The Honourable Dame Catherine Anne Tizard, ONZ, GCMG, GCVO, DBE, QSO

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today that she was deeply saddened by the death of Dame Catherine Tizard. She paid tribute to her long and distinguished life of service to New Zealand.

“Dame Cath was a true trailblazer for women in public life,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“She took her first steps into governance on her local Play Centre Committee, while raising four children. She was elected to the Auckland City Council in 1971 and in 1983 became the first woman to be elected Mayor of Auckland. 

“On leaving that role, she became our 16th Governor-General and also the first woman to hold that office, from 1990 to 1996. 

“As Governor-General she succeeded in making the office of Governor-General more accessible for New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Dame Cath was a member of the Order of New Zealand, and a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, as well as holding four separate damehoods. 

“These honours reflected her extraordinary life of public service,” Jacinda Ardern said. 

“On ending her term as Governor-General, she continued her involvement with a large number of community and arts groups.

“In everything she did, she demonstrated her remarkable qualities of leadership and determination, combined with a down to earth approach and an irrepressible sense of humour.

“Our thoughts are with her family at this time,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Note to Editors:

Dame Cath Tizard held the following honours:

  • ONZ: Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand 2002
  • GCMG: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George 1990
  • GCVO: Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order 1995
  • DBE: Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire 1985
  • QSO: Additional Companion of the Queen’s Service Order 1996
  • DStJ: Dame of Justice of the Order of St John 1990
  • New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal
  • New Zealand 1993 Suffrage Centennial Medal