A royal tour Down Under for Prince George

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HE MAY just be eight months old.

But it was Prince George who stole the show when he faced the world’s media for only the second time as he arrived in New Zealand with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The prince looked happy and content as he was carried off a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) plane in Wellington by his mother and began his life as a working royal.

He faced the world’s media for only the second time in his short life - the first being when William and Kate showed off their day-old son outside the London hospital where he was born.

Grey misty clouds and drizzle greeted the royal visitors as they arrived at Wellington International Airport but the prince seemed oblivious to the cold conditions and waved his arms and legs.

Braving the windy conditions at the airport, Kate wore an eye-catching scarlet coat by designer Catherine Walker and a matching hat by Gina Foster, with her son dressed in a cream cardigan over a white top and shorts.

But for once it wasn’t Kate’s fashion choices that were causing scrutiny, instead controversy came after parents in New Zealand raised concerns online about the arrangements for the car seat chosen for George by the royal couple.

Plunket, New Zealand’s national childcare advisory agency, published photos of a Maxi-Cosi baby seat fitted to the official car which will carry George facing forward - but many people said it was going against its own recommendations that a child of George’s age should face the rear window.

Prime Minister John Key was waiting on the tarmac to greet the royal couple but they received the full splendour of a traditional Maori welcome at nearby Government House, the official resident of the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Prince William was the first to perform a hongi - a traditional Maori greeting where noses are pressed together and a breath is symbolically exchanged - with two Maori elders and cultural adviser Lewis Moeau and Hiria Hape.

Kate smiled broadly as she followed suit.

On the windswept and rain soaked lawn of the historic building, a group of around 35 semi-naked Maoris performed a ceremonial challenge called the wero to determine whether the visitors were friends or foe.

Three male toa, or warriors, armed with spears advanced on the royal couple and uttered war cries leaving Kate looking a little startled.

They performed an intricate and intimidating series of martial arts moves before one offered William, 31, a rakau tapu or dart.

The Duke crouched down to pick it up, all the while keeping eye contact with the warrior.

Kate and William were then officially cleared as “friends” and welcomed onto the main grass area.

She later shook hands with one warrior who wore a thong exposing his heavily tattooed bottom and told him she thought the traditional greeting was “super”.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key tweeted: “The Royals have landed in Wellington. Let’s make them very welcome, New Zealand.”

Tony Burdin, chief executive of Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society

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