Gov-Gen embarks on southern tour

    Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy (left) with Melissa Vining at the Southland Charity Hospital as part of her Southland tour.


    TODAY marks the third day of the New Zealand Governor-General’s Southland tour.

    It was the first visit by a Governor-General in almost a decade which included Invercargill.

    On Tuesday, Dame Patsy Reddy started her four-day tour of Southland, accompanied by her husband Sir David Gascoigne.

    “It’s one part of New Zealand we hadn’t been to yet and I was really keen to come down,” she said.

    She started by viewing the work being done on the Southland Charity Hospital.

    Dame Patsy met with hospital trustee Melissa Vining at the Invercargill building to learn about work being done to convert it into the hospital.

    Regarding the hospital, she said she was fascinated by Ms Vining’s journey, “converting what was a tragic situation into something really strong and positive for the community”.

    She said, having walked through it, the building was lovely.

    “It’s of a time, it’s period architecture but I like the airiness. It’s got really sound bones and foundations and I can see it being a really lovely spot for people coming to seek medical care.”

    When asked if there were any Southland specific issues she was aware of, she replied, as she had just arrived, she could not answer sensibly.

    “I’m sure there are a lot. We’ve actually been out to Bluff and I’ve seen Tiwai Point.”

    She said seeing the smelter made her think of the large contribution it made to the local economy.

    Climate change was also pointed out as an issue the region would face.

    “I’m fascinated by Southland. I’ve always heard about it Invercargill a couple of times but never spent any time here.”

    While her term was coming to an end, she did not have any specific plans for the future.

    “I’ve always enjoyed looking to the future but I’m determined not to plan post September 30 at this stage.”

    In March 2016, Queen Elizabeth II approved the appointment of Dame Patsy as the next Governor-General of New Zealand, for a five-year term.

    Dame Patsy visited Gore yesterday and returned to Invercargill in the afternoon.

    Today involved a trip to Riverton and on Friday, a tour of Ulva and Stewart islands.