A VIP group including deputy prime minister Mark Brown and House of Ariki Komati Nui, Tou Travel Ariki were there to greet the couple as they disembarked from an Air New Zealand aircraft and later made their way passed a guard of honour out on the tarmac made up of police officers, Girl Guides, school children and traditional leaders.
By the time they had reached the end of the parade, they were covered almost-head high in ei given to them by enthusiastic well-wishers.
A reception for the couple was held in the airport VIP lounge with guest speakers including Brown and Tou Travel Ariki.
Sir Tom also spoke, describing the depth of emotion he had felt receiving his knighthood, and noting that it’s emotional impact had surpassed any of the numerous receptions for presidents and other VIPs he had attended over the years as Queen’s Representative and earlier, a politician.
During a busy trip overseas, Sir Tom and Lady Tuaine and their delegation visited London where Sir Tom received his Knight of the British Empire award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
They also attended a war memorial service in Belgium honouring Cook Islands and Commonwealth soldiers.
In addition, they visited New Zealand, coping with what Sir Tom Marsters described as an exhausting schedule, before catching the plane home.
More photos and a story in CINews soon.