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Former Governors-General

21 people -18 men and 3 women- have held the Vice-regal office in New Zealand since Captain William Hobson became Lieutenant-Governor in 1840. This timeline tells the story of each of them.

Timeline

  • 1840

    Captain William Hobson, RN

    Role: Lieutenant-Governor
    Term: 1840 - 1842
    Lieutenant-Governor (1840 - 1841) and Governor (1841 - 1842). William Hobson was born in Ireland in 1793 and went to sea at the age of nine. In 1836, he commanded the frigate 'Rattlesnake' in Port Phillip (Melbourne). He surveyed the harbour and was then sent to the Bay of Islands to report on New Zealand.
  • 1843

    Captain Robert Fitzroy, RN

    Role: Governor
    Term: 1843 - 1845
    Robert Fitzroy was born in Suffolk in 1805. He entered the navy in 1819 and commanded HMS Beagle on Darwin's famous voyage. He visited the Bay of Islands in the ship in 1835 and reported favourably to a House of Lords committee on the work of the missionaries. He took up his appointment as Governor in 1843 but was recalled after agitation led by the New Zealand Company.
  • 1845

    Sir George Grey

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1845 - 1868
    Sir George was born in Lisbon in 1812. He graduated at Sandhurst and served in Ireland where he rose to Captain but he resigned his commission soon after.
  • 1855

    Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, CB

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1855 - 1861
    Sir Thomas was born in 1807 and entered the army as ensign in 1824. He rose to Captain in 1829 and then to Major in 1834. He served in the 1st Afghan War as a Major in the 41st Regiment, covering the retreat of Sir John England's force. He was made Lt-Colonel of the 41st on his return to England.
  • 1868

    Sir George Ferguson Bowen, GCMG

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1868 - 1873
    Born in 1821, Sir George graduated with an MA from Oxford in 1847. He became President of the University of Corfu in 1847, a position he held for four years. He was appointed as Governor of New Zealand having served as the first Governor of Queensland.
  • 1873

    The Rt Hon Sir James Fergusson, Bt.

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1873 - 1874
    Sir James was under-secretary at the India Office in 1866 and held the same position at the Home office in 1867. He was Governor of South Australia in 1869-73 before becoming Governor of New Zealand in 1873.
  • 1875

    Marquess of Normanby, GCB, GCMG, PC

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1875 - 1879
    Sir George Augustus Constantine Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby, was born in 1819, and was Lt Governor of Nova Scotia 1858-63. He was Governor of Queensland before taking up office in New Zealand.
  • 1879

    Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, GCMG

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1879 - 1880
    Born in 1824, Sir Hercules was a Sandhurst graduate. He became 1st Lt of the 87th Regiment in 1844 but resigned his commission in 1846. He became President of Montserrat in 1854 and subsequently held several governorships before taking up the position in New Zealand in 1879.
  • 1880

    The Hon. Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon, GCMG

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1880 - 1882
    Sir Arthur was born in 1829 and graduated with an MA from Cambridge in 1851. A year later he became secretary to his father who was Prime Minister (1852-55). Sir Arthur was a Liberal MP from 1854 to 1857. His governorships, apart from New Zealand, included New Brunswick, Trinidad, Mauritius and Ceylon. He was the first High Commissioner to the Western Pacific 1877-82.
  • 1883

    Lt. General Sir William Francis Drummond Jervois, GCMG, CB

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1883 - 1889
    Sir William became Governor of Straits Settlements (1875-77) and South Australia (1877-82) before taking up office in New Zealand. He was instrumental in planning and setting up coastal defences during his term as Governor.
  • 1889

    Earl of Onslow, GCMG

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1889 - 1892
    Born in 1853, Sir William Hillier Onslow was appointed Governor of New Zealand in 1889 but resigned in 1892 to return to England.
  • 1892

    Earl of Glasgow, GCMG

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1892 - 1897
    Sir David Boyle Glasgow was born in 1833 and received a Barony for his services as Governor of New Zealand. He was the cousin of another Governor of New Zealand, Sir James Fergusson.
  • 1897

    Earl of Ranfurly, GCMG

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1897 - 1904
    Sir Uchter John Mark Knox Ranfurly was Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria from 1895-97 before taking up office in New Zealand. He threatened to resign because of salary reductions and had to subsidise his pay from private sources.
  • 1904

    Lord Plunket, GCMG, KCVO

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1904 - 1910
    Sir William Lee Plunket became Governor of New Zealand in 1904, is best remembered for his support of Truby-King's early work and for giving his name to the Plunket Society. He also donated cricket's Plunket Shield.
  • 1910
    Lord Islington.

    Lord Islington, KCMG, DSO, PC

    Role: Governor of New Zealand
    Term: 1910 - 1912
    Sir John Poynder Dickson-Poynder Islington served in the Boer War. When he became Governor of New Zealand in 1910, he was the first Governor to reside in the current Government House in Wellington.
  • 1912
    Earl of Liverpool.

    Earl of Liverpool, GCB, GCMG, GBE, MVO, PC

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1912 - 1920
    Sir Arthur William de Brito Savile Foljambe Liverpool, 2nd Earl, had the distinction of being New Zealand's last Governor and first Governor-General.
  • 1920
    Viscount Jellicoe

    Viscount Jellicoe, GCB, OM, GCVO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1920 - 1924
    A noted naval figure, Sir John Rushworth Jellicoe entered the Royal Navy as cadet in 1872 and eventually rose to command Britain's Grand Fleet from 1914 to 1916. He was appointed First Sea Lord, Chief of Naval Staff and Viscount after the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
  • 1924
    General Sir Charles Fergusson.

