Wellington had never seen such an outpouring of public grief as at the funeral procession of Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.
Savage, New Zealand’s first Labour prime minister, died in office on 27 March 1940.
His body lay in state in Parliament House for two days, before his funeral procession on March 30 down Waterloo Quay.
Crowds assembled early in Parliament grounds and waited expectantly for what was to be one of the country’s largest funeral processions.
Hundreds of thousands also lined the streets. The cortège, which was at least a mile long and included a brass band, six trucks overflowing with bouquets, members of the armed forces, the Governor-General, members of the House of Representatives and the Legislative Council, judges, and representatives from foreign nations,
Every mayor in the country had been asked to invite their citizens to observe a two-minute silence and cease activities for a period of ten minutes from 9 a.m. as the cortège left Parliament.