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New Zealand farewells Royal family

New Zealand’s moment in the royal spotlight is over but - just like any other overseas trip, there are many happy family snaps to keep the memories alive.

Leaving Wellington early this afternoon (16.4.14), a relaxed royal trio - Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George - were full of smiles and cheery waves as they made their final farewells on the New Zealand leg of their first official family tour.

From setting foot in New Zealand on the Wellington tarmac and their first official engagement as a family with a bunch of Kiwi toddlers, to some unique outdoor adventures and encounters, the royal couple have clearly enjoyed their New Zealand experience.

On his fourth visit to New Zealand, Prince William has frequently spoken of how much he loves New Zealand and his wish to share his appreciation with his wife. The happy snaps of the family together and the royal couple enjoying New Zealand’s people, places and experiences bear witness to that.

Prince George also made his first foray into international relations, forging some early ties on a play date with a group of ‘Plunket babies’ and their adoring parents.

Holiday experiences New Zealanders turned out in force to greet the royals wherever they went, so that during their nine-day, eight-region tour they were never far from a crowd waiting to shake hands, chat or pass on gifts.

They were also there for the solemn civic moments - commemorating the First World War, remembering those who have given their lives in war or the line of duty and the victims of the Christchurch earthquake - in which the royals participated with great dignity.

Good sports as well, they turned out on the sports field to play cricket - heralding the ICC Cricket World Cup which New Zealand will co-host with Australia in early 2015 - and non-contact Rippa rugby with young Kiwis, and launched New Zealand’s new centre of cycling excellence.

But, the tour will no doubt be best remembered for the action-packed fun dates when the royal couple were able to leave behind regal responsibilities and enjoy themselves - just like millions of tourists who have felt the wind in their hair sailing in the Hauraki Gulf, jet boating at speed down a spectacular river canyon, or tasting some particularly fine wine and food on a vineyard.

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