Manawatu's turn to party with royals
Rolling coverage of Manawatu rolling out the red carpet for royalty today, with farmers' markets, animals and war memorials set to feature.
4.40pm: Prince Charles and Camilla have now departed Ohakea, concluding their day-long trip to the Manawatu.
4.35pm: Prince Charles is now boarding the plane to leave after spending 45 minutes talking to Air Force families.
4.25pm: Camilla has boarded the Boeing 757 while Prince Charles is still talking to the families, enjoying the atmostphere.
4.05pm: Camilla has now arrived at Ohakea Air Force Base where she joins her husband, Prince Charles.
3.59pm: Children have set off the emergency sprinkler system in the hangar at Ohakea. Water is everywhere. Prince Charles did not get wet however there was a "bit of a security flurry".
3.49pm: Prince Charles has arrived at Ohakea Air Force Base.
3.25pm: The royal visit is currently running around 30 minutes behind schedule.
3.19pm: Hundreds of Defence Force personnel and their families are waiting excitedly for the royal couple to arrive.
A spitfire and an Augusta 109 helicopter are on display for Prince Charles and Camilla to inspect.
The offer to meet the couple was extended to all Air Force personnel.
3.14pm: Having completed her tour of Massey University's vet hospital and Wildbase, Camilla is now at the university's equestrian centre. There, assistant vice-chancellor and university registrar Stuart Morriss, will host her.
She is to watch a show jumping clinic for Team Massey riders run by coach and former New Zealand Olympian John Cottle.
The riders include education student Chloe Akers and science graduate Helen Bruce, who were part of the New Zealand Universities team that won bronze at the World University Equestrian Games in Germany in August.
Other riders are sport and exercise student Caitlin Pemberton and veterinary science student Olivia Gibson.
The equestrian centre, opened in 2003, can accommodate up to 40 horses. It attracts top riders to study at Massey and supports the Bachelor of AgriScience Equine major, the only equine degree in New Zealand.
3.11pm: Prince Charles is leaving the Dermer's place now. He's been given some fresh lemons from Mrs Dermer's trees.
3.00pm: Camilla's arrival at Massey University's veterinary school was announced by Klara Pauwels, 2, who ran up to the Duchess of Cornwall as she entered the veterinary hospital's reception.
"Hello," she said as Camilla knelt down to greet the girl.
Camilla returned her welcome and asked her name. "My name is Klara," the toddler replied.
Later her mother Kate Hill said her daughter's eagerness was unexpected, and certainly unplanned.
Camilla met staff and visitors in the reception area, as well as patients.
Among them was Rosemary Cousins and her 8-year-old West Highland Terrier, Brodie.
Brodie was in at Massey for a regular vet check, which had gone smoothly this afternoon.
"I'm very excited," Mrs Cousins said after meeting Camilla.
"I think she was very natural, meeting her was just lovely."
2.50pm: Camilla is now being shown through Wildbase, Massey University's team of specialist wildlife veterinarians. Wildbase director Associate Professor Brett Gartrell is discussing the work of Wildbase and the impending $75 million upgrade of Massey's veterinary school - the only vet school in New Zealand.
Wildbase is one of several New Zealand facilities where injured and sick native and endemic species are treated and rehabilitated.
Wildbase staff are recognised world leaders in treating birds and marine mammals caught in oil spills, such as the grounding of the cargo ship Rena on Astrolab Reef near Tauranga last year.
Camilla is being shown a female kiwi being treated at Wildbase. The wild-born bird is an adult who was brought into Wildbase on Saturday. She was found during routine check ups on the wild population to have a swollen hock and foot. While in hospital she has to be force fed as she has never eaten a captive diet or out of a bowl like a captive-bred bird. The kiwi is one of two currently at Wildbase, whose patients also include a kereru and a penguin at the moment.
2.42pm: Prince Charles has arrived at the Dermer's house for afternoon tea.
Mrs Dermer said she knew about the visit five months ago, but was sworn to secrecy.
She said the prince was very apologetic about the crowd of media and security he had brought with him.
"He said 'I'm sorry about the invasion'."
