Sunday, April 14, 2024

NZDF mourns death of Her Majesty

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has acknowledged with sadness the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Monarch who had many deep and abiding ties with New Zealand’s military forces.

Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Kevin Short said Her Majesty’s ongoing dedication to her duties was an inspiration to the NZDF, particularly in the challenging times throughout her reign.

“Her dedication and commitment resonated with us all as it is the ultimate example of service which underpins everything we do as members of the New Zealand Defence Force,” he said.

“While there will be a sombre mood acknowledging Her Majesty’s death, it is also a time to appropriately celebrate her more than 70 years as our Monarch and her contribution to all walks of life and to the Armed Forces.”

The Queen had a special relationship with the NZDF. As head of state, Her Majesty was the head of the NZDF and its three Services, Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force.

“She holds colonelcies and captain-general roles in a number of Army units and we also appreciate that she was the first member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Services as a full-time member.

“While we celebrate and mourn her long and rich life, we also celebrate the accession of the new King,” Air Marshal Short said.

The Queen visited New Zealand 10 times over her lifetime.

In her first visit to New Zealand in 1953-54, among her first duties was the presentation of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s first colour at Whenuapai Air Base. She also presented a new colour to the Royal New Zealand Navy at HMNZS Philomel (at Devonport).

The NZDF will have a major role to play in the 11 days of commemoration events over the coming days, including the State Memorial Service, and ceremonies surrounding the accession of the new King. We will provide details of these activities in due course.

In 2016, the Queen appointed the Prince of Wales with the following honorary titles: Admiral of the Fleet in the Royal New Zealand Navy; Field Marshal in the New Zealand Army; and Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. He will retain these honorary titles as King.

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