The imperial Crown has evolved into the New Zealand Crown, yet the implications of this change are as yet only slowly being understood. Largely this is because that evolution came about as a result of gradual political development, as part of an extended process of independence, rather than by deliberate and conscious decision. The very physical absence of the Sovereign, and the all-pervading nature of the legal concept of the Crown, have also contributed to that institution’s development as a truly national organ of government. The concept of the Crown has now, to a large extent, been separated from its historical, British, roots. This has been encouraged by conceptual confusion over the symbolism and identity of the Crown. But this merely illustrates the extent to which the Crown has become an autochthonous polity, grounded in our own unique settlement and evolution since 1840. Whether that conceptual strength is sufficient to counterbalance symbolic and other challenges in the twenty-first century remains uncertain. But it is certain that the Crown has had a profound affect upon the style and structure of government in New Zealand.
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