She is New Zealand’s patron of cricket, so it was no surprise when Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy identified meeting Barbados National Hero Sir Garfield Sobers and visiting Kensington Oval as among the high points of her brief stay in Barbados.
“Both our countries have produced great cricketing heroes. I think we’ve punched above our weight in that regard,” she said during a cocktail reception Monday at the Hilton Barbados Resort where she met Barbadians and other Eastern Caribbean residents who studied in her country, those involved in joint projects of the two countries, as well as a number of prominent individuals.
“I was privileged to meet the great Sir Garfield Sobers, a living national hero here in Barbados and an international cricket legend in New Zealand.”
Of Kensington Oval, which she toured along with her husband Sir David Gascoigne during the May 12-14 visit, Dame Patsy said: “It’s a household name in New Zealand, and so it was a thrill for us to visit the home of West Indian cricket.”
To the Caribbean students who studied in New Zealand, she said their experience of both cultures had put them in an ideal bridging position, and she was counting on them to help her country further engage with Barbados and the wider Caribbean.
Dame Patsy’s visit here marked her first official trip to the Caribbean, and she described it as “a sign of the strong relationship between New Zealand and Barbados”.
Her time here included meetings with Barbados’ Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Barbadian women from the creative and innovative business sector, and New Zealand scholarship alumni and development partners.
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with a wide range of Barbadians, and building on the people-to-people links which underpin the relationship between New Zealand and Barbados,” Dame Patsy said in statement.
Foreign Minister Maxine McCLean noted the interests of New Zealand’s highest ranking couple in the cultural services sector and noted that the industry was being promoted as an avenue for utilizing the talents of young Barbadians.
“I look forward to working with your very hardworking High Commissioner,” she told Dame Patsy. “Our countries have had a long, productive and very friendly history. We continue to partner in many areas.” (GA)