Who is New Zealand’s head of state?

This isn’t surprising, the Queen has little to do with Aotearoa in practical terms. Officially:

The Queen of New Zealand’s formal title is: Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of New Zealand and Her Other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

In the Maori language, The Queen is known as Kotuku, which means “the white heron”, a cherished bird rarely seen in New Zealand.

That’s appropriate in one way – the Queen is rarely seen in New Zealand. She has visited here ten times in nearly seventy years, the last time in 2002 (as part of the commemoration of her Golden (50th) Jubilee so it was about her, not us).

So if you want to see the Queen you have to got to the other side of the world, and then will struggle to get a sight of her.

It’s a lot easier to go to Whataroa to a White Heron Sanctuary:

We offer the only tour to New Zealand’s one and only White Heron (Kotuku) nesting site.

Located on the West Coast of the South Island 30 km north of Franz Josef Glacier, 100 km south of Hokitika, Whataroa is the start point for White Heron Sanctuary Tours.

I’ve been there, it was a great experience. You go by jet boat downriver to the coast, change over to quieter boat to go to the sanctuary where there are kotuku and spoonbills as well as shags.

I’ve never been to see the Queen, nor any of her family, I have had no interest in doing that.


Bland, emotionless Christmas message from the Queen

I watched Queen Elizabeth give her Christmas speech for the first time for many years last night – actually I didn’t, I watched a replay of what was recorded prior, along with edited in video.

Queen Elizabeth II Delivers Her Christmas Speech

The Queen delivered her speech without any sign of emotion. It was bland, with the probable highlights for some being nods to celebrity style events involving ‘my family’. I’m not sure if Prince Philip is still alive, I think so, but he didn’t get a mention.

The speech broadcast started and ended with an all-male chorister and boys choir over-singing some songs in another opulent environment.

Summary from Global News: Queen’s Christmas Message 2018

Queen Elizabeth II delivers her annual Christmas message. The Queen reflected on a year of centenaries including the Armistice and the busy year in the royal family from weddings to children and how faith, family, and friendship continue to be a comfort and reassurance in a world filled with paradoxes.

BBC: The Queen’s Christmas message 2018

The Queen has said the Christian message of “peace on earth and goodwill to all” is “needed as much as ever”, in her Christmas Day broadcast.

She also emphasised the importance of people with opposing views treating each other respectfully.

Riveting and inspirational, not.

Town & Country:  Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Message Reflects on the Royal Family’s ‘Busy Year’

As is tradition, Queen Elizabeth II addressed her people this afternoon, sharing her annual Christmas message.

I guess I qualify as one of ‘her people’ but I don’t feel any connection to her and her privileged life of opulence and show.

In the speech, the British monarch reflected on the royal family’s busy year, recognizing the weddings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, as well as the births of her two great-grandchildren, Prince Louis and Lena Tindall, and Prince Charles’s 70th birthday.

She also called out the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, remembering her father’s time in the military and honoring all of those who serve. But perhaps most impactful was the Queen’s plea for kindness and respect in our modern society.

“Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding,” she said.

“Even the power of faith which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice can fall victim to tribalism. But through the many changes I have seen over the years: faith, family, and friendship have been not only a constant for me, but a source of personal comfort and reassurance.”

This was just a traditional place holder. Not something that impresses me, but some people like this sort of thing, so here it is.


Her Majesty’s Official Birthday

Queen Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926, but for some reason her ‘Official Birthday’ is about now in the United Kingdom.


Buckingham Palace news underwhelming

There has been a lot of speculation about something apparently brewing  at Buckingham Palace.

The BBC has eventually reported: Buckingham Palace meeting ‘not about health of Queen or Prince Philip’

A meeting of household staff called at Buckingham Palace is not a cause for concern, the BBC understands.

The BBC’s royal correspondent Peter Hunt understands the meeting is not about the health of either the Queen or Duke of Edinburgh.

Officials at the palace have not said what this morning’s meeting, reported to involve all senior staff from across the UK, is about.

Such internal royal meetings usually happen about once a year.

The Queen and Prince Philip both fulfilled engagements on Wednesday.

The Queen met Prime Minister Theresa May at Buckingham Palace to formally agree the dissolution of parliament ahead of the general election, while Prince Philip attended Lord’s Cricket Ground to open a new stand.

Has this story grown out of all proportion relative to it’s importance?

It’s quite funny to see how much attention has been given to not yet news.

UPDATE: a 95 year old is retiring.

BBC: Duke of Edinburgh to retire from royal duties

Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, to retire from royal duties in the autumn, Buckingham Palace says


UK & Europe – Maundy Thursday

Topics about the UK, EU and Europe.


Missy posts from London:

I know many on here don’t care about the Royal Family – or christianity, but I do love the traditions around both, and Maundy Thursday is one such tradition.

