Non-British Royal Visits to New Zealand

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Jun 10, 2016
New Zealand
Hello Everyone,

Inspired by the news of the upcoming Dutch Royal visit to the shaky isles, I was thinking about other royals who have visited NZ as well. I have put Non-British in the title because NZ is one of the so-called "Commonwealth Realms" as along with Australia, Canada, and much of the Carribean, New Zealand shares the UK monarch as de jure head of state with 15 other countries with the Governor General acting as the day-to-day de facto HoS, so visits from members of the BRF are fairly common and are not always based on UK government business, they often are in relation to CMWTH matters, the military, or something related to the NZ government. If the UK govt wants to talk turkey so to speak they normally send government reps.

The following are the ones I know about in no particular order and the dates are as best as I can remember them - there's no list on the internet that I can easily access at the moment:

  • King and Queen of Thailand - 1962
  • Shah and Shahbounu of Iran - 1970s - multiple visits - we make a lot of $$$ from selling frozen meat to the ME
  • Queen Margarethe II - 1987 - memorable as she visited Dannevirk (a Danish settlement town in the central north island and these days famous for its rates to teen pregnancy)
  • Juan Carlos and Sofia of Spain - 1989, 2009, and a private visit for the America's Cup Regatta in 2000
  • Philippe of Belgium as crown prince - 2012 I think
  • Willem Alexander and Maxima as crown prince and crown princess - 2006
  • Princess Beneditke - 2009 I think
  • Can't think of any Swedish ones - I think princess Christina may have visited NZ on behalf of CG but I don't think GC&S have been to NZ
  • princess (formerly Queen) Beatrix and the late prince Claus I think may have visited in the 1980s
  • CP Naruhito and CPss Masako of Japan - early 2000s and I think Akihito and Michiko - late 80s early 90s? This was controversial as there's a lot of bad blood in NZ over Japanese war crimes and esp maltreatment of NZ POWs in Japanese POW camps
  • Some of the other Asian royals as part of APEC meetings and other bodies regional to the Asia-Pacific - various dates, can't recall specific names sorry
  • Any Royal business that is related to international sporting bodies - chances are they will probably have come to NZ for a GM at one point or another
  • I'm not certain but I think Constantine and Anne-Marie may have visited NZ for the 2000 Americas Cup regatta and poss for other reasons reasons related to his charities and/or the NZ Greek community and/or Battle of Crete veterans - I know he's not a reigning monarch anymore but I'm casting a wide net here
  • Various Tongan Royal visits and other assorted Pasifika chiefly/noble figures

I can't think of any others at the present time but if anyone else knows of any non-UK royals who have visited NZ please say so in a reply. I've got no idea about Norway (although Norsewood, which is down the road from Dannevirk was a Norwegian settlement town), sorry. Don't know about any of the gulf royals or the Jordanians either.

I will be trying to look for pictures of some of these visits as when they are welcomed formally to New Zealand, along with the inspection of the colour, there is a Powhiri (a Maori greeting ceremony for important persons - pronounced Po-fee-ree with the stress on Po) and are allowed to wear a feathered cloak (Kakahu), which are associated with prestige and status (mana).

If anyone else can set me straight an add any information to the list or who can provide more information and correct some of my more egregious flights of fancy, please do :D
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A passage from Farah Pahlavi's memoirs about their 1974 visit to New Zealand

Surprisingly, another place we met Poles was in New Zealand. Besides the official reception at the airport, there was a touching surprise: a group of about a hundred Poles waving flowers and banners with "Welcome to the Shah of Iran." These people wanted to thank the King for having accepted them in Iran thirty years earlier. From 1942 to 1943 my husband had indeed opened the frontiers to a large number of poles who were fleeing Stalin's troops. Many had established themselves in our country after marrying an Iranian; others had gone to settle in New Zealand. But they had not forgotten.

I'm also curious about similar non-uk royal visits to Commonwealth realms as these would be interesting from a protocol standpoint. The convention has been to treat the GG of each country as HoS, although I have heard stories that not everyone has gotten the message about this as this arrangement sometimes confuses the uninitiated.
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The context of the visit of King Bhumibol and Queen Siskrit of Thailand from Barry Gustafson's biography of Keith Holyoake (the prime minister of New Zealand in 1962)

Holyoake told cabinet that NZ needed to send these forces because president Kennedy wanted to stop the communists 'nibbling' away in Southest Asia; because the Thai-Laos border needed to be stabilised ' because SEATO [a SE Asian version of NATO] imposed security obligations on its members' and because it 'was important for NZ to prove to her allies and more epically the USA that she could be relied on in a time of crisis' the contribution he made, however, was minimal and soon withdrawn, even though the King and Queen of Thailand paid a visit to NZ in August [1962] to thank it for its support. Even so, there was some criticism from the [nz] Labour Party against Holyoake providing any military support for an authoritarian Thailand, a prelude to the much greater domestic opposition generated by the far more controversial decision to send [nz] forces to south Vietnam three years later.

Barry Gustafson, Kiwi Keith: A biography of Keith Holyoake, Auckland University Press, Auckland NZ, 2007 p 216

Laos had recently been subjected to a US backed coup to overthrow the pro communist and neutralist Pathet Laos government - Thailand was being used as a base to 'stabilise' Laos by SEATO troops.

Here's a link to a Thai website in English with more information on the visit
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The 2012 visit by the then Crown Prince Philipe of Belgium as part of a Belgian Trade Delegation :flowers:

Philipe with GG Jerry Matapere

And the Radical Royalist's take on the visit

radical royalist: Prince Philippe's successful visit to New Zealand

radical royalist: Economic Mission led by HRH Prince Philippe of Belgium in Australia and New Zealand

Also important as there are many NZ war graves in Belgium :sad: Not sure if Mathilde was with him or not - :huh: :confused:
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Wow! So many Dutch Royal visits. I didn't know that WA and M had been to Huka Lodge on their honeymoon :flowers:
The reason I'm interested in this is that I did my MA about NZ diplomatic history. Visits of the BRF are well publicised (for obvious reasons) but other royals are not - I wanted to see if there were any patterns to these visits and how they tied in with NZs changing foreign policy ie the pivot towards Asia and building links to the non-UK parts of Europe, along with trading ties and the influence of NZs diaspora communities.
I understand the motive, but a known pet peeve among royal followers is that the BRF is by some considered *the* royal family (period) and that's rather derogatory to RF's around the world..
Maybe the name of this thread could have just been "Royal visits to New Zealand" rather than "non-British" because that might put some people off for that reason
I understand the motive, but a known pet peeve among royal followers is that the BRF is by some considered *the* royal family (period) and that's rather derogatory to RF's around the world..
Maybe the name of this thread could have just been "Royal visits to New Zealand" rather than "non-British" because that might put some people off for that reason

The are already threads about the commonwealth monarchies and a thread about the Queen, the BRF and New Zealand in the British Royals section - the Non-British in the title was to try and differentiate this tread from those ones. Discussing the BRF isn't verboten but the non-UK ones are the focus for me. :flowers:
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