Prince Harry Travels To New Zealand, Rubs Noses With Maori Leaders

Prince Harry started his trip to New Zealand by honoring the country’s traditions, rubbing noses with Maori leaders and joking about the island nation’s prowess in rugby.

Harry has been on a trip to the region for training with Australia’s armed forces and to meet with injured soldiers, and just started a week-long trip to New Zealand. He was greeted by Prime Minister John Key when he arrived in Wellington, and then paid his respects at the National War Museum.

After the formal welcome to the country, things took a more traditional turn as Prince Harry rubbed noses with Maori leaders and attended a powhiri ritual, an ancient tradition that welcomes a visitor and determines whether they have come in peace.

Prince Harry later met with some school children, some of whom gave cards for his new niece Princess Charlotte. The prince seemed touched after one young student gave a card, and Harry replied, “I won’t open it, I’ll keep it safe and I’ll make sure she gets it.”

The BBC shared a few more details of Harry’s trip to New Zealand:

The week-long visit is the first Harry has made to New Zealand and throughout the trip he is expected to be given a broad introduction to Kiwi culture and society, including visiting the country’s most southern and very remote

Harry’s visit comes just a year after Kate Middleton and Prince William toured the country, and a palace spokesman said that Harry was excited about the visit

“He has heard so many great things about the country, not least from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after their tour last year,” the spokesman said. “He has made a number of Kiwi friends over the years, especially through the course of his military duties and can’t wait to experience the country for himself.”

The spokesman added that the trip wasn’t all serious, and Harry was expected to have some fun during his time in New Zealand.

“There will be the usual mixture of formality and good humor that have become commonplace on his overseas tours,” the spokesman added.

Harry already showed off his sense of humor, joking with some school kids when they informed him that they didn’t play rugby.

“I thought you would be forced to play rugby,” he said. “That’s why you have such a good rugby team isn’t it?”

It has already been a very eventful trip for Prince Harry. Aside from rubbing noses with Maori leaders, he also received a marriage proposal and a kiss on his last day in Australia.

[Image via Getty Images/Pool]