Today HM went to Leicester Cathedral to dispense coins for Maundy Thursday – though these days they are not a case of distributing coins to the poor, but rather a ceremony of dispensing especially minted coins to those specially selected who serve the community.

The Queen has now conducted Maundy service in every Anglican Cathedral.


Daily Mail: Germany urges Kosovo to pass border deal with Montenegro

Germany’s foreign minister urged Kosovo’s political parties on Thursday to approve the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro to end their status as the only Western Balkan country without free travel rights in Schengen zone countries.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4408800/Germany-calls-Kosovo-pass-border-deal-Montenegro.html#ixzz4e9IVgDO5
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook


A quaint relic

Did anyone listen to the Christmas message of an old queen from the other side of the world?

Have Queen Elizabeth’s messages ever been inspirational? Or just traditional waffle?

The Queen and whatever she says seems like a quaint relic of a long gone royal past to me. What she says is as important as what she wears – fodder for fawning journalists.

Here is her 2015 message: Queen’s Christmas message: Text in full

It seems to consist mostly of meandering musings about family and Christmas.

The main talking points seem to be her references to darkness and light.

It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”.

But this followed:

One cause for thankfulness this summer was marking 70 years since the end of the Second World War.

A 70 year anniversary may give cause for reflection but it was hardly a huge cause for thinks this year.

It’s no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.

Despite being displaced and persecuted throughout his short life, Christ’s unchanging message was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another.

Although it is not an easy message to follow, we shouldn’t be discouraged; rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be thankful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways of spreading that love to others, whenever and wherever we can.

How inspired will anyone be by this?

There’s an old saying that “it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness”.

There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today.

Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them, and for all that brings light to our lives.

Lighting candles ‘of hope’ seems like as much a quaint old relic as Queen Elizabeth. Her Christmas message was a relevant to New Zealand as this reporting in the Herald.

Elizabeth wore a white and silver tweed day dress by Angela Kelly during the speech, accessorizing it with an art deco diamond and aquamarine brooch that belonged to her late mother. The table she sat next to was decorated with a portrait of Prince William, Kate and young Prince George.

I doubt we will see a surge in sales of silver tweed dresses or aquamarine brooches as a result of these product placements.

Why did the decorations feature just one grand kid and two great grand kids?  Isn’t Christmas supposed to be a family occasion?

Maybe not for an old relic.  The rest of her family are probably used to being relegated to the background, out of sight, out of mind. Like New Zealand as far as the Betty Windsor message goes at Christmas.


Long time Lizzy

Queen Elizabeth is now the longest serving monarch of England (and New Zealand). She has been a very reliable and non-controversial queen, unlike some of her family members who have rocked the royal boat a bit at times.

Although she has now out-reigned Queen Victoria time-wise she has hardly been a ruler, she is little more than a figurehead in the modern age United Kingdom.

Oxford definition:


1 Hold royal office; rule as monarch:
Queen Elizabeth reigns over the UK

She has held royal office but has been a signer and waver and barely a ruler over the United Kingdom, and has no influence in the ruling of New Zealand.

Even her New Zealannd representative, the Governor General, has no real influence here. Who is it? He is barely heard of these days.

As far as modern royals go Elizabeth II has done a good job. Some people still like the pomp and ceremony of royalty.

To me she’s little more than a foreign curiosity that I’m not very curious about.

Andrew Little is a republican

Andrew Little said today that he supports New Zealand having it’s own head of state. 3 News reported:

Labour’s new leader Andrew Little says he wants much more than a new flag and revealed he is a Republican.

“I believe that at some stage we should have our own head of state that comes from New Zealand,” says Mr Little.

Sounds good to me. I think it’s inevitable New Zealand will disconnect from the monarchy on the other side of the world and become a Republic.

It’s just a matter of time. A process to explore public opinion is unlikely to happen while John Key remains Prime Minister, he seems to be very keen on contact with the Queen.

And while Elizabeth remains as queen it’s probable that support will stay leaning towards retaining her as our head of state, no matter how irrelevant she has become.

But once Charles takes over, presuming he survives his mother, expect a growth in republicanism. Those supporting the monarch tend to be in the older part of ther population.

The Queen may challenge conservative loyalties

Newstalk ZB: Queen expected to back pledge promoting gay rights

The Queen is expected to back a historic pledge to promote gay rights and gender equality, in one of the most controversial acts of her reign.

During a live television broadcast she will sign a new charter designed to stamp out discrimination against homosexual people and promote the empowerment of women.

The Queen will sign the new Commonwealth Charter and make a speech explaining her passionate commitment to it.

Insiders spoken to by the Daily Mail say her decision to highlight the event is a ‘watershed’ moment – the first time she’s clearly signalled her support for gay rights.

Time to review our links with the monarchy? Or should we congratulate the Queen on making socially relevant comment?

Promoting “empowerment of women” and homosexual rights may not go down well amongst her more conservative fans.