Ringing welcome as Dunedin's royal visitors return


Dunedinites brushed off a Meghan and Harry snub yesterday by welcoming royals much closer to home.

St Paul's Cathedral lay minister Bruce Aitken dangles from the church's bell as he welcomes home the first royal albatross to Taiaroa Head. Photo: Peter McIntosh
St Paul's Cathedral lay minister Bruce Aitken dangles from the church's bell as he welcomes home the first royal albatross to Taiaroa Head. Photo: Peter McIntosh

Churches and schools throughout Dunedin used their bells to welcome the first royal albatross back to Taiaroa Head this season.

An 11-year-old female landed there on Sunday.

Following with tradition bells were rung at churches including Knox, St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, the First Church, St Michael's Anglican Church and St Peter's Anglican Church in Caversham.

Otakou Marae joined in as well as schools including St Leonards, and St Mary's in both Kaikorai and Mosgiel, and Broad Bay School.

St Paul's lay minister Bruce Aitken was swinging off the church's bell yesterday to welcome the Dunedin celebrities.

To get it going was an effort, he said.

''But once the bell starts to go on the full swing, it's just a matter of maintaining that.''

The tradition was great to get involved with, he said.

''It's the church being part of a whole community, welcoming an important icon to the life of Dunedin back.''

Otago Peninsula Trust marketing manager Sophie Barker said sourcing small bells around Dunedin was not as easy as it sounded.

''Finding little ones for yourself is quite challenging. I bought some online, looked at op shops.''

The tradition had existed for as long as she could remember, but the trust had ramped it up in the last few years, she said.

''I have someone in Switzerland ringing their bells. There are fans all over the world setting their alarms in the middle of the night.

''People tell me it makes them cry.''

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

St Leonards school pupils, teacher aides and teachers participated in the 1pm bell ringing yesterday to welcome home royal albatrosses to Taiaroa Head. Photo: Christine O'Connor
St Leonards school pupils, teacher aides and teachers participated in the 1pm bell ringing yesterday to welcome home royal albatrosses to Taiaroa Head. Photo: Christine O'Connor

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