    General Sir Charles Fergusson, Bt., GCMG, KCB, DSO, MVO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1924 - 1930
    Sir Charles was the son of Sir James Fergusson, former Governor of New Zealand. He was born in 1865. Sir Charles was educated at Eton and Sandhurst before joining the Grenadier Guards and saw service in Africa and France.
  • 1930

    Viscount Bledisloe, GCMG, KBE, PC

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1930 - 1935
    Sir Charles Bathurst Bledisloe was a laywer and MP before becoming Governor-General. He donated the Waitangi Estate to the nation and contributed funds for the restoration of the Treaty House. He donated the Bledisloe Cup for New Zealand-Australia rugby matches.
  • 1935

    Viscount Galway, GCMG, DSO, OBE, PC

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1935 - 1941
    Sir George Vere Arundell Monckton-Arundell Galway joined the Life Guards, and in the First World War he became Adjutant-General and Quartermaster-General. He was Colonel-Commandant of the Life Guards and Royal Artillery Company between the wars. His term as Governor-General of New Zealand was extended because of World War II.
  • 1941

    Marshal of the RAF Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall, GCB, OM, GCMG, CBE, AM

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1941 - 1946
    Sir Cyril Louis Norton Newall was Chief of Air Staff (1937-40) and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in 1940, before being appointed Governor-General of New Zealand in 1941.
  • 1946

    Lt. General the Lord Freyberg, VC, GCMG, KCB, KBE, DSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1946 - 1952
    Lieutenant-General Sir Bernard Cyril Freyberg won the Victoria Cross during his service in the First World War and commanded the New Zealand Division in Greece, Africa and Italy during the Second World War.
  • 1952

    Lt. General the Lord Norrie, GCMG, GCVO, CB, DSO, MC

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1952 - 1957
    Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie was Governor of South Australia for seven years before taking up office in New Zealand.
  • 1957

    Viscount Cobham, GCMG, TD

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1957 - 1962
    As Governor-General of New Zealand,Sir Charles John Lyttelton, 10th Viscount Cobham, became deeply involved in the establishment of New Zealand's Outward Bound movement.
  • 1962

    Brigadier Sir Bernard Fergusson, GCMG, GCVO, DSO, OBE

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1962 - 1967
    Sir Bernard served with distinction in the Second World War, and when he became Governor-General in 1962, he was following in the footsteps of both his grandfathers, Sir James Fergusson and the Earl of Glasgow, who were Governors of New Zealand; and his father, Sir Charles Fergusson, who was Governor-General (1924-30).
  • 1967

    Sir Arthur Espie Porritt, Bt., GCMG, GCVO, CBE

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1967 - 1972
    Sir Arthur was the first New Zealand-born Governor-General and Captain of New Zealand's Olympic team in 1924 and 1928. He was also a distinguished surgeon, serving as Surgeon to King George VI and Sergeant-Surgeon to Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 1972

    Sir (Edward) Denis Blundell, GCMG, GCVO, KBE, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1972 - 1977
    Sir Denis served as High Commissioner for New Zealand in Britain and Ambassador to Ireland, from 1968 until his appointment as Governor-General in 1972.
  • 1977

    The Rt Hon Sir Keith Jacka Holyoake, KG, GCMG, CH, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1977 - 1980
    Sir Keith was born in 1904 and after serving as Prime Minister in 1957 and again from 1960 to 1972, was the first politician to be appointed Governor-General.
  • 1980

    The Hon Sir David Stuart Beattie, GCMG, GCVO, QSO, QC

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1980 - 1985
    Sir David served in the army and navy reserve during the Second World War before entering the Law and service as a Supreme Court judge.
  • 1985

    The Hon and the Rt Rev Sir Paul Alfred Reeves, GCMG, GCVO, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1985 - 1990
    Sir Paul was New Zealand's first Governor-General of Māori descent and served a significant career in the Anglican Church, becoming Primate and Archbishop of New Zealand in 1980.
  • 1990

    The Hon Dame Catherine Anne Tizard, GCMG, GCVO, DBE, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1990 - 1996
    Dame Catherine Tizard was New Zealand's first female Governor-General, a role to which she came after being the first woman to be elected Mayor of Auckland.
  • 1996

    The Rt Hon Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 1996 - 2001
    Sir Michael was born in Wellington and had a distinguished career in law and practised in Wellington, before being appointed a High Court Judge in 1980.
  • 2001

    The Hon Dame Silvia Cartwright, PCNZM, DBE, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 2001 - 2006
    Dame Silvia was born in Dunedin, studied Law at Otago University and after several years in private practice, embarked on a judicial career that culminated in her becoming the first woman to be appointed to the High Court.
  • 2006

    Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 2006 - 2011
    The Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand was born in Auckland and served as a District Court Judge from 1982 and two terms as a Parliamentary Ombudsman from 1995
  • 2011

    Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 2011 - 2016

    Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae was sworn in as New Zealand’s 20th Governor-General for a five year term on 31 August 2011.

  • 2016

    The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO

    Role: Governor-General of New Zealand
    Term: 2016 - 2021
    Dame Patsy Reddy was born in Matamata and studied law at Victoria University of Wellington before working for law firm Watts and Patterson (now Minter Ellison Rudd Watts), Brierley Investments Ltd and co-founding Active Equities Limited, a private investment company.
Last updated: 
Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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