Royal visits to New Zealand

As Harry and Meghan start their Australia and South Pacific tour, we’ve taken a look back at other Royal visits to New Zealand.

The Duke and Duchess will arrive in Wellington on Sunday, October 28 before making their way south to visit Abel Tasman National Park on the following Monday.  They’re packing plenty into their visit; they’ll head to Auckland on Tuesday, October 30, and Rotorua on Wednesday, October 31. However, all good things must come to an end – and the glamourous twosome will be jetting off back home to the UK on Thursday, November 1.

Harry and Meghan are part of a long line of Royals who have visited (and lived in!) New Zealand – here’s what they should know about the other Royal visits before they hit New Zealand.

1869: The first Royal visitor was Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria. He arrived at Wellington in 1869 as Captain of HMS Galatea.

1927: In 1927 the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) arrived in Auckland by boat. After unveiling a First World War memorial to the Arawas in Rotorua, they visited many North Island towns before arriving in Wellington.

In Nelson, the Duchess was taken ill with tonsillitis and abandoned the trip. The Duke continued alone by road and rail to visit the West Coast, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and Bluff.

1953: The present Queen made her first visit in 1953 during the first, long Commonwealth tour of her reign. She was the first reigning monarch to open the New Zealand Parliament, and made her Christmas broadcast for 1953 from Government House in Auckland.

The Queen has travelled Air New Zealand (or TEAL, as we were known at the time) before. It was back in 1953 and was the first flight on a commercial airliner by members of the British Royal family.

The Queen has visited New Zealand on ten occasions: 1953-1954, 1963, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1995 and 2002.

When attending a Powhiri or Maori welcoming ceremony, The Queen dons a ceremonial Korowai cloak, made from prized kiwi feathers, and speaks a few words of Maori.

1982: The Earl of Wessex – or Prince Edward, as he was known back then - spent two terms in 1982 as a house tutor and junior master at the Collegiate School, Wanganui, New Zealand.

2014: William and Kate visited New Zealand in 2014 as part of a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia. They visited Blenheim to lay a wreath at Blenheim war memorial, as well as visiting a World War One Aviation commemorative event at Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, accompanied by film-maker Sir Peter Jackson.

Royal enthusiasts will know that this wasn’t William’s first time in New Zealand – the 2014 visit was his fifth visit to New Zealand. His first visit was in 1983 with his parents, when he was a baby.

2018: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will visit Rotorua on the final leg of their trip. The Duke and Duchess will first visit Te Papaiouru Marae, for a formal pōwhiri and lunch in their honour. They will then head to Rainbow Springs to learn more about the centre’s kiwi breeding programme. Later on, they will meet members of the public before travelling to Redwoods Treewalk, Rotorua. The couple will then return to Auckland before leaving for the UK the following day.