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New Zealand's Maori king snubs Britain's Prince William

Published on Mar 4, 2014 2:02 PM
 
A file photo on Aug 21, 2013, shows Maori King Tuheitia Paki sitting on the carved wooden throne during his coronation ceremony at Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, south of Auckland. New Zealand's Maori king has refused to meet Britain's Prince William during a royal tour next month, with his office saying on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, he is "not a carnival act" for visiting dignitaries. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand's Maori king has refused to meet Britain's Prince William during a royal tour next month, with his office saying on Tuesday he is "not a carnival act" for visiting dignitaries.

Prime Minister John Key expressed disappointment at the snub, which would have involved Prince William visiting King Tuheitia during his April 7 to 16 trip to New Zealand with wife Catherine and baby son Prince George. But King Tuheitia's office rejected the offer, arguing the 90 minutes allotted for the visit to the Maori leader's base in the North Island was not long enough for proper protocols to be observed.

His representatives also slammed the "faceless bureaucrats" who organised the itinerary, accusing them of adopting an inflexible approach when dictating the terms of the proposed visit.

After agonising over what to do, the Maori leader decided not to agree to the meeting and sent a personal letter to the royal couple outlining his reasons, his office said in a statement. "A senior rangatira (chief) noted that the king and the Kiingitanga (the movement he leads) are not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone," the statement said.

 
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