Region basks in royal glow
Manawatu has showcased the best it has to offer not only to New Zealand's next king, but to the world.
The region's leaders expect yesterday's visit by Prince Charles and Camilla will give Manawatu exposure that "money cannot buy" as pictures from the visit are beamed around the world.
At least 5000 people greeted the prince and the Duchess of Cornwall as they arrived in Feilding, while hundreds more lined the roads into and out of the town as the couple also visited Massey University, a Cheltenham farm and Ohakea Air Force Base.
Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie along with Manawatu Mayor Margaret Kouvelis welcomed the couple to Feilding, where they visited a special farmers' market in their honour.
"Whilst Feilding was the centre of the attention, the region also gets benefits from it. People from all over the region were there," Mr McKelvie said. "The international attention we get as a result of it, you can't buy it."
Feilding Promotion manager Helen Worboys agreed.
"To me, the biggest gain for us will be that international profile."
Members of several British media organisations followed the couple's time in Manawatu and Mrs Worboys said they were given plenty of information about what the region had to offer and possible storylines they could follow.
Even a 45-second segment on TVNZ last week previewing the royal visit had raised the awareness of Feilding, she said. "When we saw the shots they showed of Feilding we had to say ‘wow, is that what Feilding looks like?'."
Manawatu was the only provincial stop on an itinerary that also took the couple to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Mrs Worboys said the town was chosen because the couple wanted to visit an authentic farmers' market and Feilding had recently won a poll naming it New Zealand's best.
"It went even better than we planned, they went out of the way to go and talk to different groups of people outside of the programme.
"So there will be lots of happy people out there with photos and handshakes, and lots of happy children. It was a long day, but it's all been well worth it and it's certainly put Feilding on the map."
Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor met Camilla when she visited Massey University and said it was an honour Manawatu had been invited to host the couple.
"It provides a great opportunity to showcase Massey University, we are the only vet school in New Zealand and there's some great stuff that goes on here. It's an opportunity for the world to see that."
Massey assistant vice-chancellor and university registrar Stuart Morriss said Camilla had enjoyed her time at Massey, where she toured the veterinary training hospital, Wildbase, and the equestrian centre.
"[She] thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the animals and meeting our staff and students at the vet hospital, she really thought it was a fantastic.
"It's a lovely day, lovely backdrop, it's fantastic for us to have her here and to show her what we have got and what we are able to achieve."
The sun beat down throughout the visit, with St John staff in Feilding treating several people overcome by the heat and potentially the excitement.
Inspector Mark Harrison said there were no arrests at any of the locations the royals visited.
"The crowd was fantastic. The town really turned it on. People were there because they wanted to be there, it was a festive occasion and they wanted to be part of it." Additional reporting Jono Galuszka
See full coverage of Prince Charles and Camilla's day in Manawatu on pages 2, 3 and 4.