Prince William pays his respects in New Zealand
Having paid his respects to Australian and New Zealand soldiers, Prince William has arrived in Christchurch and thanked emergency staff who worked through the aftermath of a deadly attack on the city's mosques.
The Duke of Cambridge was whisked through the South Island city in a police motorcade after touching down on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as he got off his plane.
High security and a low-key approach by organisers meant the handful of royal watchers gathered at the airport and along streets would have no chance to catch a glimpse during the arrival.
A small group of curious bystanders formed outside the gates at the Prince's first port of call, the city's Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, which acted as a base of operations after the terror attack.
He was greeted by Police Commissioner Mike Bush and met with officers and ambulance staff, some of whom were at the scene of the attacks that killed 50.
The Duke asked about how the response was coordinated and how their training had helped staff deal with the unfolding situation.
"Nothing really trains you for seeing it in real life," the Prince, who served as a pilot with the air ambulance service in Britain, said.
Afterwards, Bush told reporters staff had been "overwhelmed" by William's message of support and his acknowledgement of their work.
"The emotion was quite palpable," Bush said.
"If I could use his words to our staff which was: 'A good friend doesn't pick up the phone when people are in need, you travel to their place and you put your arms around them.'"
William began his two-day visit to New Zealand on Thursday morning by paying his respects to Australian and New Zealand soldiers with a wreath-laying at an Anzac ceremony at Auckland's War Memorial Museum.
The March 15 terror attack has loomed over this year's commemorations in New Zealand.
Dozens of armed police officers stood guard during the hymns and speeches, trucks and buses blocked roads around the site and lookouts kept watch from the museum's roof.
While William did not speak, Ardern in an emotional speech said the event was a reminder of shared values after the terror attack.
"Let us recommit to always remembering our shared humanity, that there is more that unites us than divides us," she said.
"Our sense of independence is as strong as our sense of responsibility to each other and not just as nation-states but as human beings."
Visiting Christchurch's attack survivors will now be the focus for the remainder of the Duke's trip.
Apart from a last-minute public walkabout on Friday, events are expected to take a significantly more sombre tone than most royal visits.
The Prince will on Friday visit the city's hospital to meet with a handful of those still being cared for, before meeting with the Muslim community at the city's terror-struck mosques.
Before arriving in Christchurch, William met four-year-old Alen Alsati at Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland. The youngster was injured in the terrorist attack and awoke from a coma earlier this week.
He previously visited Christchurch following the deadly 2011 earthquake and last visited with wife Catherine - who hasn't joined him this week - in 2014.
© AAP 2019