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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • 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.

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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

  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 27 July 2020

    Today we recognised some of our netball coaching greats at Government House Auckland, with current Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua, DNZM, and former Silver Fern Margaret Forsyth, ONZM receiving their honours. Also invested was Dennis Marsh, MNZM, for services to music and fundraising, Professor Ineke Crezee, ONZM for services to interpreter and translator education, Susan Boland, MNZM for services to music and seniors and John Taylor, for services to the community, and Kim Robinson, MNZM, for services to the deaf community.

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    Dennis Marsh, Dame Patsy Reddy


  • Investiture for Professor Sir Bob Elliott

    Professor Sir Bob Elliott, of Auckland, KNZM for services to medical research

    Professor Sir Bob Elliott was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999 for his services to medical research.

    Sir Bob has been Medical Director of Living Cell Technologies (LCT) since 1999, which develops cell-based products to treat life threatening human diseases. He pioneered the transplantation of insulin-producing pig cells into humans to treat type-1 diabetes and oversaw the development of a joint venture with a Japanese commercialization partner for further development of DIABECELL in the United States and Japan. Most recently LCT has focused on developing cell therapies to treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. He co-founded and is a director of NZeno, which applies gene editing technology to New Zealand pigs to produce safe pig kidneys that are compatible for human transplantation. In 2011 he received the World Class New Zealander (Life Sciences) award recognising his achievements as an entrepreneur in life sciences, as a medical educator, and in patient care. He co-founded the Child Health Research Foundation in 1971, now known as Cure Kids, the largest funder of child health research outside the Government. His method for testing for Cystic Fibrosis in infants has been internationally adopted. In the early 1990s Sir Bob began researching A2 beta-casein in milk and its implications for Type 1 diabetes and heart disease, which informed the establishment of the A2 Milk Corporation.

  • Morning Tea for the Good Deed Group

    This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted members of the Good Deed Group, whose members are all immigrants from Iraq. They are proud Kiwis, dedicated to 'giving back to the community', and do so with initiatives to raise money for charities, ensure that children in low-decile schools have warm pyjamas, and provide food where it is needed, through the Eat My Lunch programme or at Ronald McDonald House.

    Dame Patsy was delighted to be presented with a depiction of the Hammurabi Code, an ancient Babylonian code of laws.

    Dame Patsy with members of the Good Deed Group
  • Investiture ceremony, Auckland 24 July 2020

    Radio and television icon Karyn Hay, ONZM was among the recipients during the investiture at Government House Auckland on the 24th of July. Hay was recognised for her contribution to broadcasting and the music industry. She is most known for her time hosting Radio with Pictures, where she became one of the first presenters on New Zealand television to speak with a distinctly Kiwi accent.

    Todays recipients were Ms Karyn Hay, ONZM, for services to broadcasting and the music industry; Mrs Sulieti Fieme’a Burrows, MNZM, for services to Tongan art and education; Mr Graeme North, MNZM, for services to architecture and natural building standards; Mr Don Scarlet, MNZM, for services to conservation; Reverend Eveni Lagaluga, QSM, for services to the Niuean community.

    Also recognised was Mrs Jenn Hooper, MNZM, for services to maternity care and people with disabilities.

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  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 23 July PM 2020

    Another great Kiwi Olympian was recognised this afternoon during the investiture ceremony at Government House Auckland, with Lauren Boyle recieving an MNZM for services to swimming. 

    She was recognised along with Mr Paul McGill, ONZM, for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Mrs Linley Myers, MNZM, for services to education; Mr Lui Ponifasio, QSM, for services to the Pacific community and Mrs Ane Ponifasio, QSM, for services to the Pacific community.

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    Lui Ponifasio Ane Ponifasio Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 23 July AM 2020

    This morning's investiture ceremony in Auckland saw recipients recognised for their contributions victim advocacy, athletics, the deafblind community among others. 

    The recipients recognised were the late Dame Yvette Corlett, DNZM, for services to athletics; Ms Ruth Money, MNZM, for services to victim advocacy; Mrs Lucy Whittingham, MNZM, for services to the deafblind community; The Reverend Glenys Davis, QSM and Mr Panapa Davis, QSM, for services to the community; Mr Harjit Singh, QSM, for services to the Indian community and seniors.

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    Ruth Money and Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 22 July PM 2020

    This afternoon's investituture ceremony at Government House Auckland recognised achievements in the entertainment industry, scientific research and some true pillars of their community. 

    Today's recipients were Mr John Barnett, CNZM, for services to film and television; Dr Anne Bardsley, MNZM, for services to science and the State; Mrs Jennifer Khan-Janif, MNZM, for services to refugee and migrant communities; Mrs Jaylene Ball, QSM, for services to Māori and the community; Mrs Shirley Frew, QSM, for services to textile crafts and the community.

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    Shirley Frew Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 22 July AM 2020

    Congratulations to this morning's investiture recipients recognised for their achievements in their communities and across the country. This morning we recognised Tony Carter, CNZM, for services to business governance; Bob Narev, ONZM, for services to the community and education; Julia Durkin, MNZM, for services to photography; Dr Aroha Harris, MNZM, for services to Māori and historical research; Professor Ngaire Kerse, MNZM, for services to seniors and health; Leonie Tisch, QSM, for services to health and the community.

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    Tony Carter Dame Patsy Reddy

  • Investiture Ceremony, Auckland 21 July 2020

    Today's investiture ceremony in Auckland followed the format of the Wellington investitures, with five honour recipients enjoying high tea with their family and friends. Congratulations to Mr Rob Campbell, of Auckland, CNZM for services to governance and business; Mr Gerben Cath, of Auckland, MNZM for services to the screen industry and education; Ms Pauline Stansfield, of Auckland, MNZM for services to people with disabilities; Barbara Dixon, of Auckland, QSM for services to the community, and Reverend Les Dixon, of Auckland, QSM for services to the community.

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    Mr Rob Campbell, of Auckland, CNZM for services to governance and business
  • Investiture Wellington Thursday 9 July 2020

    International choreographer and dancer Parris Goebel was one of nine recipients who received their insignia at an investiture ceremony at Government House today.

    As well as dance, today's recipients were recognised for their services to philanthropy, palliative care, fostering children and social work, Maori and broadcasting, music and music education, amputees and  and horticulture, community and music and the community

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    Image of Parris Goebel

  • Investiture Ceremony 8 July 2020

    This afternoon's investiture ceremony acknowledged the contributions of mountaineer Shaun Norman (ONZM); community health advocate Naomi Cowan (MNZM); senior citizens advocate Geoff Pearman (MNZM); clay-shooter Ewen Pirie (MNZM); Samoan rugby stalwart Ieti Tiatia (MNZM); the late Rex Kirk (QSM for services to the community and sport); and conservationist Barbara Stuart (QSM).

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    Mr Shaun Norman, of Twizel, ONZM for services to mountaineering, alpine safety and the community

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