Maori warriors greet Charles and Camilla on New Zealand tour


Fearsome warriors have greeted the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall with a spectacular haka during a passionate and poignant welcome ceremony to the home of the Maori nation.

At the royal riverside residence of Kiingi Tuheitia - seen as a unifying leader of New Zealand's Maori people - Charles and Camilla were celebrated by their hosts.

The royal couple arrived at the complex known as Turangawaewae marae, both wearing korowai, cloaks made of kiwi feathers, that had been given to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in 1953.

In front of them were 60 bare chested warriors each carrying a wooden spear traditionally used for hunting and fighting, who came forward as one brandishing their weapons called a Taiaha, and stamping their feet which shook the ground.

The arrival had been signalled by three men in a tower blowing a conch.

The warrior's welcome haka was part of the powhiri, a greeting ceremony involving dancing, singing and a hongi - the traditional Maori pressing of noses welcome - between Charles and Tuheitia.

Charles picked up a ceremonial dart that a warrior had thrown on the ground signalling his intentions were peaceful and as he did so kept his eyes on the man as custom dictated.

After the haka the ceremony continued and Charles and Camilla took their seats in a prime position with Tuheitia's eldest son Whatumoana sitting next to them and Maori elders were seated to one side with the Kiingi.

Tuheitia's royal family live at the Turangawaewae built in a picturesque setting on the banks of the river Waikato, a region famed for the open air Hobbiton village set created by Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson.

It has welcomed world leaders including Nelson Mandela, the Queen and other senior members of the Royal Family.