Maori king nixes meeting with UK prince

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's indigenous Maori king has refused to meet with Prince William and wife Kate when they visit the country next month, saying officials organizing the royal couple's schedule didn't allow enough time.

Officials had offered up to 90 minutes for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit King Tuheitia at his sacred meeting house.

Elaborate Maori protocol dictates that important welcoming ceremonies can often last hours.

In a statement Tuesday, King Tuheitia said Maori royalty was "not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone."

The decision was criticized by New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key, who said that 90 minutes seemed "generous" given the royal couple's busy schedule.

The Maori king is a ceremonial position that doesn't wield any statutory powers.

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