Interview reveals gravity of King Tuheitia transplant surgery

By Piripi Taylor

King Tuheitia is in Auckland Hospital tonight preparing for a transplant operation to receive a kidney from his son Korotangi.

Today the king’s private secretary, Te Rangihīroa Whakaruru gave a frank and candid interview to Te Kāea admitting the stakes are high for the king, his son and the entire medical team.

“The risks are huge to this group of specialists and the surgeons.  The surgeons have not been backward in coming forward with that.  They've been very clear to us and I respect that deeply.  So the king has gone into this with his eyes open and his ears open and his level of understanding has been quite high of this,” said Mr Whakaruru.

“Korotangi will go first and they will harvest the organ and then transplant directly into King Tuheitia.  Both will be moved to HDU and monitored full time.  In that period, which I understand and I'm prepared for, is the at-risk period, it’s during the stay in HDU or High Dependency Unit.”

Mr Whakaruru said karakia and prayers would be held tomorrow night at the hospital where the king would sign-off two important contingency documents before the scheduled transplant operation on Wednesday.

“One is his succession orders and the other is his personal will, what he wishes to do and he is to instruct his surgeon and doctors on those personal wishes.  As his attorney, I don't get to alter that.  That's between the doctor and the patient.”

Mr Whakaruru said the king and his family and been overwhelmed by the support and aroha from Tainui-Waikato as well as the general public and that the king had shared an important message: “The people now know that I have some serious matters to deal with.  But I also know that I don't go into it alone."