Prince William Leaves New Zealand, Goes to Australia

  January 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm by

Britain’s Prince William enjoyed the remainder of his New Zealand trip these last few days, before heading west to Australia on Tuesday as he continued his tour of the Oceania region. He attracted enthusiastic crowds while in the Kiwi nation, met with Maoris, and opened the country’s new Supreme Court building in Wellington.

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Upon arriving in New Zealand’s capital to open the building, William was greeted by an eight foot deep crowd – and a group of anti-monarchists. But that didn’t seem to bother the Prince who shook some of their hands during a walkabout.

At the new Supreme Court, he was welcomed by Chiefs of the local Te Atiawa tribe who said hello in the traditional Maori way – a hongi, or by pressing noses together. William was then given a Maori cloak before entering the building.

During his speech to officially open the place, the Prince took the time to mention Haiti by saying, “How much the people of Haiti are in our thoughts and prayers at this terrible time.”

Later in the day, he went to Kapiti Island near Wellington, where he saw a Kiwi, a flightless bird that is New Zealand’s national symbol.

Afterward, Prime Minister John Key hosted a barbeque where the Prince donned an apron as he helped flip the burgers.

On Monday, William did his last engagement in the country by going to a Wellington hospital to visit sick children. When he was told his interaction with the children was reminiscent of his mother, the late Princess Diana, he refused to think he was “anywhere near her level”.

“I just go and meet people and just enjoy their company – I really enjoy it, I get a buzz out of it. Seeing kids smile means a lot to me.”

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And with that, William headed to neighboring Australia, a place he hadn’t been to since he was an infant as his parents toured the country. He was greeted by a group of Aborigines, wearing body paint and holding smoky gum leaves as part of the welcoming ceremony.

“We’re over the moon that he’s come to this part of the city to spend time with us,” said Aboriginal Australian Lewis Kelly who went to Sydney’s poor Redfern area to see Prince William.

“I was surprised when I heard it on the grapevine that he was coming here to see the indigenous people, the real Australians.”

William went on to go to a community center where the Aborigines presented him with a 1937 petition to his great-grandfather King George VI asking for help in finding and returning the head of indigenous warrior Pemulwuy.

“I said Pemulwuy was a mighty Aboriginal warrior. It’s part of our history and a lot of our history is not acknowledged,” elder Marlene Cummins said.

“He was really interested. When he talks to you, he really talks and when he listens, he really listens. That’s what I love about this boy.”

After the meeting, William was given a brief tour of the Sydney skyline.

The British monarchy is struggling with popularity Down Under. At the same time, recent polls found most Aussies want William to become King over his father when Queen Elizabeth II passes away.

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