Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, KStJ (born 22 July 1944) is a New Zealand former lawyer, judge and ombudsman who served as the 19th Governor-General of New Zealand from 2006 to 2011.

Anand Satyanand
Satyanand in 2006
19th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
23 August 2006 – 23 August 2011
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
John Key
Preceded byDame Silvia Cartwright
Succeeded bySir Jerry Mateparae
Personal details
Born (1944-07-22) 22 July 1944 (age 79)
Auckland, New Zealand
SpouseSusan Sharpe
Alma materUniversity of Auckland
ProfessionLawyer, judge, ombudsman

Satyanand was chair of the Commonwealth Foundation for two 2-year terms, ending in December 2016.[1] He then chaired the Commonwealth Observation Group of the National Elections of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea in 2017.[2] In 2018, the New Zealand Government appointed him to lead the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State care and in the care of Faith-based Institutions, which is scheduled to continue until 2023.[3] In November 2019, at the conclusion of its build-up phase, he stepped down as chair. In August 2019 he was elected to be Chancellor of the University of Waikato for a 4-year term.

Early life and family

Satyanand putting flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, April 2011

Anand Satyanand was born on 22 July 1944 and raised in Auckland to an ethnic Indo-New Zealander family of Indo-Fijian descent and Telugu as well as mixed AwadhiBhojpuri ancestry. All four of his grandparents arrived in Fiji from undivided India in 1911, originating from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, whereby his grandfather worked as a government interpreter.[4] His father, Mutyala Satyanand, was born in Sigatoka of Telugu descent in 1913 and arrived in New Zealand in 1927 to attend high school and later university.[5] His mother Tara Tillak hailed from Suva and was of the country's dominant North Indian ancestry of its ethnic Indian populace from the Hindi belt region of India, was trained as a Karitane nurse in New Zealand.[4] She married Mutyala Satyanand in 1940, after moving to New Zealand.[4]

Satyanand attended Sacred Heart College in Auckland, and then undertook the medical intermediate course at the University of Otago in Dunedin.[6] He was not successful in gaining entry to the medical school and later said "in reality I did not do well enough ... (but) ... Looking back over that year, I remembered that one of the things I had really enjoyed was the debating and forum meetings involving students."[7] So instead he turned to law studies, working part-time as a law clerk in Auckland.[4] He worked at Westfield Freezing Works to help fund his studies and developed a friendship with David Lange who also worked there at the same time.[8] He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Auckland in 1970. He worked as a lawyer for the next 12 years, some of that with the Crown Solicitor's firm and then as a Partner with the legal firm Shieff Angland.[4] His legal work centred on criminal law and revenue law. He served on the Council of the Auckland District Law Society from 1979 until his appointment as a Judge of the District Court of New Zealand in 1982.

During the 1966 general election, Satyanand helped Clive Edwards (later Tongan Deputy Prime Minister) when he stood in Auckland Central for National.[9] Later, in the 1975 general election, Satyanand and his wife helped David Lange in his first, unsuccessful attempt at election (for Labour, in the seat of Hobson).[4]

In 1995 Satyanand was appointed an Ombudsman, and he served two 5-year terms. Between 2005 and his appointment as governor-general he chaired the Confidential Forum for Former In-Patients of Psychiatric Hospitals, reviewed the Banking Ombudsman scheme, and installed the Pecuniary Interests Register and Scheme for Members of Parliament.[4]

Satyanand has been married to Susan Sharpe, a Pākehā woman since 1970. She was born in Sydney, Australia in 1946 and moved to New Zealand with her family in 1954. Susan and Anand have three adult children.[10] Satyanand's daughter Anya is an advocate of gay marriage, being in a civil union with her partner Ange.[11] In 2002, Satyanand and his wife were involved in a serious car accident in Dome Valley north of Warkworth, Northland, where an oncoming car crossed the centre line and crashed head-on into their car. Both were injured, and Satyanand suffered serious spinal injury; he broke his C2 and C3 vertebrae, and had to wear a halo traction to keep his head straight.[12]

Besides his official and national language of English which is also his first language, Satyanand also speaks some Fijian, Māori, Telugu (his Indian-origin ethnic language) and Fiji Hindi (the lingua franca of his Indo-Fijian ethnic community).

Governor-General of New Zealand


In 2006, Satyanand was appointed Governor-General by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of the New Zealand government under Prime Minister Helen Clark.[13] He succeeded Dame Silvia Cartwright as governor-general on 23 August 2006.[14] His appointment was welcomed by every parliamentary party leader.[15] He was the first governor-general of Indian descent and the first Roman Catholic governor-general.[16][17]

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Grand Prior of the Order of St John, received Satyanand as governor-general designate on 7 July 2006 and invested him as a Knight of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.[18]

In May 2007 changes were made to the Queen's Service Order. Under the previous Royal Warrant, the governor-general was ex-officio Principal Companion of the Order but was not a member of the Order. The Royal Warrant now provides for the appointment of the governor-general as a Companion of the Order in their own right.[19][20][21]

The first bill to which Satyanand granted Royal Assent was the Coroners Bill.

