Prince Harry has charmed New Zealand with his easy going attitude during his 8 days of visit. The Prince – who has travelled from Wellington, Christchurch and Stewart Island to the river city of Whanganui – finished his tour in Auckland, footing it at an event celebrating the build-up to the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015.
Prince Harry captained Team New Zealand made up of lucky young footballers in a five-a-side game against a team led by Junior All White Adam Mitchell, in front of an audience of schools, clubs and volunteers. New Zealand football royalty Ivan Vicelich – who was awarded the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Ball for his heroics during Auckland City’s Club World Cup campaign – stepped up as referee.
Auckland is preparing to host the biggest football party New Zealand has ever seen. The FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 kicks off at the QBE Stadium on 30 May and the first game, between host nation New Zealand and Ukraine, will be the opening chapter in one of the world’s greatest sporting events.
The Cloud – an events hub on Auckland’s thriving downtown waterfront – was transformed with all the key ingredients of a football tournament, giving fans a taste of what’s to come during the tournament which will be held in seven New Zealand host cities from 30 May – 20 June, 2015.
Unsurprisingly the Prince didn’t take his duties lightly, showing plenty of skill as he fired home the winning goal to see his team take out the game 8-7.
Beyond the pitch, outside on Queen’s Wharf, Prince Harry took time to meet some of his loyal supporters during his only public engagement in Auckland, before paying a visit to High Performance Sport New Zealand’s National Training Centre.
In an interview with a local television station, Harry found it hard to pick a single highlight of his trip, but said he was amazed by the welcoming nature of New Zealand and its people.
“The welcome that I’ve had has been typical Kiwi I suppose. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s been fantastic,” Harry said.
“We managed to cover every corner of New Zealand and meet so many different people, from different backgrounds. From a personal point of view, to be invited down to the marae in Whanganui, that was just huge respect for me.”
“The whole trip has just been epic fun.”
When asked what he thought about New Zealand and its people Prince Harry said Kiwis were “an amazing group of people, with fantastic culture and background in a beautiful, beautiful country.”