On this 7th anniversary of the devastating Christchurch earthquake, our thoughts are with the people of Christchurch, particularly those who have experienced personal loss. We hope that communities will find solace and strength by gathering together in remembrance today.
Today was an opportunity to support Dame Patsy's strategic focuses of creativity, innovation, leadership and diversity with a forum at Government House. The topic was diversity in the digital world, and the two guest speakers were Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Lisa Reihana.
Dr Wiles is a biologist who is interested in making science more accessible - and that includes making scientific findings more readily available on the internet. Lisa Reihana is an artist who works primarily in photography and video. Her renowned work, entitled Emissaries, is now touring various countries following its installation at the Venice Biennale.
The attendees at the Forum today included delegates to the D5 Summit in Wellington, which currently represents five nations with a strong focus on providing government services digitally: New Zealand, the UK, South Korea, Estonia and Israel.
Last night, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended the launch of the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation at the Supreme Court. The Foundation was established by the late Judge Ian Borrin to support legal research, education and scholarship in New Zealand, and is named in honour of his parents. It will be supported by a $38 million bequest from Judge Borrin.
On 13 February Dame Patsy received a call from HE Mr Orhan Tavli, Governor of Canakkale, Mr Ismail Kasdemir, President of the Gallipoli Historical Park Directorate, and HE Mr Ahmet Ergin, the Turkish Ambassador.
On Saturday night, Dame Patsy and Sir David held a reception at Government House for Gold Award recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards. The recipients, who had attended ceremonies earlier in the day at Government House, came from around New Zealand, and attended the reception with their proud parents.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a magnificent performance of Eglantyne, written and performed by Anne Chamberlain. The play celebrates the life of Eglantyne Jebbs, co-founder of Save the Children, and writer of the Declaration of the Rights of Children, the fore-runner of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The performance also marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of Save the Children in New Zealand.
The annual Waitangi Day Bledisloe Reception was held at Government House Auckland this year. Dame Patsy and Sir David were joined by 750 guests, including the Prime Minister and members of the Diplomatic Corps. The sun shone, and the cruisy jazz from the RNZAF Air Force Band, stunning Kapa Haka from Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi Marae and the performance of singer Nadia Reid all made it a very special afternoon.
Today Dame Patsy received the credentials of the British High Commissioner, Her Excellency Ms Laura Mary Clarke; The High Commissioner of the Republic of Vanuatu, His Excellency Mr Johnson Naviti; the High Commissioner of Malaysia, Her Excellency Ms Nur Izzah Wong Mee Choo; The High Commissioner of the Republic of South Africa, Her Excellency Ms Vuyiswa Tulelo; The Ambassador of Ecuador, His Excellency Mr Juan Rodrigo Salazar Sancisi; and The High Commissioner of the Republic of Mauritius, Her Excellency Ms Christelle Sohun.
In 1858, a ceremony was held at Maiki Hill to celebrate a new flagstaff, erected by Northern Maori as a gesture of goodwill and reconciliation, 12 years after the war between British forces and allied Northern tribes. Governor Gore-Brown declined an invitation to attend that day, but Dame Patsy and Sir David were on hand today to celebrate the flagstaff's 160th anniversary and to meet descendants of the great military strategist and rangatira, Kawiti, and of other rangatira who raised the funds required for a flagstaff to replace the earlier flagstaffs, repeatedly felled by Hone Heke as a protest against the actions of the colonial government. Dame Patsy was introduced to Te Raumoa Kawiti, a descendant of Maihi Paraone Kawiti, who had brought a seal provided by Governor Gore-Brown to Kawiti. The name of the seal was Rongmau, meaning sealing the peace forever. Thereafter, Kawiti used the seal on his documents and letters.
Dame Patsy and Sir David were then warmly welcomed onto Haratu Marae, on the shorefront at Russell.
This morning Dame Patsy and Sir David visited the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington to see an impressive exhibition of portraits by Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947), one of New Zealand's foremost artists.
Frances Hodgkins is well-known for her still-life works, and this exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to see her evolving style and talent as a portrait artist, from early water-colours to works in pastels and oil later in her career.
Congratulations to all the outstanding New Zealanders acknowledged with New Year's Honours. We look forward to hosting them and their families at investiture ceremonies at Government House Wellington and Government House Auckland in May. The full list of recipients is available on the Cabinet Office webpage https://www.dpmc.govt.nz/publications/new-year-honours-list-2018
This afternoon, Israeli Ambassador Dr Itzhak Gerberg and wife Shifra called on Dame Patsy and Sir David to present a commemorative album of photos taken during the recent visit to Israel for the Beersheba commemorations.
