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Charles asked to send son to become governor-general during New Zealand visit

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were given a traditional Maori welcome as they visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Waitangi Treaty Grounds (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Waitangi Treaty Grounds (Victoria Jones/PA)

By Alexander Britton, PA, Waitangi, New Zealand

The Prince of Wales was all smiles as he was asked if he would allow either the Duke of Cambridge or Duke of Sussex to become governor-general of New Zealand.

Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were given a traditional Maori welcome as they visited the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, one of the key sites in the history of New Zealand on day three of their visit.

In a ceremony called a powhiri, two darts – or kopere – were laid on the ground for members of the royal household to pick up in a challenge, while the third was handed to the prince.

Waihoroi Shortland, representing the local people of the North Island region, addressed the royal couple outside the Whare Runanga and joked about the accuracy of Naida Gladish’s translation of the proceedings into English for the benefit of Charles and Camilla.

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The Prince of Wales, wearing a Maori cloak receives a hongi, in Waitangi (Victoria Jones/PA)

He then asked for Mrs Gladish to “embellish” the translation for the next part of his speech when he said: “Noble prince, you have two sons, grant that one of them may be a governor-general for us.”

“Think upon it sir, your answer could be very, very important,” Mr Shortland added in English.

Tuesday also saw the returning of a korowai – a traditional cloak – to the Waitangi Museum, which was given to Queen Victoria in 1863.

It was given to Charles’s great-great-great grandmother by Reihana Taukawau, chief of the Ngapuhi, and the Queen has agreed to loan it to the museum on a long-term basis.

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The royal couple were welcomed with a powhiri ceremony (Victoria Jones/PA)

The prince said: “The korowai has been cared for in the United Kingdom for 156 years and it gives me particular pleasure that it can make the journey back to the land where it was created.

“I hope that many New Zealanders will take the opportunity to see it while it is here.”

Charles told the audience: “For as long as I have known this country and her people, I have been deeply struck by the commitment of New Zealanders to doing what is right, even when it is not easy.

“New Zealand has faced up to the most painful periods of her past in a way that offers an example to the world.

“She has done so with courage, compassion and tolerance. Qualities which, it seems to me, define the New Zealand character, as displayed so conspicuously following the recent atrocity in Christchurch.”

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They also pressed noses with dignitaries in a hongi greeting (Victoria Jones/PA)

Waitangi was the site of an historic treaty signing in 1840 where the relationship between Maori and the British Crown was enshrined, and the prince reaffirmed this commitment to honouring it.

The prince and duchess also conducted a series of walkabouts in the area, with Charles heard to remark the distance flown to make the visit has taken its toll.

“I’m so jetlagged I don’t know what day it is,” he joked to the crowds.

Charles and Camilla were shown around the Waitangi Museum, with the prince taking particular interest in displays imagining the signing of the treaty and a large portrait of Queen Victoria.

Their visit to the museum concluded with the prince and duchess laying their hands on a pounamu touchstone, a type of jade used in a ritual called the “cleansing of the tapu”, with Charles taking some of the water and sprinkling it on his head.

In Paihia just along the coast from Waitangi, the prince met with first responders and people supported by the Prince’s Trust and raised a cheer at a nearby bar when he waved to those drinking on the balcony.

The royal couple then flew to Christchurch in the South Island, where their tour resumes on Friday.

PA

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