An emotional Huirapa Upoko David Ellison says meeting the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was ''one of the best moments
of my life''.
But he hopes the ''perfect hongi'' he shared with Catherine -
images of which were flashed around the world - will be
repeated if the couple accept an invitation to return to the
Mr Ellison, of Karitane, was among the welcoming party to
greet the Royal couple at Dunedin International Airport
yesterday with gifts including a pounamu teething ring on a
plaited cord and set inside a carved box.
However, one thing not leaving Mr Ellison's grasp yesterday
was the royal cane presented to his grandfather, John
Matapura Ellison, by the then-Prince of Wales - later to be
King Edward VIII - during a previous visit.
The gift was in recognition of the service of Mr Ellison's
grandfather, who acted as a translator between royal tour
parties and South Island Maori beginning at the turn of the
Mr Ellison was considering returning the cane, but said it
was not the right time to hand it back to Prince William
Instead, he hoped the prince would accept an invitation to
return to New Zealand to receive it at Puketeraki marae -
perhaps after becoming Prince of Wales himself.
''It's going to take quite a bit of sorting out with the
royal protocols and the whole thing. But when it does happen,
I hope it will happen at our marae at Puketeraki, with all
our grandfather's descendants around.''
Prince William had shown his interest in the cane by asking
about it during his arrival at Dunedin airport, Mr Ellison
''I told him the story of it. He said, 'Any particular plans
for it in the future?' I said, 'Yes I do, Sir ... hopefully,
it will involve you, Sir'.
''He just gave me that very lovely smile he's got.''
Mr Ellison, his voice cracking with emotion, said the
welcoming reception was wonderful and he was ''still trying
to believe it was me that was there''.
''I feel so humble about it all ...They were a breath of
''My grandchildren and your grandchildren are going to be
well served in a different kind of way ... I just got the
feeling they're going to be a wonderful King and Queen of New