Charming Niuean woman talks about gifting 'king'-sized bed sheet to Camilla and 'Charlie' at Auckland ceremony

Charles and Camilla arrived in Auckland to great pomp but a group of Niuean dancers and a 97-year-old returned servicewoman stole the show on the first day of the royal visit to New Zealand.

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Charles and Camilla paid tribute today to Niuean soldiers who fought alongside Kiwis in WWI. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall made a first appearance of their week-long tour on Monday morning, laying a wreath at Mount Roskill War Memorial Park in Auckland's South.

The park recognises the contribution of troops from Niue - a tiny Pacific Island nation - who fought alongside New Zealanders in World War I.

Dorothy Sietu, one of the leaders of the Niue RSA New Zealand, said she was filled with joy to see the royal couple in the flesh.

"I love to dance and sing. I was so happy to meet the prince," she said.

"He asked me about my gift and he was happy to get it. Camilla was happy too."

Sietu presented a traditional sheet to the royal couple, before heading inside for a party.

With a local children's choir providing a musical backdrop, the prince and duchess were presented to assembled visitors drawn largely from the military community.

Norma Bucknell, a 97-year-old veteran of World War II, told the prince her age with a booming voice, drawing laughs from the crowd.

"He said 'what branch are you in?' and I said communications. It was 1942 that I joined so I've forgotten a bit but not all of it," she laughed.

"It was wonderful."

Camilla wore a sea foam green jacket and skirt, with a royal minder appearing with a translucent umbrella just as the heavens opened.

The royal couple were plainly enjoying themselves, with Charles venturing over the grass to meet with a smattering of members of the public who had caught wind of the private event.

Eva Lever, from nearby Onehunga, said she was drawn in for a stickybeak.

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Their Royal Highnesses will be in the country for one week. Source: 1 NEWS

"I've never seen the royals and I thought it was too good to be true to have them come to nearby Mount Roskill," she said.

"It's lovely to see them in the flesh. I'm thrilled to bits."

The royal pair have a packed itinerary, departing the wreath-laying for a cultural welcome.

Next comes a visit to a social enterprise which creates jobs through waste reduction, a sustainably-focused winery and a trip to Whenuapai for military presentations.

Despite a packed itinerary, there are only three opportunities for the public to engage with the prince and duchess, on three public walks.

The pair will stroll around Auckland's Viaduct Harbour tomorrow and Christchurch's Cathedral Square on Friday, before Charles visits the seaside town of Kaikoura on Saturday.

Deputy Labour leader Kelvin Davis, who is the uncle of Niuean nephews, represented the government on Monday.

"The duchess commented on the weather and hoped the rain would hold off, which it largely did," he said.

"The best part of this for me was seeing the Niuean community and men who served alongside New Zealanders in World War I."