The Governor-General of New Zealand, Lieutenant General Sir Jeremiah Mateparae, has declared that a republic in New Zealand is ‘inevitable’ – but here at The Crown Chronicles, we’re not so sure.
Speaking on Māori Television’s Native Affairs programme on 16th August, the outgoing Governor-General said: “I guess it’s inevitable. All of these things are inevitable.”
Sir Jerry was also asked whether becoming a republic would affect New Zealand’s relationship with Britain and fellow Commonwealth nations. “I don’t think it would have any relationship effect,” he said. “Already in the Commonwealth, there are republics, the Republic of Singapore.”
It is true that there are republics in the Commonwealth, but the bonds between Her Majesty’s realms are so much stronger than between Britain and many republics because of The Queen as a uniting figure. There is a shared sense of identity and belonging within this union, and a legacy of serving Her Majesty; no matter where the realms are located, with those that are republics with appointed Heads of State, these bonds are never as voluntarily strong, they have to be enforced.
There are many issues that would inevitably arise if New Zealand were to push to remove its status as a Commonwealth Realm, instead opting for a republic. This included a necessary reassessment of New Zealand’s relationship with her own territories – the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau – who do not necessarily believe that becoming a republic is “inevitable”.
Sir Jerry himself acknowledged that becoming a republic would damage the strong bonds that have developed between the Crown and his own Māori people, as the treaty relationship would have to be fundamentally changed.
Mateparae is a respected official who, until now, has done his very best to represent Her Majesty and the Crown in New Zealand, but I think his comments are a dereliction of his duty to put the interests of the Crown before his own personal thoughts. After all, Sir Jeremiah is a Knight of the realm, which he accepted without issue, and has been awarded the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (KStJ), The Queen’s Service Order (QSO), and the New Zealand Order of Merit (GNZM), all of which are Royal orders bestowed by The Queen.
I would like to make a direct and impassioned appeal to Sir Jeremiah – either retract your divisive statement and reaffirm your support for your Queen and the monarchist system. The Governor General has just left office after five years.
The people of New Zealand have not readily voiced their opinion to have an elected Head of State, but a poll in 2014 showed that 44% of 1,038 Kiwis wanted to get rid of the Monarchy in their country, with 66% of 18-30 year olds in favour. However, this was trumped by the 46% who wanted to keep it.
New Zealand is a Monarchy, Elizabeth II is as much the Queen of New Zealand as she is of Britain, Australia, Jamaica, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and all of the other realms. She has devoted her long and successful 90 years to every one of her people, no matter where they are located around the world – and her Governor-Generals should be prepared to devote their lives to representing her!