HRH Prince Harry holds the T-shirt presented to him by New Zealand Defence Force Invictus Games Team.
9 September 2014
The New Zealand Defence Force Invictus Games Team's official engagements took an unexpected turn when HRH Prince Harry attended a reception hosted by the New Zealand High Commissioner, Dr Lockwood Smith at New Zealand House in London.
Prince Harry, who was instrumental in creating and advocating for the Invictus Games, was a highlight of the evening for the Kiwi team.
"It was a real pleasure to meet Prince Harry and have the opportunity to discuss the Games with him," said David Sherriff, the NZDF team captain.
"Having the driving force of the Games come specifically to meet us - one of the smallest teams attending - highlighted that he is really interested in the teams that are competing."
Prince Harry spoke individually to the New Zealand competitors and their friends and family members. "He was really down-to-earth and easy to talk to. It was a pleasure to meet him," said team member CPL Peter Mason-Smith - a sentiment that was echoed by the rest of the attendees.
Another highlight of the evening included a performance by Ngati Ranana, a London-based Maori cultural group, who during their karanga directed plenty of good-natured humour at Prince Harry - which he took with typical good grace.
At the end of the reception, the New Zealand Defence Force team presented Prince Harry with a T-shirt that read "I am behind the Kiwi team".
"While in reality we know he'll be backing the UK team, in the spirit of sportsmanship he accepted our T-shirt," said David.
The Invictus Games take place in London 10-14 September, with over 400 wounded, injured and ill competitors from 13 countries taking part.
The Games spotlight the sacrifices participants made while serving their countries, and highlight their determination to overcome personal restrictions to continue to lead lives of excellence.
The Invictus Games were instigated and supported by the Royal Foundation of the Duchess of Cambridge, HRH Prince Harry and the UK Ministry of Defence.
For further information on the NZ Defence Force's participation in the Invictus Games, the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980