Starting on New Year's Day 2009, Satyanand issued a "New Year's Message" intended to highlight "issues New Zealanders might consider as they looked to the future".[22]

Satyanand was the first governor-general not to hold a knighthood before entering office (Colonel Thomas Gore Browne, Governor of New Zealand 1855–1861, was knighted in office). However, following the changes to the New Zealand honours system announced by Prime Minister John Key on 8 March 2009,[23] the Queen approved Satyanand's redesignation from a Principal Companion in the New Zealand Order of Merit (PCNZM) to a Knight Grand Companion of that Order (GNZM) on 27 March 2009.[24][25][26][27]

On assuming the role of governor-general, Satyanand received the style The Honourable for life; in 2010, he was advanced to the style of The Right Honourable. This style was accorded for life to all future governors-general, prime ministers, chief justices, and Speakers of Parliament.[28]

Satyanand completed his term of office as governor-general on 23 August 2011.[29]



The New Zealand Government pays for the costs associated with the Queen's representative, the governor-general, in their exercising of the powers of the Crown on behalf of the Queen, including travel, security, residences, offices, ceremonial occasions. In the 2010 Budget, the total cost of supporting the governor-general was $3,591,000 for Support Services and Maintenance of the residences, $1,710,000 for Depreciation Expenses on Government Houses, $1,279,000 Remuneration and Travel and an estimated $1,680,000 for Policy Advice and Co-ordination; a total of $7,610,000 and $11 million on capital investment in Government House, Wellington, principally used for its conservation, a total of over $18 million.[30]

Fijian coup talks


On 30 November 2006, Satyanand hosted a meeting between the Prime Minister of Fiji, Laisenia Qarase, and Fiji's military commander, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, at Government House in Wellington in an attempt to resolve the escalating crisis in Fiji. Although he hosted the meeting, he did not take part in the discussions, which were chaired by New Zealand's then Foreign Minister, Winston Peters.[31] This was the last serious effort by the international community to avert a military coup, which followed on 5 December.

Public transport in Auckland


At the opening of the new New Lynn Train Station on 25 September 2010, Satyanand stated heavy investment in motorways and the decline of public transport after trams were taken off the roads in the 1950s had led to severe congestion to the detriment of both individuals and the economy.[32]

Paul Henry controversy


On 5 October 2010, TVNZ Breakfast show host Paul Henry questioned whether Satyanand was "even a New Zealander". He then repeated the question, saying of Satyanand's replacement, "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time ... are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"[33][34] Henry attracted criticism from both sides of politics and New Zealand's race relations commissioner Joris de Bres. Henry later apologised,[33][35] was suspended, and then resigned from TVNZ.[36]

Subsequent roles


Since returning to private life, Satyanand and his wife have remained in Wellington. He was Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation for two 2-year terms, ending in December 2016.[1] He then led the Commonwealth team in observing the National Elections of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.[2] He maintains active interests in several organisations, including as President of the NZ Institute of International Affairs, as a member of Transparency International's Anti-Corruption Council and as Patron of New Zealand Rugby League and of Commonwealth Youth New Zealand.[37][38] He is a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Auckland Law School, visiting on a monthly basis. Susan and Anand are both active members of the Rotary Club of Wellington; both have been made Paul Harris Fellows, and Satyanand received the Rotary International Award of Honour in 2011.[39]

Styles and honours

  • His Honour Judge Anand Satyanand (1982 – 5 June 2005)
  • His Honour Judge Anand Satyanand, DCNZM (6 June 2005 – 4 June 2006)
  • His Honour Judge Anand Satyanand, PCNZM (5 June 2006 – 22 August 2006)
  • His Excellency The Honourable Anand Satyanand, PCNZM, Governor-General of New Zealand (23 August 2006 – 20 May 2007)
  • His Excellency The Honourable Anand Satyanand, PCNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand (21 May 2007 – 26 March 2009)
  • His Excellency The Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand (27 March 2009 – 2 August 2010)
  • His Excellency The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand (3 August 2010 – 23 August 2011)
  • The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO (24 August 2011 – Present)

