Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed New Zealanders’ deep sadness at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II (pictured), describing Her Majesty as a monarch with an unwavering sense of duty.
Speaking on behalf of New Zealanders, she has offered our deepest sympathy to members of the Royal Family at the passing of the Queen.
“To us she was a much admired and respected monarch, to them she was a mother and grandmother,” Prime Minister Ardern says.
“The Queen was a much loved and admired monarch, whose record reign of 70 years is an absolute testament to her, and her commitment to us all.
“She was extraordinary.
“People throughout the world will be feeling an acute sense of loss at this time and New Zealanders most certainly share that grief.
The Queen was a much-respected constant through unprecedented global change.”
Queen Elizabeth II visited New Zealand on 10 occasions, with that notable first tour over the summer of 1953-54 when she and Duke of Edinburgh visited 46 centres and attended 110 functions.
“She was here to celebrate with us at events such as the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games and the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games,” Prime Minister Ardern adds.
“She also mourned with us when we were hit by terrible tragedies such as the Tangiwai rail disaster and the February 2011 earthquake.
“I know a number of New Zealanders who had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty were struck by her keen interest, warmth and sense of humour.
“I remember in my very first meeting with Her Majesty being humbled by her intimate knowledge of New Zealand and its triumphs and challenges.
“I presented her with a gift from a New Zealander who had kept a photo of her visit more than 50 years prior.
“She recalled where it was taken and even what had made her laugh at the moment the photo was taken.”
The Government will decide on arrangements for a State Memorial Service and many communities around the country will also want to show their respects and pay tribute at their own local events.
Flags will fly at half-mast to mark Her Majesty’s death.
King Charles III is now New Zealand’s new Head of State.
Visit the Governor-General’s website for more information about mourning observances.