The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were able to see how one of their wedding presents has been put to good use during a visit to an Auckland charity.
A £2,500 grant was given to Pillars, a charity supporting children who have a parent in prison, by New Zealanders on behalf of Harry and Meghan for their wedding in May.
"You are outstanding young people, and I know you will use this opportunity to create exciting futures for yourselves, and to act as role models for others." — The Duke of Sussex to the @PillarsINC Award winners. #RoyalVisitNZpic.twitter.com/OnwNFcGUFJ
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 30, 2018
Four young people who have achieved remarkable academic and sporting feats against the odds after attending one of the Pillars mentoring schemes were celebrated at an awards ceremony where Harry called them “outstanding”.
In front of an auditorium filled with 200 Pillars mentors, family and friends, Harry said: “Both Meghan and I are thrilled to be able to spend time with you during our first visit to Auckland together.
“We became aware of Pillars earlier this year, when the New Zealand government kindly suggested it would make a donation to Pillars – on behalf of the people of New Zealand to celebrate our marriage.
“That very thoughtful and generous wedding gift has created the four Pillars Awards, which will help to transform the lives of young people, including four special people in this room.
“Across New Zealand there are thousands of children who are affected by having a parent in prison, and, without the right support, these young people are much more likely to also spend time in prison themselves as adults.”
The duke said the work of Pillars helps “break the cycle” and give young people chances which were not previously available to them.
“Through the work of organisations like Pillars, and the awards being presented today, children can now have stability in times of turmoil, supportive relationships around them, and a positive vision of their future,” he said.
Meghan, who handed certificates to the winners, had changed from the wet weather outfit she wore for welly-wanging earlier into a soft pink Brandon Maxwell dress and Burberry jacket, while Harry wore a navy suit and blue shirt.
One of the young people awarded a certificate by the duchess is tipped to be a rugby star, with his coaches saying he has every chance of fulfilling his dream of playing for the New Zealand national rugby team, the All Blacks.
Enhakkorey Lautasi Pepese, 13, known as Kory, has been supported by Pillars for eight years after his father went to prison.
The charity has paid for his rugby club fees and kit so he can represent the Christchurch regional team and attend specialist coaching sessions.
He said: “Pillars has been so supportive to me and my family for so many years.
“They have helped so much and paid for my sport fees which my parents can’t afford so we are all very thankful.
“I train really hard to one day try and make it and achieve my dream of playing for the All Blacks.
“They think I am good enough so I just hope I can do it.”