November 01, 2021
Dame Cath transformed governor-general role
As Aotearoa’s first wahine Māori governor-general Dame Cindy Kiro starts her first full week on the job, the first woman in the role is being remembered as a trailblazer for women in public life.
Dame Catherine Tizard died yesterday in Auckland aged 90 after a long illness.
Her first steps into public life were with the Play Centre Association while raising her four children.
She was first elected to the Auckland City Council in 1971 while continuing to work as a zoology lecturer at the University of Auckland.
In 1983 Dame Catherine was the first woman to be elected mayor of Auckland, stepping down in 1990 to become governor-general.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says as governor-general Dame Catherine succeeded in making the office more accessible for New Zealanders.
“In everything she did, she demonstrated her remarkable qualities of leadership and determination, combined with a down to earth approach and an irrepressible sense of humour,” Ms Ardern says.
The Tizard family says Dame Catherine wanted a private cremation, and as she was both a scientist and a good citizen, so it will be.
They hope to arrange some way to honour her memory in public, in future.