21 September, 2017. Tonga's Consulate in Auckland has denied claims by Maori Party candidate Manase Lua that he was endorsed by King Tupou VI ahead of New Zealand's election on Saturday.
Earlier this week the Maori Party confirmed that Maori King Tuheitia approached his Tongan counterpart to ask Tongans to provide a candidate.
It said Mr Lua, who is standing in the Maungakiekie electorate, had been blessed by the Royal Houses.
The statement raised concerns from the Tongan Advisory Council chair Melino Maka who said seeking royal endorsements was dangerous.
However, Tongan Consul Stafford 'Aho says that no such endorsement occurred.
Maori Party President Tukoroirangi Morgan has said the royal endorsement is not his business, but the party wants to honour a desire by King Tuheitia to work with the Pacific community.
Six candidates from New Zealand's Pacific communities are standing in general seats for the Maori Party in the election.