Wellington, New Zealand:
New Zealand will have a one-time public holiday on September 26 to commemorate the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today.
“I hope this will be an opportunity to acknowledge the service of a lifetime by Queen Elizabeth II to New Zealand,” Ms Ardern told reporters in Wellington.
“We need to acknowledge here (that) this is a once in 70 years event. The queen was our sovereign, our head of state.”
“She made a huge contribution to New Zealand through her public service,” Ms Ardern said. “It marks an important end to a chapter.”
A state memorial service will be held at the capital’s St. Paul’s Cathedral on the same day.
Prime Minister Ardern confirmed that she will leave New Zealand to attend the Queen’s funeral in London on 14 September, shortly after which she will fly to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
New Zealand follows in Australia’s footsteps, where September 22 has been declared a public holiday.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is also on his way to London to attend the funeral.
Yesterday, Australia and New Zealand officially named King Charles III as monarch.
Both former British colonies have been independent for decades but retain the monarch as their head of state.
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