Queen Elizabeth II was New Zealand’s sovereign since she took the throne in 1954, making her Britian’s longest-serving monarch and the world’s second-longest serving monarch after King Louis XIV of France (72 years), until her reign ended upon her death on September 8, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II made 10 trips to New Zealand during her 70-year reign. Firstly, in 1954, a newly crowned Queen headed on a Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia, becoming the first reigning monarch to set foot in both countries, where thousands lined the streets with polished shoes to get a glimpse of their head of state.
In pictures, we look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s 10 trips to New Zealand that begun in 1954 and ended in 2002 shortly after her Golden Jubilee. Although, her children and grandchildren have represented her in New Zealand since.
1. The Queen tours New Zealand during Christmas and New Years (1953 to 1954)
From December 23, 1954 to January 31, 1954, Queen Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch to set foot in New Zealand. Shortly after her coronation, the Queen aged just 27, toured 46 towns across New Zealand, for 39 days, with her late husband Prince Phillip. The Queen even opened parliament on January 12, 1954 as the first reigning monarch to do so.
Revisit her historic New Zealand moments through pictures in 1954:
Queen Elizabeth II visits a Māori Village in 1954
Queen Elizabeth II with PM Sid Holland, her husband Duke of Edinburgh and Sir Eruera Tirakatene in 1954
2. Queen Elizabeth II welcomed by Māori Queen in 1974
The Queen returned again in February 1963 for 12 days. Followed by a trip in March 1970 with her young family Princess Anne and the now-King Charles. Additionally, she and Prince Phillip travelled to the Commonwealth Games in Christchurch in January and February 1974 and she met with Māori Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu (1931 -2006) and her husband, Whatumoana Paki. While in 1977, she returned to mark her 25th Jubilee and one highlight was that she opened the Beehive on February 28 that year.
Photo taken from NZ History, from Alexander Turnbull Library.
3. The Queen wears traditional Māori Cloak, made of Kiwi feathers, on a visit in 1995
Queen Elizabeth II visited New Zealand on four more occasions in 1981, 1986, 1990 and 1995. She came on business in 1981 and 1986, followed by a trip to Auckland Commonwealth Games to close the event in February 1990. During her visit in 1995, she attended the Summit Meeting in Auckland and even wore traditional garments at Waitangi National Marae and personally delivered an apology from the Crown to the Tainui people.
4. The Queen visited New Zealand for the final time in 2002
In 2002, Queen Elizabeth II visited New Zealand from February 22 to 27 for her Golden Jubilee Tour. She met with then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, alongside meeting Team New Zealand members and governor-general Dame Sylvia Cartwright. Despite this being her last visit to New Zealand, she hosted numerous New Zealand events in the United Kingdom, in the years following. Such as, the All Blacks and other occassions at Buckingham Palace.
Here’s more highlights from her 2002 visit:
Queen Elizabeth II receives flowers from children outside Wellington Cathedral on February 24, 2002
Queen Elizabeth II stands for British National Anthem at the Beehive in Wellington on February 25, 2002
5. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern meets the Queen in 2018
In 2018, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Grayford were hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. While the Queen has not visited New Zealand since 2002, her children and grandchildren have represented her here. For instance, Prince William visiting Christchurch in 2011 after the earthquake and Prince Harry with his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Cambridge, in 2018.