When Queen Elizabeth II visited New Zealand in the summer of 1963, ten years after the first tour, her every move was followed and documented by an adoring public and press. Her brief stop in Tauranga was no exception.
‘For this, her first visit to the Bay of Plenty borough, the Queen wore vivid jade green … the difficult shade indeed suited her admirably. The dress was tussore silk made very simply and worn with a white belt … shoes, bag and gloves were white.’ Weekly News, February 13 1963.
On 9 February the Royal yacht Britannia slipped between Mount Maunganui and Matakana Island, berthing at the Mount wharf. The residents of Tauranga had spent many days preparing for the visit. Coronation Pier, where the Queen disembarked, was covered with flowers in the shape of her personal standard. The press politely described the town's decorations as ‘novel’ and they included life sized figures of the Queen’s Guard surrounding the Town Hall. The hall itself was festooned with lights and topped with a crown.
The official welcome was held at Memorial Park in the Sound Shell. As the Queen walked through the park local girls, dressed as Grecian maidens, cast red and white petals at her feet. Following the formalities the Royal party was treated to a Surf Carnival on the main Mount Beach.
The Tauranga Heritage Collection has a number of items connected to the Royal visit including photographs of the day and a telephone directory, printed by the Post Office, which contained confidential phone numbers for the Royal party and Government officials.