2017 Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

This Commonwealth Day, a baton will set out from Buckingham Palace and begin a long and extraordinary journey. Over the next twelve months, the Baton will visit people living in the nations and territories of our Commonwealth family in every continent and ocean.

Carried on its way by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, by the time it reaches its final destination, The Queen’s Baton will have brought together through its route and symbolism, almost 2.5 billion people who share the special connection of being Commonwealth citizens.

Contained within the Baton will be a written message that will be opened and read at the Commonwealth Games in Australia next year. However, there is an even more powerful message to be seen and experienced as the Baton passes from hand to hand, from seashore to mountaintop, through cities, towns, and villages.  It is the message of a peace-building Commonwealth.

The cornerstones on which peace is founded are, quite simply, respect and understanding for one another. Working together, we build peace by defending the dignity of every individual and community.

By upholding justice and the rule of law, and by striving for societies that are fair and offer opportunities for all, we overcome division and find reconciliation, so that the benefits of progress and prosperity may be multiplied and shared.

As members of the Commonwealth family we can find much to be thankful for in the inheritances we have received from those who came before us. Through consensus and cooperation great things have been achieved.

We can find further reward and fulfilment by continuing to collaborate with others in a spirit of goodwill to build a peaceful and abundant future for all Commonwealth citizens.

Choir Coronation Concert

5pm, Sunday 26 February 2017. Holy Trinity Cathedral.

To celebrate the 65th Anniversary of the Accession to the throne of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, Holy Trinity Cathedral Choir invites you to a concert of music written for Coronations throughout the ages.

Starting with Handel’s Zadok the Priest, written for the Coronation of King George II in 1727, the programme will also include music by Purcell, Elgar, Bairstow, Parry, Willan and Vaughan-Williams.

The Cathedral Organist, Philip Smith, will also play some of the music specially composed for these celebrations.

All proceeds of the concert will go towards the provision of a chamber organ for the Bishop Selwyn Chapel.

Entry: koha

Commonwealth Day Service 2017

The Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland, in partnership with The Royal Commonwealth Society Auckland Branch Inc., invites you to attend the Commonwealth Day Service, Sunday 12 March 2017 at 5 pm, at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, Auckland.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Day Message will be read at the service.

ALL WELCOME, especially youth and service groups as the theme for 2017 is ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth. 

This service provides an opportunity for people, young and older, from our diverse cultures, to engage actively in a Commonwealth event: an opportunity to celebrate our place in the community that is the Modern Commonwealth. You are invited to wear national dress. Medals and decorations may be worn

Light refreshments will be served in the Monteith Centre after the service.

RSVP: phone 520 0841 or email: lawsons@xtra.co.nz  by Monday 6 March 2017  for catering numbers.

New Zealand’s 90th Birthday gift to Her Majesty The Queen

A new Education Centre at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington has been chosen as the gift from New Zealand to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

“The Queen has agreed to the new centre being named the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre,” Prime Minister John Key said at the announcement on 7 June.

“This Education Centre, in the former Home of Compassion crèche, will be a lasting tribute to Her Majesty’s long life of service. It is also a real enhancement for the Park, giving school students and visitors a place to learn more about Pukeahu and New Zealand’s experience of military conflict, peace keeping and commemoration.”

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says the Education Centre will be an excellent home for education programmes.

Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education CentreHoused in the Category 1-listed former Home of Compassion crèche, the centre is staffed by two educators who run the programme for visiting students. More than 12,000 have participated since the Park opened in April 2015, and feedback has been very positive.

“The interior of the building has been converted into a classroom teaching space, which can also be used by community groups when not being used for education,” Ms Barry says.

“The educators work closely with the Great War Exhibition, housed in the nearby former Dominion Museum building, to ensure schools and their pupils get the best possible experience from their visit.”

The centre will also include a small display honouring Mother Aubert and the Sisters of Compassion, and encouraging anyone interested in knowing more about their work to visit the Home of Compassion site in Island Bay.

An event to celebrate the opening of the Queen Elizabeth II Pukeahu Education Centre will be held later this year

Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations

On Thursday 2 June 2016 from 6pm-8pm, the Queen’s 90th Birthday was celebrated in style at the Northern Club, Princes Street, Auckland City. The British New Zealand Business Association partnered with The Royal Commonwealth Society, Monarchy New Zealand and the Northern Club to host a Cocktail Party for members and their family and friends.

