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Announcement of a new Governor-General of New Zealand

Published 24 May 2021

The Queen, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of New Zealand, has been pleased to approve the appointment of Dame Cindy Kiro as the next Governor-General of New Zealand.

Dame Cindy will serve in succession to The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, who will complete her term of office on 28 September 2021.

Dame Cindy Kiro - Biographical Notes

Dame Alcyion Cynthia (Cindy) Kiro was born in Whangārei, Northland, in 1958, the eldest of six children. She is of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu and British descent. Dame Cindy also has connections to Te Arawa in the Rotorua region.

Dame Cindy recently took up the role of Chief Executive of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. The Royal Society advances and promotes research and scholarly activity in science, technology and the humanities, and raises public awareness and understanding of those fields.

Dame Cindy holds a PhD in Social Policy and an MBA (Exec) in Business Administration from the University of Auckland and Massey University, and was the first in her family to achieve a university qualification.

Much of Dame Cindy’s career has been in the tertiary sector. She has had a distinguished career in academic research, culminating in leadership roles at several New Zealand universities. From 2009 to 2012 she was Associate Professor and Head of School of Public Health, Massey University; from 2012 to 2014 she was Professor of Education, Head of School Te Kura Victoria University of Wellington; between 2014 and 2018 she was firstly Te Tumu (Deputy Dean) Faculty of Education and Social Work and subsequently Director Tai Tokerau Campus at the University of Auckland; and between 2018 and 2021 she was Pro Vice-Chancellor Maori at the University of Auckland before taking up her current role at the Royal Society.  From 2014 to 2018 she was a member of the Ministerial Cross Sector Forum for the Ministry of Education, and from 2018 to 2019 she chaired the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

In addition to her leadership in academic institutions, Dame Cindy has had extensive experience in other roles. These roles have included membership of the National Health Committee, Public Health Authority, Health Funding Authority and as General Manager Funding and Services Planning and Māori Health for the Auckland District Health Board. Alongside her other roles she was a member and chair of the National Hauora Coalition and NHC Trust Board from 2010 to 2020.  From 2003 to 2009, she was Children’s Commissioner, the first woman and Māori to hold the position. 

Dame Cindy has had many roles in voluntary and community organisations, reflecting her personal interests in supporting children, young people and disadvantaged members of society. From 2013-2016 she was the Director of the Starpath Project, looking into the impacts of socio-economic status on educational achievement in New Zealand.

Dame Cindy was appointed as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (DNZM) for services to child wellbeing and education on the New Year 2021 Honours List.

Dame Cindy is married to Richard Davies, a doctor with a general practice attached to Auckland City Mission. Dame Cindy is the mother of two sons, step-mother to two sons and grandmother to two grandsons, and has a wide extended family. She speaks English and has a level of fluency in te reo Māori, and would like to learn Spanish, a language spoken by her grandchildren.