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Prince Harry takes part in a haka

Published 13/05/2015

Bulging eyes, tongues out and a deafening noise - the moment Prince Harry fully immersed himself in Maori culture when he took part in a military haka.

The traditional ceremony was part of a day of activities for Harry at Linton Military Camp, the largest army base in New Zealand.

Having flown in by helicopter, the Prince got the chance to test drive an All Terrain Vehicle around the base as well as a Light Armoured Vehicle.

He then spent 20 minutes behind closed doors learning a haka before taking part in a display in front of the cameras.

Despite not having long to learn the intense routine, the Prince pulled off the moves with ease while maintaining a look of deep concentration throughout.

At the end he was applauded by the rest of the group and left the hall, looking exhausted after all the practising.

His whistle-stop tour of the camp also saw him help lift a hangi meal from its cooking pit which was then served for lunch.

During the meal he met service personnel and their families who live on the base, including Corporal Jason Storley, who had to have his leg amputated following an incident in the Solomon Islands in 2009 and went on to take part in the Invictus Games.

"He remembered me and wanted to know how I was doing," he said. "He wanted to know how we were and it's amazing he remembered some of us.

"He asked us how we felt after the games and whether we found ourselves going down in morale afterwards.

"Meeting him definitely boosts your spirits, it gives you a sense of achievement and self worth.

"There's often times when you have to put a brave face on and it can be hard when you're alone but it's moments like this that pick you up."

Harry also met Angie Ansell, 47, who works on the base organising the soldiers' international travel.

She said: "I told him a story about his great grandmother which he enjoyed.

"My husband used to work in the Grenadier Guards (in London) and on his 21st birthday, he was on guard. The Queen Mother found out it was his birthday while he was on guard and arranged for a large brandy to be delivered to him.

"Harry laughed and said that sounded like his great grandmother."

After watching a performance of songs by a Karanga group, Harry met some of the Royal New Zealand nursing corps, of which the Princess Royal is patron.

His time at the base was rounded off with a game of touch rugby with a children from a local school.

Earlier in the day he visited Odyssey House in Christchurch, which is a residential drugs and alcohol rehab centre.

He met staff and learned how they provide individual and group therapy as well as life and work skills to residents, many of whom have been behind bars.

Board chairwoman Karen Fordyce said: "We hope you go home and share with your beautiful niece and Prince George stories about how resilient our Kiwi youth are.

"We also hope you go home and don't share some of the slang they teach you."

Walking down to the centre he posed for photos with dozens of schoolchildren on an unplanned walkabout in the city.

As he moved down the line of excited youngsters from Christ The King School, a trio of 10-year-old girls serenaded him, singing: "Hey Harry, you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind. Hey Harry, hey Harry."

Hannah Ferris, Emilie Coates and Gemma Doocey said they were "freaking out" after meeting the royal.

Hannah said: "We just decided to do it a few moments before and he was like, 'wow, that's amazing'.

"We never thought when we came to school this morning we would be meeting Prince Harry. It was crazy, I was freaking out."

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