The Diary: Team NZ in for royal showdown

William and Kate will join crew members for friendly contest on Auckland Harbour.

Prince William on NZL41 with Team NZ skipper Dean Barker in 2010. Photo / Dean Purcell
Prince William on NZL41 with Team NZ skipper Dean Barker in 2010. Photo / Dean Purcell

Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker will join forces with the Duchess of Cambridge against her husband, Prince William, and Grant Dalton in two match races on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour on Friday, The Diary has been told.

The royal couple will board separate Team NZ America's Cup yachts for two short, informal races off the Viaduct, alongside Princes Wharf. The public will be able to see the Duke and Duchess in action on the former America's Cup yachts NZL41 and NZL68.

Kensington Palace said the pair were "just a little competitive", and the races will pit husband against wife, who are each expected to take a turn at the helm.

Kate, who displayed a cheeky smile for bare-bottomed Warrant Officer George Mana at Government House on Monday, will be paired with sailing heart-throb Barker. That will keep the snappers happy.

Barker spent time with Prince William on board NZL41 during the Prince's three-day visit to New Zealand in 2010.

There will be 20 people on each yacht, including Team NZ crew members, representatives from the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron's youth programme, and members of the royal entourage, such as security staff and the Duke and Duchess' private secretaries.

Team NZ chief operating officer Kevin Shoebridge told The Diary they had been allotted 75 minutes with the royals on the water, and he was hoping the weather would play ball.

The forecast is for light showers.

"They have been pretty easy to organise. There have been no real stipulations or requests," said Shoebridge.

Ten Team NZ members will take part in the match races. They include Barker, Dalton, Shoebridge, grinders Derek Saward and Winston MacFarlane, bowmen Jeremy Lomas and Richard Meacham, tactician Ray Davies, and designers Nick Holroyd and British-born Dan Bernasconi.

If you're out spotting the royals, we want your snaps. Share them with us, including details of where you took the photo, here.

Rush returns

Ex-All Black Xavier Rush, 36, has retired from professional rugby and plans to take up a coaching role at his old school, Sacred Heart College, he told The Diary.

Xavier Rush is returning from Wales and will coach his old school.
He is back in New Zealand to develop a property project in the Coromandel and will relocate from Wales, where he played for the Cardiff Blues. Property development was his passion in Wales. He bought a large 18th-century church in Cardiff and renovated it into eight luxury apartments. He still owns one.

Double Act

Act's Epsom man David Seymour is dating Satine Tehrani, the owner of a small cleaning company and cousin of socialite Gilda Kirkpatrick. The pair made an appearance together at a lavish party on Saturday hosted by Kirkpatrick at her Paritai Drive mansion.

Seymour, 30, has replaced Act's former man in Epsom, John Banks.

Act's man in Epsom, David Seymour, and businesswoman Satine Tehrani are an item.

Banksie, meanwhile, has been at his old haunt, The Cavalier pub, celebrating the reunion of the c1970 Mt Albert rugby team. The good old boys were reminiscing about the good old days - before Dotcom and that electoral fraud case.

True confessions

Which former lovers, one a well-known TV star and one a high-ranking authority figure, confessed to breaking holes in a bathroom wall after a rigorous session of love-making?

Tories on display

Tory tots were in full schmoozing force at the Young Nats Ball on Saturday, all eager to get their pic with the PM. Former music TV hipster Tim Lambourne, wearing a green suit and a Bieber coif, posed with John Key for the in-house snapper.

So, too, did Paula Bennett, though it's her cheeky solo pics that have gone viral. Bennett pulling faces became New Zealand's best meme this week. She popped up on the lawn of Government House, and in the scene of Edvard Munch's TheScream.

Tweets and tributes to Tau

Tau Henare is the latest National MP to announce he is retiring from politics at this year's election. He took to Twitter to impart the news yesterday - and knock the royals out of the main headlines.

Many parliamentary colleagues paid tribute to the man on his favourite forum:

Metiria Turei

"I'm going to miss you Tau. You've been a great supporter and friend who has the spine to stand up for your beliefs."

Judith Collins

"I'm going to miss my mate @tauhenare on the backbenches. His long contribution to the House is often understated, but deserves recognition."

Jami-Lee Ross

"Will miss your straight talking - you tell it as you see it."

- NZ Herald

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