Michael Hardie Boys

Last updated

The Right Honourable
Sir Michael Hardie Boys
Sir Michael Hardie Boys.jpg
17th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
21 March 1996 21 March 2001
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Jim Bolger
Jenny Shipley
Helen Clark
Preceded by Catherine Tizard
Succeeded by Silvia Cartwright
Personal details
Born (1931-10-06) 6 October 1931 (age 86)
Wellington, New Zealand
Spouse(s) Mary Zohrab
Profession Judge

Sir Michael Hardie Boys GNZM GCMG QSO KStJ PC (born 6 October 1931) is a New Zealand jurist and was the country's 17th Governor-General, from 1996 to 2001.


Early life and family

After his schooling at Hataitai School and Wellington College, he gained BA and LL.B degrees from Victoria University College. Hardie Boys married Mary Zohrab in 1957. They have two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate degree in law originating in England and offered in Japan and most common law jurisdictions—except the United States and Canada—as the degree which allows a person to become a lawyer. It historically served this purpose in the U.S. as well, but was phased out in the mid-1960s in favor of the Juris Doctor degree, and Canada followed suit.

Victoria University of Wellington public university in New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington is a university in Wellington, New Zealand. It was established in 1897 by Act of Parliament, and was a constituent college of the University of New Zealand.

Judge of the High Court

A lawyer by profession, Hardie Boys became a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand in 1980. In 1989 he was elevated to the Court of Appeal, and was appointed as a Privy Counsellor. [1] In 1994 he was elected as an Honorary Bencher at Gray's Inn, and in 1995 became an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson. In the New Year Honours List of 1995 Hardie Boys was appointed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George. [2] In 1996 (now as Governor-General) he was the first person appointed as a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. [3] and is also a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.

High Court of New Zealand Court in New Zealand

The High Court of New Zealand is the superior court of New Zealand. It has general jurisdiction and responsibility, under the Senior Courts Act 2016, as well as the High Court Rules 2016, for the administration of justice throughout New Zealand. There are 18 High Court locations throughout New Zealand, plus one stand-alone registry.

Court of Appeal of New Zealand New Zealands main intermediate appellate court

The Court of Appeal of New Zealand is principal intermediate appellate court of New Zealand. It is also the final appellate court for a number of matters. In practice, most appeals are resolved at this intermediate appellate level, rather than in the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal has existed as a separate court since 1862 but, until 1957, it was composed of Judges of the High Court sitting periodically in panels. In 1957 the Court of Appeal was reconstituted as a permanent court separate from the High Court. It is located in Wellington.

Privy Council of the United Kingdom Formal body of advisers to the sovereign in the United Kingdom

Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council of the United Kingdom or just the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. Its membership mainly comprises senior politicians who are current or former members of either the House of Commons or the House of Lords.


On 21 March 1996, Hardie Boys was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand on the advice of her Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, as the Governor-General of New Zealand. As the 1996 New Zealand general election would be the first MMP election, the appointment of a lawyer was desirable.

Jim Bolger Prime Minister of New Zealand, politician

James Brendan Bolger is a New Zealand politician of the National Party who was the 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand, serving from 1990 to 1997.

Governor-General of New Zealand representative of the monarch of New Zealand

The Governor-General of New Zealand is the viceregal representative of the monarch of New Zealand, currently Queen Elizabeth II. As the Queen is concurrently the monarch of 15 other Commonwealth realms, and lives in the United Kingdom, she, on the advice of her Prime Minister of New Zealand, appoints a governor-general to carry out her constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand.

Upon the completion of his term on 21 March 2001 Sir Michael and Lady Hardie Boys were both appointed as additional Companions of the Queen's Service Order.

Queens Service Order an order awarded by the monarch of New Zealand

The Queen's Service Order, established by royal warrant of Queen Elizabeth II on 13 March 1975, is used to recognise "valuable voluntary service to the community or meritorious and faithful services to the Crown or similar services within the public sector, whether in elected or appointed office". This order was created after a review of New Zealand's honours system in 1974. The Queen's Service Order replaced the Imperial Service Order in New Zealand.


Hardie Boys (left) with US President Bill Clinton, 1999. Bill Clinton Michael Hardie-Boys.jpg
Hardie Boys (left) with US President Bill Clinton, 1999.

In 1996, Hardie Boys caused controversy by stating his opposition to Minister of Youth Affairs Deborah Morris's suggestion that young people have access to contraceptives. [4] Later, in 2001, he created further controversy by making an implied attack on the Clark Labour Government's scrapping of the air defence wing of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. [4]

Deborah Morris New Zealand politician

Deborah Morris-Travers is a former New Zealand politician. She was a list MP for New Zealand First from 1996 to 1999.

The Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 10 December 1999 to 19 November 2008. Labour Party leader Helen Clark negotiated a coalition with Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance Party and later the Progressive Party, and New Zealand First. While undertaking a number of substantial reforms, it was not particularly radical compared to previous Labour governments.

Royal New Zealand Air Force Air force component of the New Zealand Defence Force

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is the air force component of the New Zealand Defence Force. It was formed from New Zealand elements of the British Royal Air Force, becoming an independent force in 1923, although many RNZAF aircrew continued to serve in the Royal Air Force until the end of the 1940s. The RNZAF fought in World War II, Malaya, Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War plus various United Nations peacekeeping missions. From a 1945 peak of over 1,000 combat aircraft the RNZAF has shrunk to a strength of around 51 aircraft in 2016, focusing on maritime patrol and transport duties in support of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army. The RNZAF's air combat capability ended in 2001 with the disbanding of the A-4 Skyhawk squadrons. The Air Force is led by an air vice-marshal who holds the appointment of Chief of Air Force.


Since his retirement as Governor-General, Hardie Boys has served as a Judge of the Kiribati Court of Appeal. He now lives at Waikanae.

In 2004, he stated his opposition to New Zealand becoming a republic, stating in an interview: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." [5]


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  1. "Appointments to the Privy Council" (14 September 1989) 159 New Zealand Gazette 4242.
  2. "New Year Honours 1995" (19 January 1996) 4 New Zealand Gazette 121.
  3. "The Queen's Birthday Honours 1996" (10 June 1996) 59 New Zealand Gazette 1488.
  4. 1 2 Gavin Mclean (October 2006), The Governors, New Zealand Governors and Governors-General, Otago University Press, p. 281
  5. "Ditch Queen, say former Governors-General: New Zealand Herald". The New Zealand Herald. 14 November 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2006.
Government offices
Preceded by
Dame Catherine Tizard
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Dame Silvia Cartwright