The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s trip to New Zealand got off to a wet and foggy start as rain lashed the capital, threatening to prevent them from landing.
But while the weather wasn’t really fit for a royal, the state reception was more in keeping, with Kate and William welcomed into Government House by dignitaries and a kapa haka group.
It was unclear right up until the last minute whether the Royal New Zealand Air Force jet carrying the royals from Sydney would have to be diverted to Ohakea military base, a two-hour drive from Wellington.
But the plane managed to touch down at midday – only 20 minutes later than planned.
The royal family, who seemed in good spirits after their 27-hour flight from the UK, were greeted on the tarmac by Prime Minister John Key and his wife Bronagh as a 70-strong international and local media pack snapped the occasion.
Mr Key later told reporters the duke and duchess were really pleased to be in New Zealand and he expected them to captivate the nation.
“I don’t think their enthusiasm for coming to New Zealand has been dampened at all by the fact it was a little bit wet on the tarmac.”
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, her husband Alistair Nicholson and a representative of the Governor-General, Commander Richard Walker, rounded out the welcome party.
William, baby George and Kate, who was dressed all in red, spent 10 minutes at the airport before driving off in a convoy to Government House.
The duke and duchess were met by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand Defence Force bands, and the defence force kapa haka group while eight-month-old baby George watched the proceedings from an upstairs window.
The Wellington weather didn’t stop school kids and royal enthusiasts from welcoming the royal couple to New Zealand shores.
School children from nearby St Mark’s Church School lined the road outside Government House waving British flags and banners with welcome messages.
Paula na Nagara and her corgi Annie also braved the rain to spy the royal couple – albeit mainly for their association with corgis rather than their royalty.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a royalist, I’m a corgist,” she said.
“I was quite disappointed with their choice of dog, but I’d love to shake their hand because one of them has probably patted the Queen’s corgi.”
The royal couple’s dog, Lupo, is a cocker spaniel.
The royals will have a rest day on Tuesday before chatting with other first-time parents at a Plunket support meeting on Wednesday.
The 10-day tour will take in eight New Zealand centres.
It’s Kate’s first trip to New Zealand, and baby George’s first official overseas trip.