Royalty-loving residents began their coronation celebrations early with themed happy hours and all manner of high teas in Ryman villages up and down the country.
There were special happy hours at Edmund Hillary and Grace Joel, fantastic high teas at Bert Sutcliffe and Evelyn Page and at Keith Park a hardcore group stayed up watching the proceedings in the lounge until 2am!
But top marks and tiaras must surely go to Auckland’s Bruce McLaren village who went all out with their Coronation Celebration Variety Show which even attracted a TV One camera crew to capture it for the 6pm news.
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Village Manager Chantelle Hand, who hails from Northern Ireland, said there was a large number of British people living in the village, but the Kiwis there were just as patriotic.
“We wanted to do something really special to mark this historic occasion and this was a chance for both residents and staff to get involved.
“I want to thank everybody for their incredible effort, it really was a day to remember,” she added.
Chantelle said people arriving at the village could see the level of royal appreciation was strong from the moment they walked into reception because of the fantastic floral arrangement by Buds and Bows which used the king’s purple cloak and crown as inspiration.
(Above) Village Manager Chantelle Hand (left) and Resident Services Manager Riana van Niekerk with the beautiful floral display and (below) Lex Calder plays bagpipes for a stirring start to proceedings.
The wow factor didn’t end there, with the lounge fully decked out in ribbons and bunting, a cake decorated with the King’s new motif made by staff member Kailas Bhana, and union jack flags at every turn.
Proceedings kicked off with piper Lex Calder playing the bagpipes before resident Peter Arnott played familiar tunes such as We’ll Meet Again on the piano.
There were staff performances, including receptionist Georgia Taylor dressed as a court jester who did a jawdropping acrobatic display, and Activities Coordinator Karin McDonald singing I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You accompanied by Kailas Bhana on piano and Thomas Zaugg on triangle, which prompted much hilarity.
And then there were more resident turns, such as the Bruce McLaren Singers performing a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, Alison Sutcliffe ballet dancing to Chopin, Celia Martin dressed in crown and cloak reading out a poem about the King, and Rev Ann McLean, a vocational Anglican deacon, with a thoughtful coronation-inspired closing prayer.
There were renditions of both the New Zealand and British National Anthems to open and close out the village’s very own version of a good old British variety show which put a smile on the faces of even the less patriotic.
(Above) The Bruce McLaren Singers and (below) Thomas and Karin have the audience in stitches.
Ann McLean was also one of three residents from the village interviewed by a TV One reporter about her royal encounters.
She had two brushes with the Queen, once as a Girl Guide and once accompanying her father to a garden party at Buckingham Palace, and Princess Anne came to her school for one term too.
Ann enjoyed watching ‘all the glitz and glamour’ of this coronation in colour having watched the Queen’s coronation on a black and white television.
“When I was 10 I was put on a train by myself to go from Manchester to Cambridge to stay with my grandparents because they had a tv and I was thought to be old enough to go and experience the coronation, and we didn’t have a tv at home at the time.”
Sylvia Crittenden also met the Queen as a 15-year-old Girl Guide and watched the last one at an aunt’s place. She was confident about the new monarch’s reign.
“It’s going to be entirely different for him, he’s quite an outspoken man I think, he says what he feels but I’m sure he’ll do really well,” she said.
(Above) Residents Ann McLean, Cynthia Walker and Sylvia Crittenden share their royal experiences and (below) Ann reads a royal prayer to close proceedings.
Cynthia Walker, who hails from the King Country, was fascinated with the young princesses when she was growing up and regularly pored over the pictures of them in magazines that came from England.
She once met Prince Charles and is proud to be called a royalist to this day.
All of them agreed that the new King had unenviably large shoes to fill but felt that he was more in touch with the people having been the ‘heir in waiting’ for so long.
“Because his mum was so loved by everybody he was in the shadows and I think we have to give him a chance to prove himself as King,” said Ann.
“I think because of his activism he’s met with the everyday people and has learned how they think and feel.”
Cynthia agreed: “King Charles is really to me one of the people, he has yet to earn his place as king but from what he’s done and from what I’ve seen I think he will do extremely well.
“I think if King Charles came into the room now I think he would be my friend whereas the Queen, she was special, but we would never have approached her but I feel I could approach King Charles.”