The event celebrates 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. It also marks the Queen’s 70th anniversary as New Zealand’s Head of State.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon celebration in Wellington – organised in conjunction with Rotary New Zealand - will have a uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand flavour that celebrates not only the Queen but New Zealand and New Zealanders.
The event starts shortly after 9pm on the steps to the Tangi Te Keo Mt Victoria lookout with a karakia before mana whenua ignite a torch from a beacon and ascend to the lookout.
The torch is handed to Mayor Andy Foster, and former Governors-General The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand and Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae who are long-standing Rotarians and are representing Rotary. Together they will light the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon.
A special choir – comprising of Wellington-based choirs Supertonic and Pacific Connection – will then sing A Song for the Commonwealth, a piece specially commissioned with the chorus in te reo. The event is scheduled to end before 9.30pm.
The event is private due to the very limited space. The lookout and car parks at the top of Mt Victoria will be closed to the public for the event from 11am on Wednesday 1 June till 11pm on Thursday 2 June.
The public are invited to view the ceremony which will be live-streamed on QueensPlatinumJubilee/livestream
Mayor Foster says Queen Elizabeth II personified loyalty, dedication and a deep sense of duty to her people throughout her life.
“It’s truly an honour to light the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon, and to do so alongside the two former Governors-General, on behalf of all Wellingtonians and, indeed, all New Zealanders to mark her majesty’s remarkable 70 years of service.
“She has been Queen for more than most of our lifetimes and will this coming month become the second longest reigning Monarch or Head of State ever, for any state. That is truly remarkable.”
Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Toa Mana Whenua – the local tribal authority representatives of Wellington City – say Māori recognise the traditional use of lighting sentinel fires referred to as Ahikā – the eternal homefires.
“Ahikā existed here before the arrival of our British and Irish pioneers imbuing the guidance, warmth and hospitality to all arriving ships.
“Māori as the indigenous nation are represented with their own Ahikā situated by the local tribes pou whenua – carved cultural totem pole.
“The sharing of the fire represents two peoples unified. The local tribal authority beacon and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon simultaneously represent our Treaty of Waitangi partners.
“Queen Elizabeth II has succeeded an enduring partnership between the Māori people and the New Zealand Government.”
Rotary District Governor Mark Wheeler says: “Rotary New Zealand is honoured and privileged to help recognise the 70th Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her service to the Commonwealth.”
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will also be marked in Wellington with the Michael Fowler Centre (MFC) and Carter Fountain being floodlit purple – the MFC between the hours of 6pm and 6am on 3-6 June, and the Carter Fountain on the night of Thursday 2 June.
Purple is considered the colour of royalty. It was also the colour of choice for the Purple Robe of Estate worn by Queen Elizabeth II on her way back to Buckingham Palace following her coronation in 1953.
Another event to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will on 10 June see Deputy Mayor Sarah Free lead a group of invited guests, including representatives from Commonwealth countries, along a section of Wellington's Commonwealth Walkway.
The walkway features bronze markers attached to the ground which identify points of significance. They feature Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s EIIR cypher.
The walkway was established in 2015 to mark the 150th anniversary of Wellington becoming New Zealand’s capital city.
For further information about the Queen’s Jubilee Beacon, please visit the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Beacons website.