Sir Paul Reeves fighting cancer
Former Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves has been diagnosed with cancer.
The 78-year-old announced in today he would be stepping back from most aspects of his public life following the diagnosis.
Sir Paul said he wanted to focus on his health issues and spend more time with his wife and family.
Currently the chancellor of the Auckland University of Technology, Sir Paul has held many prominent New Zealand leadership roles including a stint as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church.
He gave up the post in 1985 to become the country's first Maori Governor-General.
Other international posts have included the chairman of the Nelson Mandela Trust and chairman of the Fiji Constitution Review Commission between 1995 and 1997.
He is an Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand.
Sir Paul requested privacy for himself and his family in his statement about his illness.
The Bishop of Taranaki, Philip Richardson, who is acting as a spokesman, said Sir Paul wished to have privacy around the kind of cancer and his treatment.
"Sir Paul has always been absolutely strong and continues to be so. He has always had an amazingly strong family and it continues to be so," Richardson said.
Sir Paul was at home with his family, but was maintaining some commitments, he said.
"He is committed to his role as chancellor of Auckland University of Technology, although he will inevitably have to step back from some elements of that role in time."