Dame Patsy meeting the programme sellers

    Image of Dame Patsy with the scholars, tutors and staff of the New Zealand Opera School 2019

  • Wildbase Recovery visit

    Dame Patsy and Sir David were given a special tour of the new Wildbase Recovery facility in Palmerston North. The facility, which is in it's commissioning phase, is will be a rehabilitation centre for some of the many New Zealand birds operated on at Massey's Wildbase Hospital.

    Dame Patsy is Wildbase patron and was interested to see the faciltities and hear more about the work of the centre, which will have a strong educational focus alongside its conservation work. 

    Over $4 million of the $7 million cost was raised within the community, with school mufti days and cake stalls adding to the totals raised from local businesses and sponsors. Substantial support was also received from the Central Energy Trust.

    Once it's opened to the public, the facility will be free to visit. Despite there being no guest birds receiving rehabilitation, Dame Patsy did get to see the resident tuatara, tui and kaka.

    More images

    Image of Wildbase Recovery manager Chris Smith with Dame Patsy and Sir David

    Image of Big Boy, another resident tuatara

  • New Year Message 2019

    Happy New Year, New Zealand! Dame Patsy wishes you all the best for a brighter, more sustainable 2019.

  • Stakeholders and suppliers reception - Auckland

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a function for people and organisations who have had a role in the running of Government House in Auckland over the last year. Guests ranged from electricians and security specialists to cleaning company staff, art experts and all points in between.

    Thank you to everyone who played a part in helping us maintain the high standards of Government House this year. 

    More images

    Image of Dame Patsy with Jonathan Maze, furniture restorer and pianist Ben Fernandez and Maria Fernandez

  • Auckland arts patrons dinner

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a second dinner to thank arts patrons for their support for New Zealand's creative sector, this time at Government House in Auckland.

    Actor and Arts Foundation Laureate Cliff Curtis spoke about the effect philanthropy has on the arts and the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency was officially presented to dancer Lucy Marinkovich and musician Lucien Johnson.

    The evening was rounded out by a performance from up and coming young opera singer Madison Nonoa.

    Image gallery

    Image of Lucien Johnson performing

    Image of Opera singer Madison Nonoa performing

  • Kauri Flats School official opening

    Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Kauri Flats School in Takanini, Auckland.

    Pupils have been attending the  school since 2017 but building only finished recently. The area is experiencing lots of growth and the roll of 130 is expected to expand by at least another 100 students next year.

    Dame Patsy spoke and declared the school officially open and then watched some very impressive student performances.The haka featuring the whole school was particularly impressive.

    Images of the opening

    Image of senior students performing with poi

  • 2018 Arts Patron Dinner, Wellington

    This evening Government House celebrated the arts in New Zealand with the people who help to make it possible for artists, writers and performers to develop their talent, create new works and make us think about who we are and where we are going.

    Composer John Psathas spoke about the role that arts patronage had played in his career and Paula Morris was presented with the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship. Musical interludes were provided by the NZSO String Quartet and bass Martin Snell sang arias, accompanied by Bruce Greenfield.

    Image Gallery

    an image of Ms Paula Morris recipient of the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship with Mr Richard Cathie, Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Fellowship
  • Heart Kids Wellington 30th Anniversary

    Heart Kids Wellington couldn't have asked for a better day to celebrate their 30th anniversary, with blue skies and sunshine the order of the day at Government House.

    Maia the Heart Kids Bear and Marshall from Paw Patrol proved popular, as did the bouncy castle and face painting. An appearance by Anna and Elsa from 'Frozen' who sang, danced and told stories was also a huge hit.

    Special guests, Heart Kids founders Linda Davies and Michelle Mann spoke about their experiences dealing with the hospital system that led to the foundation of Heart Children, the organisation now known as Heart Kids.

    Event photos

    Image of ADCs Emma and Grace with Maia, the Heart Kids Bear

    Image of Elsa and Anna from 'Frozen' arriving

  • Visit to Waiouru for the 2018 New Zealand Commissioning Course Graduation Ceremony

    The sun shone for today's visit by helicopter to Waiouru, where 34 New Zealand officer cadets and 8 officer cadets from 5 other nations graduated from their commissioning course, and performed precision parade ground drills to the accompaniment of the Army Band. Friends and whanau were on hand to congratulate the new officers. We couldn't stay for the dinner and ball this evening, but it's sure to be a wonderful night of celebration.

    Speech transcript        Image Gallery

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David arriving in the jeep used by HM Queen Elizabeth in 1953
    an image of Dame Patsy inspecting the officer cadets
  • Canine Friends Pet Therapy

    Coco had competition for the affections of Dame Patsy and Sir David after a visit to Te Hopai Home and Hospital in Wellington this morning. They were there to observe the work of Canine Friends Pet Therapy, a volunteer organisation that takes dogs into hospitals and rest homes. Pet therapy has been found to be very valuable for older people and it was obvious that many of the residents had a strong bond with the therapy dogs.

