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Royal tour draws to a close

Published: 6:48PM Tuesday February 26, 2002

Queen Elizabeth's tour is drawing to a close, with her final day out and about in Auckland showing the popularity of the royal family in New Zealand.

About 4000 cheering people crowded into Auckland's Viaduct Harbour for the Queen's only official public walkabout on the 2002 tour.

The walkabout was billed as the Queen's chance to meet her subjects, and she did just that, stopping to take flowers and chatting with members of the public, like one Alexander Garbey.

"I said 'Thank you for coming to New Zealand', and I gave her a picture of (yachting syndicate) Team New Zealand and some flowers," Garbey says.

The Viaduct crowd was ten-deep in places, and stretched along the monarch's motorcade route, in contrast to the smaller crowds that have so far marked her 10th visit to New Zealand.

The reception was just as warm at Team New Zealand, where the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, were given a guided tour and shown some of the syndicate's most closely-guarded secrets, normally kept away from the public eye.

An earlier decision to ask the royals to sign a secrecy pact was abandoned, sheepishly acknowledges Team New Zealand spokesman Ross Blackman.

"We decided that she did not have to sign a secrecy agreement - we decided to take her word for it."

The Queen told Team New Zealand bosses she was impressed with their cup triumphs, and in return she was presented a uniquely kiwi gift to take back to her family.

"We gave her some items of clothing; some hats and T-shirts, and also some of Peter Blake's lucky red socks for all of her grandchildren."

The Queen's 2002 tour has climaxed with her final official function, a garden party for more than 1,000 people at Government House in Auckland.

© ONE News

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