21 Mar 2012

NZ Tongan leaders disappointed body of King George will not come to Auckland

11:28 am on 21 March 2012

Some Tongan community leaders in New Zealand are disappointed the body of King George will be flown directly to Tonga from Hong Kong, without stopping in Auckland.

The chair of the Auckland Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka, says Tongans here would have liked to have paid their respects.

"We thought that the route to Tonga through Auckland and it will be a very nice gesture for the body to lie in state for one or two days but now we have received the decision, we have to live with it."

Melino Maka says many people are still in shock about the King's death.

And the opposition Labour Party's Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson, Su'a William Sio, says it will be too expensive for most Tongan New Zealanders to attend the funeral.

'There will be a lot of Tonga families who just won't be able to make the trip back that will be sorely disappointed and very hopeful that they will the opportunity for the body to lie in state in Auckland before it reaches Tonga.

Su'a William Sio says some Tongan elders in Auckland remain hopeful the Tongan Government will change its mind.