Story: Royal family

Royal visit, 1953–54

The first visit of a reigning monarch to New Zealand – by Elizabeth II in 1953–54 – provoked vigorous argument over Māori participation. The government’s preference for Rotorua as the place where Māori would welcome royalty remained. Māori were to be an exotic but very limited part of the itinerary even there, with an hour and a half allowed for the event. Te Arawa alone would conduct the welcome, with other iwi represented by 200 invitees. E. B. Corbett, the minister of Māori affairs (a Pākehā), would present the loyal address.

Firm resistance from Māori resulted in a longer welcome in Rotorua attended by 3,500 Māori from across the country. Waitangi was added to the schedule after protest from Māori and some Pākehā at its omission. The visit to Tūrangawaewae was in doubt until the day it took place. Even when finally approved, it was to be a three-minute stop, with the queen remaining beside her car. But once at Tūrangawaewae, the royal couple went into Mahinaarangi, the wharenui (meeting house). They are shown here walking towards the house.

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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Pictorial Parade 17. National Film Unit, 1954

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Royal family - Māori and the royal family', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/33167/royal-visit-1953-54 (accessed 16 December 2019)

Story by Megan Cook, published 20 Jun 2012