October 29 2018
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at Totaranui in Abel Tasman National Park, where they learnt about local conservation projects, in a Royal New Zealand Air Force NH90 helicopter.
As rain fell and weka prowled around, Harry and Meghan were welcomed to the beachside campsite with a traditional pōwhiri from local iwi, with the blowing of a conch shell, a karanga and a long line of hongi.
Inside a marquee set up on the grass, local kaumatua Barney Thomas spoke in te reo, wishing them “kia kaha” with their “pepi”, Meghan smiling as this was translated. He later explained that he’d told the royals, “There’s two of you now and there will be three of you soon, and I’m sure you’ll be supported.”
After meeting Harry and Meghan, Milan Chapman, 15, of Motueka High School, said, “They were very nice, chatty and relaxed.”
Pippa Struck, 13, of Golden Bay High School, added, “They were just so calm. You see them on TV, but when you meet them, you realise they’re just normal people.”
Saskia Gray, 16, an Abel Tasman youth ambassador, commented, “It was a great opportunity. I’m very fortunate to have this chance. They acted very down-to-earth, and they genuinely care about the people and the land.”
After a group photo, the royals were presented with gifts, including a painting of three tui by Takaka artist Robin Slow, which represents them and their unborn child. They both admired it, with Meghan saying, “Thank you so much.”