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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation



Services › Other Services › VIP Visits and Ceremonial Events

Service Overview

The Visits and Ceremonial Office manages VIP visits including Guest of Government visits and VIP co-ordination, State and ceremonial occasions and commemorative events.

VIP visits

Working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Prime Minister's Office (in the case of Heads of Government visits) and Government House (in respect of Heads of State and Royalty), the Visits and Ceremonial Office manages visit logistics and develops programmes and itineraries. The primary objective for all visits is to enhance the bi-lateral relationships between countries.

Visit logistics includes making arrangements for:
  • accommodation
  • air and ground transport
  • official government hospitality
  • official calls on Ministers and other parliamentarians
  • cultural representation.
To meet the visit objectives, the Office liaises with other government and non-government agencies, private sector organisations and industry.

State and ceremonial occasions and commemorative events

State and ceremonial occasions

Managing state and ceremonial occasions includes:
  • ensuring that the venue is correctly stage managed
  • compiling the guest list
  • issuing invitations
  • arranging the menu and entertainment.
These events may occur as part of an official visit or be a stand-alone event.

Visiting Heads of State are accorded Ceremonies of Welcome comprising a Maori Welcome (featuring the challenge, karanga and haka powhiri) and Military Ceremonial (inspection of a Presidential or Royal Tri Service Guard of Honour with national anthems and 21 Gun Salute) and usually take place at either Government House in Wellington or Auckland.

Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) receive a similar formal welcome on the forecourt of Parliament in Wellington.

Visits by VIPs and their associated delegation groups include meetings include meetings and location tours of, for example: marae; schools; factories; farms; universities;military facilities; cultural events; research institutes; calls on private sector representative bodies and organisations.

In addition, the Visits and Ceremonial Office has organised a number of State funerals and memorial services (recent examples include the funeral service for Sir Ed Hillary and the Pike River Tragedy Memorial Service).

Commemorative events

Working in partnership with government and non-government organisations including Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Office of Veterans Affairs, Wellington City Council and Wellington Cathedral, the Visits and Ceremonial Office is responsible for the national commemorations for:
  • ANZAC Day - the National Commemorative Wreathlaying and associated ceremonial at the National War Memorial and ceremonies at the Ataturk Memorial.
  • Significant war and battle anniversaries - wreathlaying ceremonies commemorating significant war and battle anniversaries for New Zealanders, including the Battle of Crete, Korean War and Battle of Britain, and signing of the Armistice ending World War 1.
  • Commonwealth Day - support services for this multi-faith event involving representation from the major faiths of the Commonwealth and strong youth involvement.