Governor-General's 'Notes for My Successor'

Excerpts from 'Notes for My Successor'

These are extracts from the 'Notes for My Successor' drawn up by Sir Cyril Newall (1941–6). They covered everything from formal state occasions to the ones featured in these pages, and most of the notes concerned maintaining the delicate balance between mixing with His Majesty's subjects while preserving the dignity (and distance) of the office.

Transcript: Notes for My Successor

Part II (To be left for his arrival in New Zealand).

These notes have been compiled to assist the Governor-General in making decisions on various matters (mainly those of Procedure) which may crop up from time to time and on which it has been difficult to find suitable precedents, either from the Government House files or from outside authorities such as the Canadian 'Green Book'. This last work is invaluable but it must always be remembered that New Zealand is not Canada. On the question of precedent it may be as well to point out that, though every decision should be taken into account both what has been done in like circumstances in the past and what effect it may have on similar cases in the future, precedent is not a complete guide and occasionally a variation is salutary.


My wife and I are frequently asked, particularly by children, for autographs, and I have found it a good plan to give these on slips of paper. Not only has this enabled us to sign these in advance, but also it prevents the addition of unsuitable verses, etc., which could easily be made over our signatures if we signed directly in books. When I am on tour my A.D.C-in-Waiting carries with him a supply of these signed slips which he could hand out on the spot. In certain cases, of course, where people send in autograph books devoted entirely to distinguished signatures we have signed the books themselves.


The cellar at Government House, Wellington, is very small, and storage had to be found for a large quantity of wine and spirits which I brought out with me. Messrs. Levin & Co. Ltd. have been extremely helpful in keeping the surplus in their own warehouses free of charge.