The prince is talking to farmers from the region about farming in New Zealand.
2.39pm: Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has arrived at Massey University to be greeted by Professor Robert Anderson, Dr Russell Ballard and Mayor Jono Naylor.
2.29pm: Charles has finished looking at the wetlands and is now off to talk to local farmers at the Dermer's house.
2.17pm: Prince Charles has arrived at Waipiko Farm, just outside of the small village of Cheltenham.
The farm, run by John and Diny Dermer, is run as a lamb and bull finishing unit and also has multiple forestry plantings.
They are keen environmentalists, having created multiple wetlands on their property over the years.
The farm has been in the Dermer family since 1909.Primary industries minister David Carter will be accompanying the couple, who will also meet a group of local farmers to talk about New Zealand farming.John Campbell from Ducks Unlimited NZ is also at the farm to talk about the conservation effort taking place at the farm. A wetland area the prince will be shown used to be half the size until Mr Dermer asked Ducks Unlimited NZ to help."We're about maintaining, conserving and increasing waterfowl habitats in New Zealand," Mr Campbell said.Prince Charles has asked to see a wetland, Mr. Campbell said. "I'm just wrapped I get to talk to him about wetlands."
1.58pm: Massey University staff are waiting with Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor to show Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, around part of the Palmerton North campus. Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Anderson, along with University Chancellor Dr Russell Ballard, will greet Camilla when she arrives shortly before she tours Wildbase, the veterinary hospital and Massey's equine centre.
1.40pm: Prince Charles and Camilla have met with the family of Tim O'Donnell, the Feilding soldier who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. They royal couple shared jokes with the family before Charles and Camilla separated and left Feilding.
Charles is set to visit a local farm near Cheltenham while Camilla heads to Massey University.
1.35pm:The small township of Cheltenham have congregated at the local pub to grab a glimpse of royalty.
Local Pauline Scott has set up two dummies to wave at the couple.
"We're just going to give them a little wave."
But one punter said it was nothing unusual.
"We line up here every Thursday hoping to see someone important come past."
1.20pm: The royal entourage took a special liking to potato fritters at a stall at the Feilding farmers' markets and were said to be "gorging" on them.
1.07pm: Melanie and Rica got to meet the royals after all.
An obviously excited Ms Donne said she was spotted by Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie and he let her under the barrier.
"The lovely lovely man noticed me and let me under."
She said she told the couple we was "thrilled to see them" and wished them a safe trip.
12.58: Prince Charles checked out local produce at the farmers market including jams, wine and plants, and asked growers and makers about where their ingredients came from.
12.40pm: Feilding woman Ann Loader said she managed to shake Charles' hand, but missed Camilla.
"He's got a firm handshake. I thought he might break my fingers"
She said she was not shocked Feilding had turned on the sun for the royals, despite the forecast.
"This is Feilding after all."
Pamela Titherington said it was the second time she had met the prince.
"I had a chat with him when he came out with his mother last time."
"I was just married then. He was just as lovely this time, but we were younger and more beautiful then."
12.30pm: Feilding's cellphone networks have reportedly been overloaded due to the amount of people using their phones. The Lytton Street School Jump Jam team are now performing.
Prince Charles is meeting with local farmers and asking what type of farms they have.
12.24pm: Prince Charles spent the flight to Ohakea this morning with a sketch artist who is accompanying him on the royal tour.
Staff at Ohakea are now preparing for an event in the base's new hangar later today where the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall will meet airforce staff and their families.
Group Captain Webb said it was something the base had been looking forward to for some time.
"Everyone's excited about that, it's in the new HTR Hangar which we're very proud of."
The HTR Hangar holds the airforce's new NH90 helicopters which will be on display outside during the event.
12.22pm: As the large group of locals gathered at Feilding just minutes before the arrival of the royal couple, an elderly woman fainted from what bystanders say was a "combination of the heat and excitement".Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, are being driven down Manchester Street, greeting the crowds.
The couple were welcomed by Manawatu mayor Margaret Kouvelis and Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie.
