Graduation at University of Waikato's Hamilton campus takes on a new sentiment today as the passing of Queen Elizabeth II is marked by those attending today’s ceremonies.
Chancellor Sir Anand Satyanand took a moment before proceedings this morning at Te Kohinga Mārama Marae to share his memories of the late monarch.
“I join many people throughout the country in expressing sadness and respect. She's had a hugely long time as queen and she's done her job as a matter of duty, coupled with a special warmth.
"I'm especially pleased to have had the opportunity to be in roles like Governor General where I actually met her. Her warmth and quiet enthusiasm for New Zealand was so very obvious.”
Sir Anand acknowledged the late queen’s interest in agriculture and farming and said she would often discuss New Zealand’s dairy and meat production when the opportunity arose.
"Her Majesty personally signed the Waikato Raupatu Settlement Act into law in 1995, returning the land the University’s Hamilton campus is on to Tainui and setting in place a relationship between the University and Tainui that endures today.
“Her connection with and enthusiasm for New Zealand was obvious, and genuine,” Sir Anand said. “I expect a number of speakers at today’s Graduation ceremonies will acknowledge Queen Elizabeth’s long reign, her impact and contribution.”
The Chancellor and his wife anticipate attending the State memorial service that will be held in Wellington in coming days.
“For now, I am joined with many others, including at the University of Waikato, in acknowledging the loss of a remarkable person, held in such high regard and with so much respect,” he said.