Prince William has joined prime minister Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand on Anzac Day to pay tribute to the victims of the Christchurch mosque attack. William, who is visiting the country on a solo tour on behalf of the Queen, attended the service in Auckland and took part in a hongi [Māori nose press] with other New Zealanders.
The attack, which happened on March 15, claimed the lives of 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch. It is one of the worst attacks in the country’s modern history. During the service, Ardern focused on the importance of not taking peace or life for granted. “There is more that unites us than divides us,” Ardern said. “I’m really pleased that he [Prince William] can make a short visit to support those affected by the attack and pay tribute to the extraordinary compassion and solidarity that New Zealanders have displayed in recent weeks,” Ardern said of William’s two-day visit. William also visited the city in 2011 following an earthquake, which claimed 185 lives.
Ardern continued: “The Duke has a close connection with New Zealand and in particular Christchurch. His visit provides the opportunity to pay tribute to those affected by the mosque terrorist attacks and show support to the local and national community.”
After the service in Auckland, William travelled to Christchurch to meet with the survivors. As the country remains at a medium risk of a security attack, William’s itinerary has been kept under wraps, but he is due to take part in a garden walkabout on April 26 in the city.