News World Cheeky royal welcome

Cheeky royal welcome

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been officially welcomed to New Zealand with a rain-soaked ceremony at Government House in Wellington.

As Prince William and Kate stepped onto the front lawn of Government House on Monday afternoon, they were met with a wero (challenge) from the New Zealand Defence Force kapa haka group.

A southerly wind meant Kate had to reach up to steady her hat at one point, but the couple seemed undeterred by the almost horizontal rain.

Local students from Rongotai College performed a haka and the defence force bands performed Pokarekare Ana, God Save the Queen and the New Zealand national anthem.

Prince William inspected a guard of honour while Kate and other dignitaries, including Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Janine, sheltered under umbrellas.

Kate Middleton
A Maori warrior greets the princess. Photo: AAP

A 21-gun salute echoed around the grounds of Government House and before heading inside, the duke and duchess greeted a line of waiting pupils from five schools.

School children had earlier lined the road outside Government House armed with British flags to catch a glimpse of the royal couple.

“It’s not every day that you get two future kings of the world in your city, let alone coming past your school,” St Mark’s Church School principal Kent Favel told AAP.

“There’s been a big buzz around the school.”

Kate could been seen waving through the tinted window of their vehicle, which was escorted by several police cars.

Joining the pupils at the entrance to Government House were dozens of royal enthusiasts sheltering from the rain under umbrellas.

The royal couple’s 10-day New Zealand tour will give eight-month-old Prince George his first official duties.

“We got him first,” self-confessed royal obsessive Kyla Hamilton said.

“It’s exciting for New Zealand that it’s the first country that he’s come to visit, it’s such a big deal for us to get that.”

Paula na Nagara and her corgi Annie also braved the rain to spy the royal couple – albeit mainly for their association with corgis rather than their royalty.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a royalist, I’m a corgist,” she said.

“I was quite disappointed with their choice of dog, but I’d love to shake their hand because one of them has probably patted the Queen’s corgi.”

The royal couple’s dog, Lupo, is a cocker spaniel.