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Royal visit adds to Diwali and Open Streets in crowded Sunday schedule

The royal visit by Harry and Meghan to Pukeahu will cap off a busy day on Wellington’s streets tomorrow, with the Ta Ara Tapere ki Pōneke – Open Streets event in the CBD and the annual Diwali Festival on the waterfront also expected to draw big crowds.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will make their only public Wellington appearance tomorrow at Pukeahu National War Memorial between 4.45pm and 5.30pm after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and visiting the newly unveiled UK War Memorial.

Thousands are expected to attend the walkabout, with fine weather and northerlies expected after cloudy periods in the morning.

The visit will top off a busy Sunday in the capital.

The annual Diwali Festival will attract crowds and traffic to celebrations along the waterfront from 1.30 to 9.30pm, and the Ta Ara Tapere ki Pōneke – Open Streets event in the CBD means a number of streets will be closed between 6.00am and 3.00pm. (See separate posts on The Wellington App about these events.)

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he expected Harry and Meghan to be one of the most popular royal couples to visit Wellington.

“We want as many people to get their chance to see the couple so we are encouraging people to take some simple steps.”

These include:

  • Arrive well in advance of the event
  • Walk, or take a bus through the city to Pukeahu; if you have to drive remember there is not much parking in the neighbourhood
  • Be courteous: let children, short people and seniors get up the
  • Regardless of weather, leave umbrellas at home (they block views); take a hat and coat instead.

Wellington student Lucia Kennedy. Photo by VUW

On Monday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend Maranui Café’s Youth Mental Health event.

Their host will be Victoria University of Wellington student Lucia Kennedy, selected by the Department of Internal Affairs because of her extensive work in the mental health arena. She will be responsible for meeting the Duke and Duchess, guiding them around the various groups of people at the café and keeping the conversation flowing.

“I feel honoured to be representing my generation at this event, and will be forever grateful to the organisers for choosing me as the host,” she said.

A self-described ‘Happiness Entrepreneur’, Kennedy is studying towards Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce degrees. Her interest in mental health began at the age of 12. She had dreams of becoming a professional tennis player, but found that everyone she mentioned it to had a negative reaction and told her it would “never happen”. This became the inspiration for her ‘Take a Chance’ project to help young people develop the skills and get the support they needed to achieve their dreams. The project involved a life coaching course enabling young people to overcome negative thinking, a mentoring programme, and the creation of a book focused on global leaders and their road to success