Wellington Scoop

Dame Cindy, succeeding Dame Patsy, sworn in at Parliament

Dame Cindy
Dame Cindy Kiro and Dr Richard Davies

Report from RNZ
Dame Cindy Kiro was sworn in as the new Governor-General in a ceremony at Parliament in Wellington this morning.

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 Māori.

She is the first wāhine Māori to hold the position, and is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti 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. Ardern said Dame Cindy’s working life had been one of service and she would continue that as Governor-General.

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.

Dame Cindy said she was proud to bring her dual Māori-British heritage to the role. She said 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.

Dame Cindy said the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of research and expertise.

“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.”

The Prime Minister said Dame Cindy understood deeply the role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. She said having a wāhine toa occupying such an important role would inspire many. “You’ve set an example of where a life of service can lead. And hopefully, when others follow your footsteps, they won’t be quite as surprised as you were when I asked you to consider the role.” She spoke of Dame Cindy’s passion and dedication.

“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 well being, and hoping 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 to me.”

Dame Cindy was most recently the chief executive of the Royal Society – Te Apārangi, and has been a Children’s Commissioner and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Māori at the University of Auckland.

Dame Cindy succeeds Dame Patsy Reddy, whose five-year term ended last month.

dame cindy meets the queen
October 19: Dame Cindy has a virtual meeting with the Queen.

Role of Governor-General:

The Governor-General is the Sovereign’s representative in New Zealand. She carries out formal duties, including dissolving and opening Parliament, and giving royal assent to passed bills so they become law.

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.


  1. Julia Whaipooti, 21. October 2021, 16:10

    I’m not a monarchy person and can’t wait to become a republic but can i just say Dame Cindy Kiro looks regal. [via twitter]

  2. Dr Dean Knight, 22. October 2021, 10:19

    One day, hopefully, Head of State of New Zealand in their own right. [via twitter]

  3. AJplus, 22. October 2021, 10:24

    Barbados has elected its first president and is removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. Dame Sandra Mason will be sworn in on Nov. 30. The country, where British colonizers enslaved thousands for its sugar industry, says it wants to “fully leave our colonial past behind.” [via twitter]

  4. Robert Reid, 24. October 2021, 10:52

    Great to hear new GG Cindy Kiro end her first speech with a quote from Maori, trade unionist and communist poet, Hone Tuwhare. [via twitter]

  5. Bill Manhire, 24. October 2021, 10:57

    Great poet! There are some readings on the Poetry Archive
    and there’s a section of items about Hone on the rnz website. [via twitter]