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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, May 31) – Tonga’s King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV will not be opening the 2006 session of the Tonga Legislative Assembly tomorrow June 1, the Palace office confirmed in Nuku’alofa today May 31.

Sateki ‘Ahio, the Deputy Secretary of the Palace office, confirmed today that the King will remain in Auckland, New Zealand, where he has been living since last year.

The Princess Regent, Princess Pilolevu Tuita, will take the king’s place and officiate the opening of Tonga Legislative Assembly to be held at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall, Nuku’alofa.

The 87-year old monarch has made only brief returns to Tonga while staying in Auckland for medical check-ups.

Sateki confirmed that the king remains in good health in New Zealand.

Since succeeding his mother the late Queen Salote in 1967, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV has placed great importance on his role in both opening and closing the legislature, and it is believed this is the first time that he has not been able to perform that duty.

On his last public appearance in Tonga at the opening of a new wing at Vaiola Hospital on March 23, the king appeared infirm and was taken from the venue during the ceremony, returning to New Zealand on April 13.

June 1, 2006

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