By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Here in America, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know some sort of secret handshake! Well, instead of using handshakes as a greeting, the people of New Zealand–who are called the Maori–say hello by bumping their noses together! Prince William and Duchess Kate, who are in New Zealand for a three week tour with baby Prince George, performed the traditional Maori greeting gesture called the hongi.
The idea, according to several experts, is that bumping noses is a sort of soul sharing where the “ha” (or breath of life) is exchanged. Okay, it may look a little odd to the people back home in our country, but it’s perfectly normal to the Maori, who are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.
On Monday, Will, Kate, and George arrived in Wellington, which is the capital of New Zealand. There, they went to the Government House where they were treated to the traditional Maori welcoming ceremony that involves feathered dancers performing the haka. What exactly is the haka? It’s a really intricately designed dance that features lots of foot-stamping, grunts, exclamations, body slapping, and chanting! “It was super,” exclaimed Duchess Kate.
So, it’s kind of weird to see a real life Prince and (sorta) Princess, right? Well, the British monarchy has been around for years! Monarchy is a form of government ruled by a “monarch”, often in the form of a king. Britain’s monarchy started thousands of years ago when King Egbert took the throne around 802- 839 AD. Back then, the kings and queens did a lot more than just travel to New Zealand and rub noses. They were commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, ruled the lands, and dealt with problems from all around the world.
Today, the king and queen still have important affairs to deal with—such as honoring men as knights and appointing the Prime Minister—but they don’t have nearly as much power as the elected officials. Now, the royal family serves a symbolic function, while also working with charities and helping the public. You can often find Queen Elizabeth showing support for foundations like Save The Children, while Prince William and Harry show their loyalty to the nation by working closely with the army.