Viceregal visiting

Page 5 – Recent changes

By the 1970s, the nature of viceregal visiting had changed. New Zealanders, not Britons, now held the job, so they did not need to be introduced. This was made clear during Sir Keith Holyoake's term (1977–80). 'Touring the country was common with the English Governors-General, to familiarise themselves with it and let the people see them,' a Government House spokesman said in 1978. 'Sir Keith is already very well known, and has a large knowledge of New Zealand on a nation-wide basis.'

Governors-general now travelled more than ever, but efficient air services and improved roads allowed them to accomplish many duties without having to stay away from Government House overnight. As Sir Keith's spokesman said, 'his visits to the smaller centres tend to be for specific events rather than as part of a processional tour of the country'.

Visiting today

Most railway stations are deserted these days, and mayors and councillors no longer line up whenever the governor-general comes to town.

But viceregal community support duties keep the governor-general busy and on the move, attending as many as 400–500 functions a year around the country, visiting schools and hospitals, opening buildings and helping community groups celebrate milestones. Each year, the governor-general meets thousands of New Zealanders where they live and work, and talks and listens to citizens in all occupations and circumstances.

How to cite this page

'Recent changes', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 17-May-2023