17 Jan 2010

Hundreds hope to glimpse Prince William

9:57 pm on 17 January 2010

Hundreds of people crowded Auckland's Viaduct Harbour on Sunday evening hoping to catch a glimpse of Prince William who is on his first official tour in New Zealand.

The prince landed at Auckland international airport just before 11am on Sunday aboard Air New Zealand NZ38 and was given a brief official welcome by Prime Minister John Key, his wife and the Governor-General.

He later joined Mr Key, Auckland city's mayor John Banks, and All Black captain Richie McCaw, to spend more than half an hour inspecting the redevelopment of the stadium at Mount Eden Park in Auckland, which is under construction for next year's Rugby World Cup.

The second in line to the throne later spent about an hour on Waitamata Harbour on board the America's Cup yacht NZL41 waving to cheering onlookers who lined the viaduct.

Afterwards hundreds of people crowded around a viaduct bar where the prince was having a private drink.

He ended his official engagements on Sunday with a hangi at Government House in Auckland.

Prince William told reporters he hopes he can keep up the same standard his grandmother the Queen has set.

He said it was great to be back in New Zealand and he was enjoying the relaxed pace of the tour so far.

The prince said he still has a lot of training to do before he takes on more duties, but it's fantastic being here.

Good publicity for NZ

Tourism New Zealand says money could not buy the sort of publicity that Prince William's visit will give to this country.

Tourism New Zealand spokesperson Cas Carter says the visit is a perfect opportunity to add to New Zealand's profile in the United Kingdom.

She says the international press will be hanging on Prince William's every word as he takes part in scheduled activities.

And Ms Carter says such coverage will raise the profile of New Zealand in the United Kingdom, which is already New Zealand's second largest tourist market.

Prince William's schedule

On Monday, Prince William will attend a wreathlaying ceremony at the National War Memorial in Wellington.

He will also open the new Supreme Court building in Lambton Quay on behalf of the Queen.

Prince William's last visit is to the Wellington children's hospital on Tuesday before he flies to Australia for a short, unofficial visit.

The prince has visited New Zealand twice previously, the most recent time for the British Lions rugby tour in 2005.