Victoria University Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan says the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws is an acknowledgement of Dame Patsy’s leadership as Governor-General as well as her previous career in law and business.
“Dame Patsy has been an inspiration for women aspiring to leadership in the public and private sectors, and she continues to do so as the Queen’s representative in New Zealand.
“Prior to her appointment as New Zealand’s twenty-first Governor-General, Dame Patsy established herself as a prominent lawyer, businesswoman and strong advocate for the arts and gender equality.
“Victoria is proud to celebrate its connection with Dame Patsy and her outstanding achievements in leadership, law, business and the arts.”
Dame Patsy graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University in 1976 and was subsequently awarded a Master of Laws (First Class Honours) in 1979. She lectured at Victoria’s Law Faculty before joining the law firm Watts and Patterson (now Minter Ellison Rudd Watts) in 1982.
She enjoyed a rapid rise through the firm’s ranks, becoming the first female partner in 1983, before joining Brierley Investments as Group Legal Counsel in 1987. During her time at Brierley Investments, she was involved in numerous mergers and acquisitions, including the privatisation and subsequent flotation of Air New Zealand, and the construction, establishment and flotation of Sky City Entertainment Ltd.
With her extensive background in law and business, Dame Patsy became highly sought after for governance and consulting roles in the public and private sectors. She has served on the boards of Air New Zealand, Sky City Entertainment, Southern Petroleum, Telecom, New Zealand Post, Payments NZ and the New Zealand Transport Agency. She acted as Chief Crown Negotiator of Treaty Settlements for Tauranga Moana and Te Toko Toru, and she was able to combine her business expertise with her interest in film as Chair of the New Zealand Film Commission.
Dame Patsy is a strong supporter of the arts and keen concert-goer, and has been closely involved in a range of creative and charitable organisations, including as a Trustee of the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts, the Wellington Jazz Festival Trust, and the Symphony Orchestra Foundation. She was a founding Trustee and advisory board member for New Zealand Global Women and has chaired the Board of the New Zealand Film Archive.
The Victoria University of Wellington Council will confer an honorary doctorate on Dame Patsy Reddy at Victoria University’s graduation ceremony on 6pm Wednesday 13 December.