Allegations Maori King insulted at Taiwanese banquet - MFAT disputes claims it came from them
A Taiwanese diplomat alleged to have called the Maori King "useless" on the back of advice from New Zealand has the King's advisers and government officials at loggerheads.
The comments came to light at a Taiwanese select committee hearing in April, which Tuheitia's private secretary Rangi Whakaruru and former Cabinet minister - now immigration consultant - Tuariki Delamere both attended.
On their return the pair briefed Tekau Ma Rua, Tuheitia's 12 closest advisers, about the allegations - the origins of which they say came from New Zealand.
However a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) denies the claims.
The Taiwanese official is said to have made the comments at an official banquet in December last year, which Whakaruru attended.
The Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs investigated the claims that their deputy head of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kay Lin, had made the insulting comments about Tuheitia but reportedly were "unable to restore actual conversations" between the 12 guests at the banquet.
It's understood Lin is scheduled to be posted to Australia to serve as Taiwan's deputy representative there.
The allegations came to light after Legislator Chen Ying of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party called for Lin's resignation when Taiwanese MFAT appeared at select committee on April 19.
Ying had invited Whakaruru and Delamere, who were in Taiwan at the time, to the meeting.
According to their report to Tekau Ma Rua, they were questioned by media on leaving Parliament buildings where they expressed their "disappointment" that Lin had made such "disparaging comments".
They also told Taiwanese media that Tuheitia, and his late mother, were accorded recognition as the Maori monarch by "successive New Zealand governments, Queen Elizabeth, the late Nelson Mandela, Prince Charles, (United States former President) Bill Clinton and many other Heads of State".
While MFAT were aware of the "discussion and subsequent media coverage" around the comments "no one from MFAT or the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office" (which represents New Zealand's economic and cultural interests in Taiwan) "provided information to representatives of Taiwan that would support remarks like those claimed to have been made".
The alleged insults, as reported to Tekau Ma Rua, were that Tuheitia was "useless"; most of the Maori tribes in New Zealand "did not support the Kingitanga"; former Prime Minister John Key and Prime Minister Bill English "ignored King Tuheitia and the Kingitanga because they considered King Tuheitia and the Kingitanga were not relevant, supported or acknowledged by most Maori", and that Maori were "natives" used in a way that implied Maori were a "race of simple and backwards people".
Representatives of Kingitanga - the Maori King movement - have been working away at diplomatic relations in Taiwan in an effort to get a trading partnership underway.
An MFAT spokesman said he didn't think the incident had affected New Zealand's relationship with Taiwan or "MFAT's relationship with Kingitanga".
But with Tuheitia due to go to Taiwan later this year the incident is likely to resurface.
There is also questions over whether Maori believe it is Tuheitia's place to be involved in both international and domestic trading matters.
It's understood Delamere had asked Tekau Ma Rua to release a statement supporting Tuheitia and his "mana", which is yet to happen because some on the council are concerned with the King's meddling in political matters.