I’ll admit I wasn’t impressed with the visit those who ought to know, had planned for Prince Harry.
It was as if they’d sat down and thought – ‘How can we keep the fun-loving Prince out of trouble?’ I know, let’s send him to the most boring parts of New Zealand away from the buzz of the Viaduct and its super-yachts (and party girls) away from the cool vibe of Queenstown and its clubs and God forbid we allow him to hang out the Wellingtonians. He may not survive a Wellington pub inner city pub crawl.
Instead they booked up Stewart Island – the furtherest reaches of NZ where the most trouble he could get into was a little shark bothering.
Then they suggested the remote Whanganui river..
‘Chuck him on a waka (Maori canoe) and make him row up the river. No Royal’s ever done that.’ Erm that would be because back in the day the locals would have attacked them. Maybe even eaten him. And I’m not just talking about the Maori either.
To cap off a rousing week of activities those who planned decided the ginger ninja would be kept well away from the would-be Royal brides by sending him to military camp – Linton – in the central North Island, where he’d help out cooking some kai (food) and learning the haka.
I probably should remind you that the Prince has never been to NZ before. But not for him the exclusive trips to Central Otago vineyards or racing America’s Cup yachts in magnificent Auckland Harbour (as they did with Wills and Kate and wee George). No chance of getting caught out at a poncy Queenstown club like Zara’s hubby and certainly no opportunity to admire the local fillies – equine or not as Captain Mark Philips once did.
I’ve presided over a fair few VIP tours in NZ and was quite disheartened that the Royal Partygoer wouldn’t get to enjoy some of the truly brilliant NZ experiences. Even The Bachelor, Art Green, enjoyed fabulous flights, beautiful food, local music and stunning bolt-holes in the Bay of Plenty.
Well the Prince has buggered off now and I have to admit something a tad embarrassing. I was wrong. Harry seemed, dare I say it, genuinely happy with his Kiwi tiki tour.
He revelled in the hard-arse Stewart Island Pub Quiz (apparently his team were royally trounced) and meeting the locals in Christchurch, Mangere, and wherever else he went.
He even made friends with the famous Cardrona Pub’s dog Louis, when he popped in for a plate of good old bangers and mash. No truffle infused quinoa for this Prince. He took learning the Haka seriously and looked pretty good, even though it wasn’t the famous Ka Mate Haka, but rather the Army Haka.
All in all everyone said that Prince Harry was a ‘good guy’. Not at all a posh twat. He seemed able to chat up babies and their mothers alike, with ease and Kiwis loved him.
We aren’t a people who stand on ceremony. We’re a hard arse, frank talking, resilient people. We have a good keen sense of humour and we value mate-ship and freedom above all. Throw into this environment a stuffy bore and the result would have defined PR disaster.
Instead, Prince Harry, slips out of New Zealand leaving behind a nation of new friends and mates for the ginger ninja.