The final countdown is under way for the first official overseas tour by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and to say it’s packed is a bit of an understatement. The visit, which starts in Australia on October 16th, comes to an end in New Zealand on October 31st and you’ll be exhausted just reading the itinerary before we even start on the actual events. If you’re feeling energetic, just have a look at what Harry and Meghan plan to pack into their time in New Zealand. And breathe…
New Zealand Day One, October 28th 2018
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden will meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they arrive in Wellington. They will share their flight to the city with several members of the New Zealand Invictus team. Soon afterwards, at the official residence of the Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be invited to hongi with Maori elders and see a haka.
Day one also includes the sombre and poignant honour of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park.
Jacinda Arden will visit the couple again in the evening, as will Simon Bridges, Leader of the Opposition. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will then attend a reception marking the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.
New Zealand Day Two, October 29th 2018
The morning begins with a focus on mental health as Harry and Meghan visit a café to meet young people involved in projects offering support and help. They will then make their way to the Abel Tasman National Park where they will take part in a trail walk with a park ranger before planting a tree. This is a royal tour. You don’t get to leave unless you plant at least one tree.
The evening will be spent in Wellington at Courtenay Creative where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will take part in an event celebrating the city’s cultural and arts scene.
New Zealand Day Three, October 30th 2018
The penultimate day of the tour will be spent in Auckland where they will dedicate native bush on the North Shore to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Then it’s time for a set of photos that will follow Harry and Meghan for years. The royal couple will take part in a spot of welly-wanging – cue slightly embarrassed giggling and too, too many good pictures.
It all gets a bit more serious in the afternoon when Harry and Meghan join Jacinda Arden on a visit to Pillars, a charity helping children who have a parent in prison. The royal couple will get a chance to hear about how the scheme helps young people. It’s a cause close to their heart – their wedding present from the people of New Zealand was a donation to this very charity.
In the evening, Harry and Meghan will attend a reception at Auckland’s War Memorial Museum, centred on young people and including performances and entertainment.
New Zealand Day Four, October 31st 2018
The tour comes to an end in Rotorua with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex receiving a traditional Maori welcome before having lunch. There’s then a visit to Rainbow Springs to hear about projects to protect and increase the population of New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi. The couple will also name two kiwi chicks, presumably after themselves.
The curtain falls on the visit beneath the trees of New Zealand. Meghan and Harry will spend their final afternoon at Redwoods Treewalk Rotorua where they will get the chance to walk between some of the ancient trees on suspension bridges. They’ll also meet members of the local biking community before heading back to Auckland for the flight home to England.
It will be another packed day on a packed tour. You can read all about Harry and Meghan’s diaries in Australia, Fiji and Tonga on Royal Central.