Tuesday, March 26, 2013
#2138 ... Sultan on Featherston
The Sultan of Brunei crosses Featherston Street returning from a lunch with with Bruneian students studying in New Zealand. The Sultan of Brunei is in New Zealand for a four-day state visit. His Majesty Hassanal Bolkiah, aged 66, touched down in his Royal Brunei 767-200 at Wellington Airport this morning. His majesty will be in the country from Monday to Thursday and will be officially welcomed at Government House tomorrow. During his visit, the Sultan will attend a dinner hosted by Prime Minister John Key, meet with Labour leader David Shearer, attend question time at Parliament, and lay a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington. Brunei is one of the world's richest countries due to its oil and gas reserves and has a population of around 400,000. The sultan's wealth is estimated at US$20 billion and he has one of the world's largest and most expensive car collections, one of them plated with gold. Sultan Bolkiah is the prime minister, tourism minister, finance minister, defence minister, head of Islam, head of customs and the inspector general of the police. He's ruled the country since 1967 when his father abdicated the throne. The sultan is accompanied by about 50 officials and staff.