Wednesday 22 October 2014

Baby George is the star as Kate and William touch down in New Zealand for royal tour

Tony Jones, Press Association Court Correspondent in Wellington, New Zealand

Published 07/04/2014 | 07:10

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive with Prince George at Wellington Military Terminal on the first day of their official to Australia. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday April 07, 2014. See PA story ROYAL Cambridge. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA WireThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge 

, as part of their official to Australia. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday April 07, 2014. See PA story ROYAL Cambridge. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive with Prince George at Wellington Military Terminal on the first day of their official to Australia
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, holds her son Prince George after disembarking their plane with her husband Britain's Prince William in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Phil Noble (NEW ZEALAND - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT ROYALS)
Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, holds her son Prince George after disembarking their plane with her husband Britain's Prince William in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Britain's Prince William, his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George disembark from their plane after arriving in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Phil Noble (NEW ZEALAND - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
Britain's Prince William, his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George disembark from their plane after arriving in Wellington April 7, 2014. The Prince and his wife Kate are undertaking a 19-day official visit to New Zealand and Australia with their son George. REUTERS/Phil Noble

All eyes were on Prince George when the royal baby arrived in New Zealand with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their tour Down Under.

William and Kate's son looked bright, happy and content as he was carried off a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) plane in Wellington by his mother and began his life as a working royal.

The baby prince faced the world's media for only the second time in his short life - the first occasion was when William and Kate proudly showed off their day-old son outside the London hospital where he was born.

George is only eight months old but he travelled with his parents on a scheduled Qantas flight from Heathrow Airport, via Dubai, to Sydney where they transferred to the military plane.

The Cambridges appeared in outfits that each took a coloured theme of red, white or blue - with the Duchess in an eye-catching scarlet coat by designer Catherine Walker and a matching hat by Gina Foster, the Duke looked stylish in a dark blue suit and George wad dressed in a cream cardigan over a white top and shorts.

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Grey misty clouds and drizzle greeted the royal visitors as they arrived at Wellington International Airport but the eight-month-old prince seemed oblivious to the cold conditions and waved his arms and legs.

The royal visit has been greeted with some controversy after parents in New Zealand raised concerns online about the arrangements for the car seat chosen for George by the royal couple.

Plunket, New Zealand's national childcare advisory agency, published photos of a Maxi-Cosi baby seat fitted to the official car which will carry George facing forward - but many people said it was going against its own recommendations that a child of George's age should face the rear window.

Prime Minister John Key was waiting on the tarmac to greet the royal couple but they received the full splendour of a traditional Maori welcome at nearby Government House, the official resident of the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

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Prince William was the first to perform a hongi - a traditional Maori greeting where noses are pressed together and a breath is symbolically exchanged - with two Maori elders and cultural adviser Lewis Moeau and Hiria Hape.

Kate, who does not have her husband's experience of the traditional greeting, smiled broadly as she followed suit.

On the windswept and rain soaked lawn of the historic building a group of around 35 semi-naked Maoris performed a ceremonial challenge called the wero to determine whether the visitors were friends or foe.

Three male toa, or warriors, armed with spears advanced on the royal couple and uttered war cries leaving Kate looking a little startled.

They performed an intricate and intimidating series of martial arts moves. before one offered William, 31, a rakau tapu or dart.

The  Duke crouched down to pick it up, all the while keeping eye contact with the warrior.

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Kate and William were then officially cleared as "friends" and welcomed onto the main grass area.

She later shook hands with one warrior who wore a thong exposing his heavily tattooed bottom and told him she thought the traditional greeting was "super".

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