Outgoing Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand arrived at Parliament for his state farewell yesterday in freezing conditions, but once inside, he received warm tributes from across the political spectrum.
Sir Anand and his wife, Lady Susan, were met at Parliament by Prime Minister John Key, Speaker of the House Lockwood Smith, a combined services honour guard and a powhiri performed in freezing rain on Parliament's windswept forecourt.
Sir Anand quickly inspected the honour guard as the military band played Po Kare Kare Ana and a 21-gun salute was fired from the Point Jerningham battery.
Mr Key paid tribute to the former lawyer, judge, and ombudsman who became New Zealand's first Governor-General of Indian descent. He said Sir Anand was someone who had "done a great deal to encourage New Zealanders to recognise the challenges and indeed opportunities in increasing cultural, religious and ethnic diversity".
He had taken a detailed interest in the constitutional aspects of his role and "many a frightened minister" had gone to great lengths to make sure they understood the legislation that required his assent, "in fear of the questions you would ask them".
The Prime Minister also noted Lady Susan's support of her husband during his term and her work in support of children, the environment and the volunteer sector.
In recognition of her community service, Mr Key presented Lady Susan with the insignia of an Additional Companion of the Queen's Service Order.
Sir Anand said he had taken on the Governor-General role with three themes in mind: "For people to embrace the opportunities inherent in our country's growing diversity, for our people to engage with communities, and for them to enhance civics knowledge."
On those first two themes, he said New Zealand was doing well "despite the occasional controversy that erupts in the media" - likely a reference to comments from broadcaster Paul Henry.
However, New Zealanders' knowledge of the mechanics of government could be strengthened, he said.
Former Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae will be sworn in as Governor-General on August 31.