New Zealand Governor-General sworn in

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

New Zealand's nineteenth Governor-General was sworn in today. The Honourable Anand Satyanand succeeds Dame Silvia Cartwright as the personal representative of New Zealand's Head of State, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand. Dame Silvia concluded a five year term in office.

A fanfare of trumpets and a 21-gun salute by the 16 Field Regiment from Linton marked the start of ceremonies. Satyanand arrived at Parliament at 11.45am (NZST).

His investiture began with an Indian and Māori welcome, followed by the constitutional swearing in. A commission of appointment was read, and the Oath of Allegiance and the oath of office taken.

The appointment was then proclaimed, at which point Satyanand became the 19th Governor-General of New Zealand.

There was Royal New Zealand Navy led Tri-service Royal Guard of Honour comprising 100 men and women drawn from the three services (Royal New Zealand Air Force and New Zealand Army) and their respective Queen's Colours and escorts, and the Band of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force Trumpeters were also in attendance.

Following the ceremony the new Governor-General laid a wreath; at the National War Memorial in honour of New Zealand's war dead; a tradition that all new Governor-Generals undertake on the day of their swearing-in.

A 24-person Guard of Honour, Catafalque Guard, bugler and drummer from the New Zealand Defence Force also attended the commemorative service.

He says he is deeply honoured to have been asked to serve as Governor-General and says there will be a great deal of pride within the Indian community about his appointment.

After the ceremony the vice regal party moved into Parliament House where presentations were be made in the Grand Hall; followed by a reception in the Banquet Hall.

Satyanand was born and raised in Auckland. He studied law at the University of Auckland law school. He has practiced law, been a judge, an ombudsman.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, said that he has a very good and deep understanding of the law, government, an interest in international affairs and has contributed to many community activities.

Anand Satyanand's parents were Indo-Fijians. Satyanand is the first Governor-General of Asian descent. Satyanand married in 1970 and has three adult children.

Present at the swearing-in ceremony were the Vice-President of Fiji, His Excellency Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, and the Honourable Mr Justice Sir Moti Tikaram. Also present were some of his former colleagues.

Prime Minister Clark said, "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."

Peter Dunne, leader of the United Future party, said "I warmly welcome his appointment and I believe that with his Asian, Fijian, Indian and Kiwi background he will do an excellent job for the increasingly diverse society that is New Zealand today."

Winston Peters, New Zealand First party leader and Foreign Minister, said, "He is the right person to carry out the diverse role of the Queen's representative in 21st century New Zealand. Judge Satyanand has the experience, respect and demeanour to fulfil the various demands of this most important constitutional role in the manner we expect in New Zealand."

When asked by the media in April his view of New Zealand becoming a republic, Satyanand said "I am an admirer of our country's present constitutional arrangements and the mechanisms which enable a straightforward change of government and our connection with our historical past."


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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.