For one short week of glorious madness Kiwis revelled in royal roadshow, but now we have to watch Aussies have their turn.

Normal life continued, unnoticed. While the masses went looking for the royals, the Ministry of Primary Industries continued their hunt for the Queensland fruit fly. The Greens and Labour had a pre-nuptial spat. Labour announced a $20 million plan to get rid of kauri disease, some transport policy and a bowel screening programme. National didn't bother announcing anything, knowing full well it would disappear into a black vortex created by the royal visit.

Who cared?

For one short week, we were unapologetic pigs in muck - at first slightly appalled at ourselves before shelving the guilt and allowing ourselves just to enjoy the $1.2m taxpayer-funded ride. Lest you think I'm judging I include myself in that. I was appalled to find myself doing the Herald's royal quiz and more appalled to get 9 out of 10.

Watch: Royal visit - cricket and walkabout


New Zealanders were the stars, out there in even more glorious madness than usual, a grinning barmy throng with their raised inflections and broad vowels to confound the British press.

Everywhere the Duchess went, there were little girls dressed up as princesses in pink frothy tutus and sparkly tiaras. Gender stereotyping? Who cares! Try telling a young girl she can't wear princess clothes to meet a real princess. Then try telling her the lovely lady in a business-like suit with nothing but hair on her head is technically the princess, even if she doesn't look like Ariel. Even the grown-ups saw it as a big dress-up party. There were the monarch butterflies in Cambridge and respectable middle-aged women wore glittery tiaras and trousers with the Queen's face on them.

The trivia added to the gloriousness. Two middle-aged women in Cambridge reported they invested in a ladder to better see the Duchess. "We got it from Mitre 10. It was half-price!" Bargain! In the Viaduct, clutching a piccolo of bubbly, Sue Verbeet reported her Union Jack singlet was purchased for $2 while in Britain some years ago "because you never know when they might visit". Bargain!

The things we learned. At the Botanic Gardens we learned Kate grows her own vegetables; in Cambridge at a hospice we learned she also eats vegetables.

We got stuck in with the Union Jacks often with a New Zealand twist. There was a yacht on the harbour with Union Jack bunting fluttering alongside a sign that said "Bring Back Buck".

The politicians were also swept up. David Shearer was so agog about a chat with Catherine that he introduced Jacinda Ardern's female cousin as her partner.

Watch: Royal visit - All Blacks and Rippa rugby

The royals visited Forsyth Barr Stadium where 8000 people were gathered for the Regal Rugby Fun Day.Meanwhile, Prince William has finally had a win against wife Kate. The duke's little rippa team beat the duchess's 30-20. Not even the support of All Black great Richie McCaw could get them over the line.

The Green Party MPs clustered around the Duke giggling and nodding. Had he managed to do what King Canute could not and turn back the Green tide of republican sentiment? One Labour MP wasn't a complete pushover. Carol Beaumont gently chided Prince William for saying New Zealand was the first country to "give women the vote". She told the Prince women were not "given" the vote, they had won it.


It was made easier by the royals' informality. Kate got in flats and all. Yachting, rugby, cricket, jet boating. The rivalry between them was akin to that between New Zealand and Australia. There was gloating over the wins and vows of vengeance after the losses. William forgot chivalry was supposed to be part of his genetic makeup and bowled a cricket ball at Kate's head, earning a waggle of her finger. The Prince sallied forth with self-deprecating humour. It began with a good-humoured jibe about his son's robust build.

"He's a bonny lad and you'll be pleased to know that he's currently preparing for life as a prop forward."

At a cricket game in Christchurch, he warned the child he was bowling to "watch out, this will be a blur" before lobbing a woolly full toss.

He capped it off by unveiling a plaque at a visitor's centre in Christchurch, sending Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel into a momentary conniption by joking "there's a spelling mistake on it".

Watch: Touring Royals play cricket

The Duke and Duchess play cricket in Latimer Square, and former New Zealand stars Sir Richard Hadlee and Debbie Hockley spoke to the couple before the royals took up a bat and ball.

All manner of indignities were imposed on them. In Christchurch, an elder urged them to go forth and multiply. A baby sneezed all over Kate, another yawned in her face. Sarah Ulmer nicked Prince William's seat, and got out of the way faster than her gold medal-winning ride when she realised.

New Zealand did its utmost to compensate for the impact of the appalling weather on Catherine. We sent out a parade of our best-looking men. She got Dean Barker one day and Richie McCaw the next.

Had they thought to arrange for Sonny Bill Williams to have his shirt torn in front of her, Catherine may well have opted to stay. Who needs sun when you've got Sonny?

Today they leave and the hangover will hit. We will wonder what came over us, the momentary lapse of reason. Then will come that sense of betrayal when the footage starts to flow from Australia and we discover they are cheating on us, saying exactly the same nice things about the colony built on convicts as they did about us. But all that fun for $1.2 million? Bargain!