Wellington Welcomes Royal Family; Uses Visit to Promote Arts & Cafe Culture

History was made in New Zealand today, when Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George arrived on their first ever official tour as a family today.

In Wellington, Prime Minister John Key greeted the royal family at Wellington Airport. They were then taken to Government House to be met by the Governor General, Lt. Gen. The Rt. Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae. The ceremonies then began with a traditional Maori welcome (powhiri).

The Duke was greeted with a hongi by Lewis Moeau, Government House kaumatua (Maori elder) and the Duchess by Hiria Hape, Government House kuia (female elder) who then explained the protocol on what is Catherine’s first visit to New Zealand.

Following a 21-gun salute, the Duke inspected a Guard of Honour and the band played both countries anthems.

Beginning in Wellington, the nine-day royal visit will take in three North Island regions and three South Island regions. It will cover a snapshot of New Zealand, from ceremonial events and hosted functions to a Shotover jet boat ride, dueling on Auckland Harbour in two America’s Cup boats, wine tasting in Central Otago and a showcase of some of the country’s unique innovation and world-renowned activities.

Wellington is taking advantage of the visit to show off its arts and culture scene for fans of the royals. The area's appeal has been boosted in recent years by Sir Peter Jackson, who put the city on the movie map with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.

Wellington’s café and dining scene has more than 300 bars, cafes and restaurants—in other words, it has more places to eat and drink per capita than New York.