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Thousands of Tongan school children did their King proud as they entertained the monarch and distinguished visitors with the largest cultural performances of their kind.

In one dance yesterday 9000 primary school pupils co-ordinated their hand and body movements in an impressive display of synchronisation that had the crowd cheering at the main sports ground in Nuku'alofa.

The Ma'ulu'ulu, or sitting dance, was at least twice the size of any previous one in Tonga's history, probably making it a world record.

The unique choreography was prepared especially for King George Tupou V by expert Motuliki Fakatava.

King George became the constitutional King of Tonga upon the death of his father in 2006.

Today he will be installed as Tu'i Kanokupolu, the traditional title for a Tongan king, in a kava ceremony and on Friday he will be crowned at the Christian coronation ceremony.

An ornate gilded throne made in China has just been delivered to the Centenary Church in Nuku'alofa.

Already the celebrations are in full swing.

A beaming King was applauded as he arrived at the Education Cultural Day at the Teufaiva stadium.

He has changed his birthday, as only a King can, from May 4 to August 1, the date of his coronation, so in future his people can celebrate the two occasions together.

To that end the primary pupils sang him both happy birthday and happy coronation, while adding "happy long life" for good measure.

The young people, including 10,000 secondary school students, led bands and danced for more than two hours in an impressive show of enthusiasm enjoyed by thousands of onlookers.

Wearing a golden ta'ovala, (a mat hip-wrap), white shirt, trousers and white sneakers, King George had climbed a set of tapa covered stairs to sit in a decorated royal box in the covered stadium from where he had the prime view of the event.

It opened with a hymn written by his late father, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV.

Students presented gifts including a huge tapa cloth decorated with the image of a crown.

One boy, after being reminded to remove his sandals, climbed the stairs up to the King to shake his hand.

After bowing he then had to walk backwards, in deference, all the way down about a dozen concrete steps.

A relatively small group of Tongan students from Auckland proved a big crowd pleaser.

The young men from Wesley College performed an energetic and creative blend of Tongan dance, Maori haka and military-styled moves.

Another popular item was the kicking and chopping of cucumbers and concrete blocks by some taekwondo students, under the direction of a Chinese martial arts master.

One student positioned immediately in front of the King looked sheepish after his karate-styled chop failed to do the business.

He was quickly pushed aside by another proponent who punched it to pieces, to the audience's amusement.