Feilding's royal day
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall's visit to Feilding last Thursday was a huge boost in many ways for the town.
It is a day the thousands of people who were in the Square and lining streets to meet the royal couple will remember forever. The atmosphere in the town square was electric and it was also an opportunity to showcase Feilding on international television looking its best.
Even the weather played a positive role. After a week of miserable spring weather, Thursday turned out to be hot and sunny.
Mayor Margaret Kouvelis, who was the official host of the visit, said she had been inundated with positive feedback and was delighted with how the visit went.
When Diny Dermer of Cheltenham thanked Prince Charles for bringing the sunshine to Manawatu he quipped, "I'm glad I'm good for something".
Both the royals had ready smiles and a short comment for the large numbers of the public or officials who met them, and the public perception of the couple rocketed.
When Michael Ford introduced himself as the chairman of Feilding Promotion, the prince responded, "We have certainly promoted your town today."
Other signs of the prince's quick humour were heard when he asked a line of people waiting to meet him, "Is this the queue for the cafe?" and to a St John ambulance driver "I'm glad St John is here, in case I fall over in the heat."
"Feilding was buzzing today," Rotarian David Young said at a meeting that night.
"Everyone was happy. It has lifted the mood of the whole town."
Guest speaker at that meeting NZ Police Rural Area Commander Mark Harrison said three months of planning had gone into the visit, although it was not officially confirmed until three weeks out.
"The Prince requested no metal barriers, because they wanted to talk to New Zealanders and have fun."
Police were brought in from all over the district for the day.
"We were told it was the best organised day of their visit. Manchester Square was a good site and people were well behaved."
Feilding Promotion project manager Raewyn Loader estimated 5000-plus people were in Manchester Square.
The Farmers' Market, one of the main reasons for the couple stopping in Feilding, lived up to its reputation. The Duchess asked Hester Guy for the recipe for the sauce she tasted on lamb there.
"Camilla spoke with Rangitikei Honey man Gavin Lambert," Mrs Loader said.
"She keeps beehives and she and Gavin talked bees. They were interested in the wines and the breads. Camilla talked knowledgeably about the wheat that is used by Wholegrain Organics."
At Waipiko farm in Cheltenham, Prince Charles also accepted the offer of a jar of Amanda and Jason Prior's honey he tasted in his tea.
"Mauways Nursery scored a coup on the day. They are in contact with the head gardener at Highgrove to send hostas, which the Prince and Duchess saw at the market. Apparently they are very special hostas," Mrs Loader said.
"You couldn't get better advertising that."