The funeral service for Mr. Norman Kirk, the Prime Minister of New Zealand who died?
The funeral service for Mr. Norman Kirk, the Prime Minister of New Zealand who died at the age of 51 of a heart attack last Saturday (August 31), took place in the country's capital, Wellington, on Wednesday (September 4). Mr. Kirk's casket was borne through the streets of the city after an ecumenical service in the Anglican Cathedral attended by representatives from 29 countries headed by Prince Charles of Britain and Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
The coffin was taken aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft to be flown to New Zealand's South Island city of Christchurch, the constituency which he represented in Parliament. It was to lie in state there for a day before being taken for burial in the town of Waimate, his birthplace.
Mr. Kirk had been Prime Minister since November 1972, when the Labour Party triumphed at the polls after 12 years in opposition. His wide-ranging diplomacy established close rapport with third world leaders like President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh.
The Acting Prime Minister until a successor can be elected is Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Hugh Watt.
SYNOPSIS: The funeral service for the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mr. Norman Kirk, who died last Saturday, was held in the capital, Wellington, on Wednesday with a multi-denominational service in the city's Anglican Cathedral. Heading the mourners, representing twenty-nine nations, were Prince Charles of Britain and Australian Premier Gough Whitlam. Mr. Kirk, who became Prime Minister in 1972 had died of a heart attack.
Mr. Kirk led the Labour Party to victory two years ago, after twelve years in opposition Before the service, an estimated twenty thousand people filed past his coffin in thirty-six hours to pay their last respects. Mr. Kirk is succeeded temporarily as Premier by his Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Hugh Watt.
After the service the coffin was borne into the streets for a journey through crowded, silent roads, past closed shops and businesses, to the airport. It was flown aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force Aircraft to the South Island city of Christchurch, Mr. Kirk's constituency in Parliament. It lay in state there for a day before he was finally buried in the town of Waimate, south of Christchurch, where Mr. Kirk was born.