Patsy Reddy

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Dame Patsy Reddy

Patsy Reddy official portrait.jpg
21st Governor-General of New Zealand
Assumed office
28 September 2016
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister John Key
Bill English
Jacinda Ardern
Preceded by Sir Jerry Mateparae
Personal details
Patricia Lee Reddy

(1954-05-17) 17 May 1954 (age 64)
Matamata, New Zealand
Geoff Harley
(div. 1988)

Residence Government House, Wellington
Alma mater Victoria University of Wellington

Dame Patricia Lee Reddy GNZM QSO DStJ (born 17 May 1954) is a New Zealand lawyer and businesswoman serving as the 21st and current Governor-General of New Zealand, in office since 2016. She is the third woman to be appointed to the position, after Dame Catherine Tizard and Dame Silvia Cartwright.

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.

Catherine Tizard Viceroy, academic, public administrator

Dame Catherine Anne Tizard is a New Zealand politician who served as Mayor of Auckland City from 1983 to 1990, and the 16th Governor-General of New Zealand from 1990 to 1996. She was the first woman to hold either office.

Silvia Cartwright New Zealand viceroy, jurist

Dame Silvia Rose Cartwright is a New Zealand jurist who served as the 18th Governor-General of New Zealand, from 2001 to 2006. She was the second woman to hold the office, after Catherine Tizard.


Before becoming Governor-General, Reddy was a partner of a law firm, headed a major review of intelligence agencies, held multiple directorships, chaired the New Zealand Film Commission, and worked as a chief negotiator on Treaty of Waitangi settlements. Prime Minister John Key recommended her to succeed Sir Jerry Mateparae as Governor-General. Reddy was sworn in on 28 September 2016.

A partner in a law firm, accounting firm, consulting firm, or financial firm is a highly ranked position, traditionally indicating co-ownership of a partnership in which the partners were entitled to a share of the profits as "equity partners." The title can also be used in corporate entities where equity is held by shareholders.

New Zealand Film Commission

The New Zealand Film Commission is a New Zealand government agency formed to assist with creating and promoting New Zealand films. It was established under the New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978.

John Key 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand

Sir John Phillip Key is a former New Zealand politician who served as the 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand and Leader of the New Zealand National Party. He was elected leader of the party in November 2006 and appointed Prime Minister in November 2008, resigning from both posts in December 2016. After leaving politics, Key was appointed to board of director and chairmanship roles in New Zealand corporations.

Early life and education

Born in Matamata, New Zealand, on 17 May 1954, [1] Reddy is the daughter of Neil William and Catherine Marjorie "Kay" Reddy, both of whom were schoolteachers. [2] Three of her forebears left Ireland and went to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. A distant cousin, singer Helen Reddy, is descended from the Australian forebear. [3] Reddy was raised in the small Waikato towns of Te Akau and Minginui until her family moved to Hamilton when she was six years old. There, she attended Hillcrest Primary School, Peachgrove Intermediate School and Hamilton Girls' High School. [2]

Matamata Place in Waikato, New Zealand

Matamata is a town in the Waikato Region of New Zealand's North Island. It is located near the base of the Kaimai Ranges, and is a thriving farming area known for Thoroughbred horse breeding and training pursuits. It is part of the Matamata-Piako District, which takes in the surrounding rural areas as well as Morrinsville and Te Aroha. State Highway 27 and the Kinleith Branch railway run through the town. The town has a population of 7,920 as of June 2018.

Helen Reddy Australian singer, songwriter, and actress; naturalized American citizen

Helen Maxine Reddy is an Australian singer, actor and activist. Born in Melbourne to a show-business family, Reddy started her career as an entertainer at age four. She sang on radio and television, and won a talent contest on a television programme Bandstand in 1966 for a ticket prize to New York City and an unsuccessful record audition. She pursued her international singing career by moving to Chicago and, subsequently, Los Angeles, where she made her debut singles "One Way Ticket" and "I Believe in Music" in 1968 and 1970, respectively. The B-side of the latter single, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" reached No. 13 in Canadian pop chart RPM and she was signed to Capitol Records a year later.

Waikato region in New Zealands North Island

Waikato is a local government region of the upper North Island of New Zealand. It covers the Waikato District, Hauraki, Coromandel Peninsula, the northern King Country, much of the Taupo District, and parts of Rotorua District. It is governed by the Waikato Regional Council.

Reddy completed her university studies at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1976 and a Master of Laws with first-class honours in 1979. [2] [4]

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.


