Information for councils about the State Memorial for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

This information is provided for Mayors, council chief executives and other council members about the State Memorial Service on 26 September 2022 for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. More information about official ceremonies to mark the life of the Queen is available on the Governor-General’s website: Official Events (gg.govt.nz)

State Memorial Service

Are Mayors being invited to the service?

Yes. Invitations have been sent to all Mayors.

Will Regional Council Chairs be invited to the service?

Yes. Invitations have been sent to all Regional Council Chairs.

I’ve been invited to the service but can’t attend. Can someone else attend in my place? 

Unfortunately no. Invitation have been sent to Mayors and Chairs as the holder of the office and cannot be delegated.

Who is expected to attend the service?

Invited guests will include iwi leaders, Members of Parliament, mayors, former Governors-General, members of the diplomatic community and representatives from various youth, ethnic and religious communities.

Can councils recommend people to be invited to the State Memorial Service?

Space in the Cathedral of St Paul is limited and needs to accommodate a wide range of representatives from New Zealand and overseas. We are unable to add anyone else to the invitation list. Mayors and Regional Council Chairs have been invited to represent everyone in their communities.

Are Mayors expected to wear their official chains to the service? 

As per the invitation, medals and decorations may be worn at the service. Mayor Foster welcomes invitees to wear their mayoral chains if they wish.

Are Mayors and Chairs expected to wear a black armband?

There is no expectation for anyone attending the service to wear a black armband.

Where can people from my community watch the service?

The service will be broadcast live by TV3. The service starts at 2pm.

Condolence books

What should councils do with local condolence books?

We recommend you keep and archive condolence books as a public record. These are an important record of your community’s response to the passing of Her Majesty and are worth keeping for future generations to access.    

What other options are available for people to offer condolences?

New Zealanders wishing to pay their respects online can send a condolence message by email to condolences@dia.govt.nz.

An online Book of Condolence is also available at the Royal Family's website.

People wishing to send a message of condolence to the new King can write to: His Majesty the King, Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom.

In Wellington, people can leave messages in condolence books at Parliament, at the National Library and the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul until the end of the day of the National Memorial Service. The Cathedral will be closed to the public on 26 September 2022.

Flag protocols

When should flags fly at half-mast?

The New Zealand flag should be flown at half-mast up to and including the day of the State Memorial Service.

What is the right way to set a flag at half-mast?

The flag is ‘half-masted’ by raising it to the top of the mast, then slowly lowering it to the half-mast position. This position will depend on the size of the flag and the length of the flagpole.

The flag must be lowered to a position more than its own depth from the top of the flagpole. This is to avoid the appearance of a flag which has accidentally fallen from the top of the flagpole. When the New Zealand flag is flown at half-mast, other flags should not be flown above it. 

The flag should be raised again to the peak before lowering it for the day.

Official portraits

Should we remove the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II from our buildings?

There is no requirement to remove or replace official photographs of Queen Elizabeth II that are on display. You may wish to acknowledge the Queen’s death by placing kawakawa leaves on the ground underneath the photograph, and/or placing a black ribbon across one corner of the frame.

When will photos of King Charles III be available?

Official portraits of the new King of New Zealand will be available on the Governor-General’s website at a later date.

Additional resources