Outgoing Governor-General Lt Gen Sir Jerry Mateparae, whose term ends on August 31, has been visiting the Taupo district for the past four days, renewing links with his iwi and visiting a range of business, tourism and cultural ventures.
Sir Jerry, who affiliates to Ngati Tuwharetoa and his wife Lady Janine, were welcomed at Hirangi Marae near Turangi by the iwi on Tuesday afternoon and the next day visited Mt Ruapehu at sunrise, followed by the Tongariro National Trout Centre, a local farm raising cattle for premium meat label Taupo Beef and the Miraka milk factory at Mokai.
Today they were welcomed at GNS Science and New Zealand Maori Creations, met the young conservationists of Kids Greening Taupo - one of whom is related to Sir Jerry - visited the Lake Taupo Harbourmaster then had a scenic cruise on Lake Taupo with local tourism representatives.
Sir Jerry said the visit had mixed science and innovation, education, primary industries and iwi activities.
"One of the neat things about this visit is that we're learning a whole lot about the community and communities doing stuff - science as much as iwi and tourism as much as teaching."
He said it was a privilege to be invited to have the 'first touch' of the totara log master carver Delani Brown intended to make into a carving of Tumatauenga, who is often labelled as the god of war, but who Mr Brown preferred to describe as the defender of humanity.
"It's an honour to be given that sort of trust to make the first cut - the other thing I know is that they can fix it up!" Sir Jerry said, adding that he was not experienced with a hammer and chisel.
Sir Jerry and Lady Janine are due to see sheep-milking in action at Wairakei Estate Pastoral tomorrow, as well as visiting the Fibre Fresh Feeds processing plant at Reporoa and Murupara Area School.