By Charlotte Shipman
Prince Charles celebrated his 64th birthday today.
It’s a celebration he shares with nearly 15,000 New Zealanders, including the Governor-General and the Prime Minister’s wife – all of whom were born exactly nine months after Valentine's Day.
The 64 invited guests were told not to bring presents, but the message obviously didn’t get through to the Shire. Mark Hadlow, who plays Dori in the upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, presented Prince Charles with a secret gift.
At Weta Workshop, the prince was shown costumes and props and previously unseen works.
“We've pulled out people's private work, stuff that they're doing in their own time so he gets to meet technicians and artists on the shop floor doing their own things more than film work,” says Weta Workshop creative director Sir Richard Taylor.
On the royal walkabout around the waterfront, creativity helped capture the prince and duchess' attention.
“He came up to us and asked where we got our flash flags from, we totally just made them,” says onlooker Destinee Robinson.
For flight attendant in training Diana Sanyanga, a brush with the prince was overwhelming.
Two-year-old James Anderson became a knight for the occasion, but wasn't too fussed on seeing the prince.
Tomorrow the couple head to Feilding and Palmerston North. They will also meet with family members of the 10 soldiers who have died while serving New Zealand.