The centenary of Colin McCahon's birth is being marked by a series of events around New Zealand. Government House's reception last night was held 100 years to the day of his birth, and we were privileged to have three of his works on display.
In addition, three of our eminent artists, Dame Robin White, Shane Cotton, and Eve Armstrong spoke with great eloquence about the impact of McCahon's work as a painter, teacher, curator and writer on their own art practice.
Some of their own work was also temporarily on display, and a Shane Cotton painting, Whakapiri atu te whenua has been loaned by Te Papa for longer-term display in Government House's ballroom.
On 1 August, 1987, te Reo Maori became an official language of New Zealand. Today, 32 years later, Dame Patsy officially launched Te Wiki o te Reo Maori 2019 at the Wharewaka on Wellington's waterfront. Dame Patsy joined Pere Wihongi as Ambassadors for Maori Language Week this year, and fellow Ambassador, Guyon Espiner joined by video. Dame Tariana Turia and Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Maori Development helped Dame Patsy cut the celebration cake.
Preparations are now underway for another fantastic Te Wiki o te Reo Maori, from the 9th to the 15th of September. Kia kaha te reo Maori!
It was Rotorua's chance to shine with a stunning welcome at Te Papaiouru Marae. A particular highlight was the magnificent performances of the Rotorua Girls' and Boys' High School kapa haka group.
A tour of the carving and weaving schools at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia was next up, offering a fascinating look at wood and bone carving, brass casting and flax weaving.
The final event of Day Three was a community reception, again at Te Puia, with everyone relishing the opportunity to chat to Dame Patsy and Sir David as well as others from their community.
Dame Patsy was welcomed at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane this morning, where she got to grips with robotics in the Robopa, before seeing some demonstrations of the cutting edge tech being used to train nursing students. The demos at the nursing school included a very hands on resuscitation, with Dame Patsy helping out.
State of the at technology is key for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, whose aim is to provide education with a Maori focus. The Robopa travels around giving students the opportunity for hands-on work with robotics while the nursing school is the only one in New Zealand to give all students access to hololens technology
Later that day, Dame Patsy and Sir David had the chance to say thank you to the organisations they've visited so far at a special reception at the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building. We've loaded a few shots of the guests in our image gallery
The weather and the welcome couldn't have been warmer in Tauranga as Dame Patsy and Sir David began a four day visit to the Bay of Plenty region.
The powhiri for Dame Patsy took place at Huria Marae, which had speacial meaning for her due to her work as Chief Crown Negotiator for Treaty Settlements. Dame Patsy paid tribute to the people she had worked with, some of whom had since passed on and also introduced Sir David to the iwi of Tauranga Moana for the first time.
Event two was the opening of The Kollective, a co-working space targeting not-for-profit and social enterprises. The building's environmental and design consciousness has seen the use of innovative ways of dampening noise and new tools like toner recoverable photocopiers.
The last stop of the day was the new headquarters of the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service. An institution at The Mount, the service had outgrown it's previous premises. The new building looks set to see them past their 90th anniversary this year and well into a century of saving lives.
On Wednesday night this week, the Himalayan Trust hosted a gala dinner to mark the centenary of Sir Edmund Hillary's birth. The Trust was founded by Sir Ed in the 1960s and has focussed on providing education, health care and infrastructure to remote regions in Nepal. Sir Ed was able to capitalise on his fame as the conqueror of Everest and his Antarctic exploits to raise funds for the Trust's projects, which have transformed the lives of generations of Nepalese people. Dame Patsy, Peter Hillary and Sir Ranulph Fiennes spoke at the dinner.
Dame Patsy has supported Te Te Huringa o Te Tai o Nga Wahine, a programme for Maori girls in Otara, for the last three years, but this is the first time the girls, the volunteers, committee members and Police mentors have come to Government House. Today's afternoon tea was a chance to hear from the 2019 wahine about what the programme is achieving for them. We wish them every success as they pursue their dreams for the future.
Dame Patsy visited GridAKL in the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct this afternoon to see how ATEED, Auckland's economic development agency is facilitating innovation, sustainability measures, and start-ups.
We saw how the shared spaces of start-ups encourage multiple joint projects, and heard about the expansion of the screen sector, where there are several major projects in the pipeline.
Spark's 5G lab gave a taster of the exciting possibilities afforded by 5G technology.
