What is Freedom of the City?

Last Updated : 18 Oct 2016
Parade to welcome All Blacks 13

Many thousands of Aucklanders proudly witnessed Richie McCaw being granted Freedom of the City by Mayor Len Brown at the All Blacks’ welcome home gathering at Victoria Park on 4 November 2015.

It’s the first time this honour has been bestowed since the birth of the new Auckland five years ago. But what exactly does it mean to be given the Freedom of the City?

The honour has origins dating back to medieval England when respected citizens were acknowledged by being granted freedom from certain fees and duties.

Today, the gesture is entirely symbolic, and although it offers no special privileges, it is a time-honoured means for a local authority to recognise a valued member of the community, or a visiting VIP or dignitary.

Len Brown told Richie that on behalf of Aucklanders, the honour acknowledged his outstanding leadership and achievement.

Richie McCaw was given a waka huia as a taonga, symbolising the treasure box of a chief. The highly ornate carving presentation was a mark of respect to Richie and the All Blacks from local iwi.

Other notable recipients in New Zealand include Brendon McCullum who received the honour in Wellington last year, and Peter Jackson who also received the honour in Wellington in 2002. 






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