The Prime Minister of New Zealand has praised the ‘incredible’ Duchess of Sussex for continuing to work while pregnant.
Jacinda Ardern, who gave birth to her own baby in June, lauded Meghan for the ‘role she’s playing at such an often tiring time,’ adding: ‘I have real empathy and I think she’s incredible.’
The PM praised the couple as they arrived for one of their final engagements on their tour of New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and Tonga which is now drawing to a close.
The couple were a picture of elegance as they made their way into the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Harry looking dapper in a navy suit and unbuttoned white shirt and his wife in a navy asymmetric dress Antonio Beradi dress, which retails at some £2,683.
The Duchess recycled the gown which she wore back in May 2017 for her first polo event with Harry early in their relationship, at the Audi Polo Challenge in Coworth, Berkshire.
The mother and father-to-be will head home after visiting Rotarua, having spent four days in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arriving for a reception hosted by the Prime Minister of New Zealand at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Prime Minister of New Zealand praised the Duchess for continuing to work while pregnant
The Duchess looked resplendent in an elegant navy blue asymmetrical dress by Antonio Beradi
The Duchess of Sussex teamed her elegant evening dress with a simple black clutch and nude slingback court shoes
Jacinda Ardern, introducing the royal couple, told an audience at the Auckland War Memorial Museum: ‘You all probably think you’re here to meet our wonderful esteemed guests. But I’m sure Their Royal Highnesses won’t mind me saying this: theyre actually here to meet all of you’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex meet members of the public during a walkabout at the Viaduct in Auckland
Meghan wore the Antonio Beradi dress, which retails at some £2683, back in May 2017 for one of her first polo events with Harry. She is pictured here watching the Prince during the presentations at the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth, Berkshire
The Duke of Sussex also showed his impressive language skills are as sharp as his sense of humour as he addressed a reception in six languages.
Harry, addressing an audience of young people at a reception in New Zealand, offered his greetings in a few words of six languages: Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands, and Maori.
After rattling off Talofa lava (Samoan), Malo e lelei (Tongan), Bula Vinaka (Fijian), Fakaalofa lahi atu (Niuean), Kia orana (Cook Islands) and Tena koutou katoa (Maori), Harry was applauded by the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Duchess of Sussex.
He said: ‘This is definitely the first time I have spoken most of those languages, so I apologise if my accent wasn’t any good, but I had to give it a go.’
The reception was aimed at celebrating Pacific cultures, with singing, dancing and conversation with young people working to lead their communities.
The duke also used his speech to joke about his morning’s work welly wanging, which saw him narrowly beaten by his wife.
‘We’re meeting little Kiwis, we’re meeting big Kiwis, being treated to your fantastic food, culture and sporting activities – well, if you can call welly-wanging or gum-boot throwing a sport,’ he said.
‘Perhaps we should have a three-test series and see who comes out on top?’
Harry, addressing an audience of young people at a reception in New Zealand, offered his greetings in a few words of six languages: Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Niuean, Cook Islands, and Maori
The duchess listened closely to a group from charity Inspiring Stories, as young women spoke to her about empowering indigenous minorities, getting young people involved in politics, and mental health
Jacinda Ardern, introducing the royal couple, told an audience at the Auckland War Memorial Museum: ‘You all probably think you’re here to meet our wonderful esteemed guests. But I’m sure Their Royal Highnesses won’t mind me saying this: theyre actually here to meet all of you.’
She added: ‘Thank you for the warmth you have brought to your visit. Thank you for bringing such a genuine interest and focus on issues like mental health.’
The couple watched an energetic performance from dancers SaintzUp and singers Tone6, with Harry nodding his head and tapping his foot as he got into the Polynesian rhythm.
As they gave the performers a rapturous round of applause, young people aged 17-25 were arranged into small groups so they could come and mingle.
The Duke told them: ‘You guys are amazing’, while Meghan asked: ‘What issues are you working on?’
Hearing about their concerns about the environment, diversity and mental health, the duke, who is now a commonwealth youth ambassador, told them he hoped to ‘make people more aware of some of the issues that matter to you guys’.
Encouraging them to continue speaking out for their generation, he said: ‘This energy, this connectivity, it’s all here in you.’
The duchess listened closely to a group from charity Inspiring Stories, as young women spoke to her about empowering indigenous minorities, getting young people involved in politics, and mental health.
