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The Queen Mother

30 March 2002

Prime Minister Helen Clark today expressed New Zealand's deep sorrow at the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

“Our feelings must go out to the Queen who, in her jubilee year, has lost first her sister and now her mother in a short time. It is a very sad time for the Queen, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders are with her.

"New Zealanders had deep admiration for the Queen Mother. Her life was a remarkable one. What impressed people most was her unassuming dignity, energy, openness, and warmth.

"Older New Zealanders will remember the leadership she gave during the war when she and the royal family refused to leave London during the Blitz, even when Buckingham Palace was bombed. She was tireless in her efforts to support the troops and to boost morale during World War Two.

"The Queen Mother was no stranger to New Zealand shores, having visited here as Duchess of York in 1927, then as Queen Mother in 1958 and 1966.

"On each occasion she was welcomed. According to one account of her visit with the Duke of York to Auckland in 1927, 'There is only one way to describe their reception…they were mobbed.'

"New Zealanders' respect and affection for the Queen Mother was vast. On the occasion of her one hundredth birthday, many New Zealanders sent their best wishes and congratulations to her.

"It is with great sadness and profound regret that we note her passing."

The Queen Mother was appointed an Additional Member of the Order of New Zealand on 6 February 1990. She also received the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal and was Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps.

Helen Clark said that she had directed that flags on all government buildings and naval vessels be flown at half-mast.

The Prime Minister has also directed that a condolence book be placed at Parliament for New Zealanders to record their condolences.

The government is awaiting details from the Palace concerning the arrangements for the funeral and memorial service. Once the Queen Mother’s funeral has been held, a memorial service will also be held in New Zealand.

Ends

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