Dame Patsy Reddy's multi-day tour of the Bay of Plenty started off in Tauranga with a trip down memory lane.

Yesterday was the first of a four-day visit to Tauranga, Whakatāne and Rotorua.

While she has visited the area since becoming the Governor-General in 2016, it was special to have a visit this long and Dame Patsy was pleased to be in Tauranga.

"[Tauranga Moana] is an area of New Zealand that is really going well," she said.

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"It's got a fabulous booming economy and it's great to see how iwi are really participating."

Dame Patsy Reddy at Huria Marae in Tauranga as part of her Bay of Plenty tour. Photo / George Novak
Dame Patsy Reddy at Huria Marae in Tauranga as part of her Bay of Plenty tour. Photo / George Novak

Accompanied by her husband, Sir David Gascoigne, her day started with a pōhiri at Huria Marae before officially opening The Kollective and the Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service's new facility.

Almost 10 years ago to the day, she had visited the Huria Marae as the newly-appointed chief Crown negotiator for Treaty settlements in Tauranga Moana.

"It was very poignant for me to go back there."

She said it was satisfying to see iwi be an active part of the community after the Treaty settlements, despite the "unfair constraints" the process worked within.

"You can never compensate iwi for what they lost. It's a small fraction of the value of that was confiscated," she said, pointing to the central Tauranga, Te Puna, Katikati and Mauao as examples of unfair land acquisition.

Dame Patsy Reddy officially opening The Kollective as part of her Bay of Plenty tour. Photo / George Novak
Dame Patsy Reddy officially opening The Kollective as part of her Bay of Plenty tour. Photo / George Novak

She was pleased to hear about the projects local iwi were working on, including Ngā Pōtiki a Tamapahore Trust's social housing development in Pāpāmoa.

Dame Patsy said the iwi had always focused on building houses, which was especially important in the current housing climate.

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"They're putting their money where their mouth is. I was thrilled to hear about that, as it was land that was part of their treaty settlement."

Witnessing the collaboration between iwi and the wider community was also a highlight.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Huria Marae. Photo / George Novak
Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Huria Marae. Photo / George Novak

In particular, she noted the involvement of Ngāti Ranginui's Ngai Tamarawaho hapū, which had been involved in the development of The Kollective, located in its rohe (boundaries).

"I don't believe that would have happened more than 10 years ago before we embarked on that process.

"Iwi are now part of the community and they are building better social and economic outcomes for their hapū."

A self-professed "architecture snob," she said she was impressed with the design of The Kollective building.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy officially opening The Kollective as part of her Bay of Plenty tour. Photo / George Novak
Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy officially opening The Kollective as part of her Bay of Plenty tour. Photo / George Novak

"I'm very envious," she said, with a laugh.

Today, she will visit Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne to spend time with young robotics students and student nurses working with HoloLens technology.

The day ends with a reception for stakeholders and organisations involved with Dame Patsy's visit.

Tomorrow, Dame Patsy will be officially welcomed to Rotorua at Te Papaiouru Marae. After the pōhiri in the morning, she will visit the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia, with a reception for Rotorua community organisations that evening.

On Friday she will visit the Fire and Emergency New Zealand National Training Centre before heading to Scion to find out more about its research into kauri dieback.

Then it is a trip to innovative library and children's healthcare hub Te Aka Mauri and a final stop to see the restored Te Arawa Soldiers' Memorial in Government Gardens.