They will be taken to the award-winning farmers market and view the Right Royal Rural Mailboxes created by local children.
Before leaving, they will stop at the Feilding War Memorial and meet combat veterans and family members of fallen soldiers.
That will include relatives of Lt Tim O'Donnell's. The solider, who died in Afghanistan in 2010, is the most recent war casualty from Feilding.
11:55: Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have touched down at Air Force Base Ohakea for the Manawatu leg of their tour of New Zealand. The couple flew up from Wellington on a RNZAF Boeing 757 and were greeted at Ohakea by Group Captain Darryn Webb.
11.30: A convoy of approximately 17 vehicles, including police and Crown limos, is waiting on the tarmac for the arrival of Prince Charles and Camilla. Drivers have been making last minute preparations including a quick clean of the Crown cars. The royal couple are expected to touch down in a RNZAF Boeing 757 at about 11.45am.
11.16am: Melanie Donne and her dog Rica have been waiting since 9am for a chance to meet Charles and Camilla. She was one of around 500 people who had gathered in Feilding.
Ms Donne, who drove from Whanganui today, said she had "all my toes and fingers crossed" the royals would say hello.
"I'll be really let down if I don't get their attention."
She said she probably would not have tried to see the royals if they were not coming to Feilding.
11.07am: After showers were predicted, the sun is shining at Ohakea where the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall will arrive in about an hour for the Manawatu leg of their Diamond Jubilee Tour. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are due to fly into Ohakea Air Force Base before heading to Feilding about midday.
11.04am: Gem Stephens, Honor Brown, Frances McColl and Jackie Rush took up their position in Manchester Square at 8:30 armed with flasks of tea.
"We'd love to (meet them) but just to see them close up is wonderful," said Frances McColl who took up a position with a group of friends early on.
9.53am: Keen royalists Christopher Cape and Diana Blake were all dressed up and in Manchester Square by 8.30am.
"To me history is important and I want to be part of it," she said.
Miss Blake and Mr Cape had a burning question to ask the prince. She embroidered a picture of the Queen Mother for her 100th birthday in 2000 and had asked it to be passed on to Prince Charles following her death.
She has a letter from Clarence House to say it had been received and was hoping for the chance to ask him in person if he ever got the picture.
The royal couple's itinerary includes being shown around Feilding's award-winning farmers' market, casting their eyes over a royal mailbox competition and meeting community volunteers.
They will also visit the Feilding war memorial and meet veterans and the families of soldiers.
From there, the couple will head in different directions.
While Charles visits a farm on the outskirts of Feilding, Camilla will make her way to Massey University to be shown around the university's equine research centre and Wildbase animal treatment facility.
By mid-afternoon, the couple will reunite at Ohakea and meet air force families before departing.
But two lucky Manawatu residents have already spent time with Charles, after being chosen to celebrate the heir to the throne's birthday at Government House in Wellington yesterday.
Elizabeth King and Ngaire Senescall, who share the same birthday as the Prince of Wales, were two of 64 people invited to Charles' birthday party.
The Kiwiana-themed bash, hosted by fellow birthday boy Governor- General Sir Jerry Mateparae, featured New Zealand cuisine and a 64-piece cake.
Prince Charles' birthday cake was made up of 64 smaller cakes, each with a Kiwiana theme, to create one large grid cake.
It was also the birthday of Prime Minister John Key's wife, Bronagh, who attended the party with her
husband. Speaking afterwards, Miss King told the Manawatu Standard the royal couple were down to earth and "absolutely fantastic".
"They make you feel like they're listening and interested in what you're saying." Charles and Camilla talked to each person individually, which, Miss King said, was a nice touch.
"He said that, hand on heart, it was the best birthday he had ever had."
However, Camilla was harder to talk to.
"She had actually lost her voice," Miss King said. "She was croaking along."
Miss King said everyone should try to get along to the Feilding visit, though she would not be among the crowds. "I'm letting everyone else have a turn."
Tomorrow, the royal couple head to Christchurch to visit earthquake-damaged parts of the city and attend the 150th Canterbury A&P Show.
- Additional reporting by Fairfax NZ