Dame Cindy Kiro first Māori woman to be Governor-General

HPF congratulates Dame Cindy Kiro on her appointment as Governor-General of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dame Cindy is the first wahine Māori to hold this role. She was born in Whangārei, Northland, in 1958, and is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu and British descent. She also has connections to Te Arawa in the Rotorua region.

At the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing (Banner picture) where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement Dame Cindy said she was “proudly Māori and I’m also part British”.

“So, I bring, with this unique marriage, an understanding of the foundational basis of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and its place in our history.”

She said she accepted the position with a “huge sense of gratitude and humility” and as an opportunity to serve her country.

“It’s a great honour,” she said.

Sione Tu’itahi, HPF’s Executive Director welcomed the appointment saying it was overdue but very confirming that we finally have as Governor General, a Maori woman leader and educator who is also a “champion for social justice, equity, public health and health promotion”.

Mereana Te Pere, Māori Health Promotion Strategist for HPF said this was another positive step forward for the elevation of wāhine Māori as custodians of the people of Aotearoa. “Her immense wisdom will help advance the wellness of Māori and all New Zealanders.”

Ms Ardern said she was delighted Dame Cindy had accepted the role.

“She has a highly distinguished and lengthy career in academic and leadership positions and has made significant contributions across a number of fields and organisations.

“Over many decades, Dame Cindy has demonstrated her passion for the wellbeing of children and young people, as well as education and learning. I know she will bring that same commitment to all New Zealanders as Governor-General,” said Ms Ardern.

“We are privileged to have someone of Dame Cindy’s mana and standing for the role …”

Dame Cindy who was previously the Children’s Commissioner, is currently Chief Executive of the Royal Society – Te Apārangi. Her appointment for a five-year term has been approved by the Queen and she will take up the role in October.