Devoted Kīngitanga kuia reminisces on Royal Family visits

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

Nita Gregory has devoted more than 70 years to the King Movement, serving the royal household behind the scenes in Tūrongo House at Tūrangawaewae Marae.

She has also served the British royal household who have visited the marae in the past.  Prince Charles has asked to meet her when he and the Duchess of Cornwall arrive on Sunday.

Gregory says, “I came to work in Tūrongo House was really through Te Pūea, and Te Pūea always lent towards my husband of the Hauraki connections.  My role in Tūrongo was looking after the dining room, setting it up ready for Taini, whenever the dignitaries came.”

Although she is an expert when it comes to hosting important dignitaries, she admits she still gets nervous and remembers the time she met Queen Elizabeth.

“I think because I kept smiling at her and made her feel at home.  Only once I think when she came that I was still terrified, but I managed to smile,” she said.

She was also fortunate to host her son, the Prince of Wales, when he last visited Tūrangawaewae 21 years ago.