The couple beamed and exchanged jokes with one another during the reception at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Duchess of Sussex is given a traditional maori greeting of a hongi as they attend the unveiling of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy in Redvale
The Duchess of Sussex takes part in a ‘welly-wanging’ contest while visiting Auckland on Tuesday during the royal tour of New Zealand
The Duchess proved quite the natural in the unusual boot tossing contest, given it was most likely her first time partaking in such a sport
Meghan appeared excited at the lighthearted tournament, likely due to her team emerging victorious in the Wellington boot-throwing competition
Meghan tried her hand at throwing a Wellington boot as part of the contest which also involved local schoolchildren
Speaking before a reception at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Jacinda Ardern added: ‘There’s a real connection between particularly William and Harry in recent years so it’s nice to have been able to host them in such close proximity.’
New Zealand, like Australia, is a constitutional monarchy and as such the Queen is their head of state, represented by a Governor-General.
When asked if the question of whether the Duke and Duchess’s visit has changed views on New Zealand becoming a republic, Ms Ardern said: ‘It just really doesn’t come up as much.
‘The only time it really comes up is, often off the back of visits, people tend to ask the question.
‘What you’ll pick up from the New Zealand public is that there is a real affinity for the Queen and a real strength of feeling around members of the royal family, particularly given, in the wake of some of our disasters, that they’ve been quick to respond and be present.’
She swapped a stylish navy blue blazer for a black hooded zip-up jacket with a QEII National Trust logo – the same jacket her female team player wore
Harry also took part in the tossing of the boots, appearing in deep concentration as he attempted to execute the perfect throw
The Duke of Sussex was spotted poking out his tongue mid-throw as he aimed the rubber shoe at his target
The Duke and Duchess posed for photos with the schoolchildren who took part in the ‘welly-wanging’ competition with them
The schoolchildren had also performed a song and dance to welcome the royal couple to the area
Meghan pressed her forehead and nose up against another woman while shaking her hand at a ceremony to dedicate 20ha of native bush to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy
Harry also embraced the woman’s hand and gave her a similarly intimate Hongi hello at the ceremony
The couple received gifts from locals following the ceremony, including what appeared to be a knitted rug and a pair of children’s Wellington boots
A drizzle of rain did not appear to dampen the spirits of Meghan, who appeared cheerful in the front row of the ceremony
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also donned a pair of stylish Wellington boots to take part in a ‘welly-wanging’ contest while visiting Auckland on the third day of their royal tour of New Zealand.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s first engagement of the day was a trip to a native bush reserve at Redvale on the city’s North Shore.
The royal couple’s main focus of the visit was to dedicate the 20-hectare (49-acre) area of bush to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. They unveiled a plaque recognising the dedication to the QCC, which conserves indigenous forests for future generations, before planting trees at the site.
But it was the Wellington boot throwing contest involving local schoolchildren which proved to be a hit with the crowds who turned out for the royal visit.
Meghan’s team emerged victorious, with the Duchess proving quite the natural in the unusual contest, given it was most likely her first time partaking in such a sport.
She had swapped a stylish navy blue blazer for a black hooded zip-up jacket with a QEII National Trust logo for the occasion – the same jacket her husband wore.
Schoolchildren surrounded the Royal couple clad in rain jackets and black caps as Meghan and Harry appeared to happily share a conversation and perhaps some ‘welly-wanging’ tips
Meghan happily posed for photos with the young students who were delighted to be in the presence of royalty
The royal couple had changed into wet weather jackets for the ‘welly-wanging’ contest after Meghan earlier wore a blazer and Harry, a coat
Meghan covered her mouth to cover a shocked expression while a man appeared amused as he held an umbrella above her head
Harry on the other hand appeared rather glum as he held an umbrella above himself and a man seated at his side
The Duke of Sussex pressed his forehead and nose up against another man for the traditional ‘Hongi’ greeting
The Duchess of Sussex waved to the crowd as she left the Dedication to the Queens Commonwealth Canopy, bound for her next engagement of the day
The $219 (£120/US$155) Wellington boots worn by the couple are from The Original Muck Boot Company.
Meghan pressed her forehead and nose up against another woman for the traditional ‘Hongi’ greeting while shaking her hand at a ceremony to dedicate the area of native bush to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.
Harry also embraced the woman’s hand and gave her a similarly intimate Hongi hello at the ceremony.
The couple received gifts from locals following the ceremony, including what appeared to be a knitted rug and a pair of green children’s Wellington boots with cartoon characters on them.
A drizzle of rain did not appear to dampen the spirits of Meghan, who appeared cheerful in the front row of the ceremony.
Following the welly-wanging’ contest, the Duke and Duchess joined with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Pillars, a charity that supports children who have a parent in prison by providing special mentoring schemes
Meghan received a large bouquet of flowers from a young girl who was wearing a white dress with a pink bow in her hair
Meghan and Harry changed clothes for the visit to the charity Pillars, opting for more formal attire compared to their previous engagement of the day
The mother-to-be wore a gorgeous white dress with an elegant mid-length coat draped over her shoulders
The Duchess of Sussex presented the ‘Pillars Award’ to Orla Angi recognising her achievements while visiting the charity
Meghan and Harry smiled as they held up the Pillars-branded clothing which had been gifted them during their visit
The back read: ‘Help us create better futures for children of prisoners’, along with the Pillars’ website and #teampillars
The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Duke of Sussex were in a fit of laughter while a speech was read out
Meghan appeared to be laughing off a potential slip-up, with Harry also seeming rather amused as he stood behind her
Meghan made good use of her Wellington boots in the wet weather, helping two schoolchildren plant a native tree to add to the area of bush in the Queen’s honour
She appeared focused on the task at hand, as did her two young helpers, who also wore rain jackets and Wellington boots to protect them in the soggy conditions
Meghan later donned a pair of green and black gloves to help her with the tree planting
Harry and a young boy wearing a bright red jacket pointed to the sky as they took a break from digging a hole for a tree
The two got down to business and each used a shovel to dig holes for the native plants on the outskirts of the bushland
There seemed to be something of interest above Harry and his little helper, with them taking a short break to look at the sky
Meghan appeared amused at her husband as he gave a speech at the ceremony while sporting a cheeky expression
The couple beamed as they stood before the crowd, with the rain seeming to ease long enough for them to ditch their umbrella
The happy couple seemed to engage in some friendly competition as they assessed the outcome of a boot toss
The Duke was appropriately dressed in a smart button-up white shirt tucked into a pair of grey trousers with black rubber boots
EARTHQUAKE RATTLES NEW ZEALAND’S NORTH ISLAND
A strong but deep earthquake struck New Zealand’s North Island on Tuesday afternoon, causing Parliament to be briefly suspended as a precaution.
There were no immediate reports of major damage or injuries.
The magnitude 6.1 quake was centred about 48 miles east of the town of New Plymouth.
It was at a depth of 141 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. Deeper quakes are typically less damaging.
Thousands of people across the country felt the quake, some as far away as the South Island.
It did not disrupt an event in Auckland attended by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Harry and Meghan were visiting the head office of the charity Pillars, which is dedicated to supporting the children of prisoners through mentoring schemes and in-home support.
In the capital Wellington, politicians left the debating chamber for 30 minutes.
When Parliament resumed, Civil Defence Minister Kris Faafoi told politicians there had been no reports of damage.
Harry on the other hand appeared rather glum at one stage as he held an umbrella above himself and a man seated at his side.
Meghan made good use of her Wellington boots in the wet weather, helping two school children plant a native tree to add to the area of bush in the Queen’s honour.
She appeared focused on the task at hand, as did her two young helpers, who also wore rain jackets and Wellington boots to protect them in the soggy conditions.
The couple later joined with the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a visit to Pillars, ‘a charity for children of prisoners’ operating across New Zealand.
The charity, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, a day ealier had spoken of their excitement about the royal couple’s visit.
‘We are very much looking forward to welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Pillars. It will be an exciting afternoon for our families and our staff and the small group of Pillars kids who will actually get to meet them,’ the charity wrote on Facebook.
The final day of their Royal Highnesses’ tour will take place in Rotorua on Wednesday.
The Duke and Duchess will head to Rainbow Springs to learn more about the centre’s kiwi breeding programme.
Later that afternoon, Meghan and Harry will head into the city for the chance to meet members of the public gathered there.
The royal couple then heads back to London.
New Zealand is the fourth country the royal couple have visited on their mammoth 16-day tour following visits to Australia, Fiji and Tonga.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived to dedicate a 20-hectare area of native bush to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy in Auckland late on Tuesday morning
Prince Harry helped his pregnant wife Meghan navigate her way through the muddy grounds
The couple had arrived for their first engagement of the day while the sun was still shining but the umbrellas were kept close-by as the threat of rain lingered
The visit to the area of native bush was the couple’s first engagement on their third day in the country
The royal couple walked hand-in-hand as they visited the area of native bush on Auckland’s North Shore
The Wellington boots worn by Prince Harry and Meghan are from The Original Muck Boot Company
Meghan held up an umbrella for husband Prince Harry to shield him from the rain during their Auckland engagement
The couple took turns in holding up the umbrella as the rain fell late during their royal engagement on Tuesday morning
Meghan also had the support of those who joined with the royal couple for the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy dedication
The Wellington boots proved appropriate for the occasion, with a decent amount of rain falling throughout the engagement
Huge crowds lined the streets of Auckland to catch a glimpse of Meghan and Harry, with some students holding up a sign which read ‘We’re skipping school for you!’