Prince Harry's New Zealand visit kicks off with kids, puppies and loads of cheer

Prince Harry's weeklong stay in New Zealand started on Saturday just as his trip to Australia ended at the Sydney Opera House — with lots of cheer and greetings from royal fans. After touching down in the country's capital Wellington, Harry was met by Prime Minister John Key and taken to Government House where he took part in a traditional "wero", or challenge, from a Maori warrior on the lawn.

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Harry picked up a ceremonial dart that was placed on the ground in front of him, showing that he came in peace. A Maori call of welcome then rang out and a group from the Royal New Zealand Defence Force performed a haka to salute him as an honored guest.

The British royal then met a group of local primary school children, one of whom had a special card for his newborn niece. "I gave him a card for Princess Charlotte," 9-year-old Rakaia Burwell-Garratt told the BBC. "I wrote in it, I hope you like being a princess and happy birthday for your first week."

Harry reportedly put the envelope into his suit pocket for safe keeping and told Rakaia: "I won't open it, I'll keep it safe and I'll make sure she gets it."

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Already a hit with the group of youngsters, Harry furthered his popularity by cheekily telling them that if they ever want cakes or biscuits they could call Governor General, Sir Jerry Mateparae. "Just ring on the gate, they’ll help you out," the New Zealand Herald quoted a smiling Harry as having told the children.

Later in the day, Harry traveled to the city's National War Memorial, where he laid a wreath and signed the visitor's book. Scores of royal fans had lined the entrance carrying banners with messages for the Prince.

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In an amusing nod to the young girl who surprised Harry with a kiss during his walkabout at Sydney Opera House on Thursday, a supporter at the memorial brought a sign saying "Don't worry, I won't kiss you" – which brought a smile to the Prince's face.

Click the photo below for more of Harry's first day in New Zealand:

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