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Friday, 22 February, 2002, 07:14 GMT
Queen met by first transsexual MP
The Queen sakes hands with transsexual MP Georgina Bayer
Georgina Bayer was among a party that greeted the Queen
The Queen has been welcomed to New Zealand by the world's first transsexual MP.

The brief meeting came as the Queen arrived in Wellington airport on Friday morning local time as part of her Golden Jubilee tour of the Commonwealth.


Yeah, she's had the full chop

New Zealand government official
Among the party greeting the monarch was MP for Wairarapa, Georgina Beyer, who was once a man.

The Labour MP, a leading Maori, underwent a surgical sex change some 20 years ago.

Ms Beyer's operation was confirmed by a New Zealand government official, who announced: "Yeah, she's had the full chop."

The couple were also met by the Queen's representative in New Zealand, Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright, and acting Prime Minister Jim Anderton.

Salute

The monarch's stop at New Zealand follows a visit to Jamaica, where she spoke about how much the world had changed in the past 50 years.

The Royals arrived in Wellington after a 21-hour flight from Montego Bay, including a one-hour stop for refuelling in the French Pacific island of Tahiti.

As she stepped off her chartered British Airways 777 jet wearing a bluebell blue outfit, the 75-year-old Queen was reported to be looking "fresh".

Queen and Prince Philip received a royal salute and inspected a guard of honour, before departing to Taupo where they will spend the weekend.

A poll released to coincide with the royal visit suggests that New Zealanders themselves are unlikely to get over-excited by the occasion.

The One News-Colmar Brunton poll carried by the New Zealand Herald indicates that 58% of the population believe the monarchy has little or no relevance to their lives.

Only 7% said the Queen remained "extremely relevant".

See also:

21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Queen leaves Jamaica for New Zealand
19 Feb 02 | Americas
Queen speaks to Jamaican Parliament
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