Flashbacks: New Zealand History on Film
The Royal Summer
For the first time, on 23 December 1953, a ruling British monarch set foot on New Zealand shores.
The visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh from 23 December 1953 to 30 January 1954, was an enormous social event. Historian Jock Phillips estimates as many as three quarters of all New Zealanders saw the Queen as she visited 46 towns or cities and attended 110 separate functions.
Dedicated enthusiasts lavished thousands of feet of film on the tour. For some the tour was an occasion to produce a small-scale documentary complete with commentary.
Professional studios also covered the tour. The National Film Unit coverage was extensive with six Pictorial Parade newsreels devoted to the tour. Pacific Films also filmed the tour, selling newsreel footage to overseas companies as well as producing a sponsored documentary, Royal Transport.
Learn more about the 1953-54 Royal Tour.