New Zealand readies for Royal ‘family visit’

New Zealand readies for Royal ‘family visit’

Jet-boat thrills, sailing, award-winning New Zealand wine and encounters with both celebrated and ordinary Kiwis are all part of the itinerary for the coming New Zealand royal visit.

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and little Prince George, arrive in New Zealand on April 7th, the royal family will be ticking off a series of firsts - their first official visit as a family, and the first visit to New Zealand for both the Duchess of Cambridge and eight-month-old Prince George.

On the other hand, this will be the fourth visit for the Duke of Cambridge who first came to New Zealand in 1983.

He was just nine months old when he accompanied the Prince and Princess of Wales on a 13-day official tour.

Later visits were in 2005 (a private holiday supporting the British Lions rugby tour), and official visits in 2010 and 2011.

Nine days in New Zealand will see the Duke and Duchess visit eight regions with numerous opportunities to meet and mingle with New Zealanders.

The schedule also allows for some private family time with Prince George.

As guests of the New Zealand government, the Royal family will be based at Government House in Wellington.

From there, they will mostly make day trips to other parts of the country - Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown - returning to be with Prince George in the evenings.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible for them to have regular family time with their son, while acknowledging thousands of New Zealanders will want to take the opportunity to meet them,” prime minister John Key said.

“It’s a pretty good geographic spread, with four South Island and four North Island centres included in the itinerary.”