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Indian named NZ's governor general

Justice Anand Satyanand is the first person of Asian descent appointed to the role, PM Helen Clark said.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2006 12:05 IST

An ethnic Indian judge will be New Zealand's next governor general, the first person of Asian descent appointed to the role, Prime Minister Helen Clark said on Monday.

Justice Anand Satyanand, born and raised in New Zealand by Indian and Fiji Indian parents, in August will replace Dame Silvia Cartwright as the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

Clark said Queen Elizabeth had approved the appointment of Satyanand, a lawyer, judge and former Ombudsman. The former judge, who has close ties to Asia and the Pacific, takes up the post in August, she said.

"Judge Satyanand will bring many personal strengths to the role of governor general, including a broad knowledge of the workings of government and law, as well as a deep appreciation of the different groups and communities which make up contemporary New Zealand," she added.

Until the early 1970s the post of governor general was the preserve of members of the British nobility, with the first indigenous Maori New Zealander, Sir Paul Reeves, appointed in the 1980s.

Satyanand said he decided to take the post as a matter of duty, the opportunity to play a different role in government.

"I am an admirer of our country's present constitutional arrangements and the mechanisms which enable a straight forward change of government and our connection with our historical past," he said.

"If there is to a be a change to that it will be a matter for the government and the government has said that that, in turn, will be something that the people decide," he said.

First Published: Apr 03, 2006 12:05 IST