Dame Cindy Kiro sworn in as Governor-General of New Zealand

Dame Cindy Kiro and her husband Dr Richard Davies at the Government House (Photo by Elias Rodriguez

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Wellington, October 22, 2021

Dame Cindy Kiro was sworn in as the 22nd Governor-General of New Zealand at a ceremony in Parliament on October 21, 2021.

She succeeded Dame Patsy Reddy whose five-year term ended last month.

After placing her hand on the Bible as requested by Chief Justice Helen Winkelmann, Dame Cindy recited the oaths of office in both English and Maori.

She is the first Maori woman to hold the position. She is of Ngapuhi, Ngati Hine, Ngati Kahu and British descent.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her address with a personal reflection of the first time she met Dame Cindy at Massey University, when she sought her out as an expert in child wellbeing. She said that Dame Cindy’s working life has been one of service which she would continue as Governor-General.

Governor General Dame Cindy with (from left) Clarke Gayford, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Dr Richard Davies and Speaker Trevor Mallard (Photo by Mark Tantrum)

Ms Ardern said that Dame Cindy deeply understood the role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“You have set an example of where a life of service can lead. And hopefully, when others follow your footsteps, they will not be quite as surprised as you were when I asked you to consider the role. I can recall well the first time that I met Dame Cindy. It was at Massey University and I had sought her out knowing her extensive background in child wellbeing and hoping that she would indulge me. Alongside her patience in response to my many questions, it was Dame Cindy’s compassion, knowledge and focus that stood out,” she said.

Three Principles of Governance

After she was sworn in, Dame Cindy said she wanted to use her role to reach out to marginalised people in society and also to acknowledge the unsung heroes holding the community together. She acknowledged people were living in a time of immense uncertainty and anxiety due to Covid-19.

She said that she would be Governor-General for all New Zealanders and would be guided by three principles.

Kaitiakitanga: that we are temporary guardians of what is precious; Oranga: preserving health and wellbeing; and Manaakitanga: to care for others and uphold their mana.

She said that Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of research and expertise.

Dame Cindy getting ready for the Swearing-in Ceremony (Photo by Mark Tantrum)

“It has never been more important to critically evaluate the constant flood of information across our screens, and to value the ability of expert communicators who can help to alleviate our uncertainties and fears,” she said.

Dame Cindy was born in Whangarei in 1958 and is the eldest of six children.

She was Chief Executive of the Royal Society (Te Aparangi), Children’s Commissioner and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Maori at the University of Auckland.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Dame Cindy’s younger brother Gordan Simpson told RNZ that the whole whanau was very proud.

He said that growing up, she was always a hard-working and caring person.

Former Governors-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and Sir Anand Satyanand were full of praise.

“With her background, both personal and professional, and empathy for New Zealanders, I think it is an inspired choice,” Sir Jerry said.

The scene at Parliament during the Swearing-in Ceremony (Photo by Mark Tantrum)

“I think that the wairua of this morning’s ceremony with the Governor-General’s easy assumption of office augurs well for her term,” Sir Anand said.

From Parliament, the new Governor-General was whisked off to lay a wreath at the Pukeahu National War Memorial.

There were prayers, a song, a minute’s silence, and the last post.

Role of the Governor-General

The Governor-General is the Sovereign’s Representative in New Zealand. He or she carries out several formal duties, including dissolving and opening Parliament, and giving royal assent to passed bills to become laws.

Dame Cindy Kiro signs the oaths at Parliament (Photo by Mark Tantrum)

Constitutional: The Governor-General dissolves Parliament before a general election is held, appoints the government after an election, assents to legislation, and gives the Speech from the Throne at the State Opening of Parliament

Ceremonial: The Governor-General represents the Queen and all New Zealanders at important public ceremonies, including Waitangi Day and Anzac Day commemorations

Community Leadership: The Governor-General is a patron of many charitable, service, sporting, cultural and community organisations.

-Published under a Special Agreement with www.rnz.co.nz

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