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Officials Clarify Position of Kiingi Tuheitia on Royal Visit

4 March 2013
Media statement: For immediate release
Officials Clarify Position of Kiingi Tuheitia on Royal Visit

The Maori King has received the official Programme for the upcoming Royal Visit in April and has expressed his pleasure at seeing the Royal couple are coming to the Waikato. The Officials of the Maori King’s Office have confirmed that the Royal Couple are not visiting Turangawaewae Marae on this occasion.

The officials confirmed that the considerations resulting in the decision centred on the allocated time proposed for the visit, as dictated to him by the Government-appointed committee in charge of the visit.

“The Government-appointed Committee overseeing the visit never met with any officials from this Office and when we did seek to contact them, they were not willing to be negotiable or flexible in their approaches to the King. The King was never asked anything, he was simply told.

“In that sense, the Government’s delegation of the organisation of such an important visit to faceless bureaucrats was a grave error of judgement and a repeat of the same history that has seen the mana of the Kiingitanga continually diminished and undermined.

“King Tuheitia agonised over his final decision but felt that other planned visits in Waikato were just as important and he didn't want those visits disadvantaged or affected by his acceptance of the Royal couple at Turangawaewae Marae.

“Our full reasons for declining the visit were conveyed to the Royal couple in a personal letter from Kiingi Tuheitia that was couriered to the Palace several weeks ago. The policy around correspondence of this nature is that they are sealed and are not to be opened for a finite period. We are not sure how the Office of the Prime Minister treats correspondence of this type.

“A senior rangatira noted that the King and the Kiingitanga are not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone, and nor should we be prepared to compromise our tikanga to fit into a pre-determined schedule. It would have put the King in an impossible situation and opened him up to criticism that he was denigrating the mana of the Kiingitanga and the mana of the rangatira attending.

“In respect to the status of the Royal Couple, and that of the Rangatira who would gather to pay homage to the couple at Turangawaewae, 60 to 90 minutes was not considered to be "adequate to Manaaki and Awhi" the Royal couple appropriately. The King wanted to give his best to this couple to reflect their status, he was being prevented from doing that.

“When we looked at the time available it was also clear that there would be very little opportunity – we estimated around 7 minutes – for the Prince and Princess to meet and mingle with people on the Marae to see the Royal couple.

Turangawaewae Marae and the Maori Monarchy, including King Tuheitia personally, have received the Windsor’s over several decades with very different parameters and boundaries placed around those visits by the Government of that day.

Had this visit proceeded, it would have been the first visit by senior members of the Windsor dynasty to King Tuheitia in his capacity as "King".

However, he is confident and reassured that the Royal couple will be well received and looked after by the people of New Zealand. The King has sent an open invitation to Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, including the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge.


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