SIR JERRY MATAPARAE IS SWORN IN AS GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF NEW ZEALAND
[Photo caption -Sir Jerry Mateparae, with Lady Mateparae at Government House, says he prefers people to speak their mind rather than say what they think he wants to hear. Photo caption - Mark Mitchell. no.2 - Sir Jerry Mateparae is flanked by warrior K. J. Allen during the powhiri at yesterday's swearing-in ceremony. Photo also by Mark Mitchell].
Big news in New Zealand recently, is Sir Jerry Mataparae‘s swearing in as New Zealand’s new Governor General. Mataparae’s former job was as chief of the Defence Force.
I have to agree with Sir Jerry’s views on how the Maori haka really unites New Zealand. If you’ve ever had the privilege of seeing the New Zealand Army do the haka together as one whanau, it is one of the most unifying expressions of New Zealand identity you will ever witness. It’s both humbling, yet quite spiritual and is unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. On the topic of the haka, Sir Jerry says:
“He is New Zealand’s second Maori Governor-General. As a child, he was raised by his whangai [Maori adoption] parents, his uncle and aunt, in Whanganui. It wasn’t an immersion upbringing – he knows some te reo but is not fluent – but there were regular trips to his marae and his family are Ratana Church morehu [followers].
He was raised to know where he came from. Of the things that stir him and link New Zealanders together, he says it is words only New Zealanders understand. He’s not talking about colloquialisms, but “words like ‘mana’. If you use that word overseas, you need a New Zealander to explain what it means.”
He also cites the haka – in particular the haka at the Palmerston North Boys’ High School prizegiving. “It’s one of the things that really makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.” There are the All Blacks haka – “yes throwing down the challenge, but also showing huge respect to the opposition.”
He also remembers the haka in San Diego when Team New Zealand was returning after winning the America’s Cup – “it was met by mostly Pakeha New Zealanders, and what were they doing? The haka”.
At his swearing in, the NZPA and Adam Bennett reported on the event as follows:
“Less than a month after farewelling its first Governor-General of Maori descent, New Zealand has another after former Defence Force chief Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae was sworn in yesterday.
Sir Jerry, of the Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Kuhungunu iwi, formally took on his new role in a ceremony on the steps of Parliament flanked by his wife, Lady Janine, and their children, iwi members, and political, judicial, and military leaders.
The ceremony was attended by a large group of dignitaries, a combined forces honour guard, a kapa group and several hundred spectators.
Sir Jerry swore an oath of allegiance and oath of office in the presence of Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and the Government’s executive council, including Prime Minister John Key.
Mr Key said Sir Jerry, who at 56 is one of the country’s youngest governors-general, already had a record of exemplary service in the military and more recently as head of the Government Security Communications Bureau.
“He is a warm, engaging and highly regarded New Zealander. I believe Sir Jerry will bring great mana and a wide range of qualities to this role, including judgment, energy and enthusiasm for encouraging excellence in others.
“I’m sure Sir Jerry will find his own way to bring his experience and interests to the role of Governor-General.”
In his first public words as Governor-General, Sir Jerry told his audience he would draw on the example of the men and women who had preceded him as he served the Queen and the people of New Zealand.
But it was with “considerable sadness” that Sir Jerry remembered New Zealand’s first Maori Governor-General, Sir Paul Reeves, “a generous, thoughtful and compassionate man” who died last month.
He also acknowledged his immediate predecessor, Sir Anand Satyanand, and his wife, Lady Susan, “for their contributions in the role”, made with “dignity, warmth and compassion”.
He noted that the past 12 months had brought some difficult times to New Zealand. “However, as a people New Zealanders, whether we be of Maori, British, European, Pacific Island, Asian or other descent, have cause to see a silver lining in adversity. The Kiwi spirit – companionship and with that a generosity, compassion and resolve when things need to be done – has been evident.”
The former elite SAS trooper said he and Lady Janine would take the opportunity to meet and talk to as many New Zealanders as possible during his term. “You will see we are ordinary folk who have been given a special opportunity.”
The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute and a waiata koroua before Sir Jerry inspected the honour guard.”
~Posted by Horiwood.Com, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 2.9.11~