- Mark Tantrum/ New Zealand Government via Getty Images
- The Duke of Cambridge is on a two-day tour of New Zealand on behalf of the Queen.
- Prince William performed a hongi – a traditional Māori greeting – with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern upon his arrival.
- The greeting is the exchange of “the breath of life,” according to newzealand.com.
- The duke is paying tribute to Christchurch attack victims and survivors during his visit.
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An emotional photo captured the moment that Prince William gave New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern a traditional Māori greeting as he paid tribute to the victims of the Christchurch attacks.
The royal is on a two-day tour of New Zealand in order to honour both the victims and survivors of the horrific shootings, which resulted in the deaths of 50 people at two mosques on March 15.
But first, the prince was welcomed by Ardern on Wednesday, who he performed a hongi – a traditional greeting of the eastern Polynesian language spoken by the indigenous population of New Zealand – before attending a service for ANZAC Day.
The greeting, which involves two people touching noses, is described as “the breath of life,” according to newzealand.com.
It is used by locals when greeting friends, but is also used to symbolize that visitors like Prince William are no longer tourists. According to Trip Savvy, by touching noses and exchanging breath – “the breath of life” – the visitor will become one of the people.
This isn’t the first time a member of the royal family has taken part in this tradition.
Both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have strong ties to the country, and they performed the greeting during their visit in October.
Markle even started her speech about women’s suffrage in the eastern Polynesian language during their visit.
- Phil Walter/ AFP/ Getty Images
In March, Prince Harry and Markle also paid a visit to New Zealand House in London to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks.
William, Harry, Markle, and Kate Middleton released a joint statement in response.
“This senseless attack is an affront to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand, and the broader Muslim community. It is a horrifying assault on a way of life that embodies decency, community, and friendship,” they said.
“We know that from this devastation and deep mourning, the people of New Zealand will unite to show that such evil can never defeat compassion and tolerance.”
During his visit so far, Prince William has also met victims who survived the shooting, as well as the emergency service teams who responded to the attacks.
Kensington Palace posted a video of the royal meeting 5-year-old Alen Alsati in hospital, who recently emerged from a coma after suffering critical injuries in the attack.
The Duke of Cambridge meets five year old Alen Alsati, who is recovering in Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland after being injured in the Christchurch mosques terrorist attack.
Alen woke from a coma earlier this week after suffering critical injuries in the attack. pic.twitter.com/XcNAsIw7xt
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 25, 2019
In the clip, Alen can be heard asking, “Do you have a daughter?”
“Yeah, she’s called Charlotte,” William replied. “She’s about the same age as you.”
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, and the Duke of Gloucester are set to attend a service at Westminster Abbey for Anzac Day on Thursday afternoon.
The service will commemorate all New Zealanders and Australians who have “given their lives in their service to their countries.”