1 Oct 2011

Navy parade for 70th anniversary

6:41 pm on 1 October 2011

Four hundred Royal New Zealand Navy sailors paraded the streets of Wellington on Saturday to celebrate the service's 70th anniversary.

Crowds lined Lambton Quay as the sailors made their way from Parliament to the capital's Civic Square for a welcome by the mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown.

The contingent was accompanied by the Navy band.

Before the parade, a ceremony was held at Parliament grounds for the changing of the Queen's Colour.

The changing of the colour is a tradition dating back to the 1920s, when the first naval colour was presented to the New Zealand division of the Royal Navy in 1926.

The last time the ceremonial flag was replaced was in 1991, the service's 50th anniversary.

The Governor General and former Chief of Defence, Lieutenant General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae spoke at the ceremony, which was also attended by defence minister Wayne Mapp and the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Tony Parr.

Eleven of the Navy's 12 vessels are currently docked in Wellington harbour and are open to the public over the weekend.