Family and friends gathered in front of Are Marama Marae, which faces Arai-Te-Tonga Mare in Tupapa, to witness the traditional investiture.
Also joining the supporters for the morning ceremony was a small group of objectors who are supporters of Jim Areai, who was invested with the same title last year.
According to the morning’s orator Danny Mataroa, the Kamoe Mataiapo title comes under Makea Nui Ariki and was previously held by Karika’s mother Rakera Wilmont.
In front of Are Marama Marae, Karika stood in white garments representing his Christianity, and was then clothed in traditional rauti attire and presented with implements including a spear and fan by his family to help him stand strong as Kamoe Mataiapo.
The traditional ceremony was then followed by a moving prayer conducted by Pastor John Tangi.
The final rite of passage of the ceremony was for Karika to bite the ear of a pig, which he did with much fanfare as family squeezed in to take photographic evidence of the most important aspect of the traditional investiture ceremony.
At the end of the traditional formalities, Karika’s teenage daughter Tumanava spoke in Maori on behalf of her father.
Together with her aunt Helen Tatuava, the pair dressed Karika in a traditional mat wrapped with a kaka (vine).
The mat was once traditionally worn by his grandmother Ngapoko Kamoe Vakapora and Karika felt it apt that the heirloom be his official dress as Kamoe Mataiapo.
All through the ceremony, vocal objections were made by supporters of Jim Areai – who in the end said that the matter will surely be cleared up in court, which both families are preparing for.
Despite the objections, the ceremony was carried out in relative peace with many supporters embracing Kamoe Mataiapo Ian Karika and showing their support.