Festival of Colour – Wanaka

Source: New Zealand Governor General

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga iwi o te motu e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, warm greetings to you all.

Thank you for inviting me today. It’s a great pleasure to be here.

I have a strong belief in the power of the arts. It’s something that can inspire, transform, build connections between people, build personal and community wellbeing  – and then there’s the not inconsequential matter of entertainment and enjoyment.

So often we have public debate and discussion about the physical infrastructure of our communities –roads, water pipes, the electricity supply. We cannot forget that equally important is the infrastructure of the heart – the way the arts can affect our emotions and imagination or the way music or theatre or dance can bring beauty to our lives.  These things add greater meaning to our existence and make for a more vibrant and engaged community.

Certainly our country has been through a very turbulent time in the last fortnight. While the events of Christchurch will continue to reverberate for some time, events like this, that bring people together in celebration of shared artistic experience, allow us breathing space as we get to grips with what has happened.

My time here at the festival is short but I’m making the most of it. I’m very much looking forward to Jody Savall’s performance. It’s a thrill to see an artist of his stature live in concert.

Following that I will be attending a rehearsal of the student production “Permission to Speak”. It’s great to see the Festival giving a voice to young people as well as increasing youth arts participation with its programme creative workshops across the region.

Then there’s the street theatre programme reaching out into the community. A marvelous opportunity for everyone to get out and get involved. It’s quite an achievement to encompass all age groups and all parts of the community in one programme.

I’m also pleased to see Aspiring Conversations exploring issues of real significance.  It is so important for us as a country to ensure we can discuss and debate issues in our communities in a positive and collaborative way.

Thank you Hetty and congratulations to you and the festival trust board for your work over the years in sustaining the Festival of Colour.I wish you every success and look forward to coming back again, next time for longer.

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa


Christchurch National Remembrance Service

Source: New Zealand Governor General

E nga mana nui, e nga iwi maha, e nga whanau morehu,

tena koutou katoa.

Haere mai tatau katoa, kia rupeke ai te kupu whakahauora.

As salaam Aleikum

I come here today to convey love and messages of condolence and support from our Queen, from leaders of nations around the world and from our fellow New Zealanders:

to the widowed,
to the fatherless and motherless,
to the injured,
to the bereaved families 
to our Muslim communities and the people of Christchurch.

Although the depth of your grief and sorrow is unimaginable, we all shed tears for your pain and loss.

As we all search for a way forward from that grief, history reminds us of what can happen if good people stand by and allow evil to flourish.

We are at such a point in our history.

Our best weapons against the senseless and vile politics of hate, are to be found within each and every one of us.

We face a renewed moral challenge to do what we can to foster an inclusive sense of community, where all are treated with decency and respect.

Communities where people do not suffer discrimination because of where they come from, their gender, their language, the clothes they wear, or their religious beliefs.

Communities where our cultural differences are considered part of everyday life, and are seen as something to be celebrated.

With tolerance, kindness, respect, and understanding we can and will defeat poisonous malice that seeks to divide us.

But only if we also have the courage to acknowledge and to call out discrimination and racism whenever we see it. 

Silence is not enough.  It condones the thinking that can encourage everything from casual acts of racism to acts of violence.

When more of us stand up to confront lazy assumptions, prejudice, and wilful ignorance, the easier it will be to drive away such unacceptable behaviour.

In the last fortnight, New Zealanders have responded to this challenge. We have seen a new determination to stem the tide of hate, along with acts of great courage and humanity.

This was evident in the extraordinary courage shown by worshippers, bystanders and first responders at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques.

It was evident in the tireless efforts of the medical staff who cared for the wounded.

It’s been there in the manaakitanga and aroha expressed by our citizens, all around our country.

In this terrible time of grief, we have been brought closer together.  And we have affirmed values that are so important to us: tolerance, kindness and compassion.

By keeping that faith, we can honour the memory of those who lost their lives.  We can support the survivors on the long road to recovery, and we can all seek to ensure that such evil does not take root and flourish in our midst again.

I will finish with a whakatauki – a Maori proverb:

He hau matao ka tokia te kiri

Ma te arohanui, ka ora ano

A cold wind chills us,

love and goodwill restores us.

Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui, huihui tātou katoa.