Coat of arms

Coat of arms of Sir Anand Satyanand
Anand Satyanand was granted armorial bearings with life supporters by the College of Arms on 6 January 2011, which consist of:[40][41]
Upon a Helm with a Wreath Or and Gules a North Island Brown Kiwi (Apteryx australis mantelli) supporting a Mace representing that of the New Zealand House of Representatives palewise Or and between the Mace and Kiwi a Barrister’s Wig proper.
Gules a White Fronted Tern or Tara (Sterna striata) volant proper between three Trumpet Shells (Charonia tritonis) palewise and in centre chief a Pair of Scales Or.
On either side an Indian Elephant Sable about its neck a Wreath of Karaka (Corynocarpus laevigatus) Vert fructed with orange drupes proper.
Through truth comes joy


  1. ^ a b "Sir Anand Satyanand appointed Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation". Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Sir Anand Satyanand leads Commonwealth election observer mission to Papua New Guinea". Commonwealth of Nations. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions Order 2018". Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Leckie, Jacqueline (2014). "Anand Satyanand: a prominent son of the indian diaspora". New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  5. ^ Satyanand, Anand (14 January 2003). "Mutyala Satyanand". The New Zealand Medical Journal. 116 (1168). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 24 August 2007.
  6. ^ Gibb, John (15 December 2008). "Governor-General notes proud history of Otago university". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 14 December 2008.
  7. ^ Graham Weir. "New Governor General, Anand Satyanand, is a former ADLS council member". Law News. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 14 April 2007.
  8. ^ Husb, Dale (5 May 2018). "Anand Satyanand: 'Through truth comes joy'". E-Tangata. Retrieved 19 December 2019.
  9. ^ The New Zealand Herald, A natural in the Big House. Saturday 23 September 2006 Source
  10. ^ NZ Governor General's website Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Union and marriage it's not quite even". The Dominion Post. 19 May 2012.
  12. ^ Audrey Young (4 April 2006). "'Satch' the survivor wins top job". New Zealand Herald.
  13. ^ "The Role of the Governor-General". Government House. Archived from the original on 11 February 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Commission Appointing Anand Satyanand, P.C.N.Z.M., to be Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Realm of New Zealand" (24 August 2006) 101 The New Zealand Gazette 2995
  15. ^ PM welcomes Anand Satyanand as next Governor-General Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, New Zealand Government press release
  16. ^ "Queen approves Catholic for new Kiwi GG". Catholic News. 5 April 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  17. ^ McLean 2006, p. 347.
  18. ^ "Welcome to the official web site of the British Monarchy". Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  19. ^ Statutes of the Queen's Service Order (SR 1975/200) Archived 22 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine Reg 4.
  20. ^ "Special Honours List – The Queen's Service Order" (24 May 2007) 56 The New Zealand Gazette 1423 at 1451.
  21. ^ Beehive – Changes to QSO and QSM Honours affect Gov Gen[failed verification] Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Governor-General issues New Year message for 2009". Government House. 2 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
  23. ^ " – Titular Honours to be reinstated". The Beehive. Archived from the original on 22 May 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  24. ^ "Special Honours List" (12 August 2009) 118 The New Zealand Gazette 2691.
  25. ^ "Arise, Sir Anand". The New Zealand Herald. 28 March 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  26. ^ Additional Statutes of The New Zealand Order of Merit (SR 2009/90) reg 3(2)(a)&(c)
  27. ^ "Queen approves title changes; Gov-General knighted". Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  28. ^ "Use of the title 'The Right Honourable' in New Zealand".
  29. ^ "Revocation of the Commission Appointing The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, to be Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Realm of New Zealand" (22 August 2011) 129 The New Zealand Gazette 3617.
  30. ^ "Vote Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet" (PDF). New Zealand Treasury. 20 May 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
  31. ^ "Talks on Fiji situation constructive, says Peters". Auckland Fiji Community. 30 November 2006. Archived from the original on 4 December 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  32. ^ Mathew Dearnaley (25 September 2010). "Governor General slams Auckland's traffic congestion". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  33. ^ a b "TVNZ's Paul Henry slammed over Governor-General remarks". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  34. ^ "Henry causes a stir – again". Stuff. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  35. ^ "TV race row over Queen's N.Zealand representative". AFP. 4 October 2010. Archived from the original on 30 January 2014. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  36. ^ "TVNZ reverses course, suspending Paul Henry". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 5 October 2010. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  37. ^ "Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand GNZM QSO appointed as NZRL's new Patron". New Zealand Rugby League. 16 August 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  38. ^ "Our Patron – The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO". Commonwealth Youth New Zealand. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  39. ^ "Keynote address to Rotary District Training Assembly]". 10 April 2016.
  40. ^ TRANSCRIPT OF EXTRACT FROM THE RECORDS OF THE COLLEGE OF ARMS – Grants 175/293 – Grant of Arms, Crest and Supporters to Sir Anand Satyanand, College of Arms, 2011
  41. ^ "New Zealand elements". The Governor-General of New Zealand. Retrieved 14 October 2023.

Further reading

Government offices
Preceded by Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by