Meghan and Harry’s Extraordinary Welcome in Rotorua

Meghan wore Stella McCartney for today’s visit to Te Papaiouru Marae for a formal pōwhiri and luncheon in honor of the Duke and Duchess.

It was a simply beautiful day in Rotorua as children awaited Meghan and Harry’s arrival.

From The Mirror’s story:

The couple were presented with traditional cloaks as they arrived at Ohinemutu, Rotorua, for a Pōwhiri welcoming ceremony and lunch.

The Māori cloaks look incredible.

A closer view of Meghan’s cloak.

More from 9Honey Australia:

Meghan Markle follows in Royal tradition! She’s been given a woven Korowai (Mãori cloak) to wear while attending a pōwiri. All the cloaks are personalised, with Meghan’s containing blue and gold inspired by the couple’s coat of arms.

Prince Harry:

Thank you for the beautiful cloak you have so kindly gifted to myself and The Duchess. We appreciate the skill of the weavers who made it, and the aroha that has gone into its creation. This cloak is a taonga that will be cherished in our family.

A hongi.

Embed from Getty Images

The Daily Mirror’s royal correspondent, Russell Myers, shared a video of the Pōwhiri, a Māori welcoming ceremony with dances, singing and speeches.

It was a remarkable sight.

An incredible performance by the Te Arawa people honoring the couple.

An amazing memory from the final day of an extraordinary trip.

Many noticed the stunning green piece Meghan is wearing.

It is a Pounamu Kouma made of New Zealand jade by renowned Māori designer Kiri Nathan. The designer says “The Kouma represents Strength, Integrity & Authority, cut from a Kawakawa variety of Authentic Ngāi Tahu Pounamu.” The piece was carved by the artist’s husband, Jason Nathan.

Both Harry and Meghan were given one as a gift by Governor-General Patsy Reddy.

After spending time meeting many of those gathered for today’s events, it was time to take off the Korowai (cloaks).

More about today’s visit from the New Zealand Herald:

Te Arawa, the tribe which hosts the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today, says the couple’s choice to visit Rotorua is of huge cultural significance to Māori.

Sir Toby Curtis, spokesman for Te Arawa, says the visit allows the tribe to extend its manaakitanga (respect/generosity/care) to the royal couple, and with the resulting global interest, allows the world to experience the unique hospitality and warmth of the tribe.

The duchess is a role model for Māori he says. “She has shown you can succeed, make a difference and be your own person while also celebrating your heritage. This inspires us all.

“The duchess’ presence in the royal family has made us feel even closer to the monarchy, as she brings a fresh perspective and diversity. She has been very active in her positive promotion of women and this is motivating for the indigenous women of Aotearoa.”

A closer look.
Embed from Getty Images

Meghan wore a Stella McCartney dress that looks like it might be a custom piece. It has some elements of the Asymmetric Crepe Dress; a past season piece on eBay; and a Long-Sleeved Side-Pleat Gown Thank you to Elizabeth of Meghan’s Fashion for tips on two of the styles shown above.

The Manolo Blahnik BB heels were back.

And Meghan wore her Boh Runga earrings that were a gift from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She also had on her lapel size Poppy pin.

Meghan’s hair was partially all up, with thanks to Natalie, Mae, Brianna & Tessa for much-needed clarification!

We hope to update later, but want to get this published so we can start the next post on the big Rotorua walkabout!



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  1. I think with a tour this long, and the staggering array of outfit changes and venues, it was wise to keep a streamined palette. I know some were bored by it, but to trot out a rainbow of outfits would really make it all about the clothes, not about the visit, the diplomacy, the causes and customs they were championing.

    I think Meghan did a masterful job of dressing both beautifully and professionally in a muted color palette, with a couple of showstoppers. Extreme fashion multiple times a day would be fashion fatigue for me.

  2. Thank you, Susan, for posting Emily Andrews and Russell Myers’ video along with Sir Toby Curtis’ remarks. The welcoming ceremony was full blown out pageantry and a feast for our eyes. Full of meaning with cultural traditions including ancient and modern fashion!

