Tainui heavyweight Tukoroirangi Morgan will fulfil the Maori King's official engagements as he recovers in hospital from his diabetes-related ailment.
The Herald understands the Maori King's Council, Tekau-ma-rua (the twelve) met earlier this week to discuss who should speak on the king's behalf as he recovers his health.
It's understood that Mr Morgan was chosen for the role. When the Herald contacted Mr Morgan last night to ask who was speaking on behalf of the king while he recovered he said in a message "I am and I will have an update on Monday".
King Tuheitia will remain under medical care for at least another week after he was admitted to Waikato Hospital on Sunday for what was initially believed to be a suspected heart attack.
Mr Morgan told reporters that the king had suffered from a "diabetes-related ailment" earlier this week.
The Herald understands Mr Morgan will represent the king at a number of official engagements he was committed to until Christmas.
While it's not a new role for Mr Morgan - he opened proceedings at the king's recent coronation celebrations and spoke on behalf of the king at the Orakau commemorations - he will attend a number of official engagements that the king had been committed to until the end of the year.
Last year the king's oldest son, Whatumoana, took the role of Te Whirinaki a te Kingi and spoke on his father's behalf as he tried then to recover his health. Whatumoana also represented him at events overseas.
The Herald understands the move to install Mr Morgan in the representative role is to shield the King's children from more publicity in the wake of the fallout from his youngest son, Korotangi's court appearance on drink driving and theft charges.
Korotangi Paki was last month discharged without conviction after Judge Philippa Cunningham said the direct and indirect consequences of a conviction were "out of all proportion" to the offence.
But Crown Law is appealing against the decision with a hearing in the High Court at Auckland set for today.