Oath of Allegiance (New Zealand)

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The New Zealand Oath of Allegiance is defined by the Oaths and Declarations Act 1957. All Oaths can be taken in either Māori or English form. It is possible to take an affirmation, which has the same legal effect as an Oath.


The Oath, in its present form, is:

"I, [name], swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God."

In Māori, this is:

"Ko ahau, ko [name] e oati ana ka noho pūmau taku pono ki a Kuini Irihāpeti te Tuarua me tōna kāhui whakaheke, e ai ki te ture. Ko te Atua nei hoki taku pou."

A modified version, with the added phrase "and I will obey the laws of New Zealand and fulfil my duties as a New Zealand citizen" is used as New Zealand's Oath of Citizenship.


An affirmation begins with "I, [name], solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm,” and continues with the words of the oath prescribed by law, omitting any reference to God.

Other New Zealand Oaths[edit]

For simplification, the oaths set out below take the form they would have if used today in English.

Governor-General's Oath[edit]

“I, [name], swear that I will duly and impartially serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, in the office of Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Her Realm of New Zealand, comprising New Zealand, the self-governing state of the Cook Islands, the self-governing state of Niue, Tokelau, and the Ross Dependency, in accordance with their respective laws and customs. So help me God.”

Executive Council Oath[edit]

“I, [name], being chosen and admitted of the Executive Council of New Zealand, swear that I will to the best of my judgement, at all times, when thereto required, freely give my counsel and advice to the Governor-General for the time being, for the good management of the affairs of New Zealand. That I will not directly nor indirectly reveal such matters as shall be debated in Council and committed to my secrecy, but that I will in all things be a true and faithful Councillor. So help me God.”

House of Representatives Oath[edit]

The Constitution Act 1986 requires that, before being permitted to sit or vote in the House of Representatives, members of Parliament must take the Oath of Allegiance.

Parliamentary Under-Secretaries Oath[edit]

“I, [name], swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law, in the office of Parliamentary Under-Secretary. So help me God.”

Judicial Oath[edit]

“I, [name], swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors, according to law, in the office of []; and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of New Zealand without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God.”

Armed forces Oath[edit]

“I, [name], solemnly promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to our Sovereign Lady the Queen, Her heirs and successors, and that I will faithfully serve in the Royal New Zealand Naval Forces/the New Zealand Army/the Royal New Zealand Air Force [Delete the Services that are not appropriate], and that I will loyally observe and obey all orders of Her Majesty, Her heirs and successors, and of the officers set over me, until I shall be lawfully discharged. So help me God.”

Police Oath[edit]

I, [name], swear that I will faithfully and diligently serve Her (or His) Majesty [specify the name of the reigning Sovereign], Queen (or King) of New Zealand, her (or his) heirs and successors, without favour or affection, malice or ill-will. While a constable I will, to the best of my power, keep the peace and prevent offences against the peace, and will, to the best of my skill and knowledge, perform all the duties of the office of constable according to law. So help me God."

Alteration and augmentation of oaths[edit]

In May 2004, the Minister of Justice, Phil Goff, announced a review of New Zealand's oaths and affirmations[1] stating that "This review also offers a chance for people to express a view on whether our oaths accurately reflect the values and beliefs that are important to New Zealanders in the 21st century". The Ministry of Justice reported in a discussion paper on oaths and affirmations[2] that many were either out of date (such as the teachers' oath or the Queen's Counsel oath) or used arcane language. The review suggested that New Zealand could follow the experience of Australia by removing references to the Queen from the oaths. The Monarchist League called the change "republicanism by stealth" and commented that "[a] declaration of allegiance to New Zealand, or to the Prime Minister, would be a poor substitute [for the Queen]".[3]

In response, the Republican Movement argued that removing references to the Queen was not "republicanism by stealth" but simply reflected the contemporary values of New Zealanders.[4] The Republican Movement also submitted that "[t]he Australians have already updated their oath of citizenship so that there is no mention of the Queen, while maintaining the exact same constitutional monarchy as New Zealand".[4]

To this day the oath remains, with relevant personnel (e.g. military) swearing allegiance to the Queen, either in a traditional oath or a non religious affirmation.

Oaths Modernisation Bill[edit]

One year after the review was announced, Phil Goff released the new forms the oaths were to take.[5] The references to the Queen were retained, and the Oaths Modernisation Bill[6] was introduced in Parliament.

The Bill would have made the following changes:

  • It amends the parliamentary oath to include loyalty to New Zealand and respect for the democratic values of New Zealand and respect for the rights and freedoms of its people;
  • It amends the citizenship oath to include loyalty to New Zealand, and respect for the democratic values of New Zealand and respect for the rights and freedoms of its people;
  • It provides a Māori version of each oath. The Act provides that using a Māori equivalent of any of the oaths set out in that Act shall have full legal effect;
  • It amends the Act to prescribe a Māori language version of the words with which an affirmation must begin.

The Monarchist League was pleased with this outcome, stating, "While it may be questioned what 'loyalty to New Zealand', and 'respect for its democratic values' actually mean, it is heartening that no attempt was made to remove the oath of allegiance to the Queen."[7] The Republican Movement stated that "[t]he best thing about the new oaths is that they can easily be changed when we become a republic".[8]

After passing the first reading and going to the Government Administration Committee, the Bill had its second reading discharged on 1 June 2010, meaning it will not proceed.[9]

Hone Harawira amendment[edit]

In 2007, then Māori Party MP Hone Harawira has put up an amendment (in the form of a supplementary order paper) to the Oaths Modernisation Bill inserting references to the oaths and affirmations to "uphold the Treaty of Waitangi".[10]

Harawira eventually split from the Māori Party and resigned from parliament to re-contest his seat as leader of the Mana Party. He won the subsequent by-election. On 14 July 2011, Harawira was removed from the chamber by the Speaker of the House, Lockwood Smith, for not pledging the oath of allegiance as required by law.[11]

See also: Republicanism in New Zealand and Opposition and augmentation to the Canadian Oath of Allegiance

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Phil Goff (23 May 2004). "Oaths discussion document released". Beehive. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  2. ^ "Review of Oaths and Affirmations - Discussion Paper". Ministry of Justice (New Zealand). May 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  3. ^ "Review of Oaths and Affirmations". Monarchist League of New Zealand. 14 February 2004. Archived from the original on 2009-08-07. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  4. ^ a b "Bring the Oaths into the 21st Century". Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand. 18 February 2004. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  5. ^ Phil Goff (10 May 2005). "Oaths to be modernised by Bill". The Beehive. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  6. ^ "Knowledge Basket - text of the Oaths Modernisation Bill". Government Print Office. May 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
  7. ^ "Oaths Review". Monarchist League of New Zealand. 12 May 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  8. ^ "New Oaths step in the right direction". Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand. 10 May 2005. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  9. ^ "Oaths Modernisation Bill". Parliament of New Zealand. 1 June 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  10. ^ "Supplementary Order Paper 103 - Oaths Modernisation Bill" (PDF). Parliament of New Zealand. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  11. ^ Tracy Watkins (14 July 2011). "Speaker refuses to swear Harawira in". Stuff. Retrieved 2011-07-14.

External links[edit]