New Zealand's new Governor-General is the daughter of school teachers, who went on to have a distinguished career including becoming a major law firm's first female partner, head a major review of intelligence agencies, hold multiple directorships, and work as a chief negotiator on Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

Dame Patsy Reddy was born in Matamata, and brought up in Te Akau and then Minginui, where her parents, Neil and Kay Reddy, were school teachers.

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A keen art lover and supporter - particularly film, visual arts and opera - according to a biography released upon her confirmation today, she is also keen on gardening, cooking, "and her miniature poodle, Coco".


After her family moved to Hamilton when Dame Patsy was 6, she attended Hillcrest Primary School, Peachgrove Intermediate and Hamilton Girls' High School.

Having graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a Master of Laws (First Class Honours), she joined the university's law faculty, eventually as a lecturer.

Having joined the law firm that is now Minter Ellison Rudd Watts in 1982, she became its first female partner the following year, specialising in tax, corporate and film law.

She then spent 11 years at Brierley Investments, where she was involved with mergers and acquisitions, including the privatisation and flotation of Air New Zealand, and the construction, establishment and flotation of Sky City.

In 1999, she was a co-founder of Active Equities Limited, a private investment company.
Dame Patsy, 61, was most recently in the public eye after working with Sir Michael Cullen on the review of the legislation related to New Zealand's intelligence agencies.

She was made a Dame in 2014.

Her husband is former Judicial Conduct Commissioner Sir David Gascoigne.
The pair are Wellington-based but also have a property in the Wairarapa and are neighbours of film director James Cameron.

Dame Patsy is chair of the New Zealand Film Commission, deputy chair of New Zealand Transport Agency, and has also been a chief negotiator for Treaty of Waitangi settlements for Tauranga Moana and Te Toko Toru.

She has served on various boards including New Zealand Opera, NZSO Foundation, and as a trustee including of the New Zealand International Arts Festival, the Wellington Jazz Festival and the Sky City Community Trust.

Dame Patsy was a founding trustee for New Zealand Global Women. When she was made a Dame in 2014, Dame Patsy told media she saw the honour as recognition of the difficulties faced by women in establishing business careers, and taking on leadership roles.

"The challenges may have changed over time but there remain some significant obstacles," she said at the time. "I do think that there is greater awareness of the importance of gender equality today, though this has yet to be realised in many areas, particularly in business leadership."

Dame Patricia (Patsy) Reddy

• Aged 61
• Married to Sir David Gascoigne, former Judicial Conduct Commissioner
• Recent work: Co-reviewer of NZ intelligence agency legislation with Sir Michael Cullen.
• Currently chair of Film Commission, deputy chair of NZ Transport Agency, chief negotiator for Treaty Settlements in Bay of Plenty.
• Barrister and solicitor, professional director for 20 years.
• Former partner in law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts and former law lecturer


• "I have tried to empower others to deliver results and achieve success and have not sought to have a profile or personal publicity. That probably reflects my own personality..."
• "I think we have been slow to recognize the value of diversity and to accept the need for diversity of gender, ethnicity, thought, culture and experience to be reflected in all aspects of our society."
Source: Newswire, 2014.