Prince George begins his royal duties in New Zealand

Baby Prince George kicked off his official duties at a play date with a group of toddlers and their parents in New Zealand.

The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society is a not-for-profit organisation dear to the heart of New Zealanders, as nine out of 10 Kiwis are Plunket babies. Luckily for the 10 families selected to meet George at Government House, he did his parents proud.

Plunket Blue Bear

The eight-month old met the babies his own age at a Plunket parent support group where he was presented with a Plunket book recording milestones until he turns five. He was also given the Plunket Blue Bear, a cuddly pale blue mascot used in the annual Bear Hug Appeal.

After some light hearted chit-chat among the parents, the babies were placed on the floor for Prince George to work the room. Gooing at his peers, it was a typically relaxed Plunket event which no doubt these children will be reminded of for the rest of their lives.

Kiwi icon

Plunket provides free support, services, information and advice on a huge range of parenting needs for all families. They have a 24-hour free-phone helpline and over 300 branches and mobile clinics nationwide.

"We’re a Kiwi icon, as much a part of our culture as hokey pokey and pavlova! There is nothing else like Plunket anywhere in the world," says Plunket New Zealand President Tristine Clark.

Plunket was founded by Sir Frederic Truby King - a doctor whose interest in infant nutrition and hygiene led him to open his own home to malnourished babies. By 1907, there were 13 infants living in Truby King's Karitane cottage in Dunedin.

New Zealand’s Vice Regal representatives Lord and Lady Plunket, parents of eight children themselves, offered their patronage - and eventually their name - to the organisation whose mission was "to help the mothers and save the babies".

In 1920 King George V gave his approval for the use of the word ‘Royal’ in the Society’s title. It is officially known as the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.

More information

Royal Tour fast facts: Plunket New Zealand