Monarchy of New Zealand

The monarchy of New Zealand[n 1] is the constitutional system of government in which a hereditary monarch is the sovereign and head of state of New Zealand.[3] The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, ascended the throne on the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952. Elizabeth's eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales, is heir apparent.

Queen of New Zealand
Kuini o Aotearoa  (Māori)
Royal arms of New Zealand
The Queen wearing her New Zealand insignia
Elizabeth II
since 6 February 1952
StyleHer Majesty
Heir apparentCharles, Prince of Wales

The Treaty of Waitangi between Queen Victoria and Māori was signed in 1840, and as a result, the British sovereign became New Zealand's head of state. New Zealand gradually became independent from Britain and the monarchy evolved to become a distinctly New Zealand institution, represented by unique symbols. The person who is the New Zealand monarch is today shared with 15 other countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, all being independent and the monarchy of each legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially titled Queen of New Zealand (Māori: Kuini o Aotearoa) and, in this capacity, she, and other members of the royal family undertake various public and private functions across New Zealand. The Queen is the only member of the royal family with any constitutional role.

All executive authority is vested in the monarch, and royal assent is required for parliament to enact laws and for letters patent and Orders in Council to have legal effect. However, the monarch's authority is subject to the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, and her direct participation in these areas of governance is limited.[4] Most of the related powers are instead exercised by the elected members of parliament, the ministers of the Crown generally drawn from amongst them, and the judges and justices of the peace. Other powers vested in the monarch, such as the appointment of a prime minister, are significant but are treated only as reserve powers and as an important security part of the role of the monarchy.

Since the monarch resides in the United Kingdom, most of the royal constitutional and ceremonial duties within the Realm of New Zealand are typically carried out by a viceregal representative, the Governor-General of New Zealand.[5]

The role of the monarchy is a recurring topic of public discussion.[6] Some New Zealanders think New Zealand should become a republic with a New Zealand resident as the head of state, while others wish to retain the monarchy.[7]