Friday, 18 May 2018

Royal Tours of Rotorua 1930s-1960s

Royal Sightseers drawn to Rotorua. 

H.R.H Duke of Gloucester, Prince Henry 21st Dec-24th Dec 1934. Stayed at the Grand Hotel.

HRH visited at the beginning of the Rotorua Carnival. The festivities laid on for his visit included a Provincial Ball at the Ritz Hall, Maori reception at Arawa Park, Civic Reception at the Town Square, Carnival Ball at the Ritz Hall, an Open Air Maori concert at the Town Square, A Maori Concert by Guide Rangi’s party at the Peerless Hall and sightseeing during which he visited Whakarewarewa guided by Guide Rangi & Guide Bella and Mita Taupopoki.

He also went trout fishing at Awahou where he caught 9 “well-conditioned fighting trout
The Prince attended the ‘Maori Consecration Service at St Faith’s’ Bishop of Aotearoa, Rev. Bennett presiding.

On his final night in Rotorua he and his entourage stayed on the special train laid on for his visit as they were leaving Rotorua at 4:00 am. for Auckland.

Sir George Grey Special Collections,
Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19341226-35-1

Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh,  2 January  1954
On a five day visit to Rotorua, the Queen stayed at Moose Lodge which had been prepared by the owner Noel Cole, for their exclusive use.

Maori reception at Arawa Park the Queen addressed the crowd with a speech thanking them for their loyalty to the Crown.
Excerpt from Te Ao Hou, Summer 1954 pg. 9
“I have long looked forward to this, my first full meeting with the Maori people in their own homeland, for I have heard much of your proud traditions and that deep abiding loyalty which you have so often demonstrated in peace and in war” 

They attended a Civic Reception at Motutara Golf Course, in the Government Gardens, where an estimated crowd of 40,000 waited, this was four times the usual Rotorua population.

The Queen attended the service at St John’s Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning. 
Visiting the Rotorua Aerodrome with Prime Minister Sidney Holland – the Queen talked to the staff at James Aviation Ltd. NZ Herald 

Guide Rangi showed them around Whakarewarewa – The Pohutu Geyser (eventually), the Model Pa was showcased and the Penny Divers waited eagerly for the Royal couple to arrive at the Puarenga Stream. View the video of Guide Rangi and the Queen here

Duke planned to enjoy swimming, boating, water-skiing and fishing while at Moose Lodge.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip walking in to a Maori welcoming ceremony, Rotorua.
Ref: WA-34240-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23528614

1956: Duke of Edinburgh came for a brief visit, arriving in the new NAC Heron, Mako Aircraft, then he was driven to Kawerau where he was scheduled to visit the Tasman Pulp and Paper Mill.  

On leaving the Rotorua Aerodrome, the cars drove slowly down Whaka Road, turned down Ti Street, along Wairoa Road. Crowds two deep lined the road. School children cheering and waving as the Duke passed by.

There was slight confusion when the Royal Car arrived at the aerodrome the next day as the Duke had driven himself from Wairakei, the photographers were lined up on the passenger side only to find an empty seat!. 

June 1966: Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mother flew in to Rotorua Aerodrome on a DC8 the largest aircraft to land at the new airport and thence by car to her official engagement that day at the Sportsdrome for the Official Welcome. She then had lunch at the Grand Hotel before flying on to Hamilton.

Rotorua Photo News, 4th June 1966. This photo appeared on the back cover.
With thanks to the Don Stafford Collection and Papers Past for the above information and DigitalNZ for the images.