16 Feb 2011

Legal action aims to halt sale of Tonga's royal mansion in Auckland

2:27 pm on 16 February 2011

Legal action is being taken in Tonga over the attempt by King George Tupou the 5th to sell Atalanga, the royal family's mansion in Epsom in Auckland.

The King's lawyers have maintained the house was his private property and he could dispose of it as he pleased.

Don Wiseman has more:

"A caveat has delayed the sale and now the Supreme Court in Nuku'alofa is being asked to make a declaration on who owns the property. The plaintiffs include two members of the political party, Paati Longafonua Tu'uloa, 'Ofa Fakalata and Sulunga Lavaka, who also managed Atalanga for some years. The third plaintiff is veteran MP, Akilisi Pohiva, of the Friendly Islands Democratic Party. Their lawyer, Sione Fonua, who's also a member of the Paati Longafonua, says they contend a sale would be unconstitutional and that, under common law, the King was effectively a trustee of the property for the people of Tonga. The King's lawyer in Auckland has called the efforts to stop the sale vexatious and says a substantial damages claim is likely."