Royal Visit of 1953-54

Page 2 – Itinerary

See film of the royal tour:

Auckland to Gisborne (23 December 1953 - 6 January 1954)


Wednesday 23 December

A.M. SS Gothic berthed Auckland

Government address of welcome. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness set foot in New Zealand and were officially welcomed, Auckland Civic Reception, Town Hall.

P.M. Presentation of official tour and press parties. Garden party, Government House.

Thursday 24 December

A.M. Auckland Hospital, Youth gathering, Auckland Domain.

I was eighteen and a member of a marching team, one of the many at the Domain in Auckland, assembled in blocks with lots of other young peoples organisations, in the centre field waiting for our queen to arrive. While we were waiting, my Scots friend, also about eighteen, sat and explained to me why she as a Scot would not, could not, feel excited about Elizabeth as she was not, in reality, HER Queen let alone Queen Elizabeth II as true Scots had never even recognised the first Elizabeth … etc. etc. Finally, Elizabeth arrived and I, looking at her with curiosity, saw her look back at us as Philip said – and you could see what he was saying – ‘Who are they?’ – and her reply that we were ‘marching teams’. Unheard of in Britain and at that time unique to NZ. I can only think that that conversation between them had the effect of unleashing some sort of latent emotion because my Scots chum emitted what can only be described as a throaty roar of patriotism, wonderful in its intensity and then charged like a wounded bull out of our designated area, trying to barge like an All Black through another block of people in front to get even closer.

Caroline Woon

P.M. Presentation of Colour, Devonport Naval Base. Garden reception, Government House.

Friday 25 December

A.M. Divine Service, St Mary’s Cathedral.

P.M. Her Majesty’s Christmas Broadcast.

Saturday 26 December

A.M.-P.M. Auckland Racing Club, Ellerslie.

P.M. Royal Cinema Performance, St James Theatre.

Sunday 27 December

A.M. Divine Service, St Mary’s Cathedral.

Monday 28 December

A.M. Presentation of Colour, RNZAF Station, Whenuapai. By plane to Kaikohe - public welcome.

P.M. By car to Waitangi - ceremony, Whangārei - civic reception.


I remember the Queen’s visit to Whangarei, Northland. I was about 6 years of age then and the Royal Party was staying at the Grand Hotel. In the evening our family walked - about 20 minutes or so - to the Hotel and with many others chanted, ‘We want the Queen, we want the Queen’. This had no response (they were most probably having dinner) so the chant changed to ‘We want the Duke, we want the Duke’. This seemed to work as they soon appeared on the balcony to the loud cheers of the crowd. I was sitting on my father’s shoulders so had a great view. I remember they looked very happy, and there was a wonderful feeling in the crowd.

Margaret Lomas

Tuesday 29 December

A.M. By car Whangārei to Warkworth - public welcome.

P.M. By car to Puhoi Beach - picnic, and Auckland. Investiture, Town Hall.

Wednesday 30 December

A.M. By car to Pukekohe - public welcome. (See film of this on YouTube.)

P.M. By car to Alton Lodge, Te Kauwhata - lunch, Huntly - public welcome, Tūrangawaewae, Ngāruawāhia - visit pā, and Hamilton - civic dinner and youth fiesta.

Thursday 31 December

A.M. Hamilton - civic reception and agricultural display, Claudelands Show Grounds.

P.M. By car to Te Kuiti - public welcome.

A.M.-P.M. HRH by air to Wellington - funeral of victims, Tangiwai railway accident. Return to Waitomo Caves.

P.M. By car to Waitomo Caves - visit Aranui Cave and Waitomo Glow-worm Cave.


Friday 1 January

A.M. By car Waitomo Caves to Te Awamutu - public welcome, and Cambridge - public welcome and civic luncheon.

P.M. By car to Karāpiro Hydro-electric Station - inspection, Tirau - public welcome, and Moose Lodge, Lake Rotoiti.

Saturday 2 January

A.M. Rotorua - civic reception, Motutara Golf Course, and civic luncheon.

P.M. Māori reception, Arawa Park, Rotorua.

Sunday 3 January

A.M. Divine Service, St John’s Presbyterian Church, Rotorua.

P.M. Whakarewarewa model village and thermal activity.

Monday 4 January - Tuesday 5 January

At Moose Lodge, Lake Rotoiti - no official engagements.

Wednesday 6 January

A.M. By car Moose Lodge to Rotorua, and plane to Gisborne.

Gisborne to Wellington (6-16 January 1954)

Wednesday 6 January

A.M. Arrival at Gisborne airport - civic reception.

P.M. By air to Napier - civic reception. HRH to Hawke’s Bay Ex-Naval Officers.

Thursday 7 January

A.M. By car Napier to Hastings - public welcome, and J. Wattie Canneries Ltd.

P.M. By train to Waipawa - public welcome, Waipukurau - public welcome, Dannevirke - public welcome, Woodville - public welcome, and Palmerston North - civic reception and civic dinner.

