New Zealanders were delighted to welcome Her Majesty the Queen and her husband, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh on their third visit to this country, and were particularly pleased that they were accompanied by their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Princess Anne. The visit was timed primarily to celebrate the bi-centenary of Captain James Cook's voyage of discovery, and special displays were set up in various parts of the country to mark the anniversary. The royal party visited Ship Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound and Mercury Bay on the Coromandel Peninsula, where Cook's landings were reenacted, and in one of the tour's few formal ceremonies, Her Majesty unveiled the Cook Memorial Medallion at Parliament Buildings.
The tour was marked by informality, and many New Zealanders will remember with pleasure their brief conversations with members of the royal family. Her Majesty remarked several times that it gave her great
pleasure to bring her two eldest children with her.
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Proceedings towards the dais. Her Majesty, the Queen escorted by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Sir Keith Holyoake and Mr Henry K. Ngata, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh with Lady Holyoake and Mrs Ngata. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales with Dr Pei Te Hurinui Jones, Vice-President of the New Zealand Maori Council and the Hon. Duncan Maclntyre. Minister of Maori Affairs, and Her Royal Highness the Princess Anne, accompanied by Mrs Jones and Mrs Maclntyre.
Because of Captain Cook's association with Poverty Bay, Gisborne was the venue for one of the tour highlights, the Maori Reception at Rugby Park on Sunday afternoon, 22 March, when 10,000 people saw 1,000 ceremonially-dressed Maoris from all parts of New Zealand welcome their Queen. Hosts were the Tairawhiti group of the East Coast, and the magnificent performance of their classics Ruaumoko and Ka Panapana by their 300 members will long be remembered. Tairawhiti also complemented the loyal address given by the Vice-President of the New Zealand Maori Council, Dr Pei Te Hurinui Jones, and Her Majesty's reply, which followed the presentation of gifts.
Rain fell during Dr Jones' speech, in which he affirmed the loyalty of all New Zealanders, Maori and Pakeha, but it ceased as he concluded with an ancient ritual, clearing the pathway of the royal guests. In reply, Her Majesty referred to Captain Cook's careful following of his instructions to observe the genius, temper, disposition and number of the natives, if there are any, and endeavour by all means to cultivate a friendship and alliance with them’. She continued, ‘The strength and vitality of this nation in the future will depend upon the respect and understanding with which Maori and Pakeha respect the deep-rooted traditions of the other. There is a wonderful word in your language —
This scale model of Cook's ship ‘Endeavour’ was placed beside ‘Britannia’ while she was berthed at Gisborne
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Then came tributes from tribes all over Aotearoa, first Waiariki performing a war dance with spears, an action song and a posture dance. Waikato-Maniapoto followed, with chant, haka, action song and poi telling of the love and devotion of the people of their land and river, to the Queen of England, her husband and family. With two action songs, Te Waipounamu affirmed the loyalty of the people of the south, the ‘Land of Greenstone Waters’, climaxing their first song by forming the shape of their mountain Aorangi, Mr Cook.
The women of Aotea, including some very small girls, then presented their sacred ‘Poi Aotea’, including the royal genealogy, the men climaxing the performance with two haka. Ikaroa added their welcome to the ‘Rare White Heron’ with patere, action song and a spectacular composite item featuring poi and haka. The two areas Taitokerau and Tamaki combined for an impressive composite item and the hymn ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’, with verses in English. Maori and Welsh, in honour of the Prince of Wales.
The massed groups sang ‘E Pari Ra’ as the royal party walked slowly through the ranks, stopping to talk as they went. It was a splendid occasion, a great and warm welcome, and leaves pleasant memories with all who were there.