prince harry new zealand
Prince Harry receives a traditional greeting from a Maori warrior during his official welcome at the Government House in Wellington (Reuters/Anthony Phelps)

Prince Harry has been given a traditional Maori welcome after touching down in New Zealand on Saturday (9 May) for his first visit to the country.

The Prince pressed noses with Maori leaders in a traditional greeting ceremony in front of Government House, before watching a powhiri – a Maori welcoming ritual – followed by a mass haka by students from a local college.

The powhiri was performed by members of the New Zealand Defence Force, and started with a wero, an ancient tradition that determines whether visitors come in peace.

Prince Harry was also given a 21-gun salute.

The Prince kicked off a week-long tour in the capital Wellington, where he was greeted by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

He flew in from Australia, where he spent a month training with the country's armed forces.

The Prince greeted fans and even petted a puppy that the prime minister had brought along.

The Prince also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the recently opened Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, and placed a native fern on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, to honour those killed in war.

He left a note on the wreath, which read: "In memory of all those who have paid the ultimate price and in grateful recognition of those who have served NZ."

Prince Harry is set to leave the army in June. He is quitting front-line military roles to help organise commemorative events; the latest member of Britain's royal family to take on more official duties as the Queen scales down her workload.