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Tuheitia supports fellow ariki in Tonga

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Kīngi Tuheitia is in the Friendly Islands to take part in the 60th birthday celebrations for Tonga's king, Aho'eitu Tupou VI.

Journalist Sefita Haouli says there are long-standing connections between the royal families, with the Māori king's mother Te Atairangikaahu being a regular visitor.

Kīngi Tuheitia is supported by a kapa haka group which is taking part in what's known as the Heilala Festival season, when many Tongans from around the Pacific come back for sports and cultural events and for the annual conferences of the three major protestant churches.

"It's a whole week of celebrations. Schools are performing. Villages are bringing in the best dancers to be able to dance for his majesty and his visitors, and of course the kapa haka people will be there. There is a beauty pageant as well with young women competing from around the Pacific where Tongans live, so all of that is going on. It's not a good week to be a pig in Tonga," Mr Haouli says.

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