You may not recognize Queen Elizabeth II if you are in the Commonwealth Realm of New Zealand. For when she is attending a native Powhiri or Maori welcoming ceremony she wears a ceremonial Korowai cloak and speaks a few words of Maori. The cloak is made up of feathers from a Kiwi bird and dates back to 1844.
Queen Elizabeth has visited New Zealand ten times in total, most recently in 2002 for her Golden Jubilee tour visiting Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington. Other visits have included highlights such as the Commonwealth games, opening a session of Parliament, and even her Christmas broadcast in 1953 from Government House in Auckland.
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge visited New Zealand earlier this year, drawing worldwide attention. Like Prince George, New Zealand was also one of the first public appearances for Prince William when he was less then one year old. Although their time in New Zealand was short, Prince Edward has spent considerably more time there. In 1982 he spent two terms as a house tutor and junior master at the Collegiate School, Wanganui, New Zealand.
In 1840 New Zealand became at British colony after over 500 Maori Chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi. In 1926 New Zealand became a self-governing Dominion under the British Crown. The Constitution Act 1986 recognises The Queen as Sovereign, with an appointed Governor-General as her representative.
The Governor-General has three roles – constitutional, ceremonial and community. Similar to The Queen’s duties in the United Kingdom, the Governor-General acts on her behalf in New Zealand.
Queen Elizabeth has a personal flag for when she is visiting the country. It features a shield design of the New Zealand coat of arms in the form of an square. In the centre is a dark blue roundel bearing an initial E topped by a Royal crown within a gold chaplet of roses. This flag is flown at parades and on The Queen’s birthday.
Should you be visiting in early June you will be able to see this flag. New Zealand celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s birthday on the first Monday in June, so, in a few months time, pack your bags and enjoy the festivities!
photo credit: NJKean via photopin cc]]>