State visit to New Zealand - program

At the invitation of the Governor-General of New Zealand, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Her Majesty Queen Máxima will pay a state visit to New Zealand from Monday 7 November to Wednesday 9 November. The King and Queen will visit Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. They will be accompanied by foreign minister Bert Koenders. Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp will head a parallel trade mission. Before arriving in New Zealand the King and Queen will pay a state visit to Australia from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November.

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Image: ©Robin Utrecht
Wellington, 7 November 2016: King Willem-Alexander meets with the maori welcome party at the official ceremony at Government House.

The state visit to New Zealand will focus on confirming and expanding the two countries' long-standing and wide-ranging bilateral ties. The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long shared history, which stretches back to 1642 when Abel Tasman was the first European to reach New Zealand. In 2017 both countries will celebrate 375 years of relations. The state visit will also draw attention to the role that the approximately 150,000 New Zealanders of Dutch descent have played in the country's cultural and economic development. Receptions for the Dutch community will be held in both Christchurch and Auckland.

The trade mission will centre on horticulture, life sciences & health, smart cities, sports and agri-food. There is great potential for deepening economic ties between the Netherlands and New Zealand, on agri-food in particular. Almost 60 businesses will participate in the mission.

Monday 7 November - Wellington

The state visit will begin with an official welcome ceremony at Government House in Wellington. The ceremony will include traditional Maori elements, such as a haka powhiri (dance of welcome) and hongi (greeting). It will be followed by a meeting with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy. At Pukeahu National War Memorial Park the King and Queen will lay a wreath and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. On a guided tour of the Great War Exhibition they will learn more about New Zealand's role in the First World War. This exhibition at the Dominion Museum was created by New Zealand film director Sir Peter Jackson.

In the afternoon the King and Queen will speak with Prime Minister John Key and the Leader of the opposition, Andrew Little. They will also visit Park Road Post Production, a production company with a leading role in the development of the New Zealand and international film industry, in the field of digital visual effects in particular. This is where the sound and pictures for films including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and King Kong were edited. In the evening the Governor-General and the King will each give a speech at the state banquet at Government House.

Tuesday 8 November - Christchurch

On the second day of the state visit King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima will travel to Christchurch. They will begin the day at Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, which runs an extensive breeding programme for the endangered New Zealand kiwi. After this the cultural and economic achievements of the Maori, New Zealand's indigenous inhabitants, will be highlighted. The King and Queen will visit the communal meeting place (marae) and the economic headquarters of the Ngai Tahu Iwi, the largest Maori tribe on the South Island. The tribe practises sustainable and innovative agriculture, with a central role for the wellbeing of nature and the community. In the afternoon the King and Queen will visit the city of Christchurch. This visit will focus on the effects of the earthquake in 2011 and especially on the reconstruction and redevelopment of the city. 

Wednesday 9 November - Auckland

At the start of the third day the King and Queen will visit the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki to view exhibits that celebrate the two countries' shared history. The gallery owns two etchings portraying the meeting between Abel Tasman and the Maori in 1642. The royal couple will also view the series of portraits of Maori leaders painted at their own request by the artist Gottfried Lindauer (1839-1926).

The King and Queen will subsequently attend part of an economic conference on the future of food. This one-day event will bring together representatives of Dutch and New Zealand knowledge institutions and businesses to promote collaboration in the agri-food and horticulture sectors. At a lunch with participants from the trade mission and members of the New Zealand business community the King and Mr Kamp will each give a speech. Finally the King and Queen will visit the training vessel Spirit of New Zealand. While serving as the crew on this boat on five-day sailing trips, groups of young people aged 14 to 15 develop competences like cooperation, communication and leadership.