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The Governor-General's blog

The official blog of the Governor-General of New Zealand

  • Message from HM Queen Elizabeth II

    Image of a message from HM Queen Elizabeth II April 6 2020
    The message reads:

    As people across New Zealand and the Commonwealth are experiencing unprecedented changes to their lives, concern for family and friends, and financial uncertainty, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I send my enduring thanks to those who continue to put the service of others above themselves, whether by staying at home, providing essential services, or by caring for the most vulnerable.

    It is through this sense of community, dedication and faith, that I am confident New Zealanders will rise to the challenge and overcome.

    Kia kaha, kia mãia, kia manawanui.

    I send my warmest good wishes to you all.


  • Message from Dame Patsy

    Like other New Zealanders, we are doing everything we can to support measures that will help contain COVID-19.
    My constitutional duties will continue, but all community engagements and events in my programme have been postponed.
    David and I are sad that we will not be able to help celebrate the service and dedication of outstanding New Zealanders at investiture ceremonies in April and May. These will be rescheduled for later in the year.
    We encourage everyone to help our nation get through this challenging time, by following the advice of the Government and its expert advisers, and by looking after yourselves and others in your community.
    Kia maia, kia manawanui, kia kaha.

  • The Governor-General's programme


    As a consequence of the Alert Level 4 restrictions announced today by the Prime Minister in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Dame Patsy’s public engagements have been cancelled. Her programme will be re-evaluated when the lockdown has been lifted. Dame Patsy will continue to fulfil her constitutional duties in the interim.


    DAme Patsy
  • Message from Dame Patsy

  • Government House Visitor Centre tour update

    All tours of Government House Wellington and Auckland are postponed until at least 14 April, 2020, when the tour programme will be reviewed again.

    If you have queries about tours later in the year, please email the Visitor Centre team

    Image of Visitor centre exterior Mar 2020


  • Electoral Commission - returning officers and registrars of electors

    Dame Patsy spoke at a training session for the Returning Officers and Registrars of Electors taking part in this year's General Elections. 

    Dame Patsy spoke about the Governor-General's role in New Zealand's democratic system and where it sits in the process of forming a Government under the MMP system.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy's speech

    Image of Dame Patsy with Chief Electoral officer, Alicia Wright and Deputy Chief Electoral officer, Mark Lawson
    Image of Dame Patsy with all the Returning Officers




  • Opening of Kaibosh Kapiti-Horowhenua

    Best wishes to the volunteers, sponsors and food donors supporting the new Kaibosh branch in Paraparaumu. When Dame Patsy opened the premises this evening, she noted how the organisation is a poster child for practical projects that promote sustainability. By redirecting excess food to people who need it, Kaibosh is helping to eliminate food waste and eradicate food poverty. In addition, because that food does not end up in landfills, Kaibosh is also limiting harmful CO2 emissions. Kaibosh is very dependent on volunteers from the community to collect, sort and distribute the food.

    Image Gallery

  • HM The Queen's Commonwealth Message

    On the 9th of March, Dame Patsy delivered Her Majesty The Queen's Commonwealth Message for Commonwealth Day. The theme for this year's Commonwealth Day was "Sustainable Future", a message reflected by Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard when he read out the Prime Minister's message. He spoke how technology is bringing the Commonwealth closer together than ever before, and the need for New Zealand to be kaitiaki (guardians) for our smaller Pacific Commonwealth neighbours in this environmental climate.

    Dame Patsy Reddy reading the Commonwealth Messsage

    Message from HM The Queen


    More photos 

    HM The Queen's Commonwealth Message as follows

    "On Commonwealth occasions, it is always inspiring to be reminded of the diversity of the people and countries that make up our worldwide family. We are made aware of the many associations and influences that combine through Commonwealth connection, helping us to imagine and deliver a common future.

    This is particularly striking when we see people from nations, large and small, gathering for the Commonwealth Games, for meetings of Commonwealth governments, and on Commonwealth Day. Such a blend of traditions serves to make us stronger, individually and collectively, by providing the ingredients needed for social, political and economic resilience.

    Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to see and hear how membership of the Commonwealth family means so much to those living in all parts of the world, often in places that are quite remote. Advances in technology and modern media have now enabled many more people to witness and enjoy - with remarkable immediacy - this experience of Commonwealth connection, in areas such as education, medicine and conservation.