Dinner for Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence

Source: New Zealand Governor General

Rau rangatira mā, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou. Kia ora tātou katoa.

Nau mai haere mai ki Te Whare Kawana.

Distinguished guests, warm greetings to you all.

Welcome to Government House.

And I offer a special welcome to Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

You’ll forgive us if our thoughts drift elsewhere at times this evening, as it’s not yet a week since the dreadful events in Christchurch and we are all bearing that pain.

It’s at times like these that priorities shift into sharper focus.

We take strength from our friends and we reflect on what’s truly important to us.

Just last week, we celebrated Commonwealth Day at here at our Parliament Buildings, along with people from some of the 53 Commonwealth Nations.

Consistent themes came through – about a common heritage, about shared values and goals, and a desire to maintain those ties into the future.

The Commonwealth heritage we share includes our experiences of armed conflict, particularly in the First and Second World War.

Of the over 30,000 New Zealanders who died on operational service of our country in the 20th Century, the vast majority served in those two wars.

Their remains lie on foreign soil, on the other side of the world.

We have consigned their care to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  And its cemeteries have become sites of pilgrimage for generations of New Zealanders.

They’ve made the long journey to pay personal homage, whether it be in North African deserts, on the shores of secluded bays in Crete, on rugged Gallipoli hillsides, or on the rolling fields of Flanders.

They’ve sought out the graves of their forebears, and placed poppies at the foot of headstones and Memorials to the Missing.

They’ve found some solace in the care bestowed on the graves and gardens.

The First World War centennial commemorations have encouraged more New Zealanders to become involved in finding out about their ancestors’ war service – and I can count myself amongst them.

I was able to visit the grave of my great uncle Thomas Reddy in Berks Cemetery Extension when we attended the WW100 commemoration of the Battle of Messines in June 2017.

I recently discovered that another Great Uncle, Archibald McNeil, died in action in the Somme in 1918 and is buried at Knightsbridge Cemetery. 

I also have an Uncle buried at El Alamein War Cemetery.   I hope I will be able to visit that site one day too.

I think almost every family whose forbears were living in New Zealand at the time would have similar stories.

So, Sir Tim, my message is that the Commission’s work continues to be valued by many thousands of New Zealanders, and we are very thankful for the care you take of our war dead.

Once again, welcome to New Zealand.

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa, I hope you enjoy the evening.


Wellington Vigil for Christchurch

Source: New Zealand Governor General

E nga iwi e pae nei, tena koutou.

Tena tatau i nga mahi tukino o te wa.

Haere mai, tatau katoa, i te wa pouri nei.

My greetings to all gathered here.

I greet you acknowledging this troubled time.

I welcome you all, together we feel the same sorrow.

Like all of you, I watched with horror on Friday as the events in Christchurch unfolded.  An act of hatred, perpetrated on groups of innocent people in their places of worship, has brought the sickening reality of terrorism and violence to our country.

On Friday, we saw the very worst aspects of humanity – intolerance, malevolence and bigotry –  enacted with fatal results. 50 lives snuffed out, others changed irrevocably.

We will grieve forever.

But love exists to drive out hate, and the outpouring of support and solidarity for the victims, and for our Muslim communities, has demonstrated the very best of human nature.

This weekend, I have received many messages from world leaders expressing their sympathies and support.

  • HM The Queen talked of her deep sadness.
  • The Prince of Wales called it an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community.
  • King Abdullah of Jordan has offered us his full support and he noted that this heinous crime would serve to unite us against extremism, hatred and terrorism, which know no religion.

The Queen and The Prince of Wales also mentioned the first responders – the frontline staff dealing directly with the attacks and its aftermath.  I echo their sentiments.

The New Zealand Police, the St John paramedics  and the Christchurch hospital staff all showed immense courage and professionalism in a dangerous and uncertain situation. They are to be commended for their actions.

At a time like this, words seem inadequate.  Nothing we do or say now will change what has happened.

What we can do is go forward with a determination that hatred must not be allowed to flourish.  We should not allow the acts of one person define our nation.

Tonight, we cherish the memory of those who died and stand in solidarity with their loved ones.

We resolve to confront extremism, whenever and wherever we see it.

For all of us here this evening, this is our moment to show that tolerance, mutual respect and love can and will prevail.

Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manwanui, huihui tatou katoa


Message from the Governor-General

Source: New Zealand Governor General

Statement released by Dame Patsy following the Christchurch mosque shootings:

Today’s tragic events in Christchurch have shocked all New Zealanders.

Our hearts go out to the people of Christchurch, especially the people directly affected by this afternoon’s terrible violence. Our thoughts are with them, their families and friends. 

Now more than ever is the time to affirm the values that we hold dear – compassion, kindness and tolerance.

I have no doubt that all New Zealanders join with me in expressing their condolences and support

Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

Governor-General of New Zealand


2019 HM Queen Elizabeth’s Message on Commonwealth Day

Source: New Zealand Governor General

Commonwealth Day has a special significance this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the London Declaration, when nations of the Commonwealth agreed to move forward together as free and equal members.  The vision and sense of connection that inspired the signatories has stood the test of time, and the Commonwealth continues to grow, adapting to address contemporary needs.

Today, many millions of people around the world are drawn together because of the collective values shared by the Commonwealth. In April last year, I welcomed the leaders of our 53 nations to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and we all witnessed how the Commonwealth vision offers hope, and inspires us to find ways of protecting our planet, and our people.

We are able to look to the future with greater confidence and optimism as a result of the links that we share, and thanks to the networks of cooperation and mutual support to which we contribute, and on which we draw.  With enduring commitment through times of great change, successive generations have demonstrated that whilst the goodwill for which the Commonwealth is renowned may be intangible, its impact is very real.

We experience this as people of all backgrounds continue to find new ways of expressing through action the value of belonging in a connected Commonwealth. I hope and trust that many more will commit to doing so this Commonwealth Day.



Dilworth School

Source: New Zealand Governor General

Rau rangatira mā, e nga tamariki o tēnei kura, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou, kia ora tātou katoa.

Distinguished guests and students of the school gathered here today, greetings to you all.

Thank you for inviting me to share this special day with staff and students of Dilworth, past and present.

Governors-General welcome opportunities to celebrate remarkable New Zealanders who have done great things for their fellow citizens.

James and Isabella Dilworth were clearly such a people. Their dream of providing quality education to boys has transformed the lives of thousands of New Zealand men.

That precious gift of education has in turn strengthened their families and communities.

Of course, on International Women’s Day, I can’t help reflecting on how wonderful it would have been if the girls of New Zealand had had access to the same opportunities…but that’s another story for another day.

I am delighted to see that one of my predecessors in this role, Sir David Beattie, was honoured in the awards that bear his name.

Sir David’s career deserves a place in the Dilworth story. His education here was the springboard for an illustrious career in law, before he was appointed to the role of Governor-General.

It must have been very satisfying for him to know that the David Beattie Awards would enable other Dilworth old boys to further their careers through post-graduate study.

I think he would have been just as pleased – and maybe a bit envious – about these brand spanking new sports facilities for the junior school.

Sir David loved sport and he was involved in many sporting codes throughout his life.

And that enthusiasm probably started when he was running around the fields here at Dilworth.

For my part, you could say that education is in my genes – both of my parents were teachers.

I started my classroom experience earlier than most people – in fact it was as a baby, in the back of my mother’s classroom.

Sport is also in my genes, because my father refereed rugby and cricket and I went along with him to matches. I wasn’t particularly active in sports myself, but I still love going to watch test matches.

Dilworth’s fostering of the arts is also evident in successes like Fortissimo’s stunning performance at the Big Sing finals last year, and their second placing in the national competition.

Judging by the video of Fortissimo that I’ve seen, there were plenty of students who had what it takes to get the performing arts scholarship that will be awarded shortly.

A well-rounded education extends outside the classroom and year nine boys are very fortunate to spend a year at Mangatawhiri. It must be a fantastic learning experience.

Developing survival and leadership skills is incredibly valuable.

So too is developing a greater respect for our natural world and our precious flora and fauna.

At this time in our history, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge our impact on the environment and to take responsibility for conserving it.

To the current pupils of Dilworth – I wish you all the very best for the rest of your school days here.

Honour James and Isabella Dilworth’s memory by doing your family and teachers proud.

Work hard, play hard, and remember this whakatauki:

Manaaki whenua, manaaki tangata, haere whakamua

Care for the land, care for people, go forward.


