Sir Michael Hardie Boys

17th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
21 March 1996 – 21 March 2001
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterJim Bolger
Jenny Shipley
Helen Clark
Preceded byCatherine Tizard
Succeeded bySilvia Cartwright
Personal details
Born (1931-10-06) 6 October 1931 (age 89)
Wellington, New Zealand
Spouse(s)Mary Zohrab

Sir Michael Hardie Boys, GNZM, GCMG, QSO, KStJ, PC (born 6 October 1931) is a New Zealand retired lawyer, judge, and jurist who served as the 17th Governor-General of New Zealand, in office from 1996 to 2001.

Early life and family

After his schooling at Hataitai School and Wellington College, Hardie Boys gained a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University College. Hardie Boys married Mary Zohrab in 1957. They have two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

Judge of the High Court

A lawyer by profession, Hardie Boys became a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand in 1980. In 1989 he was elevated to the Court of Appeal, and was appointed as a Privy Counsellor.[1] In 1994 he was elected as an Honorary Bencher at Gray's Inn, and in 1995 became an Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge. He is also a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson. In the 1996 New Year Honours, Hardie Boys was appointed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George.[2]

Governor-General of New Zealand

On 21 March 1996, Hardie Boys was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand on the advice of Prime Minister Jim Bolger, as the Governor-General of New Zealand. As the 1996 New Zealand general election would be the first MMP election, the appointment of a lawyer was desirable.

In the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours, Hardie Boys was the first person appointed as a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[3] He was also appointed a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem in April 1996.[4]

Upon the completion of his term on 21 March 2001, Sir Michael and Lady Hardie Boys were both appointed as additional Companions of the Queen's Service Order.[5]


Hardie Boys (left) with United States President Bill Clinton, 1999.
Hardie Boys (left) with United States President Bill Clinton, 1999.

In 1996, Hardie Boys caused controversy by stating his opposition to Minister of Youth Affairs Deborah Morris's suggestion that young people have access to contraceptives.[6] Later, in 2001, he created further controversy by making an implied attack on the Clark Labour Government's scrapping of the air defence wing of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.[6]


Since his retirement as Governor-General of New Zealand, Hardie Boys has served as a Judge of the Kiribati Court of Appeal. He now lives in retirement at Waikanae.

In 2004, Hardie Boys stated his opposition to New Zealand becoming a republic, stating in an interview: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."[7]


Coat of arms of Michael Hardie Boys
The arms of Sir Michael Hardie Boys consist of:
Certus et Constans


  1. ^ "Appointments to the Privy Council" (14 September 1989) 159 New Zealand Gazette 4242.
  2. ^ "No. 54256". The London Gazette (2nd supplement). 30 December 1995. p. 33.
  3. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 1996". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 3 June 1996. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  4. ^ "No. 54362". The London Gazette. 3 April 1996. p. 4857.
  5. ^ "Special Honours Lists – issued 20 and 21 March 2001". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b Gavin Mclean (October 2006), The Governors, New Zealand Governors and Governors-General, Otago University Press, p. 281
  7. ^ "Ditch Queen, say former Governors-General: New Zealand Herald". The New Zealand Herald. 14 November 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2006.
Government offices
Preceded by
Dame Catherine Tizard
Governor-General of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Dame Silvia Cartwright