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Sound: the Queen opens Parliament, 1954

Audio file

Hear about the Queen’s opening of Parliament in 1954.


Her Majesty was in her capital six days – there she opened Parliament, the first time that a reigning monarch has ever performed this function in New Zealand. When the ceremony was over, the Queen reappeared with the Duke of Edinburgh at the head of the steps and stood for some moments looking down on the thousands who looked up at her. Her diamond tiara and necklace flashed blue and pink in the summer light.

[New voice] I had a very close, uninterrupted view of this very beautiful picture. The Queen in her beautiful coronation dress, which sparkled and shone in the strong sunlight, with her scintillating jewellery and decorations, the vivid blue slash of the Order of the Garter worn across the body; the Duke, dignified in black and gold, with sword and decorative chain, medals and orders. The effect was breathtaking, and the crowd’s reaction was peculiar – quite suddenly there was no cheering and shouting; we just all stood there and gazed, and a strange quiet fell about the place. The Queen and the Duke, too, neither waved nor smiled but just stood there inspecting us as we, in turn, gazed at them. The picture was quite vibrant and moving.


Radio New Zealand Sound Archives
Reference: D 548/3-5
Sound files may not be reused without permission from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero.

How to cite this page

Sound: the Queen opens Parliament, 1954, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated