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Prince Harry gets a Maori welcome in New Zealand

Prince Harry Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Prince Harry receives a hongi from a Maori cultural party member during a welcome ceremony at Government House

Prince Harry has received a traditional Maori welcome after arriving in New Zealand for a week-long tour of the country.

The prince flew in from Australia after a month training with the country's armed forces, meeting injured soldiers and Aboriginal communities.

New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, greeted him as he landed in Wellington.

Harry then went on to a ceremony at the National War Memorial in the capital where he laid a wreath.

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Image caption Prince Harry listens to New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key at the National War Memorial in Wellington

PM John Key tweeted: "Great to welcome Prince Harry to New Zealand on a brilliant Wellington day."

He also tweeted pictures of the "fantastic crowd" waiting for the prince as well as a puppy that the prime minister brought along to welcome him.

Kensington Palace tweeted a picture of the prince watching a powhiri - a Maori welcoming ritual - followed by a haka.

He was treated to the ceremonial welcome on the lawn in front of Government House. the home of the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae and his wife Lady Janine.

Performed by members of the New Zealand armed forces, the powhiri started with a wero, an ancient tradition to determine whether visitors come in peace.

At the house he was invited to hongi, where he clasped hands and pressed his nose up against the people he met.

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Image caption The Maori Cultural group welcome Prince Harry at Government House in Wellington
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Image caption Prince Harry is welcomed by fans during a visit to Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

He also saw a mass haka by students from a local college and was given a 21-gun salute.

The prince then met school children, one of whom presented him with a card for his new-born niece.

Rakaia Burwell-Garratt, nine, from Kilbirnie School, said: "I gave him a card for Princess Charlotte. I wrote in it, I hope you like being a princess and happy birthday for your first week'."

Unknown Warrior

Harry tucked the envelope into his suit pocket and told her: "I won't open it, I'll keep it safe and I'll make sure she gets it."

He also visited the National War Memorial Park and paid his respects at its Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

He left a note on a wreath laid during his visit to the memorial park, which read: "In memory of all those who have paid the ultimate price and in grateful recognition of those who have served NZ."

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Image caption Prince Harry, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Bronagh Key lay a fern at the tomb of the unknown warrior

The prince also inspected a guard of honour made up of members of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Army Logistic Regiment, and the Air Force before watching a rugby game between Wellington's Hurricanes and South Africa's Durban-based Sharks.

The week-long visit is the first Harry has made to New Zealand and throughout the trip he is expected to be given a broad introduction to Kiwi culture and society, including visiting the country's most southern and very remote community on Stewart Island.

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Image caption Prince Harry met local school children during the welcome ceremony at Government House
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Image caption He was also presented with a personalised onesie for his new niece by Hurricanes' rugby captain Conrad Smith

The visit comes at the end of his month-long attachment in Australia.

Footage released by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) showed the Prince, known as Captain Wales in the armed forces, as an all-action hero.

He was filmed abseiling from a helicopter with 2nd Commando Regiment soldiers in an urban warfare drill in Sydney.

Harry also took part in counter-terror training in the city's famous harbour with Royal Australian Navy divers.

As well as his combat training, he met wounded and injured Australian soldiers and spent two weeks in the Northern Territory which included meeting the local indigenous community.

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