It doesn’t seem a very good time to be royalty in the Pacific these days. In early July 2006: Tongan royals killed in car crash:
Two members of Tonga’s royal family have been killed in a car crash during a visit to the United States.
Prince Tu’ipelehake, Princess Kaimana and their driver died when a teenager crashed her car into their vehicle.
Now, mid-August, it seems the King of Tonga is in decline: Royal Family With Ailing Tongan King:
The ailing King of Tonga, who is in hospital in Auckland, has been joined by his wife, daughter and youngest son.
There are increasing concerns about the health of King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, who has battled heart disease for some time.
And, finally, the Māori queen passed away yesterday: NZ mourns death of Maori queen:
A week of mourning has begun in New Zealand, to mark the death of the revered queen of the indigenous Māori population.
Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu died on Tuesday at the age of 75, after a reign of more than 40 years.
According to Maori protocol, the lavish ceremonies will culminate in her burial on the sacred mountain of Taupiri.
She was the longest serving head of the Kingitanga movement — the royal line, which started almost 150 years ago.
Thousands of Māori are gathering at the Ngauruawahia marae for the week long tangi, and the iwi will choose a successor, to be announced on the day the queen is buried.
The Māori monarch is a non-constitutional role with no legal power in New Zealand; rather, it is a symbolic role invested with a high degree of mana (prestige).