Maori king suffers heart attack

KING: Maori King Tuheitia spoke at the final day of coronation celebrations at the Ngaruawhahia this month.
KING: Maori King Tuheitia spoke at the final day of coronation celebrations at the Ngaruawhahia this month.

The Maori King Tuheitia was admitted to Waikato Hospital today after he suffered a heart attack.

He was rushed to Waikato Hospital after an early morning heart attack which a tribal source described as ‘‘not good’’.

‘‘He had a heart attack this morning, a quite big serious one, and was taken to Waikato Hospital. He has since stabilised and he will spend the night in hospital," the source said last night.

The family of the king were understood to be at his side throughout the day as he rested. He had had a busy schedule during the Koroneihana celebrations last week.

Messages to the King’s office were not returned and calls to the king’s spokesman, Tukoroirangi Morgan, went unanswered.

Waikato Times called Labour MP and relative of the king Nanaia Mahuta but she declined to comment.

News of the Tuheitia’s condition spread quickly and well-wishers gathered in prayer at Turangawaewae Marae for their king.

The source said members of the iwi had a karakia on the courtyard in front of Mahinarangi meeting house where the king had given his speech just days before.

‘‘They are having karakia for him tonight and it looks like he will be going to Auckland in the morning.’’

Another source said King Tuheitia was a regular visitor to hospital.

The king was visibly frail during his annual address at Koroneihana celebrations last week where he revealed the extent of his health battles.

‘‘You are well aware of my personal fight with diabetes and cancer and I am pleased to report that these are being kept under control,’’ he said at the time.

In the months prior to the Koroneihana, Tuheitia had to batter away criticism after his son Korotangi Paki was discharged without conviction on burglary and drink driving charges.

The Crown Law Office appealed the ruling but Paki was not expected to appear at the August 29 hearing.

During his address he took umbrage at the media for ‘‘sensational and factually wrong’’ reports.

He said he wanted to deal with more pressing issues affecting the tribe and keep family matters private, but they were turned into a media circus.

He stood down from public engagements last year to tend to his health problems and his eldest son, Whatumoana Paki, took the role of Te Whirinaki a te Kingi to speak on his behalf.

Last September, he underwent minor surgery - understood to be a stomach bypass - recommended by his doctors to help keep his condition under control.

Waikato Times