'Princess Kate' brings rainbows to children

SIMON DAY
Last updated 14:22 12/04/2014

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For the children and parents of Rainbow Place hospice, meeting Princess Kate will be a memory that helps them through the hard times.

The children's hospice in Hamilton is New Zealand's only service that helps children with severe illness and children who have lost or are losing a loved one.

Today they threw a Mad Hatter's tea party to welcome the Duchess of Cambridge, complete with white rabbits, giant frogs and pirates.

Glenny Bowe's daughter Kaiya, 6, suffers from a complicated form of cystic fibrosis. She is diabetic and unable to eat normal food and Kaiya spends much of her life in hospital.

"We have a crazy life, but it's ok. To have a day like this you use the positive memory to drag you through the bad ones," said Bowes.

Kaiya was initially shy about meeting the princess but didn't want her mum to help her in her big moment.

"She went on her own. Kaiya told me that the duchess said to say hi. We are pretty lucky, it's been all about the kids," she said.

Brother and sister, Te Waraki Rupe, 10, and Bailey Taylor, 6, visit Rainbow Place to help deal with their mum's terminal cancer.

"My mum is dying and we don't want her to die," said Bailey, who was dressed as a Rainbow Princess.

Coming to Rainbow Place and having special days like today really helped, said Te Waraki, who had 'ROYAL' carved into his haircut.

"She said stuff about me, she liked my haircut, she was kind," he said.

The duchess said to the children at the hospice: "I'm sure you're all going through difficult times and so it's really good to have a place like this, I'm sure, to be able to talk about your feelings and to meet other people who are going through the same thing. There should be more places like this."

It was an amazing experience for everyone, Rainbow Place CEO, Craig Tamblyn, said.

"It was a special day not just for me but for the children and the family members. She had an absolute interest in everyone she spoke to," he said.

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