Prince Charles and Camilla tour New Zealand

Prince Charles and Camilla tour New Zealand

Prince Charles and Camilla tour New Zealand

Updated 12 November 2012, 10:58 AEDT

The Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, are in New Zealand on the final stop of their Pacific tour to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.

The Prince of Wales and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, have met some of New Zealand's top athletes in Auckland, on the final stop of their Pacific tour to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.

This morning, they were taken on a tour of Auckland University of Technology's sports training centre, where they spoke to Olympians and members of the national netball team, the Silver Ferns, fresh from a win against England last night.

The next item on their six-day itinerary is a children's production of Hairy Maclary and they'll also meet the public in a walk through the city this afternoon before a reception this evening.

Traditional welcome

After travelling to Papua New Guinea and Australia, the royal couple touched down in Auckland late on Saturday.

They commemorated Armistice Day at the Auckland War Memorial on Sunday, where members of the local Ngati Whatua iwi (tribe) performed a Maori welcoming ceremony.

After formal speeches, Charles and Camilla pressed noses with the Maori representatives in a hongi, signifying the sharing of the breath of life.

Royal fans

Prime Minister John Key said the enthusiasm of the crowd of about 500 who turned out to greet the royal couple reflected the affection New Zealanders have for the British monarchy.

"He's the future King of New Zealand so it's extremely important," Key said.

"I think you can see by the polls around that New Zealanders' support of the monarchy is extremely strong. If anything it's been growing in recent years."
However, the New Zealand Republican Movement said it planned to stage peaceful protests during the visit, calling for the former British colony to sever ties with the monarchy.

It is the seventh time Charles has visited New Zealand -- most recently in 2005 -- but the first time Camilla has travelled to the country.

Still to come

Later this week the couple will visit director Peter Jackson's famous Weta Workshop in Wellington to inspect costumes and props used in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies.

Prince Charles will celebrate his 64th birthday in the capital on Wednesday at a gathering at Government House with 64 hand-picked people who were also born on November 14.
The trip will end on a sombre note in Christchurch, where residents are still recovering from last year's earthquake that claimed 185 lives.