By Charlotte Greenfield
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – British Prince Harry and his wife Meghan threw rubber boots on Tuesday as the children applauded at a competition in New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, although Harry's team ended up losing alongside his wife.
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake felt by thousands in New Zealand did not interrupt the couple's schedule, which is in the final stretch of a tour of the Pacific that includes Australia, Fiji and Tonga.
"There was not much rivalry," said Isabella Iti, 10, after the rubber boots were released. "I think she thought there was no chance she would win, but she did."
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were visiting a conservation area north of Auckland that had been reserved as part of a Commonwealth initiative to honor Queen Elizabeth's 66th birthday on the British throne.
There, the couple separated and each of them led a team of children cheering in a competition to see who could through a rain boot, known locally as a "rubber boot", the furthest away.
Meghan, dressed in black J Crew jeans and a Karen Walker blazer, led her team to victory after throwing a blue boot about one meter (3.2 feet) more than Harry's red.
The launch of Gumboot is associated with the rural town of Taihape, about 420 km (260 miles) south of Auckland, which hosts an annual gumboot festival.
Mike Jebsen, executive director of QEII National Trust, said the mayor of Taihape gave his blessing to celebrate the Gumboot competition.
"We wanted to give the royal couple a taste of rural New Zealand, and there's nothing more essential than Kiwi than a rubber throw!" he said.
In the afternoon, Meghan and Harry traveled to South Auckland to visit the central office of Pillars, a charity that advises the children of the prisoners.
For their wedding in May, Meghan and Harry had asked for charitable donations instead of gifts. The government of New Zealand gave NZ $ 5,000 ($ 3,271) to Pillars in recognition of the couple's interest in programs that support vulnerable children.
($ 1 = 1.5284 New Zealand dollars)
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield, edited by Darren Schuettler)