Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed New Zealanders’ deep sadness at the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, describing Her Majesty as a monarch with an unwavering sense of duty.
“I know that I speak for people across New Zealand in offering 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,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“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.
“The Queen visited New Zealand on ten 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. 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.
“We will make 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,” Jacinda Arden said.
New Zealand’s representation at Her Majesty’s funeral service will be confirmed shortly.
Flags will fly at half mast to mark Her Majesty’s death. Further information about mourning observances will be available on the Governor-General’s website, at www.gg.govt.nz
The new King becomes New Zealand’s new Head of State immediately on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.