New Zealand Republic

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New Zealand Republic
Patron Keri Hulme (Since 1996)[1]
Founded March 4, 1994; 22 years ago (1994-03-04)
(Incorporated 17 February 1995)
Headquarters New Zealand
Ideology Republicanism in New Zealand
New Zealand Republic

New Zealand Republic Inc.[2] is an organisation formed in 1994 whose object is to support the creation of a New Zealand republic.

The campaign chair is Savage, a west Auckland writer and painter.[3] The patron of the New Zealand Republic is Keri Hulme, a New Zealand writer who won the 1985 Booker Prize for her novel The Bone People.[1] The organisation is not aligned to any political party in New Zealand including the Republic of New Zealand Party.

Aims and principles[edit]

New Zealand Republic's constitution specifies the following aims and principles:[4]

  • Involving all New Zealanders in the debate;
  • Providing relevant and reliable information;
  • Focusing on ideas, not personalities;
  • Winning a referendum to establish the republic;

Creating a republic does not require a codified constitution or any change to the Treaty of Waitangi,[5] Flag of New Zealand[6] or Commonwealth membership.[7]



The organisation was formed in March 1994 and incorporated in February 1995, following then National Party Prime Minister Jim Bolger's call for New Zealand to become a republic. Its membership was drawn from many political quarters (including journalist Jonathan Milne and New Zealand First Member of Parliament Deborah Morris), and called the Republican Coalition of New Zealand. Some of the group's members had been involved in the successful campaign of the Electoral Reform Coalition for electoral reform at a referendum in 1993. In 1996, writer Keri Hulme became patron of the group.

The group changed its name in 1999, coinciding with an unsuccessful Australian referendum on the same issue, to the Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand (Aotearoa is a Māori name for New Zealand), and again in 2014 to New Zealand Republic.

It participated in the Building the Constitution conference held in 2000, putting forward three recommendations: greater civics education, considering republicanism as an option and continued facilitation of the republic debate.[8]

The group was unrelated to the former Republican Association of New Zealand (sometimes called the Republican Movement as well), although Bruce Jesson was a member until his death in 1999.

The New Zealand Republic Handbook, published by New Zealand Republic.

The group attracted controversy[9] in 2008 by expressing disappointment that no member of the Royal Family attended the state funeral of Sir Edmund Hillary.[9][10]

On 21 April 2008 group released a poll of New Zealanders showing 43% support the monarchy should Prince Charles become King, and 41% support a republic under the same scenario.[11]

In October 2008, one week before the general election, the group released the results of an online poll held through a website named "The President of New Zealand". The poll allowed visitors to nominate and vote for their favoured New Zealander to be head of state.[12] Dame Kiri Te Kanawa won the poll.[13]

On 23 September 2009, the group launched a book entitled The New Zealand Republic Handbook, at an event hosted at Parliament by UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne[14] with several current and former MPs in attendance, including Green MP Keith Locke, Labour MPs Clare Curran, Charles Chauvel, Nanaia Mahuta and Phil Twyford, and National MPs John Hayes and Paul Hutchison.

The group participated in the Reconstituting the Constitution conference at Parliament in September 2010. Dean Knight, senior Victoria University of Wellington law lecturer and the Republican Movement's constitutional advisor, put forward a so-called "soft-republic".[15]


Head of state Referenda Bill[edit]

In 2001, Green Party MP Keith Locke drafted a member's bill named the Head of State Referenda Bill,[16] which was drawn from the members' ballot on 14 October 2009.[17] It would have brought about a referendum on the question of a New Zealand republic. Three choices would be put to the public:

  • A republic with direct election of the head of state;
  • A republic with indirect election of the head of state by a three-quarters majority Parliament; and
  • The status quo.

If no model gained a majority, a second run-off referendum would be held. If one of the two republican options were supported by the public, New Zealand would become a Parliamentary republic (as opposed to a presidential republic), with a head of state with the same powers to the Governor-General of New Zealand and serving for one five-year term. In May 2007, the Republican Movement agreed to support the bill to Select Committee stage.[18] The Bill was defeated on 21 April 2010 68 - 53.

Constitutional Convention Bill[edit]

In January 2008, the group supported former Prime Minister Mike Moore's call for his Constitutional Convention Bill to be resurrected,[19] despite Keith Locke MP stating the convention would be "too broad".[20]

Governor-General Bill[edit]

The Republican Movement supported the Governor-General Act 2010, which modernised the office of Governor-General, making the office's salary taxable.[21] In response to the Bill passing its first reading, the group launched a "citizens process" for selecting the next Governor-General.[22] In its submission to the select committee considering the Bill, the group suggested parliament appoint the next Governor-General with a three-quarters majority plus a majority of party leaders in parliament, with a similar dismissal process and a fixed five-year term.[23]


In April 2005, the movement became a founding member of Common Cause, an alliance of Commonwealth republican movements. The group is not affiliated with any political party, and draws its membership from across the political spectrum.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About Us - People Involved". New Zealand Republic. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "New name for New Zealand republic campaign". New Zealand Republic. 7 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "New leader for head of state campaign". New Zealand Republic. 22 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Constitution of the Republican Movement" (PDF). 28 October 2010. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  5. ^ See Republicanism in New Zealand#The Treaty of Waitangi
  6. ^ This would not be unprecedented, as the Flag of Fiji still contains the Union Flag
  7. ^ "Extract from the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting: Final communiqué - Commonwealth Membership". Commonwealth of Nations. October 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2008. 
  8. ^ Dave Guerin (4 April 2000). "Becoming Citizens, not Subjects" (PDF). New Zealand Republic. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  9. ^ a b Paul Chapman (18 January 2008). "Royal 'snub' over Sir Edmund Hillary funeral". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  10. ^ "Royal no-show for Sir Ed Hillary". New Zealand Republic. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008. 
  11. ^ "Opinion divided on NZ becoming republic". TV3. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 21 April 2008. 
  12. ^ "President of NZ: Top ten nominees". NZPA. 31 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  13. ^ Niko Kloeten (12 November 2008). "Yes she can: Dame Kiri elected President in online poll". National Business Review. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  14. ^ Peter Dunne (23 September 2009). "Dunne: NZ could be a republic within five years". 
  15. ^ Dean Knight (2 September 2010). "Patriating Our Head of State: A Simpler Path?" (PDF). Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  16. ^ NZPA (21 February 2002). "Republic Bill near". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  17. ^ "Parliament of New Zealand Order Paper, Thursday 15 October 2009" (PDF). 15 October 2009. 
  18. ^ "Republic May 2007". New Zealand Republic. May 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  19. ^ "Republican Movement Welcomes Moore's Call for Convention". New Zealand Republic. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 4 February 2008. 
  20. ^ NZPA (15 January 2008). "Government bemused by Moore's call to change constitution". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  21. ^ Andrea Vance. "New bill doubles governor-general's severance". The Dominion Post. 
  22. ^ "Media release - Governor-General Bill good start at reform". 20 July 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  23. ^ NZPA (18 August 2010). "Call for 75% support from Parliament for new GGs". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 18 August 2010. 

External links[edit]