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Record Visitor Numbers At Government House

Record Visitor Numbers At Government House

The Governor-General's initiative to make her official residence more accessible to the public has resulted in record numbers of visitors to Government House in Wellington.

Public Affairs Officer Stefan Wolf said in the six months to 31 December 2002, 16,000 people visited Government House. He said Government House was on course to increase annual visitor numbers to well over 30,000, around 50% more than in previous years.

Mr Wolf said the Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, was delighted with the high visitor numbers. "Dame Silvia says Government House belongs to all New Zealanders and she wants as many people as possible to experience the wonderful atmosphere of this historic residence."

Mr Wolf said the higher numbers were partly due to an increase in the number of charity functions at Government House. The figures also reflected a growing awareness by the public of the very special nature of Government House. "We had an open weekend last year and it was so successful that we decided to hold open days every year rather than just every two years as in the past."

The next open days, which are free to all, would be held on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 March 2003. Mr Wolf said visitors would get access to various state rooms, including the Ballroom and the Dining Room which would be set for a formal State dinner. Gifts from overseas Heads of State would be on display as well as Government House's two vehicles, including a late model Jaguar.

Mr Wolf said people unable to visit Government House could take a picture tour on the Governor-General's website at www.gg.govt.nz. He said the site had attracted several thousand visitors since being launched just before Christmas.

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