If there’s one thing I’m known for, other than my love of colourful clothes and opinionated take on continuous disclosure, it’s my constant assertion/joke that one day I will be Governor General. I talk about it a lot, and while I am kind of joking, I’m also kind of serious. It appears to be my dream job: public speaking, an opportunity to host lots of fun parties but with the benefit of a team to do all the actual work, and signing things largely without reading them.
A few months ago, I heard Dame Patsy Reddy (current Governor General) speak at a conference, and she outlined a few points that made me feel that GG’ing is my destiny:
Her Excellency got a law degree as a means to leave Hamilton. I got a law degree as a means to leave Cambridge.
She then completed that law degree and went “oh, a job I guess”. I can’t tell you what I was thinking but in my last semester of law school I had made absolutely no moves towards getting a job as a lawyer until a lecturer recommended I apply to the Securities Commission.
She made no plan to become Governor General. This is great news as although I have talked about it a lot, I also have no plan (unless “manifesting my destiny” by going on about it is a plan).
Her Excellency is also a snappy dresser. When I looked at her giving the Bledisloe Address, I felt that I was looking through a lens at my future self.
What is the Bledisloe Address, you ask? It’s the speech that the Governor General gives at the Bledisloe Reception at Government House and yours truly was there to witness it this year. I was THRILLED to be invited, and excited for the opportunity to dress up.
I was coming off the back of moving house (as in, I’d finished unpacking the day before) and the weather was true Wellington – breezy (okay, windy) and that breeze was from the South, so also cold. That meant I concocted my look in about 20 minutes prior to leaving, and I am grateful for the extensive coverage of the British princesses that has infiltrated my consciousness because I 100% stole their look. I knew I needed sensible shoes for the grass, and I knew I needed something that would not require me to hold it down all afternoon. I was also pretty worried I would be cold, which was a real plot twist after the preceding heat wave where I felt like I would never know what it was to not sweat ever again.
Thus we find me in this day coat, knee length skirt and pair of court shoes. I felt like a walking liquorice allsort and I was zero per cent cross about it.
I then did some fairly focussed eating. On the way there Julie had said she was looking forward to a cup of tea, which truthfully I thought was insane – not because I don’t like tea, but because I honestly thought it would be all champagne all the time, which would have been punishing due to my shockingly low tolerance for champagne. However, Julie is a genius because of course a garden party is just a very fancy afternoon tea, and next thing I knew I was drinking tea and eating scones with jam and cream. Then we had two rounds of strawberries and cream. Basically, I was a walking cream puff within a few hours. The only thing that slowed me down was chatting to various friends who were also there. In a crowd of 2,000 people you are sure to run into a few familiar faces.
If this sounds like your cup of tea (geddit!), the best news is that you do not have to be invited to the Bledisloe Reception – they run a public ballot each year for invitations. Next year will be Auckland’s turn, before it alternates back to Wellington. Follow the Governor General on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on the ballot. However, NEVER FEAR Wellingtonians because – and I cannot believe I have only just learned this – there are free, guided public tours of Government House in Wellington. They take around two hours, and while I’m pretty sure they will not involve scones with jam and cream, I’ll be signing up for a weekend tour just as soon as possible.