Luke East of Te Awamutu runs an initiative called The Royals and The Waikato Project which has worked with local museums, the National Archives, Te Papa, the Royal Collection Trust and other organisations to document and celebrate the Waikato's history of royal visits.
Yesterday Luke was at the State Memorial Service for HRH the Duke of Edinburgh at the invitation of the Prime Minister's office.
This is his commemoration of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and the royal visit to Te Awamutu in 1954.
The recent passing of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh has brought to the fore many long-forgotten memories of his more than a dozen visits to New Zealand.
His first visit was with HM The Queen in 1953. On December 23 The Queen and Duke arrived in Auckland onboard HMS Gothic having already travelled some 18,000km.
During their 40 day New Zealand tour The Queen and Duke criss-crossed the country, travelling from Auckland to Bluff and stopping in almost every town along the way. The royal couple were seen by more than 70 per cent of Kiwis during their visit, including tens-of-thousands of people who saw them throughout the Waikato.
Before visiting Te Awamutu the royal guests visited Te Kauwhata, Huntly, Ngāruawāhia and Hamilton (where they were greeted by the largest recorded crowd in the city's history at that time).
Her majesty attended a spectacular agricultural festival at the Claudelands showgrounds (the duke had left Hamilton to attend the mass funeral for the victims of the Tangiwai rail disaster in Wellington).
The Queen later travelled to Te Kuiti where she was greeted by huge crowds and then rejoined the duke in Waitomo where they visited the caves and spent the rest of their New Year's Eve in a local hotel (where they and their companions sang Auld Lang Syne as the clock struck midnight).
The Queen looked resplendent in a flowing short-sleeved light-blue dress as she and her dashing husband arrived in Te Awamutu where thousands lined the streets to welcome them.
With Union Jack bunting strung all around, The Queen and Duke greeted both dignitaries and locals alike from a podium in the main street on New Year's Day 1954, a day remembered for being perhaps the hottest of the whole tour.
From there the royal couple travelled to Cambridge where some 15,000 people surrounded the Town Hall to see The Queen and Duke as they headed inside for a luncheon with local dignitaries, including the head students of the local high school.
After lunch the royal visitors visited the hydro-electric power station at Karāpiro where the duke is remembered to have taken a strong interest in its potential for power generation. Thousands more lined the route from Cambridge to Tīrau where almost 10,000 people had waited hours for a glimpse of their sovereign and her consort.
Unlike the previous royal tours undertaken by the Queen's father (George VI), uncle (Edward VIII) and grandfather (George V), this was a tour in which there was far less time given to the usual pomp and circumstance, instead ordinary Kiwis had the opportunity to both see and meet their sovereign and witness the Duke's legendary charm and wit firsthand.
By all accounts the tour was a great success and is perhaps the most well-remembered of The Queen and Duke's visits to New Zealand.
Scarcely since the heady days of the 1950s have Kiwis had cause to revisit their memories of this royal visit but now tinged with the sadness of the Duke's passing people recall lining the royal route with their Union Jack flags, sitting atop a parent's shoulders in order to catch a glimpse of the royal visitors, and some even recall meeting The Queen and Duke.
The enduring love and happiness Her Majesty and the Duke shared for over 73 years is evident in the most recent photo taken of the couple and was undoubtedly visible to those who saw The Queen and Duke during their many tours of New Zealand.
Footage taken by the wife of Governor-General Sir Willoughby Norrie recently aired on ITV and shows the royal couple in their most candid moments during the 1953-54 tour of New Zealand (including The Queen filming her beloved husband struggling to clamber onto a lilo and diving into a swimming pool on Christmas Day).
Theirs has been one of the world's most famous love stories. The Duke was by Her Majesty's side for all of her 70 year reign and she once described him as her "strength and stay". Together they were the world's most famous couple and helped to increase the popularity of the monarchy and modernise it for the modern era.
To see The Queen sitting alone in St George's Chapel for the Duke's funeral was heartbreaking and is a sad reminder that (as she once said) "grief is the price we pay for love".
As we remember their 1954 visit to Te Awamutu and the many happy memories they gave Kiwis on that and many more tours of New Zealand, we pay tribute to a man who was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather and was ahead of his time in so many ways, had a tireless commitment to duty and a spectacular sense of both style and humour.
You will be greatly missed, Sir.