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Speech

Swearing-in Ceremony

Issue date: 
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Speaker: 
The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

Ko tēnei korowai, a Tuakana, he tohu Arohanui mai. Māku tēnei hōnore, e whakautu atu, ki tōku aroha ki te motu.

E te Iwi Whānui o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātau katoa.

[This cloak Tuakana is a kind gesture of Love and Goodwill/Aroha. I shall endeavour te repay this kindness with my Love and Goodwill/Aroha to the nation. To you the People of Aotearoa, greetings, indeed greetings to us all.]

Prime Minister, Mr Speaker, Chief Justice members of the Executive Council and members of the New Zealand Parliament, Dean and members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives of the Realm of New Zealand, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen: kia ora koutou katoa.

Prime Minister, thank you for your words of welcome and the confidence you have expressed in me.

When the Prime Minister first asked me if I would consider being New Zealand’s 21st Governor-General, he pointed out that the role would provide me with a unique opportunity to make a worthwhile and lasting contribution to New Zealand and the lives of New Zealanders.  That was a challenge that I could not easily ignore.  So I reflected on how I could best serve my country in this role. 

Sometimes opportunities in life present themselves easily. 

Sometimes they must be actively pursued, to be hard-fought and won. 

And sometimes opportunities are hidden inside challenges.  Rising to such challenges can make us proud to be New Zealanders.

I considered the qualities and contributions of my predecessors – in particular, Dame Cath Tizard and Dame Silvia Cartwright – two inspirational women I would wish to emulate, in my own way.

Dame Cath and Dame Silvia challenged norms and expectations by stepping into public leadership roles at a time when women were not easily accepted as leaders. Their success helped shape a world where young women and men can forge a path in whatever career they choose.

Like every Governor-General before me, I bring a unique set of skills, experience and knowledge from my own upbringing and career, which has spanned both the private and public sectors, and this has helped me determine a pathway by which I hope to make a lasting contribution.

Four themes will underpin my activities as Governor-General over the next five years: creativity, innovation, leadership and diversity. I believe that they will be key drivers of a strong, successful and vibrant country in the years ahead.

Creativity in all forms inspires and nourishes the wairua within us. It is what identifies us as New Zealanders.  It connects us with our tipuna and our cultural traditions.  And it feeds into the innovation that we need to succeed as a forward-looking, 21st century nation that can contribute and prosper in ways that are environmentally sustainable.

I want to showcase and celebrate the energy, talent and commitment of New Zealanders who are exploring new ways of doing things – whether it be in the arts – or in areas as diverse as medicine, education, science, sport, tourism, conservation, agriculture and the digital realm.

Leadership, to me, is about unleashing the potential that exists within us – individually and collectively. 

As Governor-General, I can play my part by acknowledging success and achievements, and by championing those who are prepared to assume leadership roles – whether at school, community, local or central government, in the public or private sector. 

I want to encourage greater diversity within our leadership, drawing on the experience of all those who have chosen to make New Zealand their home, from tangata whenua through to our most recent arrivals from all parts of the world.

We have an extraordinary opportunity to maximise that human potential.

Above all, I want to fulfil the expectations New Zealanders have of their Governors-General as I undertake this unique and complex role.

It will be my privilege, as representative of our Head of State, Her Majesty the Queen of New Zealand, to perform formal constitutional functions, thereby ensuring stability for our democratic institutions. 

I will respect and honour the unique partnership between the Crown and Māori, as enshrined in our founding document, Tē Tiriti o Waitangi.

I will embrace the opportunities to meet New Zealanders from all walks of life, whether they be in isolated rural communities or multicultural urban centres.

I will welcome opportunities to encourage, acknowledge and inspire success, leadership, achievement and service to others.

I will represent my fellow citizens when we celebrate good times, and will be there when we gather to mourn – and to commemorate important moments in our history.

I will travel to the wider Realm of New Zealand, including the Cook Islands, Niuē and Tokelau, in support of our longstanding ties and responsibilities.

And I will be proud to be an international representative for New Zealand, contributing in any way I can to our reputation as a respected member of the global community.

I take on this opportunity with some trepidation – but also with enthusiasm and commitment. 

In the lead up to today – as in all things – I have been supported by my husband David.  I am fortunate to have him by my side, as my support, confidant and adviser as I enter my five-year term. 

I am also grateful to my family, friends and colleagues who have encouraged and guided me as I have prepared for this role in the last six months. 

As I take up this role, I have valued the wise counsel of previous Governors-General and their spouses, including especially Sir Jerry and Lady Janine Mateparae, who served New Zealand with such mana and grace.  I thank Sir Jerry and Lady Janine for their kindness and encouragement to David and me. 

And so, I look forward to the new opportunities ahead, to uphold our constitutional framework, and to serve the Queen of New Zealand, our nation, and my fellow New Zealanders in the best way I can.

Thank you.

No reira tēnā tātau katoa.

Last updated: 
Wednesday, 28 September 2016

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