Ngāti Kahungunu nanny to have tea with the Queen

By Kawe Roes

COVER PICTURE: Queen Elizabeth II and Rākai Tomoana-Gul who will be heading over to England at the end of the month to meet the queen for the first time. 

One Ngāti Kahungunu elder will soon embark on the trip of a lifetime, to have tea and a garden party with Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. 

At the end of the month, Rākai Tomoana-Gul will travel to England for the surreal experience, along with her daughter, Saarah Gul.

Each year the New Zealand High Commission is given a limited number of invitations for New Zealanders to attend royal events in the United Kingdom.

Tomoana-Gul's daughter put the pair's names into a ballot and they were lucky enough to be selected as guests of her majesty at a planned royal garden party at Buckingham Palace.

"She saw that the Queen's garden party was coming up so she decided to put her application in.  She got it, got accepted and she could go with a partner so she put me down," says Tomoana-Gul. 

Her father meet the queen in 1986 in Hastings.  She remembers fondly that his hongi didn't quite find its mark. 

"Well, I think it was in 1986 when they had a big reception at Heretaunga at the Tomoana Showgrounds so he was asked to give one of the opening speeches.  He was up there on the paepae with all these other dignitaries. 

"When she came along to meet him.  He bent forward to give her a hongi.  He didn't succeed. He tried it again and still didn't succeed and he probably decided not to bother again."

The question remains, will she remind the Queen of this incident when they meet?

"I might!  If I'm feeling cheeky I will," she says. 

Even though Tomoana-Gul is excited to meet the Queen, she really wants to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex

"They're the new generation.  They're going to make changes, they're going to be more involved in what's needed in the world and not just be figureheads.  I think they'll be pretty cool [to meet]," she says.