International Women’s Day morning tea

Source: New Zealand Governor General

Wāhine mā, Kahurangi mā, tena tatau katoa.

Nau mai i tenei rā, mo nga Wāhine katoa, huri noa te Ao.

I’m pleased to welcome you all to Government House this morning as we join the many millions of people all around the world who will be celebrating the political, social, cultural and economic achievements of women today.

In previous years, International Women’s Day has been a day of frantic activity for me, flying between Auckland and Wellington and fitting in as many functions as I could.

It’s been fast paced and exhilarating, and through it all I’ve heard a lot of inspiring stories about the role of women in our society – where we are, where we’re going and what we want to achieve.

This year, I’ve decided to take on the role of host and facilitator. To me, Government House is the perfect place to bring together a group of women of disparate ages and life experiences to talk about what the day means to them and how this year’s theme of ‘balance for better’ is represented in their lives.

Of course any conversation around achieving gender balance needs to be balanced itself.

Thank you to the men in the room for showing their support today.  Men have an equal role to play in achieving gender equality and of course, they stand to benefit from the stronger, more prosperous communities that result from such progress. Your assistance and encouragement will help us get there.

Finding balance is more achievable for New Zealanders than it is in many other nations. We are fortunate that we live in one of 84 countries in the world where there are no legal restrictions on the type of work women can undertake.

Other women are not so lucky. There are some countries, 104 to be precise, where there are laws that explicitly prevent women from working in certain occupations.

For example in Guinea, women are not allowed to work with certain types of hammers;

Russian women are not allowed to drive trains;

while in Moldova, women are not allowed to drive buses with more than 14 seats.

It’s easy to laugh, but such legislation has a serious impact on women’s employment opportunities and earning capabilities worldwide.

The same World Bank study that compiled the information on restrictions on women’s employment, also revealed that there are only 6 countries in the world where women and men have 100%  equal work rights enshrined in law.

New Zealand isn’t in fact part of that top 6.  In fact, there are 34 other countries where women and men enjoy greater equality under the law than here.  It has to be said that at this level, the gaps are relatively small but there is still work to do around mandating equal pay, and paid maternity and paternity leave if we want to be up there with the likes of Belgium, Denmark and France.   

While legal hindrances largely no longer exist in New Zealand, we do still live with constraints caused by unconscious bias.

Our own thoughts, beliefs and notions about gender have been inculcated in us over a lifetime and can be hard to overcome.

I would imagine that every single one of us here today believes strongly in the notion that girls can do anything.

Yet how many of us, when we meet a little girl, talk to her about how pretty her dress is or which Disney Princess is her favourite.

It can be an interesting and sometimes confronting experiment to audit our conversational go-tos and think about the ‘why’ of what we say.   By addressing our own biases, we set an example and help people change the way they think about gender and the role it plays in our interactions with others.  

Imagine the effect of addressing these biases on a global scale. What sort of a difference would we see in the world?

Well economically, the potential impacts of increasing women’s participation in the workforce are huge.

Christine Lagarde, Head of the International Monetary Fund, said recently that some countries could boost the size of their economies by 35% by abandoning discriminatory laws and encouraging women into work.

It’s not just about work either.  Issues of female empowerment, or the lack of it, do not exist in a vacuum. They’re tied to many other things.

Former UN Secretary-General, Ban-Ki Moon stressed this when talking about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.”

We need to be vigilant about what is happening globally and lend our voices to support those who live where their own voices are stifled.

Women in developing countries are often the food producers for their families. They are the most likely to be affected by the temperature changes and sea level rises of climate change. Working to empower them will better enable them to navigate the very different world of the late 21st century.

Ultimately, ‘Balance for better’ is not about tipping the scales in any one direction. It’s about ensuring that there is equality for all. And that’s the wonderful thing about equality.  It’s not a resource, it doesn’t have limits.  It’s not something to be parceled up, doled out, monetised or strip mined.  

It’s a basic human right.  And when we work to ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, has equality of access to opportunity and resources, then we all benefit from the strong and prosperous communities that are created.

I hope you enjoy the programme of speakers we’ve put together for you today and leave here inspired to make real change in the world.

Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.


Rare Diseases Day Awards

Source: New Zealand Governor General

Rau rangatira ma e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou.

