Events In History


Empire Day

  • Page 1 – Empire Day

    Now almost forgotten, Empire Day was marked with parades, flag salutes and stirring speeches. Established in 1903, the day commemorated the long reign of Queen Victoria.

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  • Page 1 - Empire DayEmpire Day (24 May), was celebrated widely in New Zealand from 1903 and was a major event in the Vice-regal

Notes for My Successor

History of the Governor-General

  • Page 1 – History of the Governor-General

    New Zealand has had a governor or (from 1917) a Governor-General since 1840. The work of these men and women has reflected the constitutional and political history of New

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  • Page 2 – Modern duties

    The Governor-General's duties are divided into three functions: ceremonial, community and constitutional.

  • Page 3 – Crown colony era

    New Zealand became a British colony in 1840, legitimised by the Treaty of Waitangi and Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson's declaration of 21 May declaring sovereignty over the

  • Page 4 – Responsible government

    In the 1840s settlers were demanding a say in government. Governor Grey suspended an overly elaborate constitution in 1846, but the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 gave male

  • Page 5 – Splendid ornamentals

    With the appointment of Lord Onslow in 1889, a new type of governor took up residence at Government House.

  • Page 6 – Regalised

    The constitutional arrangements of the British Empire changed greatly between the creation of the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917 and the passing of the Statute of Westminster in

  • Page 7 – Patriated

    Late last century New Zealand governments patriated (indigenised) the Governor-Generalship.

  • Page 8 – Uber diplomat?

    From 1926, in accordance with decisions taken as a consequence of the Balfour Declaration, Governors-General merely represented the sovereign in New Zealand.

Viceregal visiting

Governors and Governors-General

The House of Representatives

  • Page 3 – Parliament

    Today there are two parts to Parliament – the House of Representatives (or the Lower House) and the Governor-General, but between 1854 and 1951 there was a third part,

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  • Page 3 - ParliamentToday there are two parts to Parliament – the House of Representatives (or the Lower House) and the Governor-General, but between 1854 and 1951 there was a third part, the

Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee


  • Freyberg, Bernard Cyril

    A First World War hero and commander of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Bernard Freyberg proved to be a charismatic and popular military leader who would later serve a term as Governor-General

  • Holyoake, Keith Jacka

    ‘Kiwi Keith’ Holyoake, the first officially designated deputy PM (1954) was our third-longest serving leader.Although criticised for sending troops to the Vietnam War, he is now seen as ‘the most dovish of the hawks’, doing the bare minimum to keep America happy.

  • Reeves, Paul Alfred

    Sir Paul Reeves was Archbishop of New Zealand and in 1985 became this country's first Māori governor-general.

  • Main image: Old Government House

    The University of Auckland has taken over Old Government House, once the Governor's northern residence.

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