Spanish State Visit to New Zealand: Day 1

  June 22, 2009 at 1:16 am by

Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain today began a brief state visit to New Zealand. They arrived late Sunday evening (local time) in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city; this after a brief stop-over in Singapore en route from Spain.

The royal couple is in New Zealand with a high-powered business delegation, including Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and the Secretary of State for Trade Silvia Iranzo Gutierrez. It has been reported that the aim is to allow Spanish businesses to expand into New Zealand, and this will in return vastly increase New Zealand’s access to selling our exports in the Latin American market.

This morning (soon after 10am) King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia visited the Yacht Research Centre at the University of Auckland where pioneering research was displayed for them. Sailing is very important in New Zealand, as followers of the America’s Cup will be aware. Auckland is fondly known by New Zealanders are the City of Sails. King Juan Carlos’ interest in sailing is also well known. For photos of the visit, see this gallery.

Whilst at the University, the King and Queen met Spanish students. The Spanish government has made contributions to the university’s teachings, and they credit this as a reason for Spanish being the most popular European language taught on the campus.

The couple then attended a business lunch, commencing midday, at the nearby Sky City Convention Centre. This afternoon Their Majesties are due to attend the exhibition “Blue Water Black Magic – A Tribute to Sir Peter Blake” at the Maritime Museum (for more information, click here). It is in keeping with the nautical theme of the day, as Sir Peter Blake was a beloved New Zealand sailor and adventurer, a key person in the winning of the America’s Cup in the 1990s, and founder of The Sir Peter Blake Trust. The King and Queen will unveil a plaque of the national hero.

The King and Queen will tomorrow travel to the capital city, Wellington, for several engagements, including meetings with Prime Minister John Key.

Their Majesties last visited New Zealand in 1988, with their son Crown Prince Felipe being the most recent Spanish royal to have visited the country in 1990.

For more information about the King and Queen’s visit to the University of Auckland, click here. To visit the thread about the State Visit to New Zealand and Australia, click here.

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