The Duke of Edinburgh, 1869–71
The first royal visitor to New Zealand, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrived at Wellington on 11 April 1869 as Captain of HMS Galatea. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert (1844–1900), Duke of Edinburgh, was the second son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and was to become Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893. After nearly a week in Wellington, His Royal Highness proceeded to Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Auckland, being received everywhere with great enthusiasm. In the Wellington of those days it was possible to arrange for the distinguished guest to go pig shooting on Miramar Peninsula and to picnic at Howe's Farm, Newtown. The stay in Auckland was prolonged until 1 June in an unsuccessful attempt to arrange a meeting with Maori leaders with a view to improving Maori-Pakeha relations. A notable feature of the decorations for the tour was the use of locally made and designed “transparencies” – thin fabric pennants with a variety of topical designs.
In the following year, on 27 August 1870, the Galatea with the Royal captain aboard returned briefly to Wellington, departing for Sydney on 3 September.
On a third and final visit, the Duke arrived at Auckland on 8 December 1870 and spent some time in the thermal regions and visiting the Maori people. He left for England on 16 January 1871.