On Monday, Dame Patsy and Sir David welcomed the Queen's Baton to Queenstown at the Airport, on its final leg of a journey around Commonwealth countries and territories before the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Their Excellencies accompanied Queen's Baton bearers Holly Robinson, Matt Randall, Hugo Inglis, and Donna Wilkins to Arrowtown School, the only school in New Zealand to have the opportunity to see the Baton and baton-bearers. The Baton also took pride of place at a reception hosted by Dame Patsy and Sir David later in the day.
On 7 December, Dame Patsy visited Cheras Cemetery, where she paid her respects at the graves of New Zealand service personnel. In the afternoon, she visited KYS School, met the Governor of Melaka and toured the historic district of Melaka.
On 6 December, day one of Dame Patsy's State Visit to Malaysia she attended a Welcoming Ceremony in Parliament Square in Kuala Lumpur, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited the Islamic Arts Museum and Masjed Jamek mosque, had an audience with the King, Sultan Muhammad V, and attended a State Banquet in her honour.
Last night Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted a reception for the donors, volunteers and partner organisations of Kaibosh, Wellington's food-rescue service, which redistributes 20 tonnes of food a month to people in need.
As Dame Patsy is on a State Visit to Malaysia, Cabinet Secretary Michael Webster hosted a reception for the Prince's Trust, welcoming Dame Martina Milburn, Group Chief Executive of the Trust. Guests heard about the Trust's pilot programme for at-risk youth from Tina Lomax. Dame Martina spoke about the Trust's plans in New Zealand, including further rollout of youth programmes, restoration of wharenui, and mental health initiatives.
On Saturday, Dame Patsy travelled to Amberley in Canterbury to open a Chinese Reflection Garden established in memory of Rewi Alley, a New Zealander who spent most of his life in China, promoting training and education as a way to lift people out of poverty. Dame Patsy opened a friendship bridge with Mr Wang Zhijian, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Christchurch, and welcomed a delegation from China.
In the evening, back in Wellington, Dame Patsy presented Queen's Awards to Girls and Boys' Brigade members from across New Zealand.
Last Friday, Dame Patsy presented another 3 outstanding Auckland students with scholarships from the Sir George Elliot Trust. The $25,000 scholarships are awarded yearly to students from the Auckland region who have achieved academically and extramurally, while also dealing with challenging family or personal circumstances. Congratulations to Tevita Uilou, Saskia Whiston and Ishwanka Sharma. Photos
Later it was back to Welington for the New Zealand School of Dance's 50th anniversary graduation season and the launch of a new foundation to provide financial aid to young dancers facing hardship. Photos
On Monday 20 November, Sir David hosted the launch of the New Zealand Film Heritage Trust at Government House. The ballroom was transformed into a cinema, complete with popcorn and icecream, for screening of clips of our film history, and a ceremony to acknowledge the contribution of individuals who have contributed to New Zealand's film industry.
Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted one of the finale events for the WakaNZ: Navigating a Post-Treaty Settlement Future 2017 Workshop. Run by the McGuinness Institute, in collaboration with the New Zealand Treasury, the workshop brought together thirty six 18-25 year olds from around New Zealand to discuss what a future New Zealand might look like from a Maori perspective.
Today Dame Patsy hosted credentials ceremonies for the new envoys from Nepal, Tanzania, Georgia, Cyprus, Nigeria and Latvia. The High Commissioners and Ambassadors received a powhiri from the RNZAF Maori cultural group before inspecting the Guard of Honour.
On Friday 17 November, Dame Patsy and Sir David visited Al-Madinah School in Auckland. Al-Madinah School gives its students a typical Kiwi education as well as a solid grounding in Islam. AS well as touring the school, Dame Patsy and Sir David attended a school assembly where they were treated to a haka, a poi dance and a Tongan haka as well as a reading from the Qu’ran.
This afternoon Dame Patsy and Sir David hosted covenanters of the QEII National Trust, which collectively holds protected in perpetuity an area of privately-owned land equal to the size of Stewart Island. Despite the costs to landowners, there is high demand from New Zealanders who wish to protect precious ecosystems on their land. Congratulations to everyone in the National Trust for reaching the milestone of 40 years, and our thanks for the fantastic work they do to protect our precious flora and fauna.
The itinerary of the recent official visit of Dame Patsy and Sir David to Israel included Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum); lunch with HE Mr Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel; a call on HE Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel; the unveiling of a Friendship Sign at Rishon LeZion, commemorating the friendship between New Zealand soldiers and the people of Rishon LeZion during the First World War; opening the 'Sand in the Apricot Jam' exhibition; attending New Zealand, Anzac and Turkish commemorative ceremonies to mark the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba; opening the Anzac Museum at Be-er Sheva; and meeting the Palestinian Prime Minister, Dr Rami Hamdallah.