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John Key

7 August, 2011

PM pays tribute to Sir Paul Reeves

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand has lost one of its greatest statesmen with the passing of Sir Paul Reeves.

Sir Paul, who held New Zealand’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand, died this morning in Auckland.

“Sir Paul, who trained for the Anglican priesthood, became New Zealand’s first Maori Governor-General in 1985 and his tenure was one of inclusiveness and compassion,” says Mr Key.

He modelled his Governorship on the life of a Bishop saying; ‘a Bishop travels, a Bishop stands alongside his people and searches for common ground.’

“Sir Paul’s contribution to New Zealand did not end when he left Government House. He spent another two decades serving at the highest level. We are indebted,” says Mr Key.

Sir Paul was Anglican Observer at the United Nations, observed elections in Ghana and South Africa, helped write constitutions for Fiji and Guyana and chaired the Nelson Mandela Trust.

At home he chaired the Queen Elizabeth II National trust and the Bioethics Council and helped to select judges for the new Supreme Court.

“This was a life spent giving,” says Mr Key.

“His contribution was enormous and New Zealand is a poorer place for his passing.”

Sir Paul Reeves died aged 78 and he is survived by his wife Beverley, Lady Reeves, his three daughters, Sarah, Bridget and Jane, and six mokopuna.

A state funeral is being arranged and details will be advised.

  • John Key
  • Prime Minister