Kia ora tātou katoa – greetings to you all.
I’m very pleased you could all be here for this Patronage reception. It’s a chance for me to thank you for the work you do and for the experiences you’ve given me over the past five years. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate your organisations and the service your people have given to New Zealand.
There are 175 organisations with Vice-regal patronage. My husband Jerry has 153, we jointly hold 9 and I have 13 of my own.
The process of selecting the patronages we would support was one of our first duties when we arrived at Government House. Patronage doesn’t carry over automatically from term to term. As many of you will know, organisations have to reapply every five years.
Jerry and I chose organisations we had an interest in, and those we thought were meaningful to New Zealanders. In my case, I have an interest in health and well-being, which I wanted to reflect in my patronages. I also wanted to continue the relationships forged by my predecessors. I’m happy that I was able to find a good balance between them.
As Patron, I have appreciated the insights I have gained about your operations and your people. I have enjoyed opportunities to attend your events, your meetings or to host you here at Government House. It hasn’t been possible to attend everything I’ve been invited to. In those instances, I’ve really appreciated the updates you’ve sent me.
I’ve also appreciated the support you and your organisations have given to me, particularly early on in our term. Your kindness was most welcoming and encouraging.
One of the things that’s impressed me most is the dedication and commitment of the many volunteers who support your organisations. It’s the people I’ve met who have made being a Patron special for me.
I have many special memories of my patronages. The Laura Fergusson Trust fundraisers at Government House were always good fun – if a little competitive!
It was also a pleasure to be able to host events for New Zealand Bowen Therapy and the New Zealand Council of Homeopaths. They are disciplines that I have studied, and my family has used these therapies.
The Pain Foundation is an organisation that I learned could improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.
I admire the skills and confidence of the girls and young women involved in GirlGuiding New Zealand and the same holds true for Girls Brigade. Enduring memories for me will be visiting two jamborees, and learning in Gisborne that I was, in their words, the first important visitor since Lady Baden-Powell in the 1940s!
My visit to Camp Purple Live with Crohns and Colitis New Zealand was a great day out, and proof that kids with a serious illness can have fun in an enthusiastic caring environment.
The Floral Art Society of New Zealand’s creativity and inventiveness were inspiring as was the Kapiti Vaulting Club’s acrobatic feats on horseback.
I enjoyed meeting the staff at Birthright New Zealand in Napier, and seeing their work first hand. I also enjoyed meeting the executive and members of the New Zealand Federation of Women’s Institutes, most recently here in Wellington when I opened the 95th AGM.
Rural Women New Zealand’s annual reports were a yearly highlight, and kept me up to date with what was happening. On my first event with them I was horrified to learn that I was on the same speaking card as the Prime Minister – no pressure!
I regret being unable to host the Orpheus Choir last year when Jerry was recuperating, although I understand the choir gave a stunning performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Orchestra Wellington last month. Finally, thank you to the Pan Pacific and Southeast Asia Women’s Association for your continued commitment to families, peace and understanding.
Once again, thank you all for your contribution, your service and the work you do. The opportunity to be part of your world over the last five years has been important for me in contributing to Jerry’s and my community leadership role. I wish you, your people and your organisations all the best in your future endeavours.
Please enjoy this reception and the opportunity to look around Government House this evening.