Kia ora tātou katoa.

Nau mai haere mai ki te Whare Kawana.

Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Government House. It’s lovely to have you here. 

David and I are very pleased to join other New Zealanders, across the country, in hosting an afternoon tea in support of Rare Disease Day.

The inauguration of these awards for rare disease champions has given me an ideal opportunity to acknowledge the significance of the NZ Organisation for Rare Disorders.

I was surprised to learn that over 377,000  – around 8% – of New Zealanders have a rare disorder, and that there are over 7000 different rare disorders.  That’s an astounding number and I imagine that representing people with such a wide range of diseases and disabilities must be extremely complex and challenging.

For some people, I understand that just getting a diagnosis for their particular disorder can be a monumental mission, let alone adjusting to the prognosis and treatment regimes that may follow.

Having an organisation such as yours that can direct them to an appropriate support group, and is working with health professionals and the government on their behalf, must be a great help.  It is impressive to see the coverage for rare disorders that you achieved in the NZ Herald today.

I also congratulate you for introducing an awards programme to acknowledge and thank some hitherto unsung heroes of rare disease research and treatment.

Awards serve an important purpose in acknowledging valuable contributions and drawing attention to the significant work that is being done to identify causes and hopefully cures for rare disorders.

I hope that today’s recipients will concur with Sir Paul Callaghan who, reflecting on his life’s work said “What greater sense of fulfilment can there be but to make a difference to the community in which you live?”

You are all wonderful living examples of Sir Paul’s vision.


SheEO NZ Reception

Source: New Zealand Governor General

E nga māreikura, koutou, wahine mā,

Nau mai haere mai ki Te Whare Kawana

Aku mihi nui ki a koutou katoa, i tēnei ra.

Kia ora tātou katoa.

I am delighted to host today’s reception celebrating SheEO.

I don’t know if SheEO has a theme song, but in my mind it should be Aretha Franklin’s wonderful soul anthem “Sisters are doing it for themselves”.  

In fact, it’s not only for themselves.  By developing a new model of radical generosity, SheEO is seeking to create a better world.

A 2018 Mastercard survey of female entrepreneurs across 28 countries, ranked New Zealand as having the fourth highest number of female-led businesses.  That sounds good, but is it really such an impressive statistic?

When you drill down, around one third of start-up companies in New Zealand are led or owned by women.  But that means men are still more than twice as likely to head up entrepreneurial businesses.

Female entrepreneurs say they value the opportunity to operate on their own terms, in their own time, and in line with their personal values.  But let’s face it, discriminatory practices in the workplace are also a reason why women choose to go out on their own.  

I am sure we would all like to see women running more than 33 percent of our businesses, and we know that one factor holding them back from doing so is access to capital.

Jackie Blue, our former Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, put it bluntly:

“Unless women are intentionally included, they will be unintentionally excluded”.

For whatever reason, women have been traditionally excluded from investment opportunities and access to capital, so we need initiatives like SheEO to even up the odds.

Women empowering women is a simple and appealing model, particularly to women of my generation, who didn’t have female role models or mentors when we started out.

It is a brilliant concept: the opportunity to help female entrepreneurs consolidate or expand their enterprises, and to share experiences of what it means to face setbacks, learn from mistakes, keep going against the odds and succeed.

Further,  SheEO’s recognition of successful female enterprises enable their stories to inspire other women to follow their own dreams.  The emphasis on enterprises that help to build stronger communities and a better world, resonates strongly with New Zealand women.

I congratulate this year’s finalists for the quality of their products and services.  I’m delighted to see so many with a focus on healthy, sustainably produced and reusable items.  And it’s impressive to learn of your commitments to social enterprise in parallel with your business focus.  It will be a tough job to select the top five.

Theresa, thank you for bringing SheEO to New Zealand and for your commitment to so many initiatives that are devoted to female empowerment.

I am looking forward to hearing your update about SheEO’s progress – and to hearing from two of last year’s recipients as to how SheEO has helped them develop and implement their business plans.

Once again, thank you all for coming here today.  Let’s all keep spreading the word about SheEO and its work, so that more New Zealand women can show just what female business acumen and tenacity can achieve, given the chance, and the seed funding, to do so.

Kia ora, kia kaha, kia manawanui huihui tātou katoa