Prince William has arrived in Christchurch to thank emergency staff who worked through the aftermath of deadly shootings at the city's mosques, but not before a meeting with a five-year-old survivor of the attacks.
The Duke of Cambridge was whisked through the South Island city in a police motorcade after touching down on Thursday afternoon, accompanied by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as he got off his plane.
High security and a low-key approach by organisers meant the handful of royal watchers gathered at the airport and along streets would have no chance to catch a glimpse during the arrival.
A small group of curious bystanders formed outside the gates at the Prince's first port of call, the city's Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, which acted as a base of operations after the terror attack.
He was greeted by Police Commissioner Mike Bush and met with officers and ambulance staff, some of whom were at the scene of the attacks that killed 50.
The Duke enquired about the how the response had been coordinated and unfolded.
"Nothing really trains you for seeing it in real life," the Prince, who served as a pilot with the air ambulance service in Britain, said.
Afterwards, Bush told reporters staff had been "overwhelmed" by William's message of support and his acknowledgement of their work.
"The emotion was quite palpable," Bush said.
"If I could use his words to our staff which was: 'A good friend doesn't pick up the phone when people are in need, you travel to their place and you put your arms around them.'"
Before heading to Christchurch, William made time to stop by Starship Children's Hospital in Auckland, where he visited a five-year-old girl left in a coma during the shootings and who only recently began to speak again.
A video posted by Kensington Palace shows William at the child's bedside, talking to her about his daughter Charlotte.
"She's about the same age as you," he said in reply to a question from the child.
William began his two-day visit to New Zealand on Thursday morning by paying his respects to Australian and New Zealand soldiers with a wreath-laying at an Anzac ceremony at Auckland's War Memorial Museum.
The March 15 terror attack has loomed over this year's commemorations in New Zealand.
Dozens of armed police officers stood guard during the hymns and speeches, trucks and buses blocked roads around the site and lookouts kept watch from the museum's roof.
While William did not speak, Ardern in an emotional speech said the event was a reminder of shared values after the terror attack.
"Let us recommit to always remembering our shared humanity, that there is more that unites us than divides us," she said.
"Our sense of independence is as strong as our sense of responsibility to each other and not just as nation-states but as human beings."
Visiting Christchurch's attack survivors will now be the focus for the remainder of the Duke's trip.
Apart from a last-minute public walkabout on Friday, events are expected to take a significantly more sombre tone than most royal visits.
The Prince will on Friday visit the city's hospital to meet with a handful of those still being cared for, before meeting with the Muslim community at the city's terror-struck mosques.
He previously visited Christchurch following the deadly 2011 earthquake and last visited with wife Catherine - who hasn't joined him this week - in 2014.
New Zealand's security threat level has been lowered for the first time since a terror attack on Christchurch mosques killed 50 people, with police saying officers will begin to put away their guns.
After the March 15 shootings the country's national security level jumped to high for the first time in its history.
It has remained there for more than four weeks as authorities warned of an increased risk of copycat behaviour or retaliations in line with similar attacks overseas.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the national threat level had been lowered to medium, which indicates " a terrorist attack is assessed as feasible and could well occur".
"While the threat level has been revised to medium, and there is no current specific threat agencies are responding to, people will continue to notice a clear police presence at public events, including on Anzac Day," she said.
“Behind the scene there remains an extensive cross-agency response to counter any potential threats."
Since the attack, patrolling police officers have watched over public areas and events across the country carrying large Bushmaster M4 rifles.
New Zealand is one of the few countries in the world where police don't carry firearms while on day-to-day duty, although weapons are kept in squad cars for use in emergencies and with authorisation.
Officers took steps such as putting flowers on their uniforms, with authorities assuring a public unaccustomed to seeing firearms that their continued presence is a precaution.
Police Commissioner Mike Bush on Wednesday said with the lowering of the threat level, police would be looking to transition back to the status quo.
“We will still maintain our tactical capability to respond to incidents as required, however the public can now expect to see fewer police officers routinely carrying firearms," he said.
"You may still see some frontline staff continue to carry firearms on a case by case basis."
New Zealand's risk level was low before the attack.
A number of Anzac Day events across the Auckland region have been consolidated this year in order to provide greater security.