Eleanor Roosevelt visits New Zealand

On Saturday 28 August 1943, Wellingtonians opened their morning papers to learn that that American First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt was in town.

Her mission was to visit the United States forces; inspect the work of the American Red Cross and study the contribution of New Zealand women to the war effort.

After an overnight train journey from Auckland, her first full round of engagements in Wellington were state and civic receptions, and press conferences in which she thanked New Zealanders for their hospitality to American soldiers. She spent a morning chatting with the wounded and sick at Silverstream hospital, and another in the camps. She also spent time at the American Red Cross Club in the Hotel Cecil.

On the Sunday night there was a remarkable ‘women only’ meeting in the Majestic Theatre - announced by a waiata from the Ngāti Pōneke Young Māori Club.

From Wellington the tour proceeded to Rotorua where she visited Whakarewarewa in the company of the famous guide, Rangitīria Dennan (Guide Rangi).

After another overnight train trip back to Auckland, the First Lady returned to Auckland for two days where she visited, a naval hospital and the Red Cross and Allied Services Clubs.

Photo Gallery

Please click on images to read the original captions

External Links

From New Zealand History online: Eleanor Roosevelt visits New Zealand

From the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website: 1943 visit of First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt to New Zealand