William, Kate and George head to NZ

Last updated 08:48 20/12/2013
Prince William
Middleton / Kensington Palace
ROYAL FAMILY: William and Kate with baby Prince George.

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When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge bring Prince George to New Zealand next year, it'll be the latest of a string of visits that have generally attracted huge crowds of Kiwis and local dignitaries.

Air travel made the 19,000-kilometre journey from Britain to New Zealand easier, but the first visit was in 1869, by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria was by sea. He arrived in Wellington as the Captain of HMS Galatea.

The latest visit, a three and a half week tour of New Zealand and Australia, is expected to start in early April.

It will be the Duchess' first official visit to New Zealand, and potentially the first ever official overseas trip for George, who would be around nine months old.

Prime Minister John Key welcomed the news.

"I am delighted New Zealand will have the opportunity to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who today confirmed they will visit Australia and New Zealand in April next year," said Key.
 
"It's also anticipated Prince George will accompany his parents but a decision hasn't been made on that yet and will be made in due course."
 
Prince William has visited New Zealand four times, most recently in March 2011 to attend the Christchurch Earthquake Memorial Service, and to visit the families of the Pike River miners.

The tour would mirror Prince William's first overseas tour at the same age in March and April 1983.
 
On that trip, pictures were taken of Prince William playing with the iconic buzzy bee toy on the lawn of Government House, Auckland.

PAST ROYAL VISITS

Here are some of the major royal visits:

1901: The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, to become George V and Queen Mary in 1910, came to New Zealand as part of an Empire tour.

1920: Prince of Wales

Edward, the Prince of Wales, toured the colonies in 1920.

Britain and New Zealand were interested in what was called a "carefully arranged propaganda exercise", in which Edward's father George wanted to support the British empire after World War I.

Large crowds gathered to see him, and when he arrived in Wellington, the crowds were so dense his car slowed to a walking pace.

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By the end of the tour, which included Australia, he had a minor nervous breakdown.

1927: Duke and Duchess of York

The duke and duchess toured New Zealand in 1927. They became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1936.
Queen Elizabeth, known after her husband's death as the Queen Mother, remained popular in New Zealand.

1953-54: Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, visited in 1953-54, and it was the first visit by a reigning monarch.

It took place as the country recovered from World War II. The crowds were large and wildly enthusiastic, with people waiting for hours in main centres to get a good viewing position.

The Queen made her Christmas broadcast for 1953 from Government House in Auckland.

The Queen and Prince Philip visited nine other times after their 1954 trip, in 1963, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1995, and 2002.

1983: Prince Charles and Diana

Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales, came to New Zealand with their infant son, William.

The princess was the focus of the tour, with Charles detecting disappointment among the crowd on his side of the street during walkabouts.

Government House grounds in Auckland was the scene of the iconic photo of Prince William playing with a Buzzy Bee.

2011: Prince William

Prince William came to New Zealand in 2011 in a special visit to mark the November 2010 Pike River mine disaster, in which 29 men died, and the Christchurch earthquake of February 22, 2010, in which 185 people died.

He met with the families of the miners, and of those who died in Christchurch, and with rescue workers and those involved in earthquake recovery in Christchurch.

- Stuff

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