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Scoop Images: Goldie Steps Up To A Higher Crease

Goldie Steps Up To A Higher Crease


By Richard SCOTT
Government House 9/4/03

Kiwi luminaries Dave Dobbyn, Tab Baldwin and Jeff Wilson were amongst those honoured in a ceremony held this morning at Government House. Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright presented the awards and played to a packed hall.


Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright awaits her investees

Wellington’s notoriously fickle weather relented, and the well-manicured lawns and trimmed hedges of Government House were dappled with sunshine. Inside, a dazzling array of candelabra hung like bright fruit from high ceilings. Heavy curtains draped to the floor and a full house of recipients and their families waited eagerly, craning their necks to get a better view.

The official secretary intoned the roll of honour and a biography of each recipient. The soon-to-be invested were assembled in single file and, on cue, were nodded forward up the carpet to the stage. Brightly burnished medals were handed from uniformed usher to uniformed usher, and placed solemnly on a plump red velvet cushion. Each one was unfastened to make Dame Silvia’s job easier.


"Goldie" Jeff Wilson steps up to receive his gong

Dame Silvia had a whispered but animated conversation with each award winner. “A great pleasure…enormous contribution…honour….recognition” were words which drifted down to the front rows of the hall.

The day was not all about the rich and famous, although the appearances of Wilson, Baldwin et al were greeted with a frenzy of popping flashguns by the serried ranks of the media scrumming below the stage.


Wilson approaches the media scrum

Less public lives of giving and achievement were also honoured. Geologists, lawyers, pathologists and psychologists rubbed shoulders with nurses, volunteers, policemen, social workers, soldiers, kaumatua and mechanics. People from all walks of life were there.

When each of the invested 43 had received their awards, Dame Silvia explained how much she enjoyed the twice yearly chance to meet such disparate groups of New Zealanders. She said their contributions to the country could not be measured in “dollars and cents”, but it made them no less worthy for that.

After the formal and ceremonial aspect of the occasion had finished those invested and their families were invited to wander around Government House before lunch.

Wilson was left besieged by well-wishers, pumping his hand and telling him what big fans they were. He took it all with good humour, but would be the first to admit that the others there, nervously standing along the outsides of the room like teenagers at a school ball, were just as worthy of all this fuss.

******* ENDS *******

- Richard Scott is a Wellington freelance writer and student on the Canterbury University Journalism course.

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