Queen exclaims ‘ah there you are’ as she meets New Zealand's next Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro

The Queen smiles as she has a virtual call with New Zealand's new governor-general, Dame Cindy Kiro.
The Queen on her virtual call to New Zealand's new Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro. Credit: PA/New Zealand House

The Queen was briefly taken aback by the time difference as she made a long distance call to the other side of the world.

The monarch smiled gamely as she realised it was in fact morning in New Zealand as she phoned the country's new governor-general.

Her Majesty held a virtual audience with Dame Cindy Kiro, giving a little exclamation of surprise when she appeared on the screen.

The monarch raised her finger in the air and remarked: “Ah there you are”, as the call began.

She first welcomed Dame Cindy, the first Maori woman appointed to the role, with “Good evening.”

Dame Cindy, who was speaking from Government House in the country's capital, Wellington, replied: “Good morning.”

The Queen smiled and said: “Oh, of course, it’s good morning, isn’t it, to you?”

She described the governor-general designate’s swearing-in on Thursday as a “big day”.

Dame Cindy added: “It will be a big day. Something that you’ve gone through many times, with many governor-generals.”

The Queen – who is also Queen of the Commonwealth nation – chuckled and said: “Indeed I have, yes.”

Dame Cindy Kiro, New Zealand's new Governor-General, speaks to the Queen in a video call. Credit: Government House New Zealand/PA

During the audience on Monday, the Queen invested Dame Cindy with the Insignia of a Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and of a Companion of The Queen’s Service Order of New Zealand.

In 2003, Dame Cindy became the first woman and Maori appointee to become children’s commissioner.

She was appointed as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to child wellbeing and education in the New Year Honours 2021.

Dame Cindy recently told a news conference held with the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern that she is “proudly Maori and I'm also part British.”

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“So, I bring, with this unique marriage, an understanding of the foundational basis of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) and its place in our history,” she said.

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 by representatives of the British Crown and Maori chiefs, and is broadly considered a founding document of New Zealand.

The treaty has played a key role in relations between Maori and New Zealand's government, and is of central importance in efforts to settle claims to indigenous land lost and confiscated following its signing.