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Maori King snubs William and Kate royal visit

New Zealand’s indigenous Maori king has refused to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during next month’s visit, saying the royal party is not allowing enough time for the meeting.

The Maori king has a ceremonial position but does not have any statutory powers, Skynews reports.

Officials had offered up to 90 minutes for William and Kate to visit King Tuheitia at his sacred meeting ground, the Turangawaewae Marae.

But elaborate Maori protocol dictates that important welcoming ceremonies can often last several hours.

In a statement, King Tuheitia said one Maori leader had noted that Maori royalty was “not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone”.

Tuheitia said he estimated there would have been just seven minutes for the royal couple to mingle and meet people on the marae after the ceremonial greetings were completed.

The refusal was criticised by New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, who said that 90 minutes seemed “generous” given the royal couple’s busy schedule.

Royal officials in London did not directly comment, but said the programme for the trip had been signed off by the New Zealand government and that several events would “recognise the significance of Maori culture”.

William and Kate’s son, seven-month-old Prince George, will also be going on the three-week trip around Australia and New Zealand.

The couple’s plans include jet boating and sailing as well as the more traditional rounds of meetings, events and memorials.

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