Kate and Will to visit Waikato
What sights should the royal couple visit?ELTON SMALLMAN
Polish the silver and trim the lawns - Wills and Kate are coming to the Waikato.
Sources in Ngaruawahia said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be hosted by the Maori King Tuheitia at Turangawaewae Marae on their April tour of New Zealand.
Details were yet to be confirmed but Waikato Times understands that Prince William and Catherine planned a fleeting 90-minute visit to the heart of the Kingitanga on April 12.
Rumours that the royals would be present at the opening of the Avantidrome, scheduled on the same day as the Turangawaewae visit, had not made their way to Waikato Regional Council chair Paula Southgate's ears but she was a huge supporter of the idea.
"If they happen to be here at the right time then that would be fantastic," she said.
Prince William will follow in the footsteps of his grandparents Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who visited Turangawaewae Marae in December 1953. They also visited Cambridge, the Karapiro hydro project, Te Awamutu, Waitomo and Te Kuiti.
It looked like a whirlwind tour was on the cards but Ms Southgate said the Waikato offered enough attractions to entertain the royals for an extended stay.
"Waikato is a wonderful destination, there are so many things to see. They really would be spoilt for choice . . . we've got enough to keep them busy for three months."
Ms Southgate rattled off many attractions, but when asked to narrow it down to a top three, she suggested they check out the nature of the region.
"I think I'd offer them a bit of diversity. I'd start them off with the Waikato River, Huka falls and Lake Taupo, then a visit to our beautiful unspoiled Coromandel beaches and personally I'd like to showcase one of our ecological projects such as Maungatautari."
Prince William had started a course in agricultural management so a tour of the Ruakura Research Centre would be of interest as well. A pit stop at the neighbouring Super Rugby Chiefs base for the avid rugby follower could be arranged.
It is the fifth trip to New Zealand for Prince William and the first with his wife and their son, Prince George Alexander Louis.
Last year, Hamilton children's author Sharon Holt sent her award-winning Te Reo Singalong books to the baby prince as a gift.
She said she would love to know if they had been put to good use but thought the question would be inappropriate.
Plans were afoot to entice the royals to the Coromandel Peninsula as well.
Avid royalist and owner of the Corogate Cafe Angela Thompson-Hill said she would be wonderful if they made it to her neck of the empire, not far from Thames.
"We have got some really good hopes of them coming to the Coromandel quite frankly," she said.
Mrs Thompson-Hill's cafe was a "mini museum" with over 3500 items of memorabilia dating back to 1837.
A mug has been lovingly crafted for the baby prince and an invitation to the royal couple to bring their son to the Coromandel has been sent to The Old Boot Inn near the duchess' parents' home in Berkshire, where the Cambridges are known to have been regular diners.
If you have an idea of what youthink Prince William and Kate should do to extend their visit to the Waikato send your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org or our Facebook page and we'll pass the best of them on to Clarence House in a bid to give the Royals a chance to experience the best we have to offer.
- Waikato Times