Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gift Māori names to cute little kiwi chicks in Rotorua

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex got up close and personal with a New Zealand icon on their visit to Rotorua, and got to name two kiwi chicks.

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The royal couple are on the final day of their tour. Source: 1 NEWS

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's fourth and final day in the country saw the royal couple visit Rainbow Springs to see for themselves the centre's kiwi breeding programme.

Guided by Kiwi for Kiwi's Michelle Impey and Rainbow Springs husbandry manager Emma Bean, the royal couple went behind the scenes of the hatchery - where a kiwi chick hatched just minutes before their arrival.

The couple named the three-day old chicks, one from the Coromandel, one from Taranaki, Koha, meaning gift, and Tihei, from the Māori saying 'tihei mauriora' meaning 'the sneeze of life'.

Both the Duke and Duchess expressed surprise when it was revealed kiwi's have a navel.

They also appeared delighted to see the kiwi's whiskers and nostrils.

Ms Impey told the Duke and Duchess that "our name says it all" and said they hoped that their conservation work would secure a future for Kiwis in the North Island, a sentiment echoed by Rainbow Springs chief executive Quinton Hall.

The couple were also presented the couple with a fern ornament that represented the kiwi's habitat.

"Please take this taonga and pass it on to your children and grandchildren," Mr Hall said.

A crowd of around 100 people assembled at Rainbow Springs, 45 minutes ahead of the royal visit.

Ms Impey said the visit, and the global coverage the royal couple bring, would be good for kiwi conservation.

"There’s a lot of preparation in hosting the royals but it’s worth it," Ms Impey said.

Earlier in the day Prince Harry embraced Māori culture to the fullest in his speech at Te Papaiouru Marae in Rotorua, speaking te reo and leading a waiata during the whaikorero process.

After completing his role earlier in the pōwhiri, Prince Harry was the last to speak inside the wharenui.

The Duke of Sussex said he was pleased to be spending time with the people of Te Arawa.

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The beautiful cloak pays homage to her royal status, her pregnancy and her Californian roots. Source: 1 NEWS

"Thank you so much for the beautiful cloak you have gifted myself and the Duchess," in reference to the personalised korowai both were presented prior to the pōwhiri.

He said the great skill and aroha which went into making the cloaks would see it as a treasured taonga in their family.

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The Duke of Sussex picked up the rākau whakawaha before walking on to Te Papaiouru Marae. Source: 1 NEWS

After his speech, the Prince then led a waiata himself, singing all of the words to Te Aroha in te reo.