    Looking to the future, this connectivity means we are also aware, perhaps as never before, that wherever we live, our choices and actions affect the well-being of people and communities living far away, and in very different circumstances. For many, this awareness awakens a desire to employ our planet’s natural resources with greater care, and it is encouraging to see how the countries of the Commonwealth continue to devise new ways of working together to achieve prosperity, whilst protecting our planet.

    As members of this very special community, on this Commonwealth Day, I hope that the people and countries of the Commonwealth will be inspired by all that we share, and move forward with fresh resolve to enhance the Commonwealth’s influence for good in our world.


  • Wellington International Pride Parade 2020

    Why paint the town red when you can paint it rainbow! The Capital put on a fantastic evening for the Wellington International Pride Parade, bringing together members of the LGBTQI+ community to show their pride and bring their aroha to the thousands lining the streets. Dame Patsy spoke of the recent political battles that have been won by the Rainbow community, such as gay marriage and homosexual law reform, and how we must all work together to continue positive change.

    The theme for this year’s parade was “Water: Dive Into your Pride” which saw organisations from Air NZ, the New Zealand Defence Force and everyone in between out in force to wave the rainbow flag and show their support for the LGBTQI+ community.

    More photos

    Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy with one of the hosts of Wellington International Pride Parade

  • Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care Awards 2020

    This morning, Dame Patsy and Sir David were delighted to shine a spotlight on some of the good people who open up their homes as foster carers to children who are neglected or abused. The annual Caring Families Aotearoa Excellence in Foster Care Awards recognise people whose patience, care and love help to provide structure and security to such children and set them on a path to a better future. As always, the citations of the 2020 recipients are inspirational. 

    Speech transcript                 Image Gallery

    2020 recipients of Excellence in Foster Care Awards with Their Excellencies
  • Order of New Zealand dinner Wellington 2020

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a dinner for members of the Order of New Zealand at Government House in Wellington.

    The ONZ is New Zealand's most senior honour and recognises "outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity".

    Among the guests - Professor Sir Lloyd Geering; Dame Malvina Major, the Rt Hon Helen Clark; Dame Margaret Bazley; Joy Cowley, Sir Ron Carter; Professor Sir Peter Gluckman; Ken Douglas; Jim Bolger; the Rt Hon Sir Kenneth Keith

    More information on the Order of New Zealand

    More images


    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with members of the Order of New Zealand

    Image of Dame Patsy


  • Launch of Koi Tu: Centre for Informed Futures

    How can we help society be more cohesive? How can we strengthen personal resilience to deal with rapid change? How can we make good decisions about our adoption of new technologies? How can we counter misinformation and make sure people can access information that they can trust? What kind of trade-offs are required if we are to live sustainably? These issues, identified by a panel of international experts as being critically important, are the research themes at the new Centre for Informed Futures, based at Auckland University, and working with New Zealand and international affiliates. The Director is Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, ONZ and the Deputy Director is Dr Anne Bardsley. Research will be multi-disciplinary and is intended to inform policy development. Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted the launch of Koi Tu at Government House Auckland this evening.

    Image Gallery

    Speech Transcript

  • Massey College of Creative Arts Hall of Fame ceremony

    Four of New Zealand's best were inducted into the Massey College of Creative Arts Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Government House this evening.

    The Hall of Fame celebrates graduates of the College who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand’s economy, reputation and national identity.

    Photographer Anne Noble, artist and educator the late Gordon Tovey, film editor Annie Collins and musician Jon Toogood were the 2020 inductees.

    The College also announced the establishment of the College of Creative Arts residencies fund, which will be used to support the College's existing arts residencies and new residencies in design, and music and creative media production. 

    Congratulations to all this evening's inductees.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Claire Robinson with the 2020 Coco-Massey Hall of Fame inductees


  • New Zealand Festival of the Arts lunch

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a lunch for some of the key figures behind the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, currently taking place in Wellington. Dame Patsy was delighted to welcome the three guest Festival curators Lemi Ponifasio, Laurie Anderson and Brett McKenzie along with a small group of artists and administrators.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Sir David with guests

  • Opening of the McKinnon Block, Scots College, Wellington

    Dame Patsy did the honours at the official opening of the new McKinnon Block at Wellington's Scots College this afternoon.

