Dame Patricia Lee Reddy, 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.(born 17 May 1954) is a New Zealand lawyer and businesswoman serving as the
Dame Patsy Reddy
|21st Governor-General of New Zealand|
|Assumed office |
28 September 2016
|Prime Minister||John Key|
|Preceded by||Sir Jerry Mateparae|
|Born||17 May 1954|
Matamata, New Zealand
Geoff Harley (div. 1988)
Sir David Gascoigne (m. 2016)
|Residence||Government House, Wellington|
|Alma mater||Victoria University of Wellington|
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, and Reddy was sworn in on 28 September 2016.
Early life and education
Born in Matamata, New Zealand, on 17 May 1954, Reddy is the daughter of Neil William and Catherine Marjorie "Kay" Reddy, both of whom were schoolteachers. 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. 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.
Reddy was a junior lecturer and then lecturer at Victoria University's Faculty of Law. 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.
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.
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. 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.
Reddy was also involved in a number of non-governmental organisations, particularly in the arts and gender equality. 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.
Governor-General of New Zealand
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, on the advice of then Prime Minister John Key. 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 Prime Minister John Key. Reddy became the third woman to hold the position, after Dame Catherine Tizard and Dame Silvia Cartwright.
Reddy gave her first Royal assent as governor-general on 18 October 2016.
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. Reddy was welcomed by Tom Marsters, the Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands.
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.
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 Battle of Beersheba during the First World War. She was received by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and later met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu.
On 26 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. On 8 November, Reddy attended the State Opening of Parliament where she addressed MPs from the throne.
On 24 October 2017, Reddy hosted a state welcome for the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, at Government House. 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.
On 5 December 2017, Reddy began a three-day trip to Malaysia. The state visit marked the sixtieth year of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Malaysia. Among several engagements, Reddy had an audience with Sultan Muhammad V, and attended a state banquet.
Reddy welcomed former US President Barack Obama to Government House on 22 March 2018. 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.
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. The following month, on 19 November, Reddy hosted the President of Chile Sebastian Pinera. 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.
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.".
On 7 June 2019, Reddy represented New Zealand at the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings at Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.
Reddy is married to the former New Zealand Judicial Conduct Commissioner, Sir David Gascoigne. 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. Both husbands were her associates at Rudd Watts & Stone in Wellington in the 1980s.
Reddy is the first vegan governor-general. Accordingly, the banquet at her swearing-in ceremony was entirely plant-based.
Honours and awards
|Viceregal styles of|
Dame Patsy Reddy
|Reference style||Her Excellency the Right Honourable|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours, Reddy was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts and business. In June 2016, she was made a Dame of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.
Reddy was promoted as an Additional Dame Grand Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit and appointed an Additional Companion of the Queen's Service Order on 27 June 2016 in preparation for becoming governor-general. As governor-general, Reddy is entitled to be styled "Her Excellency" while in office and "The Right Honourable" for life.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Patsy Reddy.|
Sir Jerry Mateparae
| Governor-General of New Zealand