pregnancy

"It's a blessing to be here." Prince Harry gives touching nod to royal baby in his latest speech.

A translator at her side, the Duchess of Sussex broke into a grin as a Maori elder wished her strength with her soon-to-be “pepi” during the royal couple’s welcome to New Zealand’s South Island.

It was with the blowing of a conch that Prince Harry and Meghan were greeted on Monday to a beachside camp at Totaranui in the Abel Tasman National Park, rain falling around them.

Under a marquee, a kaumatua (elder) from the local iwi (tribe) Barney Thomas spoke in Te Reo Maori, wishing them well with their pepi (baby). Meghan smiled as the words were translated for her.

He also explained why the Duchess was seated a few inches behind the Duke in the front row.

“The middle represents the god of war and we don’t want to put our women into that space.

“We want to be inclusive but especially Meghan, because she’s expecting, we don’t want to put her at any risk.”

Harry shrugged off the rain as he spoke to the crowd.

“The weather forecast was a lot worse than this and we are really fortunate to be here.

“The rain is a blessing and a reminder of our connection to the land,” he said.

“From my wife, myself and our little bump, it’s a blessing to be here.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Wellington. Image via Getty.
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Then the Duke - in a black puffer jacket - and the Duchess - in a black Seasalt coat - set out for a walk in the rain, arm-in-arm and sharing an umbrella as they strolled down one of the area's golden beaches, talking conservation with a ranger.

The Department of Conservation's Andrew Lamason pointed out a weka - a flightless woodhen that only lives in New Zealand - as they went past, saying the animals were the country's equivalent of monkeys because of their cheekiness.

But while the royals didn't seem to mind the rain, a planned tree planting was called off due to the weather. Instead the couple joined local schoolchildren for brownies and tea under a tent.

"They acted very down-to-earth, and they genuinely care about the people and the land," said Saskia Gray, 16.

Earlier in the day, keen locals - and their dogs - were lining the street to catch a glimpse of Prince Harry and Meghan arriving at Wellington's Maranui Cafe, a well-known seaside brunch spot.

While giving the couple a chance to take in some of the city's famed cafe culture, the visit also continued their work focusing on mental health.

Inside they spoke with youths contributing to initiatives around the city, the prince raising the need to normalise conversations about mental health and concerns about the effect social media was having.

"Everyone needs someone to turn to, right?" the Duke said.

Outside, local resident Raewyn Humphries brought her daughters, Hazel, 10, and Evenlyn, 7, to catch a glimpse and share an experience she also had at their age.

"I can remember coming out and seeing Princess Diana when she came," Ms Humphries said.

But while most seemed thrilled to see the royals, the festivities proved too much for one. Five-year-old Joe Young was overcome as the royals approached school students and refused to shake hands, despite the Duchess kneeling to try and comfort him.

Meghan and Harry will now will return to Wellington to check out a programme supporting young people into the film industry, before leaving for Auckland.

Their 16-day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand ends on Wednesday.

Watch: Meghan and Harry, from birth til now.

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