    The new block is the third major achievement in the school's recent change programme which has also included the admission of girls to the senior school and a curriculum overhaul.

    The McKinnon Block is named for former Scots College Headmaster and Wellington identity Ian McKinnon and wife Jenny.

    Highlights of the opening was the first ever performance of the Kairangi Chorale (the Scots College choir) and a waiata sung by the entire staff.

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    Image of Dame Patsy and Graham Yule unveiling the plaque

    Image of Scots College staff singing

  • Lunch for the Aotearoa Circle

    The Aotearoa Circle is attracting increasing numbers of leaders in the public and private sector who recognise the urgent need to address the wellbeing of our natural resources, while finding ways to pursue sustainable prosperity. Dame Patsy is Patron and hosted a meeting of Circle members in Auckland on Wednesday. We were inspired by their commitment to work together for change.We heard from visiting UK environmentalist, Sir Jonathon Porritt (son of a previous Governor-General, Sir Arthur Porritt) and received an update on Aotearoa Circle work-streams focussing on biodiversity, finance for sustainable business initiatives, and the marine environment.

    Their Excellencies with guests at the lunch for the Aotearoa Circle
    Dame Patsy and Sir Jonathon Porritt with a tree planted by his father, Governor-General Sir Arthur Porritt
  • Newtown Kindergarten Annual Picnic in Coronation Grove

    The sun came out to play when our friends from Newtown Kindergarten visited for a picnic in Coronation Grove at Government House, Wellington. The trees made for an excellent game of hide-and-seek for some, while others went hunting for cicada shells and sampled fruit from the orchard. It's a great opportunity for these inner city kids to explore and learn about nature in an area nearby. The Kindergarten has been visiting every year for nearly 20 years, it’s always a pleasure to have them stop by.

    More photos

    children assembling a wooden structure

  • Reception for State Services Commission Crown Entity Board Chairs

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for State Services Commission Crown Entity Board Chairs at Government House in Wellington this evening.

    Crown entities include an incredibly wide range of New Zealand institutions from universities and health boards to organisations like the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Independent Police Conduct Authority. As Dame Patsy said, crown entities represent a key point of contact with the government for many New Zealanders. They also account for over $40 billion of expenditure every year and collectively are the largest employer of state servants - a huge part of the New Zealand labour force.

    Dame Patsy thanked the board chairs and their organisations for their commitment to serving the public of New Zealand.

    Image gallery

  • Governor-General's XI v NZ Māori Schools

    Today, Dame Patsy and Sir David watched the Governor-General’s XI versus the NZ Māori Schoolboys and Schoolgirls at the Karori Cricket Club in Wellington. This is the second year the Governor-General’s XI has played the NZ Māori Schoolboys. As last years match was such a sucess, the 2020 game had the addition of three girl’s teams as well.

    While the Governor-General’s XI teams were mainly made up of promising Wellington cricketing talent, the NZ Māori Schools teams were nominated from Whangārei, Dunedin and everywhere in between.

    In the end, the NZ Māori Schoolgirls XI won both matches they played, and the Governor-General’s XI won by 69 runs over the NZ Māori Schoolboys.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy presents a badge to the cricket captains

  • Downtown Community Ministry’s 50th Birthday Reception

    This evening, Dame Patsy hosted a reception for the Downtown Community Ministry’s 50th Birthday. DCM has been a safe, supportive environment for rough sleepers in Wellington since 1969, providing essential services like mental health and medical care, financial advice and an outreach programme. Their ultimate goal is helping people in to stable accommodation and ensuring they are supported in their journey along the way.

    Both Dame Patsy and DCM Director Stephanie McIntyre praised the increased funding organisations such as their own have had to help end homelessness, but the major issue now is finding enough appropriate housing.

    The reception at Government House this evening brought together many of the people and organisations who have worked with DCM to help end homelessness in Wellington.

    More photos

    Dame Patsy's speech

    DCM website

    Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy and DCM Kaimahi Neavin Broughton

  • SheEO networking reception at Government House Auckland

    Dame Patsy hosted a networking reception for SheEO at Government House in Auckland. SheEO is a women-led inititative that raises investment capital and distributes it to women-led businesses in the form of interest-free loans. 

