Prince Harry Begins Visit to New Zealand

  May 9, 2015 at 10:52 am by

Prince Harry has begun his week-long visit to New Zealand, arriving in Wellington this afternoon for what is his first visit to the country.

He was greeted at the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, before heading to the official welcoming ceremony at Government House. Here, alongside the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, and his wife Lady Janine, Prince Harry watched as the Royal New Zealand Defence Force Tri-Series Maori Cultural group performed a pōwhiri, a traditional welcome which includes a wero, in which the visitor is determined to either be coming in peace or hostility.

Afterwards, Harry participated in the traditional Maori welcome, the hongi, where two individuals press their foreheads and noses together in greeting. He also watched a haka performance.

Inside Government House, the Prince met with a number of local school children, joking with them about sports and their schooling. “I thought you would be forced to play rugby. That’s why you have such a good rugby team isn’t it?” the Prince said with a grin when he heard the children play sports besides rugby.

It was then on to the Pukeahu National War Memorial, where Prince Harry – accompanied by Prime Minister Key and his wife Bronagh – laid a fern on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior. He also laid a wreath at the national monument, and spent some time chatting with the 1000-strong crowd of well-wishers who had gathered outside to catch a glimpse of the Prince.

A low-key night finished off Harry’s first day in New Zealand, he attended a rugby game between the Hurricanes and the Sharks with the Governor-General. The Hurricanes quickly became the ‘Harrycanes’, as the Prince sported the team’s black and yellow colours and supporter scarf. He popped into the teams’ change rooms after the game – the Hurricanes won 32-24 – and received a Hurricanes guernsey from team captain Conrad Smith and a Hurricanes baby onesie for his newborn niece Charlotte.

Prince Harry will be in New Zealand until May 16.

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