24 Mar 2012

High level NZ delegation to attend late Tongan king's funeral

8:13 am on 24 March 2012

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key has announced that a high-level delegation led by the Governor-General will travel to Tonga for the state funeral of King George Tupou V on Tuesday.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757 will depart New Zealand on Tuesday morning and return the same day.

The Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae will be joined by other parliamentary leaders including the Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully, Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Hekia Parata, Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples, and Opposition Leader David Shearer.

Also on the flight will be Auckland Mayor Len Brown, members of the Tongan community, and close friends of the late King.

Mr Key says the thoughts of the Government and the people of New Zealand are with the late King's family, the people of Tonga, and the Tongan community in New Zealand.

Flags on government buildings in New Zealand will be flown at half-mast on the day of the funeral.