Christchurch for Prince Harry’s Fourth Day in New Zealand
Prince Harry headed back to mainland New Zealand today for his fourth day in the country, paying a visit to Christchurch.
First on the agenda was a ride on the historic 152 tram through the city with Prime Minister John Key, who pointed out some of the areas which were worst hit by the earthquake that struck Christchurch in 2011. Harry got a kick out of seeing a photograph of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, on the same tram during one of her visits to New Zealand.
The party got off the tram at Quake City, a museum which has been set up as a memorial and educational facility to honour the Christchurch earthquake. Prince Harry was shown around the museum by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and spoke with firefighter Scott Shadbolt, who received the NZ Medal for his bravery during first response, and Defence Force artist Captain Gaudie, who has several pieces of art inside the museum depicting the Defence Force’s response to the disaster.
He also saw the spire and church bell that were recovered from the rubble of ChristChurch Cathedral, as well as jumping on a ‘pedal for power’ bicycle which generates energy to power a television.
Afterwards, it was time for a short walkabout in Cashel Mall, where hundreds had turned out to try and meet the Prince (with the obligatory ‘Marry me Harry’ and ‘Gingers Rule’ signs floating throughout the crowd). One member of the crowd caught Harry’s attention, his former school matron from Ludgrove, Vicki McBratney. “I wasn’t sure he’d remember me after all these years but he did,” Ms McBratney said later, after getting a hug from the Prince and chatting to him for a few minutes.
Little nine-month-old Pippa Judd also got some attention from Prince Harry, kicking her legs and squealing when he stopped to say hello. According to photographer Tim Rooke, it almost turned into a squealing match between the infant and the Prince as Harry interacted with her.
In the mid-afternoon, Prince Harry visited the University of Canterbury’s Student Volunteers Army, where he learnt all about how the group was formed, their fundraising initiatives and took part in some of their activities like gardening and their bike restoration program. The SVA’s purpose is to give back to the community, which Harry found impressive. “It’s little things like that that make such a difference,” he said, adding that the SVA model should be replicated elsewhere.
The Prince then handed out cupcakes to the crowd who had waited in the rain.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged Natural Disaster, New Zealand, Official Visit, Prime Minister Key of New Zealand, Prince Harry of Wales.