    Five ventures are chosen a year in each SheEO region, with the organisation having helped 63 businesses to further success since being founded in 2015.

    SheEo founder Vicki Saunders spoke of how difficult it can be for women-led businesses to attract financing and how this in turn leads to good ideas being wasted.

    Guests also heard from SheEo Venture leader Sue De Bievre, CEO of Beany who spoke of the importance tof SheEO support for the growth of her company.

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking at the SheEO function

  • Hidden Government House

    While visitors to Government House Wellington are treated to familiar sites like the ballroom or the reflection pool, a wander off the beaten track can uncover something unexpected. Click through to see some of our lesser-known areas.

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    Image of old stairs in the Government House grounds

    Image contains a brick wall with a wooden gate

  • Pūkaha return

    Today Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the ceremony to mark the return of Pūkaha Reserve to Rangitāne, as part of the iwi's Treaty of Waitangi settlement.

    As representative of the Queen of New Zealand, Dame Patsy spoke about the beginning of a new chapter for Rangitāne. During the ceremony, Dame Patsy wore a korowai, incorporating weka and kiwi feathers. Woven by Rose Bittle, the cloak took three years to complete.

    After Dame Patsy spoke, the korowai was handed to Jason Kerehi, Chairperson, Rangitāne Tū Mai Rā Trust and from him to each succeeding speaker. The korowai will be permanently displayed in the Pūkaha Visitor Centre.

    Today's ceremony marks the beginning of a year of celebration for Rangitāne. 12 months from now, they will officially gift Pūkaha to the people of New Zealand

    More images

    Dame Patsy's speech

    Image of Dame Patsy speaking

  • Ward Kamo - Waitangi Day MC

    Following Dame Patsy's Waitangi Day address, MC Ward Kamo made a few observations about Waitangi Day. Here's what he said:

    On this day 180 years ago, one of the founding documents of this nation, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

    I want to take a moment to consider the lead up to that signing. 

    After finishing his observation of the transit of Venus in 1769, Captain Cook opened secret instructions from the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. 

    The instructions noted that he was to ‘fall in with the eastern side of the land discovered by Tasman now called New Zealand’ – Cook knew he was coming to NZ so there was nothing to discover.

    Cook was instructed “with the consent of the Natives, to take possession of …. The country in the name of the King of Great Britain.”

    I want to take a moment to reflect on the words ‘with the consent of the Natives’. 

    That term is illustrative of how Native peoples were really thought of.  Fully capable of interacting and making agreements with Crown.  This is a wonderfully enlightened view.

    Not 70 years later, Lord Normanby instructed Captain William Hobson to make a treaty with Maori to enable Great Britain to take possession of New Zealand.

    His instruction included these amazing thoughts:

    “The natives may probably regard with distrust a proposal which may carry on the face of it the appearance of humiliation on their side and of a formidable encroachment on ours.

    These, however, are impediments to be gradually overcome by the exercise on your part of mildness, justice and perfect sincerity in your intercourse with them.”

    Justice and perfect sincerity.  I love those terms.

    Because despite ructions in the relationship, the late 20th century and the last two decades we are in have seen these terms ‘justice and perfect sincerity’ came to the forefront.  We live in good times.

  • Waitangi Day 2020 - Reception at Government House

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for around 1800 New Zealanders at Government House in Wellington. The sun shone and the sun screen tent was kept busy. The Government House chefs offered up a showcase of our best food and drink and guests were entertained by the Royal New Zealand Air Force band.

    The message of Dame Patsy's Waitangi day address, about our joint responsibility for creating a better New Zealand using the principles of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga, struck a chord with many.

    Dame Patsy's speech

    Images of the reception

  • Message from HM The Queen on Waitangi Day

  • Waitangi 2020, Day Three

    A very eventful day, beginning with the opening of Te Rau Aroha - the gift of love-a new museum on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is dedicated to the story of Maori service in armed conflict since 1840, in New Zealand and overseas. Cutting the ribbon was a group effort, shared between Dame Patsy, the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Bob Gillies (one of the two remaining 28 Maori Battalion members) and Willie Apiata, VC. We had the briefest of tours of what appears to be a very impressive museum.

    Speech transcript                                   Image Gallery

    Next it was over to Russell, where visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps were hosted by Dame Patsy and Sir David.

