Plate commemorating cancelled royal visit found


Is a commemorative plate more interesting for marking an event that never took place?

That is the question facing Owaka Museum manager Mike McPhee, following the donation of a dish of royal significance.

In 1949 New Zealand awaited the arrival of King George VI, along with his wife Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and daughter Princess Margaret.

Commemorative items such as plates, mugs and posters were produced to honour the “Royal Anzac Tour”, intended to thank the Commonwealth countries for their contribution to the World War 2 effort.

“One of our committee members was cleaning out her father›in›law’s house and came across this dish,” Mr McPhee said.

“The oddity about it is that the dish was never used because the King had health problems and the tour was suddenly cancelled.”

The plate was not the only casualty of the cancelled trip to end up in the Owaka Museum archives. “I went looking and found a poster with a family portrait.”

Mr McPhee said the photo image would have been similar to those used on a run of New Zealand Post postage stamps, the bulk of which had to be destroyed following the sudden cancellation.