    Eyewitnesses who attended the ceremony had some interesting remarks…royal tradition, personalised [cloaks], cherished, incredible to witness, epic tour, etc. Rupert Evelyn, Wales and West of England Correspondent had video (another vantage point) of the ceremony along with photos of the luncheon that followed. Breathtaking. This was a high point in the Royal Tour for me.

    Looking at the participants I see very dark solid colors especially in the entourage that processed across the outdoor court with Meghan and Harry. Meghan’s choice of a simple and conservative dress by UK designer Stella McCartney was an appropriate call as she and Harry were the “visitors” and their dress, under those magnificent cloaks, were English. I don’t think anything but a dark solid dress by an UK designer would have been correct for this event.

    There were so many aspects to note…the lovely patterned and colored outdoor courtyard or “meeting ground,” the barefooted young girls participating in the chant and those glorious cloaks. Also, the jade pieces presented to Harry and Meghan by Governor-General Patsy Reddy, the “Pounamu Kouma.” I did some research and found that the British Museum has a “Kouma” (breastplate) in their collection by Chris Charteris. The Museum’s description notes the nephrite (form of jade) is found in the South Island of New Zealand and is “valued and highly prized.” While it is currently not on display it might well be soon!

  3. I’m always made up to see McCartney get another plug though I was tempted to think this was too plain and too blue at first. But then it occurred to me, just exactly what do you wear when you face being hung about with an entire cape of feathers?

    In that context, of course, pretty much anything would get drowned and I’ve found it hard to get clear shots of the dress so I’m extra grateful for the studio illustration shots. I do like the dress very much because of the McCartney tailoring and the pretty asymmetric fold on the skirt.

    The bodice is also plain enough to cope with a chunky pendant, diplomatically worn by Meghan. I love that she’s still wearing her Boh Runga earrings, they are a delicious and adaptable pale gold. The Blahnik heels are ever superb, though kudos to Meghan for wearing them while pregnant and standing in the sun for a ceremony.

    • Assuming it does not have a sacred aspect that precludes this, I’d love to see her incorporate that jade pendant into her wardrobe. It is beautiful in its own right, just as a piece of jewelry.

  4. Here’s the thing about navy blue. All navy blues are not alike. There are different shades of it, and the fabric of a garment affects the color and the sheen, lustrous or flat, or in between. Navy veers from almost black to almost blue.
    Navy silk or satin look different from navy cotton and linen. It’s a real work horse of a color, and perhaps it’s perceived too often as a one note, dull, safe, professional woman’s color.It can be formal or informal. Meghan is smart to use so much of it.

  5. I am sure that Harry and Meghan enjoyed their trip, albeit it had to be tiring; and that they are happy to be going home. But we will miss seeing them everyday. Thank you, WMW, for keeping us in the loop as to what Meghan wore on her trip.

    • yes, I’ve read about it earlier. Apparently it is (and I quote, “…is a sleep and activity tracker by Oura. The accessory tracks the wearer’s snoozing habits and shares the data to an app on the person’s smart phone. (Imagine a Fitbit you can wear on your finger.)…”
      interesting, isnt it 🙂
      (how great does Meghan look!)

  6. What an incredible experience this must have been. To be welcomed and honored into a culture this way–it must have been very humbling and awe-inspiring. It seems that both the duke and duchess approached it in the right spirit–celebratory but solemn. I’m sure that this is a moment they’ll never forget in what must already have been a memorable trip in every way.

    This dress essentially had just one job to do, which was to provide a backdrop for that amazing cloak. It does that perfectly–but it also seems to be a lovely piece on its own. Not a showstopper by any means, but certainly something I’d be glad to have in rotation, and that in another context could be the foundation of an outfit for strong jewelry or a fabulous coat.

  7. I don’t fault her for all the navy. I am blessed to be of similar coloring as the Duchess, and it’s very difficult to wear brights without looking like “EVERYONE LOOK AT MEEEEEE.” As a result, I also keep a lot of navy, black, and gray in my wardrobe, even in spring. The fact that she’s out there rocking the royal duties while pregnant in heels is enough of an attention-getter, in my opinion.

