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HomeLatest NewsCharles greeted with hongi from New Zealander during troop visit

Charles greeted with hongi from New Zealander during troop visit

The hongi is a hugely significant gesture in Maori culture (Picture: Getty)

A Maori man training with Ukrainian troops gave King Charles the traditional hongi greeting on Monday.

The New Zealander is part of a contingent of Ukrainian troops who are being trained by British soldiers in Wiltshire, England.

On a wind-swept field, King Charles and the Maori soldier pressed their noses and foreheads together as part of the ancient greeting, which is a symbolic show of unity in Maori culture.

The pair then shook hands while embracing.

Britain and its international partners are preparing the Ukrainian unit with five weeks of basic training before they head back to Ukraine to fight Russia.

The troops are being given basic combat training (Picture: Getty Images)
King Charles has been greeted with the hongi before (Picture: Getty Images)
The other soldiers looked on smiling at the pair (Picture: Getty Images)
The soldiers are being trained to repel Russian forces in Ukraine (Picture: PA)
King Charles regularly meets the British Army as part of his royal duties (Picture: Getty Images)

Several British royals have been greeted with the hongi during visits to New Zealand, including the late Princess Diana, Duchess Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The hongi is deeply symbolic in Maori culture.

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When Maori press their noses, the tradition reflects sharing the breath of life and is considered to have come directly from the gods. 

The Maori are the ingenious population of New Zealand, numbering around 776,000, though their diaspora is also in Australia, the US and Canada.

The UK has now helped to train 10,000 Ukrainian volunteer soldiers nearly a year after Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Many without previous experience, the recruits have been arriving since July to train in safety before returning to defend their home against Moscow’s attacks.

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