Those at the reception included the mayor and his wife, promoter Sir Robert Kerridge, and the members of the opening act, Sounds Incorporated. The Beatles emerged from the Town Hall ten minutes after the start time and when the fans heard them, they let out a huge roar that echoed around Civic Square for a full five minutes - gestures of quiet from John and Paul having no immediate effect.
The mayor started the reception by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen and Beatlemaniacs this is a reception for the young people of Auckland to see the most outstanding entertainers of their class in the world. It's a chance to let your hair down, the Beatles seemed to have already done that."
A Maori Concert Party sang songs, did the haka, presented each Beatle with pois and three of the girls rubbed noses with the moptops. "The reaction of the Beatles delighted even the cynics," wrote The New Zealand Herald. "They made ineffectual attempts to twirl the pois, recoiled in mock horror from the grimaces of the Maori warriors, and shook their long hair violently during the nose rubbing." After being on show for 25 minutes, the Beatles stood on their chairs to give the crowd one last look while Robbie asked the crowd to "say goodbye," ineffectually leading them in a rousing Now is The Hour.
They were asked later what they thought of the reception and George said, "the Maori dancers and singers were great. I liked the pois." To that John responded, "Pois isn't that what Ringo sings?" (haha John---always good for a pun).
Of course the fans were there, screaming, throwing items, climbing fences trying to get in, stomping down flowerbed, holding banners (like the sign that says "Tom loves the Beatles) or crying in school because their school did not get out in time to see the Fab 4.
Here is the memory of a fan named Susan who was there:
At my school -- Mt. Roskill Grammar-- dozens wagged to go to the Civic Reception. There had been dire warnings at morning assembly of the consequences but many caught buses into the city. At 14 it seemed the most wonderful thing that had happened in our live--the Beatles had chosen to visit our city. My memory of the civic welcome is simply noise. We cheered everybody. The crowd was so big when I lifted my leg to scratch my foot, I couldn't put it down again.
While we know that typically the Beatles hated these receptions, the photos and things said afterwards really makes me think that they honestly enjoyed this one.
Information found in
The Beatles in New Zealand (book) by Bruce Renwick (1999)
Half A World Away: The Beatles' Australasian Tour 1964 by Greg Armstrong and Andy Neill (exert from the New Zealand Herald) 2014
The Gilly tumblr blog