1 Feb 2017

The Queen's 1963 visit to Waitangi

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:35 pm on 1 February 2017

54 years ago, Queen Elizabeth II landed at Waitangi on Waitangi Day as part of her first New Zealand tour in a decade.

Sarah Johnston from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision shares some radio broadcasts of that event, which attracted a crowd of 20,000.

Waitangi Day 1963 was the first time someone had spoke publicly as a representative of all of Māoridom, Johnston says.

A speech is given by Sir Turi Carroll of Ngati Kahungunu – the first president of the New Zealand Māori Council, which had been established the previous year.

While Sir Carroll's speech may sound polite and measured to our ears, he was quite forthright for the time, Johnston says.

He tells the Queen that Māori wanted recognition of the Treaty in law and also pushes for Waitangi Day to be a public holiday (which didn't happen until 1974).

Then the Queen addresses the crowd (steering clear of the public holiday question).

"She wins them over a bit by pledging to uphold the Treaty and she also ventures a few words of te reo Māori for the first time."

In 1963, the Queen and Prince Phillip were still regarded as a glamorous couple, Johnston points out.

“The radio commentary is full of these breathless descriptions of her outfits”.

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