Reddy was a junior lecturer and then lecturer at Victoria University's Faculty of Law. [4] In 1982 she joined the Wellington firm Watts and Patterson (now Minter Ellison Rudd Watts), becoming their first female partner in 1983. She specialised in tax, corporate and film law. She later took up a position at Brierley Investments, where she was employed for 11 years, and worked on large acquisition negotiations such as the privatisation of Air New Zealand. [5]

Brierley Investments Limited (BIL) was established by New Zealand investment veteran Sir Ron Brierley in 1961 and in 1985 listed on stock exchanges in Australia, United Kingdom, and New Zealand and grew to become one of the biggest – and for a time most successful and glamorous – companies in the 1980s. At its peak about 150,000 Kiwis were shareholders.

Reddy served as chair of the New Zealand Film Commission and Education Payroll Ltd and was a director of Payments NZ Ltd and Active Equity Holdings Ltd. She was a chief Crown negotiator for Treaty of Waitangi settlements and a lead reviewer for the Performance Improvement Framework for the State Services Commission. She was also the deputy chair of the New Zealand Transport Agency. Other directorships included Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, SKYCITY Entertainment Group, New Zealand Post and Air New Zealand. [6]

Treaty of Waitangi Treaty between representatives of the British Crown and various Māori chiefs

The Treaty of Waitangi is a treaty first signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Māori chiefs (rangatira) from the North Island of New Zealand. It is a document of central importance to the history and political constitution of the state of New Zealand, and has been highly significant in framing the political relations between New Zealand's government and the Māori population.

The NZ Transport Agency is a New Zealand Crown entity tasked with promoting safe and functional transport by land, including the responsibility for driver and vehicle licensing, investigating rail accidents and administering the New Zealand state highway network. It was created on 1 August 2008 by the Land Transport Management Amendment Act 2008, merging Transit New Zealand with Land Transport New Zealand. Its legal name, as established by the Act, is New Zealand Transport Agency, but it operates as NZ Transport Agency. Its Māori name, Waka Kotahi, means "one vessel" and is intended to convey the concept of "travelling together as one".

New Zealand Post postal service in New Zealand

New Zealand Post is a state-owned enterprise responsible for providing postal service in New Zealand.

In 2016, Reddy and Sir Michael Cullen collaborated on an independent report to the New Zealand government reviewing legislation covering the country's intelligence agencies. Their report was released on 9 March 2016, two weeks before Reddy's appointment as Governor-General was publicly announced. [7] The report recommended expanding the Government Communications Security Bureau's rights to monitor the personal communications of New Zealanders, and was met with some controversy. [8]

Reddy was also involved in a number of non-governmental organisations, particularly in the arts and gender equality. [9] She was one of the founding members in 2009 of Global Women New Zealand, a group of prominent women who advocate for inclusion and diversity in leadership. [2] [10]

Governor-General (2016–present)

Dame Patsy Reddy with Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias at the swearing-in ceremony, 28 September 2016 Dame Patsy Reddy and Chief Justice, Dame Sian Elias.jpg
Dame Patsy Reddy with Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias at the swearing-in ceremony, 28 September 2016

In March 2016, it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II , Queen of New Zealand, had approved the appointment of Reddy as the next Governor-General of New Zealand, for a five-year term starting in September 2016. [11] She was officially sworn in as the 21st Governor-General by Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias on 28 September. The swearing-in ceremony included a Māori pōwhiri, a 21-gun salute, and music from the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band and the New Zealand Opera Chorus; the ceremony was attended by hundreds of observers, including film-makers Sir Peter Jackson and James Cameron (a former neighbour), with an address by the Prime Minister, John Key. [12] [13] Reddy became the third woman to hold the position, after Dame Catherine Tizard and Dame Silvia Cartwright. [14]

Dame Patsy Reddy gives assent to a bill, 18 October 2016 Dame Patsy Reddy gave her first Royal assent. This is the final step a bill needs to go through before it becomes law.jpg
Dame Patsy Reddy gives assent to a bill, 18 October 2016

Reddy gave her first Royal assent as Governor-General on 18 October 2016. [15] Signing bills into law is an important part of the governor-general's constitutional role.

