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Happy 63rd Birthday to Patsy Reddy 21st Governor General of New Zealand born May 17, 1954

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Dame Patricia LeePatsyReddy, GNZM, QSO, DStJ (born 17 May 1954) is the 21st Governor-General of New Zealand, sworn in on 28 September 2016. She is a lawyer and non-executive director. She is the third woman to be appointed to the position, after Catherine Tizard and Sylvia Cartwright.

Early life and education

Born in Matamata, New Zealand, on 17 May 1954,[1] Reddy is the daughter of Neil William and Catherine Marjorie “Kay” Reddy, both of whom were schoolteachers.[2] Three of her forebears left Ireland and went to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. A distant cousin, singer Helen Reddy, is descended from the Australian forebear.[3] Patsy Reddy was raised in the small Waikato towns of Te Akau and Minginui until her family moved to Hamilton when she was six years old. There, she attended Hillcrest Primary School, Peachgrove Intermediate School and Hamilton Girls’ High School.[2]

Reddy completed her university studies at Victoria University of Wellington, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in 1976 and a Master of Laws with first-class honours in 1979.[2][4]


Reddy was a junior lecturer and then lecturer at Victoria University’s Faculty of Law.[4] In 1982 she joined the Wellington firm Watts and Patterson (now Minter Ellison Rudd Watts), becoming their first female partner in 1983. She specialised in tax, corporate and film law. She later took up a position at Brierley Investments, where she was employed for 11 years, and worked on large acquisition negotiations such as the privatisation of Air New Zealand.[5]

Reddy is the chair of the New Zealand Film Commission and Education Payroll Ltd and is a director of Payments NZ Ltd and Active Equity Holdings Ltd. She is a chief Crown negotiator for Treaty of Waitangi settlements and a lead reviewer for the Performance Improvement Framework for the State Services Commission. She is also the deputy chair of the New Zealand Transport Agency. Her previous directorships include Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd, SKYCITY Entertainment Group, New Zealand Post and Air New Zealand.[6]

In 2016, Reddy and Sir Michael Cullen collaborated on an independent report to the New Zealand government reviewing legislation covering the country’s spy agencies. Their report was released on 9 March 2016, two weeks before Reddy’s appointment as Governor-General was publicly announced.[7] The report recommended expanding the Government Communications Security Bureau‘s rights to monitor the personal communications of New Zealanders, and was met with some controversy.[8]

Reddy is also involved in a number of non-governmental organisations, particularly in the arts and gender equality.[9] She was one of the founding members in 2009 of Global Women New Zealand, a group of prominent women who advocate for inclusion and diversity in leadership.[2][10]


In March 2016, it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II had approved the appointment of Reddy as the next Governor-General of New Zealand, for a five-year term starting on 14 September 2016.[11]

She is the country’s 21st Governor-General and third woman to hold the position, after Dame Catherine Tizard and Dame Silvia Cartwright.[12]

Personal life

Reddy is married to the former New Zealand Judicial Conduct Commissioner, Sir David Gascoigne.[2] They married one week before her appointment as Governor General was announced. She and her first husband, Geoff Harley, a tax barrister, divorced in 1988.[13][14] Both husbands were her associates at Rudd Watts & Stone in Wellington in the 1980s. [15]

Honours and award

Viceregal styles of
Dame Patsy Reddy
Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand.svg
Reference style Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Spoken style Your Excellency
Alternative style Ma’am

In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours Reddy was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts and business.[16] In June 2016, she was appointed as a Dame of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem.[17]

She was promoted to an additional Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and appointed an additional Companion of the Queen’s Service Order on 27 June 2016 in preparation for becoming Governor-General.[18]

As the wife of Sir David, she is entitled to the style Lady Gascoigne, but this is never used because of the honours she holds in her own right.[19]

New Zealand Order of Merit ribbon.png Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2016)
Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (2014)
QueenServiceRibbon.png Companion of the Queen’s Service Order (2016)
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Dame of Justice of the Order of St John (2016)

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