You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Dutch royal couple tour City of Sails

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/11/2016 Ben Leahy

All hands reported on the Spirit of New Zealand youth training vessel's deck on Wednesday to welcome a visit by Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima.

The royal couple passed down the vessel's gangway at Princes Wharf in Auckland at midday in front of an enthusiastic band of Dutch visitors and supporters where they were mobbed by 40 high school students crewing the ship on a five day voyage.

The couple spent 15 minutes touring the sailing ship and chatting to the teens. Seventeen-year-old Joshua van Kuyk was among supporters lining the wharf with a Dutch flag draped across his shoulders.

A former crew member of the Spirit of New Zealand ship, the Kiwi teen with Dutch heritage had taken a break from his final year school exam studies to earlier catch the royal couple during their visit to Auckland Art Gallery.

There he shook King Willem-Alexander's hand, before following the couple to Princes Wharf in the hope of another royal encounter.

"I want to shake Queen Maxima's hand next," he said. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands reacting during a visit to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve on November 8, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand. © Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands reacting during a visit to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve on November 8, 2016 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The teen said his two sightings in Auckland meant he had seen the royal couple more times than any of his family back in the Netherlands.

But sadly for van Kuyk, he missed the chance to shake the queen's hand as the couple instead disembarked to watch the students from four different high schools sail the Spirit of New Zealand away from the dock.

The Dutch visit is not the first time royals have set foot on the Spirit of New Zealand with heir to the British throne Prince Charles also stepping on board in 2015.

The meeting with the young New Zealanders on the vessel marked a break from the royal couple's focus on trade during much of the final day of their state visit to New Zealand.

They were also due to witness the exchange of memoranda of understanding and contracts between Dutch and New Zealand companies during their Auckland visit, while the king was scheduled to address a business lunch.

Earlier in the day, the couple visited the Auckland Art Gallery, attended a presentation by Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings on the New Zealand dairy industry and viewed displays at the Future of Food Forum.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon