Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove has become the first foreign
head of state to visit He Tohu, the new exhibition of New Zealand's founding constitutional documents.
"Magnificent", Sir Peter said, "a beautiful space for anyone with a sense of their own personal history".
The Governor-General and his wife were given a personal tour of the new temperature-controlled rimu conservation space built to house the Treaty of Waitangi, the Women's Suffrage Petition and the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand.
"And who signed (the Treaty of Waitangi) for the pakeha?" Sir Peter asked.
Chief Archivist Marilyn Little told Sir Peter it was Lt Governor Hobson, on behalf of Queen Victoria.
Ms Little told him she hoped the documents would be preserved in their current state for 500 years.
The documents are hermetically sealed and temperature, humidity and light are carefully controlled.
"It's a balance between preservation and access", said Colin MacDonald, CEO of the Department of Internal Affairs.
He Tohu was opened on May 19 and received 4,000 visitors on its first public open day.
Staff told Newshub, by the end of June He Tohu is forecast to have had the same number of visitors that the documents had for the whole of last year at Archives NZ.
The Australian Governor-General gave a Governor-General's medallion to those who welcomed him to He Tohu, as a thank you.
He's in New Zealand until Saturday, on a visit the Prime Minister says "continues the close engagement between Australia and New Zealand".
Sir Peter will also visit Auckland, Christchurch, Kaikoura and Stewart Island.