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Charles and Camilla greeted with boisterous haka in Auckland

Prince holds private audiences with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

The Prince of Wales is given a traditional welcome by Maori elder Kaumatua (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Prince of Wales is given a traditional welcome by Maori elder Kaumatua (Victoria Jones/PA)

By Alexander Britton, PA, Auckland

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been given a traditional Maori greeting with a boisterous haka on the grounds of Auckland’s Government House.

Charles and Camilla were greeted on the grounds by the Maori elders Kaumatua and Kuia and performed the hongi – a greeting which saw them rub noses.

The elders then explained aspects of the welcome which saw a Maori warrior lay down a dart in a challenge, or wero, to Charles.

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The Duchess of Cornwall is given a traditional welcome by Maori elder Kaumatua (Victoria Jones/PA)

A karanga – a call of welcome – was followed by a haka performed by members of the New Zealand Defence Force’s Maori cultural group

Charles then took the Royal Salute and inspected the Guard, before going on to hold private audiences with New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and opposition leader Simon Bridges.

Government House was also the setting for a high tea where Camilla was told of inspirational work that women and girls in New Zealand are taking on during a Women of the World (WOW) event.

Camilla, president of WOW, listened to speeches from a paralympian and model, two schoolgirls and the 20-year-old chief executive of a social enterprise.

WOW was launched by Jude Kelly in 2010 and aims to celebrate the achievements of women and girls and looks at what obstacles they face in achieving their potential.

Among the speakers was Alexia Hilbertidou who founded GirlBoss New Zealand as a teenager to close the gender gap in science, maths, technology and leadership and now runs workshops to empower women.

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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall walk over Wynyard Crossing in Viaduct Harbour, Auckland (Victoria Jones/PA)

The 20-year-old said: “When I was 16, I was the only girl in my digital technology class, and later the only girl in my advanced physics class and it was a very isolating experience.

“I started to wonder ‘Why are so many of my female friends who are so intelligent and so capable not going into these fields and not feeling like they belong?’”

She added that she was passionate about her generation being the one that sees a change in equality statistics, pointing out that there were more people called John than women who serve as chief executives of New Zealand’s biggest companies.

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Members of the public wait to see The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in Auckland (Victoria Jones/PA)

Sporting a brooch with the WOW logo, the duchess told the audience: “Thank you everybody, all of these wonderful ladies, who have been brave enough to get up here and talk about themselves.

“Wherever on the planet the festival takes place, it addresses particular issues affecting women’s lives there.

“It gives women a chance to face the obstacles that block their paths and talk about the different solutions to the challenges in their life.

“Above all, it celebrates and supports the achievements of multiple women and girls of every culture and community.”

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The Prince of Wales during a meeting with the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern (Victoria Jones/PA)

The duchess also paid tribute to the “brilliant” staff at a New Zealand domestic violence charity.

Camilla has long campaigned on the issue and was visiting Shine, which stands for Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday, and helps thousands of adults and child victims of domestic abuse.

“You’re all doing a brilliant job. Just listening to the survivors is so important,” Camilla said to staff at their headquarters in Auckland.

“Hopefully today we can up the ante and raise a bit of awareness.”

PA

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