Last night's reception for NZ On Air celebrated its role in bringing New Zealand culture to our screens and airwaves over the last 30 years. A montage of television programmes and films reminded us of the huge range of content that their unique funding model has made possible, and the stellar performances by the evening's Supergroup of Che Fu, Nathan King, Julia Deans, Jason Kerrison, Laughton Kora, Jason Faafoi and Hon Kris Faafoi affirmed the role that NZ On Air has played in the careers of New Zealanders working in the cultural sector.
Leaders of public sector agencies, NGOs and the private sector have come together as partners to form the Aotearoa Circle, which will address critical sustainability issues in Aotearoa New Zealand.
It's an exciting opportunity to combine cross-sector expertise and resources to find lasting solutions to the decline in our natural capital. Today's hui at Government House was an opportunity to share ideas about some of the Aotearoa's domains of interest: sustainable finance, land and soil, fresh water, climate change, biodiversity and the marine environment.
The hui welcomed four new partners. We wish the Aotearoa Circle all the very best with the upcoming work-plans.
Three inspiring speakers, expressing three very different perspectives on the topics of diversity and inclusion captivated tonight's guests at a dinner in celebration of diversity in 21st century New Zealand.
Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt reflected on the work still to be done to address racism, discrimination and the gap between rich and poor, noting that some of our citizens have yet to achieve the rights identified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Elisha Watson, founder of Nisa Clothing, spoke about the huge challenges refugee women encounter when it comes to finding employment, and Mika spoke about the journey to inclusion for members of the LGBTQ community, disenfranchised youth and people with mental health issues.
Dame Patsy invited her guests to consider how they could become allies for diversity.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the members of the Halberg Foundation Youth Council at a morning tea at Government House in Wellington. The ten-member Council is a voice for youth with physical disabilites and were in Wellington for meetings and training.
Council member Kiran Dixon spoke of the need to "pave a way to the future where the world is inclusive. By working together we can ensure the world is better for the next generation so they don't have to face the same challenges."
"I stand as one. I come as many" was the refrain in presentations about the impact of global warming in the Pacific at the KiMuaNZ reception this evening. Young men and women, some from Aotearoa, but mainly from other Pacific Islands (Tonga, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Niue, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tokelau, and the Solomon Islands) have spent three days in a workshop organised by the McGuiness Institute, in conjunction with Treasury.
Their calls for action were impassioned, as they spoke about what the possible loss of their homelands to rising sea levels would mean for the survival of their cultures and languages.
Dame Patsy officiated at the swearing-in of new Minister, Hon Poto Williams at Government House in Wellington. Minister Williams is the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and is also Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Immigration and Social Development.
Rugby players taking part in the 93rd Quadrangular Tournament visited Government House today. Wellington College, Wanganui Collegiate, Nelson College and Christ's College First XV teams take part in the tournament every year, and when it is staged in Wellington, the players traditionally visit Government House for afternoon tea and a tour of the House.
Dame Patsy was on ribbon-cutting duties at the new Dark Sky Experience attraction in Takapō. A joint venture between Ngāi Tahu Tourism and astrotourism pioneers Graeme Murray and Hide Ozawa, the experience combines the science of the night skies with Maori star lore.
Later that evening, Dame Patsy visited the Mt John Observatory for a lesson in the stars of the Southern sky and the work being done there by the University of Canterbury.
Okains Bay Museum is located in a remote bay on Banks Peninsula. It was developed over many years by a keen collector of Maori and colonial artefacts, Murray Thacker. The Museum is now administered by a Trust, with the goal of curating the collection in such a way that it can tell the story of Maori and Pakeha settlement in the region.
The collection is justly considered to be of national significance, and it would take hours to view it all and visit the numerous buildings located at the Museum site.
It was an absolute privilege to see such a stunning collection on display, and we wish the Trustees and Manager Ian Day all the very best with their ambitious plans to take the museum to the next level of presentation and conservation.
This morning Dame Patsy received a warm welcome at the Linwood Islamic Centre, where she met members of Christchurch's Muslim community. She expressed her sincere condolences for their loss, and welcomed the opportunity to hear how local families are faring, discuss outreach into the wider community, and to learn about their plans for the future.
Three new diplomatic envoys presented their credentials to Dame Patsy this morning: HE Mr Mark Holowesko, the High Commissioner of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; HE Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, the Apostolic Nuncio; and HE Professor Joyce Kakuramatsi Kikafunda, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda.
