Christchurch will rise again: Prince William

Last updated 15:14 14/04/2014
Fairfax NZ

Wills and Kate spent day eight of their tour of New Zealand in Christchurch.

Royals take virtual tour

Royal tour in Christchurch
PHIL NOBLE/ Reuters Zoom
Prince William took his chance to hold the ICC Cricket World Cup - an event New Zealand will co-host with Australia in 2015.

Wills and Kate play cricket

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Prince William has paid tribute to the resilience of Christchurch, saying he is looking forward to seeing the city rise again.

After a spot of cricket this morning, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived to cheers at the Air Force Museum at Wigram, site of their final official engagement of the day.

William last visited just after the deadly quake and said he was struck today by the ''resilience and adaptability''of the local people.

Despite the daunting job of rebuilding, Cantabrians have kept their ''classic Kiwi humour'', he said.

He cited three reasons why Christchurch was not defeated by the natural disaster.

Firstly, ''this is your home'', secondly, ''you all care deeply for Christchurch ... and it's clear you want to do your very best for your city'', and the third reason he gave why Christchurch has a strong future, is because the people in the room today had decided to devote their energy, investment, time and skills in rebuilding.

''Christchurch is a city which has chosen not only to survive but to thrive,'' William said.

He said he and his wife were looking forward to coming back to see how the city takes shape.

''As you're aware, this is Catherine's first visit to New Zealand. And the two of us are phenomenally grateful for the way that we've been made to feel so very welcome,'' he said.

He said there had been ''many highlights'' during the visit. He joked that sailing was one of Catherine's, but perhaps not one of his.

There have also been ''a number of moving reminders'' of harder days in New Zealand's past.

Particularly poignant, in the centenary year of the start of World War I, were the war memorials they visited in Blenheim and Cambridge - which he said ''stand as simple tributes to the selflessness of those who have gone before in this great nation''.

Three years ago when he visited Christchurch after the February 22, 2011 earthquake killed 185 people, he remembers hearing of the courage of ordinary members of public, first responders, the student army, and ''many others in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes''.

''Both Catherine and I have found ourselves moved this morning by the reminders of how awful the second earthquake was.''

He asked the gathering to join him and his wife in passing on thoughts and prayers to those in the Solomon Islands who have been struck by a similar harrowing experience in recent days.

About 500 Christchurch business people were gathered at the air base for Christchurch's Redevelopment lunch, Future Focus.

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They were sitting at 49 tables in the museum surrounded by old war planes, including an Iroquois military helicopter, and a Douglas C-47B Dakota, which carried the Queen on previous royal visits.

After the lunch, the royals emerged from the museum to be greeted by squeals of delight from the crowd. Kate gave them a wave.

They then each laid a single red rose at the Wall of Remembrance to pay respects to New Zealand's fallen airmen.

William and Kate also unveiled a new plaque saying "In recognition of all those RNZAF personnel who have served in peacekeeping missions throughout the world since 1948."

They gave a final wave before they got back into the motorcade set for the airport and a flight back to Wellington, and baby George.


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