Young Kiwis given 'special honour' of meeting their benefactor Prince Charles

For three young Kiwis a chance to meet Prince Charles in Auckland today was “a very special honour”.

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Charles and Camilla also visited the Mt Roskill War Memorial and Whenuapai Air Base. Source: 1 NEWS

The trio met his royal highness at a special event this afternoon held by The Prince’s Trust New Zealand - a charity which has enabled them to begin their own business.

Following a meet and greet at Auckland’s Viaduct the Prince headed to Mantell’s in Auckland’s Mt Eden, where he received a mihi whakatau (welcome) before being introduced to supporters and beneficiaries of the Trust.

With wide beaming smiles of pride, the first beneficiaries of The Prince’s Trust New Zealand following its founding in 2018, Kyle Ratana, Becki Moss and Tonicha Alves spoke about their excitement to meet the man who impacted their lives.

“It feels like a very special honour and privilege to be able to express how helpful it is for us,” Kyle Ratana said.

“What he’s doing is incredible. For him to start it up in Aotearoa … I can’t wait to see what impact it will have on budding businesses.”

Green Aura Nature’s Medicine is a business created by Kyle with the help of The Prince’s Trust. Fellow beneficiaries Becki started a photography business while Tonicha is currently working on ideas to start her own business.

What is The Prince’s Trust?

The Prince’s Trust New Zealand is a relatively young charity having only been founded in 2018.

The charity says its mission is to “activate young New Zealanders as designers, authors, dreamers, creators and workers for a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous future”.

The charity runs two programmes Achieve and Enterprise.

Achieve aims to support young people to become leaders by helping them to learn leadership skills and to gain employment, while Enterprise help those aged 18-30 start their own businesses.

The charity is part of The Prince’s Trust which was created by The Prince of Wales in 1976 to support young people from the ages of 11 to 30.

The programme aims to support young people who are unemployed, struggling at school and are at risk of exclusion.

More than 950,000 people have been supported by the charity since it began over 40 years ago.

First visit to charity in New Zealand

In his first visit to the charity in New Zealand, the prince met Kyle, Becki and Tonicha before mingling with a small crowd of charity supporters for 20 minutes over wine and canapes.

Among the crowd were several Kiwi celebrities involved in the New Zealand branch of the charity including broadcaster Toni Street, former All Black Ali Williams, chef Josh Emmet and Young New Zealander of the Year and Student Army Volunteer founder Sam Johnson attended. They all met Prince Charles today.

Following the afternoon tea, the prince listened to a speech by Kyle who praised and thanked the charity for helping him create a business and the opportunity to make a better life for his young daughter.

The Prince then delivered an impassioned speech about how proud he is of the Prince’s Trust in New Zealand.

Prince Charles said he was “full of admiration” for the first Kiwi beneficiaries of his charity and was “impressed by what Kyle Ratana” said during his speech.

He apologised for not bringing the charity to New Zealand sooner and could see the trust going from “strength to strength” in New Zealand in the future.

Closing the event, the Black Friars performed a song for the Prince while he tapped his foot.

Before exiting Mantells, he thanked the choir telling them their performance was “well worth the wait”.

Prince Charles briefly shook hands with the crowd waiting outside for him before leaving Mt Eden to attend the next event.

The Prince now joins the Duchess of Cornwall and the Governor General for a reception at Government House ahead of their trip to the Bay of Islands tomorrow.