28 Nov 2016

Prayers for Māori King ahead of kidney transplant

10:19 am on 28 November 2016

The Kāhui Wairua, a group of the Māori King's spirtual advisors, has performed prayers over the Māori monarch and his son Korotangi before the pair are admitted to a private hospital for a kidney transplant.

Kiingi Tuheitia making his annual speech at Turangawaewae in August 2016

Kiingi Tuheitia making his annual speech at Turangawaewae Photo: RNZ / Shannon Haunui-Thompson

Kiingi Tuheitia Paki will receive his son Korotangi's kidney in coming days after three years of preparation for the life-changing operation.

His personal advisor and spokesperson for the Office of the King Rangi Whakaruru said there had been a lot of preparation ahead of the surgery for the seventh Māori monarch and one of his successors.

Korotangi and his son Hikairo Paki

Korotangi and his son Hikairo Paki at this year's Koroneihana. Photo: Supplied

Mr Whakaruru said for the past year Korotangi had been committed and at the ready to do whatever he can for his father.

"There has been numerous testing around his compatibility, the organ compatibility. They've got a unique blood type so that was a positive tick. Korotangi in that sense parked his life up for the last eight months and stood in readiness."

Kiingi Tuheitia had suffered kidney failure for the past three years and in more recent months was having dialysis at his Waahi Pa home.

The King was in high spirits, Mr Whakaruru said. "He has been handcuffed to this dialysis machine for the past six months and it's frustrated him no end."

It was rare for the public to know the personal situation of the Kingitanga particularly the King but at a iwi hui last week Tuheitia gave permission for his advisors to let the iwi know.

"He is not anxious anymore, the time has come and he's ready to do this," Mr Whakaruru said.

Rangi Whakaruru, Principal Private Secretary to Kingii Tuheitia

Rangi Whakaruru, Principal Private Secretary to Kingii Tuheitia Photo: Radio NZ / Andrew McRae

The Kāhui Kaumatua, the group of Tainui's most prestigious elders, will be on hand over the coming days to receive any fluids or remains from the transplant. In Tainui tradition these will be returned to the sacred mountain of Taupiri where six former monarch lie.

Mr Whakaruru said in terms of tikanga it is very important for the remains to be buried. "It's been the case for the previous six Āriki (heads) and certain members of the Kāhui Āriki. It's been the case for 160 years."

Mr Whakaruru said his office was in charge of all planning for the King Movement including succession plans and Kiingi Tuheitia is always involved with future-proofing the movement.

"That's part of our responsiblity. It's not left to guessing but as in all previous Āriki, he [Tuheitia] does not play with the neccessity of such a prospect," he said.

Waikato Tainui members follow the Pai Māririe faith, which was born out of the land invasions. It represents peace and goodness. Members across Tainui will continue to hold karakia each morning and each night for as long as the Kāhui Wairua asks them to.

All going well the Māori King will have surgery next week.