    Speech transcript

    And finally this evening - a spectacular evening programme Te Rau Aroha, staged on the Treaty Grounds by the New Zealand Defence Force to celebrate the opening of the museum. A large crowd was treated to military parades, waiata, korero, and the wonderful musicianship of the New Zealand Army Band.


    Dame Patsy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Bob Gillies and Willie Apiata VC
  • Day Two, Waitangi 2020

    Today Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a promotion ceremony for 17 cadets of the Leadership Academy of 'A' Company, an educational institution in Whangarei. All the young men are affiliated with the men who served in 'A' Company of 28 (Maori) Battalion in the Second World War.

    A meeting with the members of the Waitangi National Trust Board followed. Dame Patsy is Patron, and her yearly meeting with the Board is an opportunity to hear about their plans for the future. The Board is charged with overseeing the care and development of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, its historic buildings and its museums.

    The day concluded with a reception hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy on HMNZS Wellington, at Opua. Dame Patsy and Sir David joined other guests in commemorating our Navy's long association with Waitangi.

  • Powhiri at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, 2020

    It was a perfect still morning at Waitangi Treaty Grounds when Dame Patsy and Sir David were welcomed back to Waitangi with a very moving powhiri. They were accompanied by Sir John Clarke as Kaumatua and Dr Hiria Hape as Kuia. The tangata whenua speakers, Isaiah Apiata, Hirini Henare and Waihoroi Shortland paid homage to Piri Sciascia, Dame Patsy's Kaumatua who recently died.

    Speech transcript

    Image Gallery

    Kaumatua Sir John Clarke leads the official party forward
  • Credentials Ceremony 29 January 2020

    Yesterday Dame Patsy received the diplomatic credentials of new Heads of Mission: HE Ms Nina Obermaier, Ambassador of the European Union; HE Dr Mohammad Reza Mofatteh, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran; HE Dr Abdulla Mausoom, Ambassador of the Republic of Maldives; HE Mr Henrik Cederin, Ambassador of Sweden; and HE Mrs Kersti Eesmaa, Ambassador of Estonia.

    Image Gallery

    HE Ms Nina Obermaier, the Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union
    HE Mrs Karati Eesmaa, Ambassador of Estonia with Dame Patsy Reddy
  • Roy Cowley special investiture

    Dame Patsy officiated at a special investiture for Roy Cowley, who received the insignia of an MNZM for his services to charity governance and the arts. Roy volunteered in governance roles for charity and the arts community in Wellington for more than 30 years and has been closely associated with The Cancer Society, the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts and the New Zealand School of Dance. Due to ill health, Roy is unable to attend a ceremony at Government House.
    Congratulations Roy and thank you for your valuable service to the community.

    Roy Cowley's Citation

    Your Excellency


    Mr Roy James Cowley, for services to charity governance and the arts

    Mr Roy Cowley has volunteered in governance roles for charity and the arts community for more than 30 years.

    Mr Cowley has contributed thousands of hours to advising the Cancer Society of New Zealand at a governance level for more than 20 years. He was elected Chairperson of the Wellington Division from 2006 to 2016 and represented the Division on the Society’s national board from 2011 until 2016. He guided the organisation during the expansion of its Supportive Care and Health Promotion Services and overall growth. He was granted Life Membership in 2016 and awarded the Meritorious Service Award in 2017, the Cancer Society’s highest award for volunteer service. He has also supported the growth of the arts in New Zealand as a trustee of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts from 1996 to 2010 and the New Zealand School of Dance from 1998 to 2004. He oversaw the evolution of the New Zealand International Festival into a permanent institution and assisted with transforming the Festival into a major contributor to the arts in New Zealand. Mr Cowley was also an independent advisor for more than 25 years to the Little Company of Mary in New Zealand, overseeing the financial management of the organisation’s healthcare facilities including the Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington.

    Image of Roy Cowley and Dame Patsy

  • Pacifica Mamas - Matairangi Mahi Toi reception

    Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception to mark the successful completion of the Pacifica Mamas' Matairangi Mahi Toi arts residency. On display was the magnificent ei (garland) and harakeke installation the Mamas worked on during their time at Government House in Wellington. The Matairangi Mahi Toi artist in residence programme is run in conjunction with the Massey University's College of Creative Arts.

    More images

    Image of Mama Mary Ama

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