10 May 2015

Stewart Islanders say Prince Harry a down-to-earth good guy

9:16 pm on 10 May 2015

Stewart Islanders are praising Prince Harry as being a down-to-earth good guy after a community expo thrown in his honour.

All the specials on the menu at the South Sea Hotel are royal themed.

All the specials on the menu at the South Sea Hotel are royal themed. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Prince Harry arrived for 24 hours on the island by helicopter at midday on day two of a week-long New Zealand tour.

Prince Harry has joined the weekly Stewart Island quiz night.

He arrived just as the quiz questions were starting at 6.30pm at the South Sea Hotel on the Oban foreshore.

Prince Harry has joined a team with Southland mayor, Gary Tong, and is laughing and joking.

All the questions and the hotel's specials board have a royal theme this evening and the hotel's main bars are full.

Prince Harry attended a community expo at the Stewart Island community centre.

Prince Harry attended a community expo at the Stewart Island community centre. Photo: Pool

Earlier Prince Harry toured the Stewart Island community centre where about 80 people from 10 community groups were gathered to meet him.

Locals had set up stalls displaying aspects of island life, from fishing produce to history to sports.

However, some locals were left scratching their heads after the prince tried his hand at shucking a Bluff oyster, but would not eat it.

Everyone spoken to by Radio New Zealand said they were impressed by Harry's down-to-earth manner and natural approach.

Outside the centre another 100 people gathered to catch a glimpse of him.

Southland District mayor Gary Tong walked Prince Harry into the centre and around the stalls of 10 community groups, including the bowls club and land search and rescue.

Prince Harry's visit to Stewart Island comes more than 60 years after his grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, visited Invercargill and Bluff when they came on a royal tour in 1954.

With a population of 378 the island had almost a quarter of its residents inside the centre.

Many of those who met Prince Harry described him as 'easy to talk to'.

Many of those who met Prince Harry described him as 'easy to talk to'. Photo: Pool

More on Prince Harry's visit to New Zealand and Australia

Community centre treasurer Chris Sara said it was not often people get the chance to shake the hand of royalty.

"A quarter of the population has probably shaken his hand now."

Sara was excited to get home to his wife and tell her about meeting him.

"I'll go home and shake my wife's hand, I'll ask her what part of her she wants me to touch."

Angus Kenny, 12, from the island's bowling club said the prince was not as he expected, but casual, as if you had bumped into him on the street.

Nic Adlan, of Stewart Island Smoked Salmon, said speaking to him was awesome.

"He was just so lovely and open it was just like talking to one of your own kids really."

Prince Harry's last engagement of the day is a private service at St Andrew's Anglican Church.

Prince Harry meets local healthcare workers on Stewart Island.

Prince Harry meets local healthcare workers on Stewart Island. Photo: Twitter / NZ Governor-General

Prince Harry will learn about community life on the island - and visit a bird sanctuary.

Prince Harry will learn about community life on the island - and visit a bird sanctuary. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Prince Harry (front, right) meets with Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Prince Harry (front, right) meets with Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt. Photo: Twitter / NZ Governor-General

The 30-year-old prince left Wellington for Invercargill and Stewart Island this morning after a welcome fit for a rock star in the capital.

He arrived in the country yesterday afternoon and was greeted at the airport by Prime Minister John Key.

The prince then travelled to a ceremony at Government House, causing big traffic delays, and laid a wreath at the National War Memorial.

He spent the evening watching the Hurricanes beat the Sharks at Westpac Stadium.

Afterwards, he received a Hurricanes-branded baby onesie for his niece, the newborn Princess Charlotte, from the team captain, Conrad Smith.

The prince will also visit Christchurch, Whanganui and Auckland.

Photo gallery: Prince Harry arrives in Wellington

Hongi

Prince Harry is welcomed with a hongi by participants at the ceremony at Government House. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

fans at Pukeahu

Fans welcome their favourite red-haired prince to Wellington. Photo: RNZ / Nick Butcher

Conrad Smith presents Prince Harry with a Hurricanes jersey 2015.

Not just for Princess Charlotte - Conrad Smith presents Prince Harry with a team jersey for himself. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

- Pool Copy / RNZ -

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