Charles and Camilla begin NZ visit

Prince Charles receives a hongi from an elder in Auckland on his royal visit to New Zealand.
Prince Charles receives a hongi from an elder in Auckland on his royal visit to New Zealand.

Visiting a community radio station in Auckland, Prince Charles sprung for Bob Marley's One Love in a one-song stint as a guest DJ.

The mellow reggae anthem was a surprising choice for the Prince of Wales as he dropped into RYZ FM on the first full day of a week-long royal tour of New Zealand.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were feted around New Zealand's biggest city on Monday.

There were no public events but a few dozen members of the public caught wind of a wreath-laying in honour of Niue and New Zealand's wartime contributions at Mount Roskill War Memorial Park, watching on with glee.

None were more excited than Dorothy Sietu, a Niue-New Zealand woman who was moved to sing and dance with her friends by the thrill of an up-close experience with the royals.

"I love to dance and sing. I was so happy to meet the prince," she said.

"He asked me about my gift and he was happy to get it. Camilla was happy too."

Sietu presented a traditional sheet to the royal couple, before heading inside for a party.

With a local children's choir providing a musical backdrop, the prince and duchess were presented to assembled visitors drawn largely from the military community.

Norma Bucknell, a 97-year-old veteran of World War II, told the prince her age with a booming voice, drawing laughs from the crowd.

"He said 'what branch are you in?' and I said communications. It was 1942 that I joined so I've forgotten a bit but not all of it," she laughed.

"It was wonderful."

Eva Lever, from nearby Onehunga, said she was drawn in for a stickybeak.

"I've never seen the royals and I thought it was too good to be true to have them come to nearby Mount Roskill," she said.

"It's lovely to see them in the flesh. I'm thrilled to bits."

Camilla wore a dragonfly brooch on her sea foam green jacket and skirt, with a royal minder appearing with a translucent umbrella just as the heavens opened.

The pair were then shuffled off to the Wesley Community Centre, where the prince revealed his taste in music, screen-printed two t-shirts and patted a friendly dog at a bike repair workshop.

Later in the day, they headed north to the Hunting Lodge winery, where they swirled and tasted wines among a more well-heeled crowd.

"I'm not an expert," Charles exclaimed.

The royal pair were particularly enamoured by a medlar paste from Mincher Garden - and perhaps surprisingly given New Zealand's culinary reputation - they declined the chance to try organic lamb cutlets.

They concluded their day with a presentation of the Queen's Colour, a at the RNZAF base at Whenuapai.

Despite a packed itinerary, there are only three opportunities for the public to engage with the prince and duchess in the week ahead - on three public walks.

The pair will stroll around Auckland's Viaduct Harbour on Tuesday and Christchurch's Cathedral Square on Friday, before Charles visits the seaside town of Kaikoura on Saturday.

Australian Associated Press