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Hosting the Governor-General

On arrival

The senior representative of the hosting organisation should meet Their Excellencies on arrival. A contact telephone number should be provided in advance so that the hosting organisation can be alerted to the Governor-General's imminent arrival. Details of the event, background information and who the Governor-General will be meeting should be provided in advance.

At the venue

For the Vice-regal party and the hosts to gain the most from the visit, Government House recommends that Their Excellencies be escorted by a host representative during the visit. This will ensure that the appropriate introductions are made, and that details of the occasion are explained to them. Their Excellencies like to engage in conversation and would value the host representative's assistance in meeting as many people as time permits.

Arrangements for seating

As the Queen's representative, the Governor-General and spouse are always seated in a place of honour.

  • For a dinner setting, the Governor-General is seated at the top table.
  • On a marae or in a hall, the Governor-General is seated in the first row, under the mahau of a whare or similar position of honour.

The Governor-General is always accompanied by an Aide-de-Camp (a New Zealand Defence Force Officer) and at times the Official Secretary. The officers should be seated close to the Governor-General at all times. The Governor-General may also be accompanied by other members of the Vice-regal household and security personnel from the Diplomatic Protection Squad. Details of who these persons are will be provided in advance.

Powhiri

If the Governor-General is to receive a powhiri, agreement should be reached well beforehand on the duration of the powhiri and the seating requirements for Her Excellency or Their Excellencies and the Official Party.

Speaking engagements

If the Governor-General speaks at a lunch or dinner engagement, she prefers to speak either between the entrée and main course, or between main course and dessert, but not after dessert.

When the Governor-General delivers a speech at an event, her preference is to read from a well-lit lectern. It would be helpful to know if a microphone will be in place. Cell phones are to be switched off. Any themes or acknowledgements to be included in the speech should be advised well in advance.

Title and greetings

The Governor-General's correct title for use on plaques, invitations or for general information purposes is:

Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO
Governor-General of New Zealand

Please note, the wording for all plaques must be approved by Government House.

The Governor-General and Sir David Gascoigne should be addressed initially as "Your Excellency" or "Your Excellencies", and referred to as "Her Excellency" or "His Excellency".

When introducing Their Excellencies formally in a speech, the correct form is "Your Excellencies, The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne".

Thereafter, they can be addressed as "The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne". When introducing them in conversation, they should be introduced as "The Governor-General The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy" and "Sir David Gascoigne."

A handshake, rather than a curtsy or bowing, is the common and accepted form of greeting when meeting the Governor-General.

Accommodation, security and transport

Accommodation, security and transport arrangements for visits are the responsibility of Government House. There is no need for the host organisation to advise local police of a visit or to book hotel rooms or cars for the Vice-regal party. The Governor-General may be accompanied by security personnel who should be seated or located as close to the Governor-General as possible.

Government House does not automatically provide local members of Parliament or local body authorities with details of the Governor-General's itineraries for official visits.

The Governor-General's official party

The Governor-General will usually be accompanied by an Aide-de-Camp, a junior military officer. HisExcellency may also attend, as may the Official Secretary of Government House. The composition of the Governor-General's party will always be advised in advance.

Anthems

If the National Anthem is to be played, God Defend New Zealand, is appropriate. It should not be played while the Vice-regal party is moving to or from their seats. When the National Anthem is played, everybody should be standing still and not talking.

Dietary requirements

Please contact Government House to discuss dietary requirements for Their Excellencies.

Dress

Government House must be advised of the appropriate dress for the occasion. Generally, it will either be Formal-black tie/evening dress short or long; Informal-lounge suit/day dress; or Casual-jacket and tie/day dress.

Medals and decorations

Unless it is specified that medals are to be worn, it is not required that they be worn to a function. However, if an honour has been received, and unless protocol dictates otherwise, it is appropriate that the decoration is worn at functions attended by the Governor-General. If medals are requested, miniatures should be worn.

Media

The Governor-General is comfortable with any media or photographers being present during a visit. The Government House Engagement and Communications team should be notified in advance where it is intended for media or a photographer to be present. Media releases that mention the Governor-General should be cleared with Government House prior to release.

Plaques

The wording for all plaques must be approved by Government House. Please contact the Government House Engagement and Communications team for more information.

Gifts

Government House receives many inquiries as to what is an appropriate gift for the Governor-General. This is entirely up to the host organisation. Normally, there is no expectation that a gift will be presented. However, if you were looking for ideas, the Governor-General would prefer to receive something modest that is representative of the place or region she is visiting.

Queries about events

For queries relating to the planning of the engagement, please contact the Diary Administrator, Tania Thornton, +64-4-382 0832 or email diary.admin@govthouse.govt.nz

For queries relating to speeches to be given by the Governor-General, or to obtain a photo or any media issues, please contact Team leader, Engagement and Communications, Nerina Bennett on +64-4-382 0827 or email nerina.bennett@govthouse.govt.nz

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