Skip to main content

Lady Newall speaking

Audio file

Lady Newall speaking in 1946

Part one: wartime experiences


It seems difficult to realise that this is my last week in New Zealand and that my husband and family and I are literally tearing up the roots of five happy years from a soil so rich in treasured memory. We have shared with you, who may be listening, and with all the other thousands of men, women and young people, the difficult and dangerous war years in this Dominion since February 1941 when the ideas of all of us were focussed on sending supplies overseas to the services and to bombed civilians.

During the many tours His Excellency and I were privileged to make to your cities and boroughs throughout the North and South islands, visiting hospitals and schools, it was of greatest interest to both of us to see your splendid organisations and their work. From the many branches of the Joint Council of St John and Red Cross, the branches of Lady Galway's Guild, of the YMCA and YWCA, representatives of Scouts and Guides and of voluntary groups of all kinds – including those from factories, churches, colleges and plants, not forgetting the Salvation Army, the Army of Land Girls, the representatives from farms and freezing works, together with those gallant women in the three services: navy, army and air force, all working in co-operation with the Factory Office Committees, united in helping to the utmost of their ability the winning of the war. Friction was reduced to a minimum. The will to help and to serve were there. And far away though we were from the actual theatres of war, there was much that we who remained in the Dominion could and did do.

I feel sure that your own men and women abroad, as well as thousands of other members of the great British Empire will long continue to be grateful for those New Zealanders, and especially the New Zealand women, who worked so well to support their overseas fighting services. Indeed it is especially to all the women of New Zealand, whose teamwork in a hundred different ways I had the privilege of seeing, that I now extend my congratulations, my thanks and my admiration. By your success in eliminating small rivalries, by working together wholeheartedly in a generous, capable and faithful manner, you accomplished packing, parcels and home administration in a way little short of miraculous considering the smallness of your numbers in comparison with the populations of Russia, of the great United States and of China, with whom we were joined as allies to overcome the violence and greed of Nazi methods and of cruelty of aggressor nations.

Part two: general praise for New Zealand


New Zealand's potentialities for good are enormous. In our new task to preserve the peace and the basis of that high civilisation, which is our heritage and should be the heritage of our children and grandchildren, is it too much to dream of a future for New Zealand which may include a national full-time orchestra and a national theatre, together with the great national cathedral envisaged at Wellington, and always first and foremost the will throughout the land to give wholehearted service in a good cause?

Many memories of New Zealand's beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes, her clear pure air, the green unspoiled bush, filled with sweet songs of tui and bellbird will remain with me as a background to many and happy, friendly meetings with the people of New Zealand, both Maori and Pakeha, in every district of the Dominion.

To every man and woman, to the youth of all ages, to those in hospital, and those in the autumn of life, especially to you all in your homes, I say not only goodbye in its modern sense, but in the old sense of God be with you, and in the words of your own beautiful song, 'God defend New Zealand'.

Lady Newall posing

Olive Tennyson Foster, Sir Cyril Newall's (1941-6) second wife, was American-born.


Audio: Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of copyright. To request a copy of the recording, contact Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Reference no: D659

Image: New Zealand Free Lance
Courtesy of Government House

How to cite this page

Lady Newall speaking, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated