Back to top anchor

What does the death of the Queen mean for New Zealand?

Answers to some common questions about our new King and mourning Queen Elizabeth II.

Succession of the King
Mourning, condolence messages and memorial events
Flag protocols
Continuation of coins, passports, and anthems

Succession of the King

Do we automatically have a new King?

On the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles automatically became the King of New Zealand. Read a biography of our new King here, or find out more about the laws of succession.

Are there any ceremonies to acknowledge our new King?

There will be some formal events in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, such as the Proclamation of Accession. These formally acknowledge that the King automatically became our new sovereign (or head of state) when the Queen died. You can read more about what will happen here and in the UK on our Official events page.

What does a change of sovereign mean for New Zealand’s constitution?

There is no change to our constitutional situation. In New Zealand law, the successor to the sovereign automatically becomes our new King or Queen. Parliament continues and current appointments made by the Governor-General remain in place (such as Ministers and judges).

What does a change in sovereign mean for the Crown’s relationship with Māori?

There is no change to the existing partnership between the Crown and Māori, the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi or subsequent Treaty settlements.

Is Camilla now Queen of New Zealand? 

While Prince Charles automatically became our King, the former Duchess of Cornwall did not become Queen of New Zealand. Our sovereign’s spouse does not have a constitutional role in New Zealand. The King has announced she will be known as Her Majesty The Queen Consort.

Is the new King the head of the Commonwealth?

Yes. In 2018, the Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed that the former Prince of Wales would become the next Head of the Commonwealth.

When will the King’s coronation take place?

The coronation of the King will take place in London following a suitable period of mourning, probably within 12 months of his accession. Further information about the timing of the coronation and New Zealand representation will be available in the coming months.

Mourning, condolence messages and memorial events

Will there be a public holiday to mark the Queen’s death?

Monday 26 September will be a one-off public holiday to mark the Queen’s death. This coincides with the New Zealand State Memorial Service.

Who will represent New Zealand at the Queen’s funeral?

The Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom were New Zealand's official representatives at Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral in London. Read more about New Zealand representation at the Queen's funeral.

Will there be a Memorial Service in New Zealand?

A New Zealand State Memorial Service will be held at 2pm on Monday 26 September. Invited guests will include iwi leaders, Members of Parliament, mayors, former Governors-General, members of the diplomatic community and representatives from various youth, ethnic and religious communities. Members of the public will be able to watch the service online. Further information about plans for the memorial service will be available on this website closer to the date.

Will members of the public be able to attend the New Zealand State Memorial Service?

Attendance at the State Memorial Service is by invitation only. The event will be broadcast and live streamed. Parliament grounds in Wellington will also have two large screens, so people can come together there to watch the service and also have the opportunity to sign the books of condolence that remain available.

How do I find out about events happening in my own area?

Check your local council website for events in your area. Details of some services will be added to this website.

Is there an official period of mourning in New Zealand?

A period of national mourning started immediately after the announcement of the Queen’s death, and will continue until the end of the day of the New Zealand State Memorial Service on Monday 26 September. Visit our mourning guidance page for more information.

Will there be a national moment of silence?

A national minute of silence will be observed at the start of New Zealand’s State Memorial Service for Queen Elizabeth II, at 2pm on Monday 26 September. The minute’s silence is a way for people, wherever they might be in New Zealand, to stand together to mark an extraordinary 70 years of service.

Where can I take flowers?

If members of the public want to leave flowers in Wellington, they can take them to Parliament or Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. In other centres, please check with your local authorities. Visit our mourning guidance page for more information.

Are there condolence books?

In Wellington, people can leave messages in condolence books at Parliament, the National Library and the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul until 26 September. Local councils around the country will also make arrangements for people to pay their respects. Visit our mourning guidance page for information about where you can find condolence books.

Can I write a condolence message online?

You can leave a condolence message on the Royal Family’s website or email it to condolences@dia.govt.nz.

Can I send a personal message or card directly to the Royal Family?

Yes, messages can be sent to: His Majesty the King, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom

How did New Zealand officially show its sympathy?

The Governor-General and Prime Minister sent messages of condolence to the King on behalf of the New Zealand people. Read the Governor-General's message here, and the Prime Minister's message here

Flag protocols

Should flags fly at half-mast over the coming days?

The New Zealand flag should be flown at half-mast up to and including the day of the State Memorial Service. The only exception during that period is Proclamation Day – the day the new King is officially announced – when the flag is flown at full mast. The New Zealand flag should then be lowered again the following day. Visit our mourning guidance page for more information.

Why is the Governor-General’s flag not at half-mast?

When the Governor-General is present at a location (such as Government House or Parliament), her flag is flown at full mast. This is because the flag represents the Governor-General personally (in the same way, the Royal Standard is not flown at half-mast, as there is always a King or Queen).

Is there any impact on our flag or coat of arms with a new King?

The New Zealand Flag will not change. The Queen’s personal flag for New Zealand will no longer be used. It will be up to the King to decide whether to adopt a personal flag for New Zealand. The current coat of arms will continue unchanged.

Continuation of coins, passports, anthems and emblems

Will banknotes and coins featuring Queen Elizabeth II be changed?

Coins and banknotes in circulation with Queen Elizabeth II on them are valid currency and will remain in use. Visit the Reserve Bank of New Zealand – Te Pūtea Matua website for further information.

Is my New Zealand passport still valid?

Current New Zealand passports bearing the name of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II are still valid. Visit the Identity and Passports website for further information.

What happens with the national anthems?

There is no change to the words of God Defend New Zealand. In God Save the Queen, which is also a national anthem for New Zealand, the references change from ‘Queen’ to ‘King’ and ‘her’ to ‘him’. Visit the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s website for more information about national anthems.

What happens to Queen’s Birthday weekend?

The timing of this holiday weekend in June remains the same, but it will be known as King’s Birthday Weekend.   

Will there be any changes to state emblems?

No changes need to be made to the New Zealand Coat of Arms, New Zealand flag or the Seal of New Zealand.

Will I need to retake an oath?

Those who have previously made an oath or affirmation of allegiance or the citizenship oath do not need to retake an oath. Office holders (such as Judges or Members of Parliament) continue to hold office, and new citizens retain their citizenship.

Last updated: 
Friday, 9 September 2022

Help us improve the Governor-General website

Your feedback is very important in helping us improve the Governor-General website.

4 + 7 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.