Prince Harry Visits Stewart Island

You would have had to have been in an absolutely media free zone to have missed the visit of Captain Harry Wales to Stewart Island.

The Rev Richard Johnson escorts Prince Harry into St Andrews Anglican Church

The Rev Richard Johnson escorts Prince Harry into St Andrews Anglican Church

And by all accounts the Prince enjoyed his time here, and the Island was certainly thrilled to have him in our midst. The weather was very kind, a calm, mild day with light scattered cloud …. certainly a vast improvement on the gales and heavy rain forecast just 5 days ago.

Royal Visitors

Stewart Island has had only two previous Royal visits. Many years ago Prince Phillip briefly visited Mason Bay on the west side of the Island while on a conservation visit, and Prince Edward spent an evenings shore leave while a guest of the Navy doing a circumnavigation of Southern New Zealand

The Congregation before the Prince Arrived. Rev Johnstone, Rev Judy Johnston & Wynston Cooper, Lay Preacher in the front pew.

The Congregation before the Prince Arrived. Rev Richard Johnson, Rev Judy Johnston & Wynston Cooper, Lay Preacher in the front pew.

 

Program

The Island visit had a varied program, which included local groups, the school and children, a visit to Ulva Island, taking part in a regular Sunday quiz, and a private church service at St Andrews Anglican Church.

Church Service

Around 3 months ago Iris had a phone call from the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs inquiring as to the early May availability of St Andrews Church for private service for a VIP.

The service was very much a family one. Organist Mary Chittendon and her family, with Rev Judy Johnston

The service was very much a family one. Organist Mary Chittenden and her family, with Rev Judy Johnston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All very hush-hush, and not to be publicised. I had read the Prince was visiting New Zealand around that time, and guessed it was for him. The inquiry developed over time, and was eventually confirmed. Iris is Church Warden, and so was responsible for the organisation and preparation of the Church, And so it was that at 1700 on the 10th May Prince Harry joined an invited congregation for an early evening service.

Sty Andrews is 115 years old and the oldest Church on Stewart Island. Built out of native Rimu Timbers, and with many historic artifacts in it's care.

St Andrews is 115 years old and the oldest Church on Stewart Island. Built out of native Rimu Timbers, and with many historic artifacts in it’s care.

 

Security

My knowledge of such things is nil, and I had wondered how it would all pan out.  There was certainly lots of Police and large athletic looking gentlemen about, but it was all done with a very light hand, and quite unobtrusive. My job was to ring the bell on the Princes arrival…. and I thought “Why Not…??”, so 21 strokes it was, and I was also to take photos of the congregation pre-service, the arrival, and then the departure.

 

Security and Kaka. Security come carrying cashew nuts, so a great hit with the locals !!

Security and Kaka. Security come carrying cashew nuts, so a great hit with the local kakas !!

 

 

 

During the service I waited outside with some of the security, who were entertained by a couple of the locals, and to the delight of all concerned.