Jacinda Ardern pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth to mark start of Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Jacinda Ardern met Queen Elizabeth in April 2018.
Jacinda Ardern met Queen Elizabeth in April 2018. Photo credit: Getty Images

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth at the start of her Platinum Jubilee year.

She became Queen on February 6, 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI, while she was in Kenya on an international tour. The news was broken to her by her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99 after more than seven decades by her side.

She is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee - the 70th anniversary - and Sunday marks the beginning of year-long celebrations for her.

Ardern thanked the Queen on behalf of New Zealand for her 70 years of service.

"Since the Queen took the throne as a young woman of 25, she has dedicated her life to service. We thank her for her dedication and inspiration," Ardern says.

"As Queen of New Zealand, she has always shown a deep personal interest in the life and wellbeing of our nation. On behalf of all New Zealanders I would like to wish her well for this historic year."

Ardern says New Zealand will celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in a number of ways throughout the year. The Queen has encouraged anyone who wants to mark the Jubilee to plant trees, so the Prime Minister says the Government will make a $1 million donation to Trees That Count to aid tree-planting programmes.

"I hope many New Zealanders will get behind this work and join in planting trees and other greening projects throughout the year," Ardern says.

"People are welcome to celebrate personally as well, and an emblem has been designed by the New Zealand Herald of Arms that can be used in association with any Platinum Jubilee celebrations."

A 21-gun salute will be fired from Point Jerningham, Wellington on Monday, February 7 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne.

Wellington will also participate in the Queen's Platinum Jubilee Beacons, when beacons will be lit across the Commonwealth in early June. Further details on this will be announced closer to the time.