5 Mar 2014

Maori King's office questions protocol

2:56 pm on 5 March 2014

The Maori King's office is questioning the way the Government has treated sensitive information the tribal movement relayed to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about their New Zealand visit.

The Maori King, Tuheitia.

The Maori King, Tuheitia. Photo: RNZ

The Duke and Duchess and Prince George will arrive in New Zealand on 7 April, visiting Wellington, Blenheim, Auckland, Hamilton, Cambridge, Dunedin, Queenstown and Christchurch before leaving for Australia on 16 April.

But they will not be visiting King Tuheitia at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia because the Kingitanga wanted longer than the allocated 90 minutes to see them.

The King's office on Tuesday issued a strongly worded statement spelling out that the movement would not be told what to do by government-appointed organisers.

The office has written to the royal couple explaining why it declined their visit to Turangawaewae, and a letter has also been sent to Prime Minister Minister John Key's office.

The King's office said its policy was for correspondence of this nature to be sealed and not opened for a finite period. His office says it is not sure how John Key's office treats this type of correspondence.

A tribal spokesperson questioned how Mr Key could confirm the details he did, other than coming from a letter it sent to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

King Tuheitia's office on Tuesday issued a statement saying the government-appointed committee overseeing the visit never met any of his officials, and when the office contacted those in charge they found them to be non-negotiable and inflexible.

The office said royal visit organisers had made a grave error of judgement and were repeating the same history which had led to the mana of the Kingitanga continually being diminished and undermined.

The King has sent an open invitation to the royal couple to visit.