They've spearheaded New Zealand's acclaimed response to Covid-19 and tonight they had a rare night off, dining as guests of the Governor-General at Government House in Wellington.

Director general of health Ashley Bloomfield, his wife Libby, director of public health Caroline McElnay, Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black and John Ombler, the head of the Government's response team, were wined and dined at the venue.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy said it was the first official dinner she had hosted since lockdown began and "who better to host than the trusted public servants who have held such important leadership roles in our nation's response to Covid-19".

Dame Patsy's husband David Gascoigne was also in attendance, along with the couple's miniature poodle Coco, who managed to photobomb each of the images captured.

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Dr Bloomfield with Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black and Dame Patsy. Photos / Government House
Dr Bloomfield with Civil Defence director Sarah Stuart-Black and Dame Patsy. Photos / Government House

The evening was the public debut of Bloomfield's wife Libby since her health chief husband became one of the country's most recognisable figures due to the almost daily coronavirus press conferences.

He met his wife Libby at university - she is also a doctor - and they married the year he qualified.

The couple have three children who were all at the family's Eastbourne home during lockdown.

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The Governor-General's guests included Ashley Bloomfield, director of public health Caroline McElnay and John Ombler who led the all-of-government Covid response.
The Governor-General's guests included Ashley Bloomfield, director of public health Caroline McElnay and John Ombler who led the all-of-government Covid response.

Bloomfield, who was head boy, dux and First 15 vice-captain at Wellington's Scots College, has said he wanted to become a doctor since high school when he visited a hospital on careers day.

He has said that his newfound fame has been bit surreal and puzzling.

However he was glad that his profile had helped raised awareness of public servants' contribution.

"Most people don't know or notice what the public service does, but I think it's been made visible to them just how fortunate New Zealand is with its public service," he told RNZ.

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"It's been a big part of the success of our response."