Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A tribute

A State funeral was held in Auckland this morning for Bishop Sir Paul Reeves 
(December 1932 – August 2011)

Sir Paul was someone I have known about and admired for all of my adult life. He was the first person of Māori descent to be appointed Governor-General of New Zealand (the Governor-General represents the Queen and is our Head of State). Before that he was Bishop of Auckland, and later Archbishop of New Zealand. He also held a number of other diplomatic and advisory posts, including Anglican Observer at the United Nations, and Assistant Bishop of New York; he chaired the Nelson Mandela Trust. For the last 11 years he was the Chancellor of the Auckland University of Technology.  

Paul Reeves was a tall, good-looking man with considerable presence and dignity - what we in this country call "mana". He was also a great and good man, always humble; he was the first GG not to have come from a privileged background, being the son of a working class Wellington tram driver. Moreover, he was the first non-military and non-judicial holder of the office. In 2007, having received NZ’s highest possible honour, he summed up his life’s work as, “fundamentally, I’m a priest of the Anglican Church…I’ve helped good people do good things.”

I found it especially moving to learn that on his State coat-of-arms, his official motto was Whakarongo, which simply means "Listen'.

Kua hinga he totara i te wao nui a Tane*

*(a huge tree has fallen in the forest)


  1. He sounds like a marvelous man, and one that may be hard to replace. Listen....something well worth our doing! He was truly wise!

  2. Thank you for sharing this inspiring tribute. What would the world be like if we all adopted his motto?! Listen. I'm so glad you wrote about him.

  3. A very nice tribute to a great person.


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