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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get the bird

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been introduced to New Zealand's national symbol, the kiwi

Prince Harry and wife Meghan examined the navel, nostrils and whiskers on New Zealand's flightless kiwi bird and got to name two tiny chicks on the final day of their 16-day tour of the South Pacific.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited a hatchery in Rotorua on Wednesday and learned about the breeding program for the threatened creatures, which are considered national icons.

They gave the three-day-old kiwi chicks indigenous Maori names - "Koha" meaning "gift" and "Tihei" meaning "sneeze," from the native saying "tihei mauri ora", meaning "the sneeze of life", or the right to speak.

The names were gender neutral because their sexes haven't yet been identified.

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The couple also visited a Maori meeting ground, or "marae", and strolled through a redwood forest as they finally enjoyed sunny weather after their stop in New Zealand had earlier been dampened with rain.

At the Te Papaiouru Marae, the couple attended a formal welcoming ceremony and luncheon and were each given Maori cloaks, or "korowai."

The pair arrived in New Zealand on Sunday after earlier visiting Australia, Fiji and Tonga. They have been greeted by hundreds of enthusiastic fans on their trip.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this week there seems to be little appetite for changing New Zealand from a constitutional monarchy that recognises Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to a republic.

"I do not pick up from the New Zealand public that this is high on their agenda. That this is an issue that they see of such importance that we need to be debating it in the current environment for New Zealand," she said. "And I take my steer from them."