Michael Hardie Boys

The Right Honourable
Sir Michael Hardie Boys
17th Governor-General of New Zealand
In office
21 March 1996  21 March 2001
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Jim Bolger (1996–1997)
Jenny Shipley (1997–1999)
Helen Clark (1999–2001)
Preceded by Dame Catherine Tizard
Succeeded by Dame Silvia Cartwright
Personal details
Born (1931-10-06) 6 October 1931
Wellington, New Zealand
Spouse(s) Mary Zohrab
Profession Judge
Religion Anglican

Sir Michael Hardie Boys GNZM GCMG QSO KStJ (born 6 October 1931) is a New Zealand jurist and was the country's 17th Governor-General, from 1996 to 2001.

Early life and family

After his schooling at Hataitai School and Wellington College, he gained BA and LL.B degrees 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 and was elevated to the Court of Appeal and 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 New Year Honours List of 1995 Hardie Boys was appointed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George.[2] In 1996 (now as Governor-General) he was the first person appointed as a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[3] and is also a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.


On 21 March 1996, Hardie Boys was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of her Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, as the Governor-General of New Zealand. 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.


Hardie Boys (left) with US 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.[4] 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.[4]


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

In 2004, he stated his opposition to New Zealand becoming a republic, stating in an interview: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."[5]



  1. "Appointments to the Privy Council" (14 September 1989) 159 New Zealand Gazette 4242.
  2. "New Year Honours 1995" (19 January 1996) 4 New Zealand Gazette 121.
  3. "The Queen's Birthday Honours 1996" (10 June 1996) 59 New Zealand Gazette 1488.
  4. 1 2 Gavin Mclean (October 2006), The Governors, New Zealand Governors and Governors-General, Otago University Press, p. 281
  5. "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
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