Maori King rejects Prince visit as too short

It is one of the most anticipated arrivals of the year - but Maori royalty have rejected an offer of a visit by Prince William because not enough time was given.

The Duke of Cambridge will tour New Zealand next month with his wife, Kate, and their baby, Prince George.

The visit to New Zealand, then Australia, will be the first public engagement for the 8-month-old.

But it was confirmed yesterday that a trip to Turangawaewae had been cancelled by King Tuheitia.

Prime Minister John Key said the decision was made solely by the Maori King's advisers, but the King's office made no comment.

"My understanding is the palace offered King Tuheitia's people an opportunity for the Prince to visit. They were offered a 90-minute slot. That was longer than pretty much any other engagement they have and King Tuheitia's people decided that wasn't long enough and on that basis, they rejected him actually attending."

It is understood the slot would not be long enough for proper protocol to be carried out during the visit.

Mr Key said: "It's a matter for them to decide their own thing, but in the end [Prince William] has a fairly tight timetable ... I would have thought [90 minutes] was quite generous.

"I think it's a shame he's not going, but that was a decision solely made by King Tuheitia's people."

-  Vaimoana Tapaleao and Claire Trevett of the New Zealand Herald

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