21 Mar 2012

Tonga's new King seen as more open to the public than his predecessor

3:04 pm on 21 March 2012

A Pacific academic says Tonga's new King is much more open to the public than his older brother, the late King George Tupou V.

The new King, Tupou the sixth, was Tonga's Prime Minister from 2000 to 2005, resigning amid Tonga's pre-democracy protests.

He has been Tonga's High Commissioner in Australia for the past five years.

A Pacific Studies expert at Canterbury University Dr Malakai Koloamatangi, says he was an inexperienced Prime Minister.

"He was seen to be a person who was not, perhaps, open-minded enough to take advice, I don't think he had formal advisors, so, he tended to do things on his own. So, I think we should be, not worried, but interested in what people he wants to surround himself with."

Malakai Koloamatangi says Tupou the Sixth is seen as much more conservative than his older brother.