Royal visit: Prince Harry and Meghan set for eventful day in Auckland

5:23 am on 30 October 2018

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex head to Auckland today after a jam-packed couple of days in the capital and a whirlwind trip to Abel Tasman National Park.

On the North Shore this morning, they will dedicate a 20-hectare area of native bush to the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, and learn about its ecological importance from local iwi.

They will then plant a tree each and join children from the 'Trees in Survival' group in a gumboot-throwing contest.

Afterwards, they will visit the charity organisation Pillars, which supports children who have parents in prison.

As a wedding present to the pair, the government has donated $5000 to the charity.

At 4pm the couple will do a public walkabout at the Viaduct Harbour.

Finally, they will visit the War Memorial Museum and meet again with the prime minister.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan meet with representatives of mental health projects at Maranui cafe in Wellington.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan meet with representatives of mental health projects at Maranui cafe in Wellington. Photo: AFP / Pool

In Wellington yesterday afternoon, despite the wind and rain, crowds began lining Courtenay Place two hours before Prince Harry and Meghan were due to arrive at the city's newest performing arts centre - Courtenay Creative.

The pair received a traditional Wellington welcome - as the wind blew the royal umbrella inside out.

Some fans held onto their front-row spot for hours in anticipation.

Among the most committed was six-year-old Desire-Rain Heta from Hawke's Bay, who had a special question she wanted to ask the royals.

"Dear Meghan and Harry - where do you live? I think it's a castle!"

Another at the front, Ryl Gormack from the Kāpiti Coast made sure to get a front-row view.

"We came down yesterday too, but we didn't get a good view at all so we thought we'd try our luck again today."

Her daughter Kate was thinking practically.

"It's a tiny bit boring waiting but I bet it's gonna be worth it. I've got a book, it's okay."

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

It will offer practical industry learning for high school and tertiary age students, and will host workshops, exhibitions, live performances, rehearsals and content testing.

Prince Harry and Meghan were welcomed inside by the founders Kristy Grant and Jamie Selkirk.

"They came through past the rohan soldiers and past the gondorian soldiers and then we had an orc there squirming away in the corner.

"Kristy then introduced myself and my wife and then we went off and basically went round a bit of a tour round going from prosthetics, to costume, to music, to film-making, to sculpting to all those processes and, of course, they had great questions because obviously she comes from a background of film-making so she was really onto it," Mr Selkirk said.

After they left, he summed up their visit with one word.

"Boom! It was exciting. I think they were blown away by when they first came in."

Kristy Grant was also delighted with how things went.

"Very engaging and they made a point of talking to every single individual that was involved at each stage and it was genuine and it was relaxed, and that was what we wanted to provide was a good Kiwi connection."

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