Thousands of people from all over Central Hawke’s Bay were gathered at the Railway Station in Waipukurau on 7 January 1954. A ripple of excitement sweeping through the crowd heralded the arrival of the Royal Train with crimson carriages and a gleaming white roof. When the Queen and Duke stepped from the train they were met by my Uncle Jack McCarthy, Mayor of Waipukurau, and Aunty Tess, and then they all walked along a pathway between ropes of beautiful flowers to a dais. Uncle Jack proudly welcomed Her Majesty and His Royal Highness to his town.

Moira Draper

Friday 8 January

A.M.-P.M. By train Palmerston North to Feilding - public welcome, Marton Junction - public welcome, Whanganui - civic reception, Pātea - public welcome, Hāwera - ceremonial drive, Stratford - public welcome, and New Plymouth.


I was a young school teacher and a cub leader in Hawera…. the streets chosen [for the visit] had some very unsightly buildings and the powers that be who arrange these things decided something had to be done to cover these sights from royal eyes. Every school child set about making paper flowers in red, white and blue crepe paper. These were gathered and hung on these.

Judith Foy

Saturday 9 January

A.M. By car to Bell Block Dairy Factory. New Plymouth - civic reception, Pukekura Park.

P.M. By plane to Paraparaumu airport, and by car to Wellington - brief civic welcome.

Sunday 10 January

A.M. Divine Service, Cathedral Church of St Paul.

Monday 11 January

A.M. Wellington civic reception, Town Hall. Wreath laid, Wellington War Memorial.

P.M. State luncheon, Parliament House. By car via Petone assembly factory, Ford Motor Company, Lower Hutt - inspection St James’ Church. Reception of heads of diplomatic missions, Government House.

Tuesday 12 January

A.M. Children’s gathering, Athletic Park.

P.M. Opening of special session of Parliament. Reception for Members of Parliament and wives, Parliament House. Investiture, Wellington Town Hall.

Wednesday 13 January

A.M. Laying foundation stone of Anglican Cathedral. Meeting of Privy Council and Executive Council.

P.M. HRH address to and luncheon with scientific organisations. Presentation of address in reply. Garden party.

Thursday 14 January

A.M.-P.M. Wellington Racing Club, Trentham.

Friday 15 January

A.M. By train Wellington to Masterton.

I remember when the Queen and Duke visited Masterton on January 15th, 1954, and drove through the grounds of Wairarapa College. I was a pupil at Wairarapa College at the time, and although it was the school holidays and summer, we were asked to don our winter uniforms, which were obviously considered tidier than our summer uniforms….

Helen Turner

P.M. Masterton - civic reception. By car to Wellington via Carterton, Greytown, Featherston and Upper Hutt.

Wellington to Christchurch (16-22 January 1954)

Saturday 16 January

A.M. By car Wellington to Paraparaumu airport. By plane to RNZAF Station, Woodbourne, and car to Blenheim - public welcome.

P.M. By car to Woodbourne and plane to Nelson - civic reception.

Sunday 17 January

A.M. Divine Service, Nelson Cathedral.

I was 11 years old and the Queen and Duke were driving down High Street in Greymouth. The crowds were very thick and I wiggled to the front just as their car was passing, the Queen smiled at me and I was hooked. An instant avid royalist. I then ran alongside the car for about half a mile at which time the Duke of Edinburgh looked across and said, ‘If you run much further, you will burst’. Well I was just totally blown away. That evening practically the entire population was gathered outside Revington’s Hotel where the Royal couple were staying, calling ‘We want the Queen’. Then as soon as everything went quiet this little eleven year old stood and yelled at the top of her voice. ‘I want the Duke’. The Royal Couple came out onto the balcony and waved and the crowd went wild, especially me - I was totally convinced the Duke only came out because I called for him to do so.

Pat Jamieson

P.M. By plane, Nelson to Westport, public welcome – and Hokitika. By car to Greymouth.

In preparation for the Royal Visit only the left-side of the 25-mile roadway was re-sealed between Hokitika and Greymouth; for some years later known locally as ‘Lizzie’s side’.

Bev Huston

Monday 18 January

A.M. Civic reception, Greymouth. By train via Ōtira to Darfield - public welcome, and Christchurch.

Tuesday 19 January

A.M. Civic reception, Cathedral Square, Christchurch. Christchurch Hospital.

P.M. Ceremonial drive. Disabled Servicemen’s Training Centre - Evensong, Christchurch Cathedral. Civic dinner.

Wednesday 20 January

A.M. Factory of Lane Walker Rudkin, Ltd.

P.M. HRH address to and luncheon with Canterbury Chamber of Commerce. Investiture, Civic Theatre. Civic garden party.

Thursday 21 January

A.M.-P.M. New Zealand Metropolitan Trotting Club, Addington.

Friday 22 January

A.M. By car to military camp, Burnham, and Ashburton.

P.M. Public welcome, Ashburton. By car to Longbeach.

Ashburton to Bluff and beyond (22-31 January 1954)

Saturday 23 January

HRH visited Winchmore Irrigation Research Station.

Sunday 24 January

A.M. Divine Service, Longbeach.

Monday 25 January

A.M. By car Longbeach to Timaru - civic reception.

