The Tongan King and the Auckland Mayor discussed plans for a consulate in the city over lunch yesterday during the king's first visit to New Zealand since his coronation in March.

King Tupou VI is visiting the country after an invitation from the Maori King Tuheitia in conjunction with his annual coronation celebration.

Guests at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday included his wife, Queen Nanasipau'u, Tongan delegates, Auckland councillors, local board chairs and the Minister of Maori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples.

"It was quite a historic day because it's the first time that we have officially hosted the Maori King as well as the new Tongan King," Mayor Len Brown said.


Tongan community leader Kehe Moana Fameitau said plans for a new high commission were a talking point during the visit.

"Most of the Tongan community live here in Auckland. It's very hard to have an embassy in Wellington because only a few Tongans live there."

The high commission in Wellington was closed last year to save money.

Another issue Tongan Aucklanders will want to discuss is the controversial plan to sell the Atalanga royal estate in Epsom.

The late King Tupou V decided to sell the estate last year, but was stopped by a group of legal experts in Tonga who challenged his right to dispose of the land. They said it was not his to sell, as his grandmother Queen Salote had willed the land to her successors.