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Kate Middleton, Prince William and George arrive in New Zealand

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George touched down in Wellington this morning, on the first leg of their three-week Australia and New Zealand tour.

After stepping off the plane with the eight-month-old Prince George in hand, the couple were then taken to Government House, the official residence of the governor general, where they received a traditional Maori welcome.

They were greeted with a nose-press, called a hongi, and met Maori warriors who performed a war dance.

The Duchess was all smiles and handled a potentially awkward incident gracefully as she spoke to a heavily tattooed Maori warrior, who was bare-bottomed in his traditional clothing.

Dressed for the rainy weather in Wellington, the Duchess opted for a pillar-box red coat by Catherine Walker and a matching hat by Gina Foster.

She also wore the diamond and platinum silver brooch in the shape of a fern, New Zealand’s national symbol, which is on loan from the Queen.

Meanwhile, Prince George was dressed in a cream-coloured jumper and shorts for his first public appearance since his christening in October.

The royals sparked controversy yesterday, because eight-month-old Prince George was placed in a car seat that is to only to be used on children aged nine months and above according to manufacturer instructions.

Parents in New Zealand were also quick to point out that Prince George's forward-facing car seat goes against New Zealand’s national childcare advisory agency Plunket's strict guidelines, which tells parents to carry children in rear-facing car seats until the age of two to limit whiplash in an accident.

Prince William visited Australia and New Zealand in 1983, when he was a month older than Prince George.

The tour has been planned around Prince George, who will only be taken to a few specific engagements throughout the trip, and the Duke and Duchess' schedule stops in the late afternoon on most days to allow enough time for the parents to get back to their son.

The royal engagements in New Zealand include a yacht race and visit a Maori tribe, a rugby stadium and a vineyard.

In Australia, their destinations include Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Queensland, Adelaide and Canberra.

Watch the royals at New Zealand's official welcoming ceremony right here:

(Images: Rex Features)

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