Fourteen young New Zealanders have been chosen from their peers to receive this year's New Zealand Youth Awards. They are making a positive impact in diverse areas, including youth participation, social inclusion and environmental remediation and protection.
Today, they are all in Wellington for a visit to national institutions of government, including Government House. They certainly impressed us with their dedication, humanity and aroha, and wish them all the best with their future goals.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a fundraising dinner for the Red Cross to mark World Refugee Day. The food was based on the organisation's "Taste of Cultures' cookbook, which gathered together recipes and stories from former refugees now living in New Zealand. The dinner was cooked by guest chefs Pratheepan Neruraya from Sri Lanka; Veronica Montane from Chile and Hajar Masraeh from Iran, working alongside the Government House chefs.
Every year in New Zealand, one in three girls, one in six boys and one in two disabled people experience some form of sexual abuse. For Maori girls and women, the likelihood of sexual violence is twice as high as the general population. The LBGTQI+ community is even more at risk.
Last night's reception for Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP! Foundation at Government House brought together people who are determined to both help the victims of sexual abuse and bring about the social change required to eliminate this terrible scourge in our communities.
Their commitment, courage and aroha was inspirational and we wish them every success with their mission.
Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Zealandia, an eco-sanctuary in the suburb of Karori in Wellington. Zealandia's 500-year vision is to restore a Wellington valley’s forest and freshwater ecosystems to their pre-human state. So far, Zealandia has reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife back into the area, some of which were previously absent from mainland New Zealand for over 100 years.
Zealandia's success has seen a rise in native birds across Wellington.The 'halo effect' has even seen kaka make their home in the Government House gardens.
Members of the Muslim community celebrated the official opening of Iqra Elementary School's new premises in Auckland today. We were impressed by the children's and staff's use of English, Te Reo Maori and Arabic. Congratulations to all the people who have worked so hard to bring their vision of the school to reality, and we wish Principal Fatima Zaheed and her staff all the very best in the years ahead.
Sir David stood in for Dame Patsy at the launch of not for profit organisation Spend My Super at Government House in Auckland this evening.
The brainchild of former social worker Liz Grieve, Spend My Super encourages New Zealanders to donate all or part of their superannuation to support great New Zealand charities including Pillars, which helps children affected by having a parent in prison; Child Poverty Action group and KidsCan.
Dame Patsy represented New Zealand at the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day at Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. As well as attending the official ceremony, she had the opportunity to meet with leaders of 15 other nations as well as Her Majesty the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
Later, she attended a special lunch for D-Day veterans.
Otago University, our oldest university, is celebrating 150 years this year. It took just 29 years from the arrival of the first Scots settlers till the University was opened in 1869. It now has over 20,000 students and as Dame Patsy said, is the beating heart of Dunedin.
Today Dame Patsy attended a special convocation ceremony, where Honorary Doctor of Law degrees were conferred on Emeritus Professor Atholl Anderson, Dr Viopapa Annandale-Atherton, Sir Bill English and Brigid Inder.
A spectacular fireworks display in the early evening was followed by a celebration dinner in the Town Hall.
Te Runanga o Otakou Marae is situated in a spectacular setting near the mouth of Otago Harbour. It was there that two Ngai Tahu chiefs signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi in June 1840. Next to the wharenui there is a church built in 1940 to mark the centenary of the Treaty signing.
During today's visit to the marae, Kaumatua Edward Ellison and Dame Patsy both spoke about the connections forged between Ngai Tahu and the Crown that persist to this day.
We were privileged to be entertained with a series of waiata performed in impeccable style by students from Kings High School and Queens High School.
Protection of the natural world and innovative research was a strong theme in today's visits to the Otago Museum and the Royal Albatross Centre at Taiaroa Head. The impact of global heating on Antarctica, and subsequent sea rise was the subject of an extremely informative film screened at the Museum's planetarium, and it was a delight to be able to see multi-coloured tropical butterflies in the rainforest.
The years of research into the life-cycles of albatrosses and predator control have certainly paid off at Taiaroa Head. Other threatened species of seabirds have also found a haven there, including shags, gulls, spoonbills, penguins and herons. Seals, sea-lions and elephant seals have also flourished in the wildlife sanctuary.