Maori King scraps 'short' meeting with Kate and William

The Maori King has pulled out of a meeting with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their New Zealand tour.

His officials suggested the engagement was not long enough to do justice to the status of the royal visitors.

King Tuheitia Paki, wearing a tie, walks behind the coffin of his mother Credit: REUTERS/Nigel Marple

"They were offered a 90-minute slot, that was longer than pretty much any other engagement that they have, and King Tuheitia's people decided that wasn't long enough and on that basis they rejected him attending," New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in statement.

The Cambridges were due to meet King Tuheitia, a former truck driver who ascended to the throne in 2006, on the country's North Island at Turangawaewae, his official residence and reception building.

The Maori King's office issued a statement which reportedly quoted a senior official who said the monarch was "not some carnival act to be rolled out at the beck and call of anyone, and nor should we be prepared to compromise our tikanga to fit into a pre-determined schedule".