The location of the celebration was the Northern Club, which has 145 years of history. The building is cloaked in ivy and from the moment you step inside it has a very elegant ambience with wonderful views of Auckland City, and impressive chandeliers which light the main reception area. Being so steeped in history, it was the perfect choice for such a prestigious occasion. Guests chatted with each other while having a glass of wine or fruit juice and they sampled a selection of delicious canapés. These included mini beef wellington with the ‘melt in your mouth’ pastry, raw salmon, club sandwiches, coronation chicken served on individual spoons and mini mince pies, to name a few of the delicacies.

A happy group of guests   A happy group of guests

After a short time of socialising, the Guest Speaker, Dr Sean Palmer was introduced. Dr. Sean Palmer is the Chair of Monarchy New Zealand and has a PhD and Masters degrees on the role of the monarchy in the 16 Commonwealth Realms. His studies focussed particularly on the importance of the crown in the development and defence of democracy. He received the Diamond and Golden Jubilee medals from the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario for service to the crown. Sean is based in Wellington where he works for Simon O’Connor, MP for Tamaki.

Sean spoke about the contemporary importance of the monarchy for the New Zealand identity and the role it plays in the New Zealand system of democratic government. The guests found this talk most interesting and it invited quite a few questions from guests.

Dr Sean Palmer  Dr Sean Palmer

After Sean’s talk, the guests sang ‘God Save The Queen’ with great enthusiasm, the Queen was toasted and after more chatting the evening wound up about 8.30pm. It was a huge success, there was a great atmosphere and new friends and connections were made.

Joanne Sadler

2016 Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen

14 March 2016

Commonwealth Day Message by Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth

Wherever we live in the Commonwealth, we can always benefit from being open to the ideas and encouragement of those around us. Each of us can also make a positive difference in the lives of others by being willing to contribute and offer support.

This is an essential ingredient of belonging to the Commonwealth: the willingness to share, to exchange and to act for the common good. By including others, drawing on collective insights, knowledge and resources, and thinking and working together, we lay the foundations of a harmonious and progressive society. The greater the diversity of those included in such a shared enterprise, the greater the gains. Each of us has cause to celebrate the sense of belonging expressed in our 2016 theme: ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’.

Our recognition of this value, and the wisdom of mutual respect for each other, is set out in the Commonwealth Charter. Its opening words, We the people of the Commonwealthconvey the conviction that individuals, as well as governments, build and shape our success. Being inclusive and accepting diversity goes far deeper than accepting differences at face value and being tolerant. True celebration of the dignity of each person, and the value of their uniqueness and contribution, involves reaching out, recognising and embracing their individual identity.

At the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, there were forums for women, youth, business and civil society. These forums were a place for reflection on how to contribute collectively to achieving positive global change, for which the Commonwealth is widely respected. Today, and in the year ahead, the theme ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’ is an inspiration for us all.

Let us give it practical effect by supporting those in need and those who feel excluded in all walks of life. By doing so, we will continue to build a truly representative Commonwealth community.

Visit by James Bennett 11 September 2016

Dear RCS members,

From time to time we have the opportunity to use a person visiting NZ to meet with us and hear their views on specific topics which could be of interest to our members.

Such an opportunity has come with the visit of James Bennett as part of a speaking tour through Australia and NZ. He will speak to us at Kinder House on Sunday 11 September at 2 pm and afternoon tea will be served afterwards.

James Bennett is a columnist, writer and author. His recent book is entitled ‘Audacity: New options beyond Europe’. He is a Centennial Fellow, and a member of CANZUK. There is a growing movement for closer ties between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom – the so called CANZUK nations.

His talk will cover a fairly wide range of options, and also examine some proposed past models, why they did not come to pass, and whether they might have relevance again in new forms thanks to changes in global conditions now in progress.

However, this opportunity came after we made arrangements for the event on 20 September at the Auckland War Memorial Museum when HE Jonathan Sinclair, British High Commissioner will be present and also Mr Roy Clare, Director of the Museum whom we will farewell prior to his return to the United Kingdom. I urge all members to attend this big event for the year and the earlier one as well if you so choose.

REPLY BY EMAIL to lawsons@xtra.co.nz or joanne1995@hotmail.com
Please underline which applies to you: I will attend or I will not attend the James Bennett talk  at Kinder House Sunday 11 September at 2 pm.

Kind regards
Leonie Lawson
RCS President

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