LONDON   -  Referring to the far-right gunman behind the shootings, Prince William said he had come to New Zealand to “help you show the world that he failed”. He said a “terrorist attempted to sow division and hatred in a place that stands for togetherness and selflessness”.

He added: “But New Zealanders had other plans. The people of Al Noor and Linwood mosques had other plans. In a moment of acute pain, you stood up and you stood together.” Prince William also referred to the loss of his own mother, Princess Diana, and spoke of having to deal with grief.

He said: “Grief can change your outlook. You don’t forget the shock and sadness or pain, but I do not believe grief changes who you are. “If you let it, it will reveal who you are. It will reveal depths you did not know you had.” The prince had earlier met four-year-old Alen Alsati - who was injured in the attack and awoke from a coma earlier this week - on a visit to Starship Children’s Hospital. He also visited a memorial to the victims of the earthquake which hit Christchurch in 2011, where he laid a wreath.

En route, the prince stopped to talk to five-year-old Tilly Pearce, who stood among the crowds holding a sign which read: “Prince William I love your grandmother.” Tilly, who has been saving her pocket money for a trip to London to have tea with the Queen, described the moment as “really exciting”.

On the first day of his tour he received a traditional greeting called the hongi from Ms Ardern and attended an Anzac Day memorial service.