As a six year old I remember journeying from Pleasant Point to Timaru with the rest of the family, in my father’s old square Erskine car, and joining the crowd near the Viaduct at the top of Caroline Bay, the route the Queen would be taking on her way to the official function. The town was beautifully decorated for the event and there were very large crowds of excited people all waving flags.

Daphne-Anne Freeke (née Hoare)

P.M. By train to Ōamaru – public welcome, Palmerston – public welcome, and Dunedin.

Tuesday 26 January

A.M. Civic reception, Dunedin Town Hall.

P.M. Sports meeting, Carisbrook. Royal concert, Town Hall.

Wednesday 27 January

A.M. Ross and Glendinning’s Roslyn Woollen Mills.

P.M. Her Majesty to Truby King-Harris (Karitane) Hospital. HRH with leading sportsmen. Reception, Art Gallery.

Thursday 28 January

A.M. By car Dunedin to Milton - public welcome, Balclutha - public welcome, Gore - public welcome, and Invercargill.

Friday 29 January

A.M. Civic reception, Invercargill.

P.M. Royal Agricultural Show and Caledonian Sports Meeting. Her Majesty’s farewell broadcast.

Saturday 30 January

A.M. By car Invercargill to Bluff. Official farewells and embarkation. Leave New Zealand in SS Gothic.

Sunday 31 January

Unscheduled visit by SS Gothic to Milford Sound.

How to cite this page

'Itinerary', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 6-Apr-2023

Community contributions

19 comments have been posted about Itinerary

What do you know?

Mike Courtney

Posted: 14 Sep 2022

My parents were invited to a that the queen in 53 attended .as equal age .they lived in the Waikato .is this a family myth or did this happen


Posted: 11 Sep 2022

When the Queen and Prince Philip came to New zealand prior to 1957, we all lined up on the sidewalk in Wellington to greet him. He came marching down without any acknowledgement of our presence whatsoever. He never smiled or greeted anyone. Why do we give these people even the time of day. Their contributions to society are negligable.


Posted: 09 Sep 2022

I turned 4 the day the Queen and Duke arrived in NZ in 1953. On Friday 7 January they came to Hawera. My Dad was holding me as they turned the corner where the Park Store is. Immediately after they passed, Dad took me and he rode flat out on his bicycle to the Station. He put the bike down, picked me up and ran a few meters north of the station. He then put me on his shoulders. The train came by shortly after and as it passed the Queen leaned out the window and waved to us. We were the only ones standing there so it has always been something special to remember.

Dakta Green

Posted: 08 Jul 2022

I was 3 years old and Dad ran a business in Manners St. Just minutes prior to the Royal drive thru Wellington Jan '54 my Dad picked up a step ladder in one hand and me by the other hand and he walked us around the corner to huge crowds 6 or 8 deep waiting for the Royal drive past. Dad set up the step ladder behind the throngs and put me on the top step and he stood behind me. We had the best view and even 69 years later I remember thinking how smart Dad was to use a ladder. I don't recall another ladder there that day. The Queen was a blur as they drove by but it was the most beautiful car I never forgot.

David Lyttle

Posted: 10 Apr 2021

I was 3 almost 4 when the Queen came along Evans St Timaru just before Ashbury Park. We were waving flags and when we got home our dad nailed the flags to a stick and put up above the tank stand

Bill Walker

Posted: 10 Apr 2021

I was in Std 5 at Kakanui School. We were loaded on a bus and driven into Oamaru where we lined up to await Prince Phillip. I was holding the pole with the schools crest. Prince Phillip stopped right in front of me and asked if I knew what the motto on the crest meant. I admitted I did not. He said “young man the motto “Ich Dien” means “we serve” and it is my family’s motto” then he shook my hand and moved on.

Ian Porter

Posted: 10 Apr 2021

Christchurch January 1954 - I was 9 living in a Papanui State Housing area. A neighbour’s friend visited him, driving the Royal car - this to a virtually car-less area - what excitement. Along with my two sisters and neighbour’s daughter, we were ‘chauffeured’ around the block in this Royal car. I can remember the plush car interior but not the car model.

Robert Winchester

Posted: 11 Dec 2017

This would be 30 December. I was 9. Waiting in the main street at Otahuhu to " see the Queen", waiting and waiting. A hot day; Sid Holland zipped past, we waited some more. Then the Queen and the Duke, in a closed car, all over very quickly. Hardly worth the wait.

Camron Muriwai

Posted: 23 Jun 2017

Kia ora. My great grandmother is Ellen Muriwai(Nee Cochrane) who at the time 0f the Royal Visit was aged at 104years. She was the Daughter of Dennis Brown Cochrane who settled in Hokianga, Northland - Nz. Ellen was presented to the Queen on her arrival to Rotorua. Their is a photo of them both in the Gazette. Ellen died at the age of 110years.

Alison Cameron

Posted: 16 Apr 2017

My grandfather drove them around on their Dunedin visit. There was a photo of them thanking him in the Otago Daily Times. I would love to see a copy of it, as I wasn't quite born yet.