Prince Harry’s long lost lolly wrapper puts NZ at the heart of a sustainable travel campaign

Prince Harry wants to know what Kiwis think about sustainable travel.

The royal has chosen to showcase New Zealand in the first-ever campaign for his not-for-profit organisation, Travalyst, which aims to bring sustainable travel “into the mainstream”.

As part of the campaign, Harry stars in a video alongside Kiwi actors Rhys Darby, Rena Owen and Dave Fane. The video was filmed in California, where the prince is now based with his wife Meghan Markle, 3-year-old son Archie, and 11-month old daughter Lilibet.

In the video, Harry is shown jogging when he is accosted by Darby’s character, a “rating agent”.

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Darby explains he is from New Zealand and accuses Harry of dropping a lolly wrapper at Auckland’s Bethells Beach during his tour of the country in October 2018.

When Harry doesn’t react, Darby says: “It might have been a confusing time, it was windy.”

Harry replies: “I don’t think it was confusing. It was an incredible time. We had an amazing time in New Zealand. It’s beautiful.”

Darby then explains they are trialling a system where, just as people rate destinations, they are asking how a destination would rate them back.

Prince Harry and Meghan visit Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua during their 2018 New Zealand tour.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan visit Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua during their 2018 New Zealand tour.

Darby informs Harry his score during his 2018 visit was three stars out of five – “not too bad” – and praises him for only using one towel during his stay, for buying local honey, and for not leaving the tap running while brushing his teeth .

As a perturbed Harry questions how Darby knows all of this, another rating agent appears, played by Fane. He claims he is supposed to be rating the prince, and there has been a mix-up with a Harry “Styley”.

Darby informs Harry he actually has four stars, and proceeds to give him stamps on his arm.

At this point the rating agents’ boss, played by Owen, pulls up and greets Harry in te reo Māori. Asked how he is, Harry replies: “Kei te pai” (I am fine).

After initially complaining about Darby and Fane, Harry admits the rating “has got me thinking”.

Kiwi actors Rhys Darby and Dave Fane appear in the video as “rating agents”.


Kiwi actors Rhys Darby and Dave Fane appear in the video as “rating agents”.

The aim of the video is to encourage Kiwis to visit the Travalyst website, where there will be a holiday rating tool for visitors to engage with.

“In a world where we’re tasked with rating so many things, we’re now asking: what if your destination rated you?” Prince Harry said in a statement.

“Starting in beautiful Aotearoa New Zealand, we’re launching our first campaign. There is a well-known Māori proverb: Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, ēngari he toa takitini (success is not the work of an individual, but the work of many) – we invite you to be a part of our many.”

Since launching in 2019, Travalyst has brought together several major travel brands including, Expedia, Google, Skyscanner and Tripadvisor.

The aim of the coalition is to create an industry-wide sustainability rating system that will provide travelers with consistent, easy to understand information when booking their trips.

Prince Harry's interest in Māori culture was behind the decision to launch the campaign in Aotearoa.

Chris Jackson/GettyImages

Prince Harry’s interest in Māori culture was behind the decision to launch the campaign in Aotearoa.

So far, they have launched frameworks for the accommodation and aviation sectors.

Travalyst CEO Sally Davey said the next step was to start engaging with consumers and travel providers, and New Zealand was an “obvious fit”.

“We really wanted to start this journey in a place where sustainability is already embedded in the destination – particularly in the local community,” she told stuff travel.

“The Duke in particular is very aware of Māori culture and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and felt very strongly, as we all did, that Aotearoa was just an ideal setting for the pilot.”

They had taken a “light-hearted” approach with both the video and the holiday rating tool.

“This is all about catalysing that conversation, that awareness, getting us to think a little more about, ‘would we have got a five-star rating and how might we make better choices now?’”

But Kiwis would also be invited to take part in a more in-depth research survey about their travel habits, which would help Travalyst better understand consumer attitudes to sustainable travel that would inform their future work.

Prince Harry has previously come under fire for his own habits, namely his use of private jets.

At a launch event for Travalyst in Amsterdam in 2019, he responded to this criticism by saying he spends “99% of my life traveling the world by commercial”, but at times flew privately “to ensure my family are safe”. He added that he always offset his CO2 emissions.

Asked for more examples of changes Prince Harry has personally made to make his own travels more sustainable, stuff travel was referred to Archewell, the non-profit organization founded by Prince Harry and Meghan.

An Archewell spokesperson said the entire organization had already committed to a goal of becoming net zero by 2030. Flying commercially was one of several ways to reduce their collective footprint, the spokesperson said.

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