PM: Address at G-G Swearing-in Ceremony
Wednesday 23 August 2006
Rt Hon Helen Clark
Governor-General Anand Satyanand
Parliament Buildings Wellington
Wednesday 23 August 2006
Your Excellencies the Honourable Anand Satyanand and Susan Satyanand; Madam Speaker; Your Excellency the Queen's Representative in the Cook Islands, Sir Frederick Goodwin; the Premier of Niue, the Honourable Young Vivian; the Representative of the Ulu o Tokelau, Mr Patuki Isaako; Dean and Members of the Diplomatic Corps; Ministers of the Crown and Members of Parliament; Chief Justice and members of the judiciary;ladies and gentlemen.
We assemble here today for the swearing in of the Honourable Anand Satyanand as Governor-General of the Realm of New Zealand.
The Honourable Anand Satyanand today becomes New Zealand’s nineteenth Governor-General. New Zealand is indeed fortunate that people of such distinction and integrity are prepared to accept this role and carry out its duties and responsibilities.
The duties which accompany the role range from the constitutional and representational to the affirming of New Zealand’s unique identity and of our people’s achievements and contributions.
The Governor-General is called on to perform the constitutional functions impartially, with respect for the institutions and conventions of government.
The Governor-General represents and promotes New Zealand’s identity as an independent nation, receiving visiting Heads of State and Heads of Government, and the credentials of foreign diplomats. The Governor-General also represents New Zealand overseas at ceremonial and other State occasions from time to time.
Our country looks to the Governor-General to be a unifying figure, playing a role in important national events, celebrating New Zealanders’ achievements and service, and undertaking a broad programme in the community.
For almost forty years New Zealand citizens have served in the office of Governor-General.
As our country has changed over the years, so has the expression of the office. In the 21st century we expect the Governor-General to relate to and be connected to the diversity of contemporary New Zealand.
The Honourable Anand Satyanand is of Indian descent, with close ties to the Pacific.
His grandparents moved from India to Fiji at the turn of the twentieth century. In turn, his parents came to New Zealand from Fiji.
I am pleased that two very distinguished guests from Fiji have joined us today – the Vice President, His Excellency Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, and the Honourable Mr Justice Sir Moti Tikaram, the former President of the Court of Appeal in Fiji.
Our new Governor-General was born and educated in Auckland, studying law at the University of Auckland.
Professionally he has had a multi-faceted career as a lawyer in private practice, a judge, and an ombudsman. He has also made a particular contribution to legal reform and legal education, and has a deep understanding of the workings of government and the law.
Many of his former colleagues are present today as he takes up this new high office.
Outside his legal and judicial career, the Honourable Anand Satyanand has contributed to a wide range of community activities, including in the cultural and sports spheres.
He has also served in roles which draw on his interest and knowledge in international affairs and New Zealand’s place in the world.
All these achievements and experiences have equipped him well to carry out his new role with care and thoughtfulness.
The Honourable Anand Satyanand brings his own special personal qualities to the office of Governor-General.
He is deeply committed to New Zealand and New Zealanders. He is at ease across our communities. His life and career have been noted for the warmth of the relationships and connections he has forged with people from all walks of life.
Friendships matter greatly to him and he has been a loyal and supportive friend to many present today.
Our new Governor-General is also a good listener and communicator, and is known for his ability to bring people together. This is all accompanied by a wonderful sense of humour.
I have no doubt that the Honourable Anand Satyanand will draw on all these personal strengths and skills in the role of Governor-General.
The Honourable Anand Satyanand and his wife Susan married in 1970. They have three adult children. While it is Anand Satyanand who is being sworn in today as Governor-General, Susan works alongside him in the new role and will bring her own interests and skills to Government House and its community outreach.
Your Excellencies, I know that you have both thought deeply and seriously about the task ahead.
You now begin an intense public life, and the next five years will have a significant impact on your lives and that of your family.
Together I know that you will bring a strong partnership to Government House, supporting each other in the demands of the office.
I thank you for agreeing to serve New Zealand in this way.
On behalf of the government and people of New Zealand, I welcome you both to your new roles as you take up life and work at Government House, and wish you well for this period of service to New Zealand.