Wakatipu youngsters buzzing at chance to meet Royal pair


An excited group of Arrowtown school kids have been chosen to get up close to Queenstown-bound Royal IT-couple – aka Wills and Kate.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who winged into Wellington earlier today with baby George, are scheduled to touch down in Queenstown this coming Sunday.

While the Queenstown stop is a day off from official engagements, the pair have scheduled private visits to Amisfied Winery and Bistro and Queenstown’s famed Shotover Jet.

A group of 15 Arrowtown Primary pupils – in recognition of the schools’ 150th anniversary – have been chosen to be at Shotover River while the Royal couple take a thrill ride through the canyon.

Part of the reason the school was selected was to make up for the disappointment of a cancelled visit in 2005 when Prince William was here during the British and Ireland Lions rugby tour.

His programme included a visit to Arrowtown School – then hosting a rugby team from a British school — but bad weather unfortunately made air travel impossible and his visit was axed.
Mindful of that, it’s understood the Duke wanted to acknowledge Arrowtown School during his up-coming visit to the Wakatipu and the pupils have been given special permission for front-row viewing on the day.
Two Year Six teachers Janey Winders and Joelle Healey will accompany the students.

“The kids are very excited and are definitely a little nervous. It’s a huge honour and privilege for all of us to be able to be at Shotover Jet to see William and Kate, and we’re thrilled that Shotover Jet is making it happen,” Winders says.

“They’ll be learning about the Royal Family and etiquette and what it means to meet a Duke and Duchess.”

For Winders it’s extra special as she’ll become the second person in her family to meet a member of the Royals.

“My mother and her twin sister were ‘presented’ to the Queen over 60 years ago at Buckingham Palace. I remember hearing about it when I was a young girl and thought it sounded just amazing to meet a Royal. Now I get the opportunity as well and Mum’s very excited for me.”

Arrowtown Primary ten-year-old Kate Edmonds wrote a letter to her teacher outlining why she should be one of the chosen 15.

“I really like the royal couple, they’re just so good together and I follow them in all the magazines and newspapers. I’m really excited and nervous about meeting them. I wanted to be one of the chosen pupils as think I’ll be a great ambassador for the school and Kiwi kids.”

Fellow Arrowtown schoolmate Annabelle Jones, 11, says she’s been practicing her curtsey so she’s prepared should she have the opportunity to meet the pair.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m stoked to be there. I just hope if I do get to meet the Duchess I don’t clam up and say nothing.”