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All eyes on George on his touring debut

ALL eyes were on Prince George when the royal baby arrived in New Zealand with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their tour Down Under.

CHEEKY WELCOME: A Maori greeting for the royal couple.
CHEEKY WELCOME: A Maori greeting for the royal couple.

William and Kate's son looked bright, 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.

The baby prince faced the world's media for only the second time in his short life — the first was when William and Kate proudly showed off their day-old son outside the London hospital where he was born.

George is only eight months old but he travelled with his parents on a scheduled Qantas flight from Heathrow Airport, via Dubai, to Sydney where they transferred to the military plane.

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.

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 couple.

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

Kate and William were then officially cleared as "friends" and welcomed on to 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".

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