New Zealand lambasted by Prince Philip for looking upon Māori like 'domestic pets' in letter to Australian MP

Prince Philip.
Prince Philip. Photo credit: File

The Duke of Edinburgh is said to have written a letter to an Australian MP lambasting how New Zealand treated Māori after he and Queen Elizabeth visited the country in the 1950s.

Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, wrote the letter to Australian lawmaker Sir Harold Hartley giving his thoughts on New Zealand following the royal visit in 1954.

In the letter, seen by the Daily Mail, Prince Philip criticises New Zealand's treatment of Māori, claiming they were seen as "somewhere between museum pieces and domestic pets".

"There seems to be no official policy for them which is at all enlightened," he wrote.

"New Zealand on the whole struck me as over-governed with not much room for initiative - the perfect welfare state in fact!"

The now-99-year-old Prince Philip did praise New Zealand for how the 1954 Royal Tour was arranged, writing "we ended up having seen at least something of almost everything".

He said New Zealanders were mostly delightful during the visit.

"The people were universally charming and on the whole most considerate," the letter continued.

Prince Philip's letter is being sold by Dominic Winter, a UK-based auctioneer. 

It's anticipated it will go for about NZ$580, the Daily Mail reported.