Wellingtonians flock to see Harry and Meghan at last event for city

8:59 pm on 29 October 2018

About 100 people gathered near Courtenay Creative eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Courtenay Creative is a new training facility for the screen and creative industries and will open later this month.

The royals were scheduled to be shown an interactive exhibition of local talent, including sculpture, music and virtual reality.

Among the crowd, Desire-Rain Heta, 6, from Hawke's Bay hoped she could ask Harry and Meghan if they live in a castle - because she's pretty sure they do.

Read more of RNZ's coverage on the royals' visit to New Zealand:

Tomorrow's plan for the royals includes a visit to Redvale on Auckland's North Shore, where they will learn more about conservation efforts, and compete in a gumboot throwing competition with local children.

Harry and Meghan will then travel to Pillars - a charity supporting children with parents in prison.

Later in the day, they will do a public walkabout in Auckland, before attending an event at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

All that went down on the royals' second day in New Zealand

This morning, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent time at the famous Wellington cafe, Maranui, chatting with youth mental health advocates about the importance of mental health education over a cup of tea.

Prince Harry asked Voices of Hope advocates about the role of social media and whether it plays a part in the number of young people experiencing mental health symptoms.

He said it was a real topic that needed to be discussed.

Among the youth advocates was Ezekiel Raui from community peer support group Key to Life. It's his second royal engagement this year after visiting Buckingham Palace.

Before meeting the royal pair at Maranui Cafe, he told Morning Report the Duke and Duchess of Sussex showed amazing commitment to mental health well-being.

He had a private audience with Harry and Meghan in June, after winning one of the Queen's Young Leaders Awards last year.

A crowd eagerly waited outside the cafe to catch a glimpse of the couple, with cute kids and dogs among the royal fans.

The royal couple then journeyed across Cook Strait to the Abel Tasman National Park, where they went on a bush walk and were treated to a barbecue.

Harry and Meghan were welcomed to the beachside campsite with a traditional pōwhiri from local iwi, with the blowing of a conch shell, a karanga and a long line of hongi.

Inside a marquee set up on the grass, local kaumātua Barney Thomas spoke in te reo, wishing them "kia kaha" with their "pepi", Meghan smiling as this was translated. He later explained that he'd told the royals, "There's two of you now and there will be three of you soon, and I'm sure you'll be supported."

Meghan sat in the front row of a line of plastic chairs, but hers was set a few inches back from Harry's. Barney, of Onetahua Marae in Golden Bay, explained, "The middle represents the god of war and we don't want to put our women into that space. We want to be inclusive but especially Meghan, because she's expecting, we don't want to put her at any risk."

After a waiata, Harry addressed the group, saying, "Thank you so much for having us today. The weather forecast was a lot worse than this and we are really fortunate to be here. The rain is a blessing and a reminder of our connection to the land... From my wife, myself and our little bump, it's a blessing to be here... We bring you greetings from my grandmother."

The royals then joined DOC ranger Andrew Lamason for a stroll along the beach, the couple arm in arm, sharing an umbrella. They came across a weka, with Andrew explaining they're New Zealand's version of a monkey as they're very cheeky. He said Harry knew a lot about global conservation issues, and that the prince expressed concern over the proliferation of fake news and those who believe it.

A planned tree planting was called off due to weather, with the royals instead joining school children and youth volunteers for brownies and tea in the marquee. As Harry and Meghan served themselves, a local kuia commented, "There should be someone serving them!"

After a group photo, the royals were presented with gifts, including a painting of three tui by Takaka artist Robin Slow, which represents them and their unborn child. They both admired it, with Meghan saying, "Thank you so much."

Gifts galore

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave the Duke and Duchess of Sussex personal gifts on their visit to Government House, including music from the popular Kiwi drum and bass band Shapeshifter.

The gifts the royals have received so far include multiple bags of pineapple lumps, a large dog soft toy and a handmade brooch, which Meghan chose to wear yesterday.

A moment everyone was waiting for eventuated when the Duke was given a 'buzzy bee' toy for the impending arrival of the couple's baby. The royals' association with the toy is long recorded in history. In 1983, Princess Diana and Prince Charles' photos of their visit to New Zealand made headlines when Prince William was seen playing with the 'buzzy bee' toy on the lawns of Government House in Auckland along with his parents.

Known to dabble in a bit of DJ-ing, Ms Ardern said she gave the Duke a Shapeshifter CD, which had a convenient connection to Prince Harry's love of rugby.

"For those familiar with Shapeshifter, I gave him a copy of the System is a Vampire, because it includes the track title Dutchies, which is the music the All Blacks enter onto the field with, including of course at Twickenham,'' she said.

Ms Ardern gifted the Duchess a pair of Boh Runga crossed feather earrings.

Prince Harry also got a Shapeshifter vinyl - their 2016 Stars album - described by Ms Ardern as a "fine album''.

During the welcome ceremony yesterday, the royal couple were given a traditional Māori welcome, which immediately made headlines overseas - particularly when the royals had a hongi with their hosts.

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