Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall have left New Zealand with a deeper understanding of manaakitanga and tiaki.
The two core New Zealand values based in Maori culture mean warm hospitality and to care for and protect - and the royal couple were embraced by friendly locals as they moved around the country from the beautiful Bay of Islands in the far north, to Christchurch in the South Island’s heartland.
It was the royal couple’s third trip to New Zealand and focused on environmental awareness, wellbeing, diversity and social inclusion.
Splitting off at times in order to cover 33 scheduled engagements across their week’s visit, the couple experienced elements of New Zealand’s successful Tiaki Care for New Zealand campaign - a tourism industry initiative that asks visitors and New Zealanders to act as proud guardians of Aotearoa – it’s people, culture and natural environment.
Now in its second year, the campaign focusses on protecting nature, keeping New Zealand clean, driving carefully, being prepared and showing respect.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are passionate conservationists and showed their impressive knowledge of work underway to protect the country’s natural beauty as well as community conservation efforts to raise awareness globally.
After a ministerial reception with Prince Charles, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was impressed at how he was well ahead of his time with his knowledge of climate change and it was “really fantastic” to have a conversation with him about what's happening in New Zealand.
Kicking off in Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city the royals were given an insight into how New Zealand is tackling the war against plastics. New Zealand has 15,000 kilometres of coastline, the 9th longest in the world, and Prince Charles took a boat ride with Sea Cleaners a voluntary organisation working to preserve New Zealand’s marine environment and educate people on eco-friendly rubbish disposal.
The Prince also visited Critical Design, a social enterprise focused on achieving environmental sustainability by using technology to create new products out of recyclable materials including plastic pipes, fishing nets and car bumpers. The Prince was presented with a Māori axe, made from recycled plastic.
Sustainability and innovation were also forefront during a tour of Auckland’s waterfront where urban redevelopment is underway as the city prepares to host the next America’s Cup regatta in 2021. Prince Charles and the Duchess met members of Emirates Team New Zealand and eyed up the trophy they will defend as well as inspecting one of the high tech AC75 foiling monohull yachts the team will race during the regatta.
From Auckland Prince Charles and Camilla travelled to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s sub-tropical north to visit Waitangi, the birthplace of New Zealand. It was the first time a member of the royal family had visited the historic site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed since Prince Charles was last here 25 years ago. The royal couple were welcomed onto the historic marae with a traditional powhiri and later planted a pōhutukawa – best known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree. The royal couple also visited a tree in the Treaty Grounds that was planted by the Queen during her 1953 visit to New Zealand.
From Northland the royal couple flew south to Christchurch, gateway to the South Island, for an empathetic series of engagements that highlighted the resilience and regeneration of the city since the 2011 earthquake.
The Duchess also gave her royal seal of approval to Christchurch's newest food mecca at the Riverside Market, moving between multiple food stalls and even throwing on an apron to help in the cook school.
Prince Charles announced his acceptance to be Royal Patron for the reinstatement of Christ Church Cathedral and gave a climate warning at Lincoln University.
He said humans are at a tipping point of history, and the clock's ticking. "We have ruthlessly exploited nature and given nothing in return and simply forgotten or denied we are all part of an inter-linked system without which we cannot survive."
Before leaving New Zealand, Prince Charles visited the small seaside town of Kaikōura, on the north east coast of the South Island, famed for whale watching. At a ‘Bright Futures’ community event the future king learnt about the Tiaki Promise and New Zealand’s initiative to enlist travellers as guardians to care for New Zealand.
Kaikōura is one of New Zealand’s top nature tourism destinations and welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors every year for whale-watching and adventures based on exceptional marine life and spectacular scenery. In 2014 the small community was awarded the EarthCheck Platinum Certificate for Environmental Performance.
Prince Charles was able to observe the extent of this unique marine environment on a picturesque coastal walk where he also met a shearwater seabird at Hutton's Shearwater Colony, one of two breeding colonies for the endangered seabirds in the area.
Kaikoura’s exceptional natural environment and commitment to sustainable conservation were a fitting end to this royal visit designed to deepen the connection between New Zealand and the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.