Royals charm school children in Wellington

Author
Belinda Feek, NZ Herald ,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Monday, 29 October 2018, 9:47AM

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's Pacific tour continues today in New Zealand, with the royal couple set to travel to a national park and enjoy a beach barbecue with local schoolchildren.

It comes one day after Meghan delivered a passionate speech about women's suffrage at a reception on the royal couple's first night in New Zealand.

The couple charmed Kiwis yesterday, whether from a simple hug at the airport or from Meghan's speech to guests at last night's function at Government House which was met with thunderous applause.

Her speech, about women's suffrage, began simply but effectively with three words, "tēnā koutou katoa," before she thanked Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy for inviting Prince Harry and herself to the event.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, addresses a reception hosted by the Governor-General celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand at Government House in Wellington.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, addresses a reception hosted by the Governor-General celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand at Government House in Wellington.

This morning the royal couple will enjoy breakfast at Lyall Bay's popular Maranui Cafe at 10am with a number of representatives from mental health projects before the fly to Nelson.

Cafe owner Bronwyn Kelly told Newstalk ZB this morning she was shocked to learn that royal staffers had been in her cafe earlier this year sussing out appropriate venues for the couple.

"We didn't believe it, we thought it was a fairy tale, for us it was completely out of the blue.

"Staff from the royal palace when they were doing the pre-planning came to Maranui, they really loved the vibe, the atmosphere and I think that it's because it's right beside the beach, it really offered something ... that coastal but unique sort of feeling."

Now that it was just a couple of hours from happening Kelly said she was "super nervous".

"We got asked and obviously didn't quite believe it was going to happen and now today's the day, super nervous."

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a traditional welcome ceremony on the lawns of Goverment House yesterday. Photo / Samir Hussein
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend a traditional welcome ceremony on the lawns of Goverment House yesterday. Photo / Samir Hussein

What's on the menu for the couple is being kept under wraps, but Kelly said her business partner and chef had busy tinkering with morning tea ideas that used a variety of Kiwi ingredients.

"She's been thinking about what to offer, especially with Meghan being pregnant. As it's just a morning tea it does make it quite simple so we're just going to offer some really delicious yummy little baking treats, which will offer some good local New Zealand products."

Given the expected large crowds, she had organised two coffee carts for thirsty onlookers.

While she hadn't had any strange requests she had been wondering about an appropriate greeting for the couple.

"People keep joking about the curtsy. I don't curtsy. I'd like to do a high five but I'm not sure that would be appropriate and whether I get taken out by a bodyguard with my hand raised, so who knows."

An umbrella could be in order later as intermittent showers are expected to hit the Nelson area today.

They will head into the bush in the Abel Tasman National Park for a walk with one of the park's rangers to learn about the forest.

They will then join some of the park's young ambassadors and school children for a barbecue lunch and tree planting.

Director Darryl Wilson said the park was a special place for New Zealanders and he hoped the couple would give its pest eradication scheme the exposure it deserved.

"For me personally it's a great profile-building exercise for the conservation work that's being conducted in the Abel Tasman."

"I'd like to think that they will be profiling the work that the Abel Tasman Trust have been doing in the park. We're basically world leading with the technology and science behind pest eradication and now we're getting into the interesting stage of reintroducing bird and plant species."

As for the excitement levels in the area with the couple's impending arrival, Wilson said it was relatively "muted" as there would be no opportunity for other locals to meet or see them while they were in the area.

After their visit they will then return to Wellington and meet young artists involved in Courtenay Creative, a fantasy horror make-up, costume and virtual-reality facility.

The couple met National Party leader Simon Bridges and his wife Natalie on Sunday afternoon - albeit slightly late after a fire alarm was activated, apparently by an air freshener in the toilets.

They then met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern again before attending a reception hosted by the Governor-General to celebrate the anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand.

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