    Star of the show was Jack, the well-trained Border Collie who did a skateboard demonstration for the residents and a rather impressed Dame Patsy and Sir David.

    More images

    Canine Friends Pet Therapy

    Image of a schnauzer mix dog, Lainey

    Image of Dame Patsy, Canine Friends volunteer Margaret Ranum and Lainey with Te Hopai resident Suzanne McCrea

  • Bold Steps Conference

    Yesterday Dame Patsy joined 800 plus women at the Bold Steps Conference in Auckland. The conference was initiated by women who are leaders in their field and provides the attendees with opportunities to hear inspiring advice about career progression and networking.

    Dame Patsy was a guest speaker, and noted that New Zealand has normalised having women in top positions. She spoke about the importance of respect for the people that we work with directly, of understanding oneself and what we are capable of doing, and remaining positive.  

    Image Gallery

  • Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand Reception

    Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand has been supporting individuals and families for 50 years. Tonight's reception at Government House acknowledged the tireless efforts of volunteers, medical personnel, researchers and families who have made a difference in the lives of people living with CF, which is the most common incurable disease in New Zealand, currently affecting over 500 children and adults. At tonight's reception, a memorial candle was lit alongside a book recording the names of New Zealanders who have lost their lives to CF. We wish CFNZ all the very best with its quest for a new meaning for CF - Cure Found.

    Image Gallery

    Speech transcript

    an image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the official party
    an image of Dame Patsy and Professor Bob Elliot
  • State Welcome for the President of the Republic of Korea

    Dame Patsy welcomed the President of the Republic of Korea, HE Moon Jae-In and his wife HE Kim Jung-sook to New Zealand during a ceremony at Government House in Auckland.

    Tropical rainstorms did not dampen the enthusiasm of the New Zealand Defence Force, who performed a stirring haka under cover of a marquee.

    After the welcome, an official call between Dame Patsy and President Moon took place, followed by a State Luncheon.

    More photos

    Image of the President of the Republic of Korea accepts the challenge

    Image of Dame Patsy with the President of the Republic of Korea HE Moon Jae-In and his wife HE Kim Jung-Sook

  • Sir George Elliot Scholarships - 20th Anniversary

    In 1999 the Sir George Elliot Charitable Trust launched the Elliot Scholarships. Each year since then, the Trust has awarded three scholarships worth $25,000 to students who fit the criteria of being academically successful, with future leadership potential and who have faced challenges in their personal or family circumstances.

    The three 2018 scholars Matthew Manukuo, Nicole White and Jennifer Thonrithi were presented with their awards at a special dinner, with guests including Elliot Scholarship alumni.

    Event photos

    Information on the Sir George Elliot Trust 

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with the 2018 scholars Matthew Manukuo,Nicole White and Jennifer Thonrithi


  • Suffrage 125 morning tea

    Today marks the 125th anniversary of the first general election in New Zealand where women were able to cast their vote. Dame Patsy hosted a morning tea to mark the occasion and thank the staff from the Ministry of Women for their work organising Suffrage 125 this year. 

    Over 355 events marking Suffrage 125 took place in New Zealand during the commemoration period.

    More photos

    Image of Dame Patsy with Acting CE of the Ministry For Women, Helen Potiki and Suffrage 125 Project Manager, Kim Young

  • Credentials at Government House Wellington

    The rain fell and the wind blew but the scheduled credentials ceremonies at Government House continued regardless, although in a somewhat truncated form.

    Dame Patsy was delighted to receive the credentials of the envoys from Ukraine, Ghana, Mozambique, Mauritania, Malawi, Qatar and Slovenia. Welcome to New Zealand!

    Images from the morning ceremonies

    Images from the afternoon ceremonies

    an image of HE Mr Saad Abdullah Al Mahmoud Al Shareef, Ambassador for the State of Qatar accepting the challenge

    Image of HE Mr Dmytro Senik, Ambassador of Ukraine

  • New Zealand Film Commission 40th Anniversary

    Dame Patsy and Sir David were delighted to host a reception to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the New Zealand Film Commission at Government House in Wellington this evening.

    Dame Patsy and Sir David have close ties to the Commission having both served as Chair at various times.

    The guest list featured a notable roster of New Zealand's producing and directing talent, with Cliff Curtis adding a little bit of thespian star power (He also produces, mind you)

    Image gallery (Click on the individual photos for more info on some of the guests.)

    Dame Patsy's speech

    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with Bill Sheat, Annabelle Sheehan and Kerry Prendergast

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