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Harry touches down in New Zealand

Published 09/05/2015

Prince Harry with a military working dog during a Counter Terrorism exercise with Australia's 2 Commando Regiment
Prince Harry with a military working dog during a Counter Terrorism exercise with Australia's 2 Commando Regiment

Prince Harry has arrived in New Zealand for a week-long visit that will take him to one of the country's most remote islands.

Harry was greeted by prime minister John Key and other dignitaries when his plane landed in Wellington on a sunny and calm day.

Wearing a blue suit, Harry stopped to say hello to cheering fans as he began his first visit to the Commonwealth nation of 4.5 million.

From the airport he travelled to Government House for an official welcome, pressing noses with an indigenous Maori man in a traditional greeting called a "hongi" and met military representatives.

He also talked to schoolchildren, feigning surprise when some told him they did not play rugby.

"I thought you would be forced to play rugby," he said. "That's why you have such a good rugby team, isn't it?"

Harry will watch a rugby game later between Wellington's Hurricanes and South Africa's Durban-based Sharks. The Prince also talked about football, telling the children that most Royal Family members were Arsenal fans.

One young girl gave Harry a card for his niece Princess Charlotte, which the Prince popped in his suit pocket and promised to pass along. Charlotte was born last week, bumping Harry down a notch to fifth in line to the throne.

Harry plans to visit until May 16. One of his scheduled stops is at Stewart Island, with a population of just 378.

From there he will take a boat to the even more remote Ulva Island, a predator-free sanctuary for native birdlife that is home to rare species including the Stewart Island brown kiwi.

Harry is also due to visit Christchurch, Whanganui, Linton and Auckland.

The Prince arrived from Australia after a month-long embedment with the Australian army.

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