    • Thanks for the feedback on brights, that’s so helpful. I thought with her skin tone Meghan could take any colour and look just plain terrific. That’s such an interesting point you make. Agree with you about her capacity for keeping up royal duties while pregnant and sporting killer Blahniks!

      • Oh, she’d look great, of course. It’s the difference between looking like a fabulous, put-together woman, and looking like a fabulous put-together woman who is A STAAAAAAAR and-don’t-you-forget-it. ?

  8. That guy with the spear sticking his tongue out ??? oh my
    This is another pretty navy dress for Meghan, I think like Kate she also knows what colors she likes and what works for her and seems to stick to that color pallette. It makes sense alot of us ladies seem to do that!
    The detail and craftsmanship in the capes is exquisite! I could be wrong but didnt PM Ardern wear one or something similar and feathered to Buckingham Palace in the past year?
    And we have the return of the ‘carrot’ earrings. Another pretty look for the Duchess.

    • Hi Brandy,
      Yes, our prime minister also wore a Maori cloak when she was in Buckingham Palace. Well spotted.
      Here is a link to an article in The Guardian Newspaper explaining a little more about it.
      Mrs Ardern of course was also pregnant at the time!

  9. I love the jade necklace – so beautiful. The Stella McCarthy is a fine dress but wouldn’t it have been a nice surprise if she had worn a dress design by Kiri Nathan who has lovely clothes.

  10. I love this navy dress. I know the complaints are going to come out that it is boring, but navy looks really good on the Duchess and in this case it was perfect since it let the beautiful cloak stand out and take the stage. had she been wearing a brighter color or a pattern, it would not have competed with the cloak.

  11. I think she looks lovely! The navy does suit her and looks great with the cape. She must be struggling so much with her changing body shape, her waist has thickened a lot and her breasts are definitely getting bigger! It’s so awkward to fit dresses when your upper body is a size or two larger than lower body, but she’s got such a glorious smile she could wear a sack & still dazzle the crowd!

  12. I love the feather cloaks. Love that they are different and have different meanings. Love that Meghan’s is to protect her pregnancy. They are beautiful pieces of artwork.

  13. I love the amazing Kouma necklace! Although Meghan’s hair appears to be partially up in the photo you have shown at the end, another view shows that all of her hair was in a bun. The photo you have shown includes another lady with long dark hair standing next to Meghan ?

  14. I think the Duchess’ hair is all up in a bun, which is well illustrated in the hongi picture. In the final photo, it appears to be partially up because the woman next to her has her hair down!

  15. Oh what a total surprise, a navy dress! Yes, yet another. You know I love navy and I have quite a few things in my wardrobe, that are navy, but I don’t wear them day, after day, after day. To have so many navy dresses is really odd. I’ve lost count of the number we’ve seen on this tour. Unless you really look carefully, they are all the same. It is isn’t like one has red piping on the collar and cuffs, or a belt in lime green or mauve. I guess there was one with a lighter blue border at the hemline, but all the others melt into each other and are not at all memorable.

    On a positive note, I like it when Meghan wears navy shoes with a navy dress. They harmonize better for my eye, than nude shoes. The green necklace at least adds a splash of colour. The cape is a bit of a distraction. But oh my, this is so boring/snoring.

    • I totally agree with you Bonnie! To wear similar colours day in day out as Meghan has done with navy and black is totally unfathomable. Also olive green.. Every outfit just melds into the other. And it’s all blah with no one piece standing out. I have found Megan’s wardrobe on this tour very disappointing and unimaginative. Big fail. The only positive is that she has championed local designers very well.

  16. I think her hair was all up in a bun, not partially up. In the picture you may be looking at, someone is walking directly behind her so that the other person’s hair looks attached to Meghan; it makes it look
    like some of her hair is down. But if you look at other pictures, you can see her hair is all in the bun.

  17. Actually Meghan’s hair is all the way up … the last photo in the post is actually showing a woman’s hair behind her and it looks like it’s hers, but it isn’t! All the other photos show that her hair is fully up.
    What an extraordinary cape! I know folks are tired of blue dresses but the Stella M. sets off the cape beautifully. I love seeing the huge crowds and excitement … it must have meant so much to that community to have the royal couple come. Meghan looked so vibrant.


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