On 7 November 2016, Reddy welcomed King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Queen Maxima to New Zealand. She hosted a state banquet. [16]

On 12 December 2016, subsequent to the resignation of John Key, Reddy swore in Bill English as Prime Minister and Paula Bennett as Deputy Prime Minister. [17]

On 7 February 2017, Reddy delivered her first annual Waitangi Day Bledisloe Address at the Bledisloe Garden reception at Government House, Wellington. [18]

In her first overseas trip Reddy visited Niue and the Cook Islands, the associated states of New Zealand, on 21 and 22 March 2017 respectively. [19] Reddy was welcomed by Tom Marsters, the Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands. [20]

On 6 May 2017, Reddy travelled to Italy, where she visited various cultural events in Rome and Venice. On 14 May, she visited Barbados, where she met with the Governor-General of Barbados, Elliott Belgrave, and the Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart. [21]

Reddy with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during a visit to Israel, 27 October 2017 Reuven Rivlin host the New Zealand Governor General, October 2017 (7043).jpg
Reddy with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during a visit to Israel, 27 October 2017

On 30 September 2017, Reddy travelled to Israel for a two-day trip, in which she represented New Zealand at official commemorations to mark the centennial of the liberation of Beersheba by the ANZAC forces. [22] She was received by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and later met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu. [23]

Dame Patsy Reddy with PM Jacinda Ardern and Deputy PM Winston Peters at swearing-in of the Executive Council, 16 October 2017 GGNZ Swearing of new Cabinet - Jacinda Ardern & Winston Peters.jpg
Dame Patsy Reddy with PM Jacinda Ardern and Deputy PM Winston Peters at swearing-in of the Executive Council, 16 October 2017

On 16 October 2017, Reddy presided at the swearing-in of the new Executive Council. She signed warrants appointing the new Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, and other ministers. [24] On 8 November, Reddy attended the State Opening of Parliament where she addressed MPs from the throne. [25]

On 24 October 2017, she hosted a state welcome for the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, at Government House. [26] A couple of weeks later, Reddy hosted German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Government House from 5 to 7 November 2017. The visit started with a wreath-laying ceremony at Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. [27]

On 5 December 2017, Reddy began a three-day trip to Malaysia. [28] The state visit marked the sixtieth year of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Malaysia. Among several engagements, Reddy had an audience with the King, Sultan Muhammad V, and attended a state banquet. [29]

On 1 January 2018, Reddy issued her New Year video message. She focused on gender equality and respect for women; Reddy also noted the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand. [30]

Reddy welcomed former US President Barack Obama to Government House on 22 March 2018. [31] On 23 April, Reddy travelled to Turkey to represent New Zealand at commemorative events associated with the Gallipoli campaign; on 26 April, she met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara. [32]

Reddy, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, greets crowds at Government House, 28 October 2018 Ceremony of Welcome for TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (18).jpg
Reddy, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, greets crowds at Government House, 28 October 2018

On 28 October 2018, Reddy welcomed members of the Royal Family, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to Wellington. She also hosted a reception at Government House honouring the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage. [33] The following month, on 19 November, Reddy hosted the President of Chile Sebastian Pinera. [34] On 3 December she welcomed the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook to New Zealand during a ceremony at Auckland Government House. [35]

On 15 March 2019, Reddy released a message expressing condolences to the victims of the Christchurch mosque shootings. She remarked "Now more than ever is the time to affirm the values that we hold dear – compassion, kindness and tolerance.". [36]

Personal life

Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne sign the Visitors' Book at Parliament House, Wellington, 2016 Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne 2016.jpg
Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne sign the Visitors' Book at Parliament House, Wellington, 2016

Reddy is married to the former New Zealand Judicial Conduct Commissioner, Sir David Gascoigne. [2] They married one week before her appointment as Governor-General was announced. She and her first husband, Geoff Harley, a tax barrister, divorced in 1988. [37] [38] Both husbands were her associates at Rudd Watts & Stone in Wellington in the 1980s. [39]

Reddy is the first vegan governor-general. Accordingly, the banquet at her swearing-in ceremony was entirely plant-based. [40]

Honours and awards

Viceregal styles of
Dame Patsy Reddy
Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand.svg
Reference style Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Spoken styleYour Excellency

In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours Reddy was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) for services to the arts and business. [41] In June 2016, she was made a Dame of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (DStJ). [42]

She was promoted as an Additional Dame Grand Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit (GNZM) and appointed an Additional Companion of the Queen's Service Order (QSO) on 27 June 2016 in preparation for becoming governor-general. [43]

As governor-general, Reddy is entitled to be styled "Her Excellency" [44] while in office and "The Right Honourable" for life. [45]

Victoria University of Wellington conferred an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on her on 13 December 2017. [46]

As the wife of Sir David, she is entitled to the style Lady Gascoigne, but this is never used because of the honours she holds in her own right. [47]

New Zealand Order of Merit ribbon.png Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2016)
Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2014)
QueenServiceRibbon.png Companion of the Queen's Service Order (2016)
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Dame of Justice of the Order of St John (2016)

See also

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Government offices
Preceded by
Jerry Mateparae
Governor-General of New Zealand