Prince Harry Visits Whanganui During New Zealand Visit

  May 14, 2015 at 6:54 am by

On his sixth day in New Zealand, Prince Harry was a guest of honour in Whanganui, the ancestral home of many Maori tribes located on the country’s north island.

His day began with a traditional powhiri welcoming ceremony at the Putiki Marae, the traditional meeting house in the town. The Prince, wearing a korowai cloak, was accompanied by Governor-General Jerry Mateparae and the Mayor of Whanganui, Annette Main.

Prince Harry gave a short speech thanking his hosts for their gracious welcome, part of which was delivered in Maori dialect. “I understand that there is a saying here: ‘I am the river, the river is me’. You have offered me the extraordinary privilege today of travelling on the waka which I am looking forward to immensely,” he said, in reference to the 40-minute row on the Whanganui river he was about to undertake.

Boarding the waka, a traditional canoe, Harry was given a hand-carved paddle to use. The row, which went upstream against fast currents, left the Prince “knackered” and not needing to use the gym that night.

Later, Prince Harry attended a reception at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre for 180 local war veterans, one of whom showed the Prince a photograph of himself meeting Harry’s great-grandfather, King George VI, in the 1940s. Another told him of her meeting with his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, during a visit to Wellington in 1958.

The Prince will spend the next two days in Auckland before returning to the UK.

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