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A special Dunedin visit to a "captivating'' Catholic nun was made yesterday by Sir Jerry Mateparae on his last visit to Dunedin as New Zealand's Governor-General.
Sir Jerry visited Otago Museum, the University of Otago, Montecillo Veterans' Home and Hospital and then Little Sisters of the Poor Sacred Heart Home.
The visit to the Brockville home was to say happy birthday to Sister Marie, a Catholic nun born Annie Fitzpatrick.
He sent a birthday card to Sr Marie when she turned 102 on April 22 and, since he was in the city, took the opportunity to wish her all the best.
"And to acknowledge the special person she is,'' Sir Jerry said.
He gave Sr Marie a framed photo of him meeting Pope Francis in 2014.
"Oh, it's lovely,'' Sr Marie said, after unwrapping the present.
Later, Sir Jerry talked to about 50 residents and staff about how he was "captivated'' by Sr Mary's "spirit, compassion and example'' when the pair met when she was awarded the Queen's Service Medal on August 29, 2012.
"What really got me was that she helped the elderly, most of whom were younger than she is.
"I thought how delightful ... that's why I thought on my last visit to Dunedin as governor-general I wanted to come and say happy birthday.''
Sir Jerry's five years as Governor-General end on August 31.
Sr Marie said it was "wonderful'' to receive a visit from Sir Jerry yesterday.
"I feel so honoured he came to see us.''
Afterwards, he greeted residents including Jean Miller (102), Rena Clark (101), Arthur Cook (100) and gave resident Bridget Dolan (97) a kiss on the cheek.
"It was special. He sent me all wobbly,'' she said after the kiss.
Dunedin was also the final stop for Sir Jerry on a six-city tour of New Zealand universities.
In Dunedin yesterday morning, he learned of the "exciting and awesome'' collaboration around science between the University of Otago and Otago Museum.
Year 6 Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Otepoti pupil Moka Elone shared his knowledge of moths with Sir Jerry in The Lab in a Box outside the museum yesterday.
"He was pretty interested,'' Moka (10) said.