11 Nov 2012

Royal couple attend Armistice Day service

9:15 pm on 11 November 2012

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have attended Armistice Day commemorations in Auckland on the first full day of their tour of New Zealand.

The Royal couple were welcomed at Auckland War Memorial Museum on Sunday morning in a ceremony led by members of Auckland's largest iwi Ngati Whatua.

More than 300 Aucklanders, war veterans and politicians gathered in overcast and windy weather for the annual Armistice Day service.

After the 45-minute service Prince Charles met New Zealand veterans and the Chiefs of Army and Navy, and the couple greeted some of the members of the public who had waited to see them.

The Royal couple flew into Whenuapai Air Force base from Australia on Saturday evening where they were welcomed by Prime Minister John Key and wife Bronagh, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Auckland mayor Len Brown.

Mr Key said he chatted to the Duchess about their travels so far. "She says they had a great time in Australia, a lot of rain apparently ... so I said the weather's been great here," he said.

"She hasn't been to either Australia or New Zealand before so (she is) very much looking forward to spending some time here and acquainting herself with New Zealand."

The six-day tour also includes visits to Wellington, Feilding and Christchurch.

Members of the public will get a chance to meet the couple on one of their scheduled public walks in the Auckland CBD or along the Wellington waterfront, AAP reports.

Among other engagements, Prince Charles will visit Weta Workshop in Wellington where Sir Peter Jackson will treat him to a sneak preview of the first film of the Hobbit trilogy.

The people of Feilding will have an opportunity to see the Royals when they visit the local farmers' market.

The heir to the throne will celebrate his 64th birthday in the capital on 14 November and a party has been planned at Government House with 64 New Zealanders who share the same birth date.

Mr Key says it also happens to be the birthday of his wife Bronagh and of Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

On the final day of the tour, the Royal couple will survey the progress of post-earthquake work in Christchurch.