Tom Budd installed as the new Chancellor

On Sunday 10th September, Thomas Matthew Budd GCStJ, was promoted to Grand Bailiff Cross and installed as Chancellor of The Most Venerable Order of St John at St Peter’s Church, Tahuna Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu.

Tom Budd

Within The Order of St John, the role of The Chancellor takes responsibility for overseeing the Honours and Awards system, for the proper implementation of the statutes, and for building relations with the Alliance Orders of St John in Europe. He or she is one of the Great Officers of the Order, sharing leadership and guidance in partnership with the Lord Prior and other Great Officers, the Prelate, and the Sub Prior.

Tom Budd

As part of this auspicious ceremony, Tom’s Banner was presented to the Lord Prior. As according to custom, this Banner will now make its way back to London where it will be displayed during Tom’s lifetime in the Priory Church of St John, Clerkenwell.

Tom Budd

Each Banner holds meaning in its images; Tom’s Banner contains a simplified version of his family’s arms, which depict the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean on the north coast of New South Wales where Tom grew up, with three humpback whales breaching. The whales migrate along the coast in large numbers at this time of year and can be seen from the beaches and headlands.

Tom’s Banner

In addition to Tom receiving the insignia of a Bailiff Grand Cross and new Mantle, the Chancellor of the Priory in New Zealand was pleased to present Tom with one of the most significant taonga in Te Ao Māori, Pounamu. Tom’s particular Pounamu, shared as a token of their esteem, to remind him of his attachment to this special place, to this special ceremony, and to Aotearoa, was chosen for him and blessed by the Priory of New Zealand’s Priory Dean.

Tom Budd

The pounamu presented to Tom is a piece of auhunga stone reminiscent of the frosty and snowy mountains. It is carved in the shape of a kuru pendant, a shape designed as a touchstone for meditation. This shape carries a connection to the whenua (land) of Aotearoa, a reminder of the special time spent here. The kuru shape encourages knowledge, reflection, and confidence in its wearer. This pendant is carved with an inlay pattern of raranga, which is the art of weaving in Te Ao Māori. This is in acknowledgment of the work that the Chancellor will have in weaving together the work of St John around the world and weaving its great history and tradition with its modern mission and work. It also bears a striking resemblance to the bandages used by so many of our people around the world.

“Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu, although it is small it is precious.”

Tom Budd

You can watch the Haka performed in honour of Tom’s ceremony in full below. The haka is a ceremonial Māori war dance or challenge that is usually performed in a group and represents a display of a tribe’s pride, strength, and unity.

Tom’s involvement with the Order of St John dates back to the Order’s governance review in 2016. He worked closely with the former Chancellor, Patrick Burgess, to carry out and implement a review of the Order’s corporate governance. He has a background as a lawyer: Thomas was until recently a partner in the international law firm, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, where he was for many years co-partner in charge of the firm’s London office and a member of its executive committee.

Following the completion of the St John governance review, Tom oversaw the process of rewriting the Order’s Royal Charter, Statutes and Regulations, seeking and obtaining the approval of the Privy Council. In his capacity as the Order’s Deputy Honorary Legal Counsel and then Honorary Legal Counsel, Thomas has been responsible for advising the Order on legal matters and strategy in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world. He has regularly attended meetings of Grand Council, the Trustees Executive Committee and the Order Honours and Awards Committee and has worked extensively with the Order’s Establishments and senior management worldwide. That experience has given him an understanding of the extraordinary skills, commitment, and dedication of the Order’s staff and volunteers throughout the world.

“I am proud to be part of an organisation with strong values and a determination to do our very best for the sick and the poor, for the communities we serve and for our volunteers and staff working for St John around the world.”

Thomas Budd GCStJ, Chancellor

In addition to his involvement with St John, Tom is a trustee for other charities.

Tom was born in northern New South Wales, Australia, and lived in Australia for the first 25 years of his life. He currently lives in London with his wife Gill, who supports him in all his work for St John.

Photo credit: Blake Armstrong / Armstrong Photography NZ