Prince Charles says New Zealand ‘offers an example to the world’ in a heartfelt speech at Waitangi

The future King’s visit on Wednesday marks the first time a member of the royal family has been to the Treaty Grounds in 25 years.
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On the third day of engagements on their royal visit to New Zealand, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were welcomed onto the Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands with a pōwhiri, marking the first time in 25 years that a member of the royal family had visited the spot.

Wearing a korowai during the ceremony, Prince Charles addressed the crowd and all New Zealanders speaking of how he believes New Zealand “offers an example to the world.”

Prince Charles addresses the crowd at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds on Wednesday. (Image: Getty)

“New Zealand has faced up to the most painful periods of her past in a way that offers an example,” Prince Charles began during his speech on Wednesday.

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

He added: “In standing here before you here today I humbly reaffirm my commitment and that of my children and my grandchildren to this bond between us and to ensuring it endures for future generations.”

During the royal couple’s visit to the Bay of Islands, they met with crowds gathered at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, planted a pohutukawa tree (yes Charles even gave the tree a handshake) and visited the Waitangi Museum before undertaking solo engagements nearby.

Duchess Camilla visits schoolchildren at Kerikeri Primary School. (Image: Getty)

Duchess Camilla paid a visit to Kerikeri Primary School where she met with schoolchildren who are participating in a ‘Garden to Table’ programme which encourages children to grow their own vegetables and make recipes from the food they have grown.

During the visit, Camilla also snapped a few pics with the school’s therapy dog, Meg!

Meanwhile, Prince Charles visited the local Paihia fire station and attended a Prince’s Trust event at Queenstown Resort College’s Tai Tokerau campus and met with young entrepreneurs who are developing environmentally sustainable start-ups through the Prince’s Trust New Zealand’s Enterprise Programme.

They also run a programme called Achieve, which equips young learners with skills for further education and employment.

Prince Charles visits firefighters at the local fire station in Paihia. (Image: Getty)

The royal couple’s fourth day in New Zealand followed two full days of engagements in Auckland on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday the couple visited the diverse suburb of Mount Roskill to pay their respects at Mt Roskill War Memorial and visit nearby Wesley Community Centre and Wesley Intermediate school, where they watched cultural performances and learned about the different local groups and organisations.

Prince Charles also presented the Queen’s Colour to the Royal NZ Air Force that afternoon – a replacement for the one his mother personally presented at the same spot at Whenuapai 66 years ago.

On Tuesday the couple received a formal welcome at Government House and met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern before heading to Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter to greet royal fans during a public walkabout.

They also and attended solo engagements which included Duchess Camilla’s visit to Shine, an organisation which supports victims of domestic abuse and Prince Charles meeting with the Sea Cleaners, a group of volunteers who work to clear plastic from the coastal waters around New Zealand.

Today the 71 and 70-year-old have no scheduled engagements, but tomorrow will be a jam-packed day in Christchurch before they wrap up their New Zealand visit on Saturday attending engagements in both Christchurch and Kaikōura.

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