Notes for My Successor

Page 3 – Hail and farewell

The governor-general arrives

The new governor-general had to make a good impression. That meant landing in the capital. 'Land at Wellington without fail,' Dudley Alexander, private secretary to Lord Ranfurly (1897–1904) advised in 1903. As Governor-General Sir Bernard Freyberg (1946–52) said in 1952, 'if it is necessary to disembark at Auckland, you should land more or less incognito and merely remain there until leaving for Wellington by train'.

There was a great deal of ceremony. New Zealand Shipping Company liners were preferred, and the new governor-general had to be welcomed by the Wellington Harbour Board before the city council had its turn. He then laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on the way to the swearing-in at Parliament. A full civic welcome at the town hall followed later. Thousands watched the ceremonies and parades.

Then it was the rest of the country's turn. 'On arrival in colony visit Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin in the order named, before any other town,' Alexander decreed. The governor-general spent much of his first two years visiting the smaller towns and much of his last on official farewells; everyone wanted a visit.

There was a strict protocol to these hail and farewell tours, as they were called. Uniform had to be worn on the first visit to any town.

How to cite this page

'Hail and farewell', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 16-May-2023