The inevitable chorus of cries along the lines of "is it really worth spending all that money on?" have been echoing around the land since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge touched down in Wellington on a windswept, murky and damp autumn day.

On the weather front they may have felt right at home immediately.

The question of whether royalty is still a relevant part of our lives down here 20,000km from Buckingham Palace, and whether it is money well spent to host them out here, emerges every time the red carpet is rolled out for a royal visit.

It is a latter day issue however, as when I was a lad and the Queen and Prince Philip came to Hawke's Bay we took our places among the great throngs to watch them pass by in what appeared to be the biggest car in the world.


The flags were waved and the cheers were sincere.

For a 9-year-old it was as exciting as seeing John Wayne and Shirley Temple come to town, and no grumbles were detected.

Since then of course there has been a growing movement of republicanism.

The notion that we cut all ties with the Union Jack and with the Queen and her family and instead head down a path toward having a president - a sort of Kiwi head of state.

I probably wouldn't mind the concept too much if we had President Tim Shadbolt because at least his outings and utterances would be entertaining, but like many Kiwis (arguably of a certain age) I have an affectionate spot for the royals.

Because when they touch down, as Wills and Kate did, it sets off what are effectively happy times.

As they have proven, they are approachable and they are in possession of a very valuable item of luggage - little George.

Little William was a scene steeler with the Buzzy Bee all those years ago and this little bloke's done the same during his play group outing with Kiwi kids.

They make people smile.

They are happy occasions and they beat seeing and hearing the latest incidents and accidents across the land.

And another thing, children sort of automatically become very well mannered when they are within ear-shot and sight of a royal visitor. It's like some sort of inbuilt mechanism chimes in and they wave their flags and wave their arms and smile with a mixture of awe and respect.

A royal visit, especially one by the family's most charming young pair on the books at this time, creates excitement and joy.

Can't really put a price on that.