A State Memorial in Wellington to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history, has begun.
The service is being held during a national day of mourning and began at 2pm in Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.
Organ music could be heard as mourners awaited the procession from outside.
A mihi whakatau rung through the cathedral and ahead of the processional cross and lights, a karanga was called.
A slow processional is being led by rev Tim Handley, moving down the aisle towards the altar. A large cross and candles are being carried at the front of a long line of reverends and dignitaries.
An organ rendition of God Save the Queen played softly through the cathedral before the Parade of the Queens Personal flag for NZ began.
The flag was draped with mourning ribbons and was carried up the aisle by captain Joel Ebbing RNZALR before being received at the high altar by the Acting Dean.
The flag reached the high altar and was placed by the acting dean alongside the cross and lights. Ebbing stood and saluted the flag.
A national minute of silence was held before Reverend Katie Lawrence welcomed Dame Cindy Kiro, Jacinda Ardern, the speaker and others to the service with an opening prayer.
Lawrence is giving an overview of the Queens 70 years of service, and her strong personal faith.
“The queen visited Aotearoa nz ten times first in 1953, during which she laid this cathedrals foundation stone, and finally during her golden jubilee in 2002,” she said.
“As we mark the queens death here today and give thanks for her extraordinary life may we look to a positive hope filled future.”
The Right Reverend Justin Duckworth is standing to deliver a karakia.
St Paul’s first foundation stone was laid by the Queen during her first visit to New Zealand in 1954. The cathedral still holds the royal prayer books used by the Queen in 1954, the cover of which is embroidered with pōhutukawa and kōwhai flowers.
The service will contain ceremonial elements such as the parade of the Queen’s Colours as well as karakia and hymns.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will read an extract from the Royal Visit to New Zealand, which was published following the Queen’s first visit to Aotearoa New Zealand. The extract describes the departure of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh from New Zealand.
Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro will also speak at the service, and reflect on the late Queen’s life of service and her relationship with the country.
There will be a reading from St Mary’s College head girl Erana Ngarimu and a pictorial montage of the late Queen accompanied by the Choir of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul.
Then, the national anthem God Save the King will be sung by all before the Queen’s Colours and Personal Flag for New Zealand are marched out of the Cathedral.
The service is closed to the public but will be screened outside Parliament at a free, family-friendly event.
While Wellington is holding the national memorial there are other services going on around the country including in Auckland and in Christchurch.