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The Sussexes

Prince Harry paddles up the Whanganui River on a waka



On Thursday Prince Harry spent the day in Whanganui, the ancestral home of some different iwi.

Prince Harry spoke in M?ori to those gathered at P?tiki Marae. Photo credit: Emily Nash @emynash

Prince Harry spoke in M?ori to those gathered at P?tiki Marae. Photo credit: Emily Nash @emynash

His first stop was Putiki Marae with the Governor General. Fundamental to M?ori culture and community activities, Marae are dedicated buildings embodying the genealogy and stories of local iwi or people.

The Marae affords a meeting spot for M?ori communities for celebrations, mourning and gatherings. Putiki is known as a place where all Whanganui tribes can join.

Prince Harry was given the full Powhiri welcome including the challenge, a call of welcome, speeches by the welcoming iwi and a prayer.

After the welcome and speeches, Harry watched a presentation on the Whanganui River Treaty Settlement. The group then moved into the meeting-house to share morning tea with the community.

Following morning tea, Harry embarked on a waka journey on the Whanganui River. A waka is a traditional canoe.

In the past, waka (canoes) were the only mode of transportation. New Zealand’s waterways were like roads, running beside the coast and up rivers. Waka would be paddled along them, transporting people and goods. Some M?ori still produce traditional waka today.

The Whanganui river is of tremendous importance to the local iwi as it is their ancestral river and revered as a place of physical and spiritual importance.

Though few Whanganui M?ori now live on the river, it continues to be a focal point. Harry was offered a hand-carved paddle to use on the trip.

As the waka arrived at the destination jetty, the sounding of a conch shell marked their arrival.

Prince Harry received his own Maori "hoe" paddle before canoeing up the Whanganui river. Photo Credit: Emily Nash @emynash

Prince Harry received his own Maori “hoe” paddle before canoeing up the Whanganui river. Photo Credit: Emily Nash @emynash

After lunch, Harry visited the Whanganui’s War Memorial Centre for a reception with local veterans.

Built in 1960 as a living monument to the 375 men from Whanganui, who lost their lives World War Two.

A Book of Remembrance sitting on a podium of granite in front of a stunning stained glass window honours the fallen. The window, commissioned in 2003 is based on Poem for the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon. Above the book hang the flags of the Navy, Army and Air Force along with the New Zealand National Ensign.

After the reception, he took some time to meet with those gathered outside of the Centre before leaving for Auckland.

On Friday, carrying out various engagements.

Photo Credits: Emily Nash via @emynash