King of Tonga set for three day state visit

Last updated 07:36 23/02/2013
TUPOU VI: King of Tonga.
ANDREW GORRIE
TUPOU VI: King of Tonga.

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The King of Tonga is to arrive in New Zealand today - his first official state visit here.

King Tupou VI took over the reign after his brother, George Tupou V, died in Hong Kong last March.

Last week, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae said King Tupou would receive a state welcome at Government House on Monday and would finish his trip in Auckland on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, he is expected to attend a service at Wellington's Wesley Church.

He will be accompanied by wife, Queen Nanasipau'u, and Tonga's Minister for Education.

"There are special bonds of friendship and community between Tonga and New Zealand and the King's visit marks a new chapter in the close relationship between our two countries," Mateparae said.

"We look forward in the coming years to strengthening the ties between us, which are underpinned by our shared Polynesian heritage, and a range of bilateral links in the arts, sport, education, trade and defence."

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