The Duke and Duchess of Sussex continued their efforts to "normalise" discussion of mental health at a relaxed meeting with young people working in the sector in Wellington this morning.

Prince Harry and Meghan arrived at the Maranui Café, a Lyall Bay landmark above the local surf lifesaving club, a few minutes after the scheduled 10am start.

Waiting for them were three tables of people from organisations such as Voices of Hope, Key to Life, Lifeline and the national 1737 helpline service.

The café makes the most of its beachfront location; with décor and ornaments having a distinctly nautical theme. Light fittings are made of boat propellers and there is even a part of a boat's bow.

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Music by local heroes Fat Freddy's Drop plays in the background as the royal visitors arrive.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during the meeting. Prince Harry spoke of the need to destigmatise the issue and to encourage people to talk about how they were feeling. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during the meeting. Prince Harry spoke of the need to destigmatise the issue and to encourage people to talk about how they were feeling. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Without ceremony, or opening remarks, they joined the first table. Meghan, wearing Outland Denim jeans, a Jac and Jack top and Club Monaco coat, ordered a cup of tea.

Harry, wearing a grey jumper with a zip-up neck over a dark blue shirt, had water.

The couple spent about 10 minutes with each table. The Prince spoke of his own battles with mental health – revealed in an extraordinarily frank interview with the Daily Telegraph last year.

He drove the conversation, with his wife saying less. She did, however, express surprise when Voices of Hope co-founder Genevieve Mora said some in New Zealand considered people who asked for help to be attention-seeking.

Despite the seriousness of the subject, the room was filled with light and laughter; the Prince making more than reference to expansive views of the bay outside – and the dainty cakes placed on each table.

Counselling service Lifeline gifted the Duke and Duchess, who are expecting their first child next year, a baby romper today. Photo / Supplied
Counselling service Lifeline gifted the Duke and Duchess, who are expecting their first child next year, a baby romper today. Photo / Supplied

As the engagement progressed, the couple spoke to Ezekiel Raui, for the second time in a matter of months. As one of the Queen's Young Leaders, Raui visited Buckingham Palace in June to be recognised for his work encouraging Māori men to take up leadership positions and to talk more openly about mental health issues. There he met Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Meghan.

Today, Raui explained how he devised a peer support programme to be trialled in schools. His goal was to change attitudes long-term but for good. He spoke of the need to create generational change.

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Summing up to the final group, Prince Harry said there was no "silver bullet" to improving mental health "and I think people need to understand that".

Throughout, he spoke of the need to destigmatise the issue and to encourage people to talk about how they were feeling.

"Everyone needs someone to turn to, right?"

With that, the couple rose. There was time to pose for photos and the presentation of some gifts. From Lifeline a tote bag and baby outfit celebrating the organisation's '72 Club' campaign – a twist on the so-called 27 Club which reflects the large number of musicians who took their lives at that age.

There was a gift from the café too – not cakes, but a box containing a T-shirt and book about the building's long history.

The rest of the cakes and goodies were given to children waiting outside, at the request of the Duchess.

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And as they turned to leave, Meghan, by then wearing a 1737 pin badge beside the poppy on her coat addressed the group: "You're all doing really excellent work," before starting a round of applause.

Then Harry placed his right hand affectionately on his wife's shoulder and they were gone.