Waka take to the Waikato River to salute Royal couple

A salute from a number of Waka on the Waikato River to Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall was a sight to behold as festivities for the Royal couple continued today.

Prince Charles saluted each waka as the kaihoe turned to make their way past the platform where he stood with his wife.

Prior to making their way to the river Prince Charles expressed thanks to all those involved in the welcome they recievd at Tūrangawaewae.

The Prince told the gathering “The spirit of manaakitanga has bought our families together many times since the meeting of Te Rata with my great grandparents King George V and Queen Mary in London in 1914.”

As well as thanking Kingi Tuheitia he spoke warmly of and fondly remembered Dame Te Atairangi Kaahu, expressing the sadness he felt when he received word of her passing.

“When I was last here in 1994 Dame Te Atairangi Kaahu who was a kind and gracious host she was also an extraordinary leader who shepparded her people through times of great change, with quiet dignity. I was greatly saddened by the news of her passing and can only hope that the message I sent you at that time was of some small comfort.”

The Prince and Duchess were greeted with a rousing pōhiri just before midday followed by a number of speeches beginning with Pou Temara of Tūhoe who made light of the All Blacks Rugby World Cup win with suggestions of what the Prince could say to Australians on his impending visit regarding the New Zealand’s win.

Harata Brown was at the event today and will have more tonight on Te Kāea at 5:30.