After what was nearly a two-hour wait for the Ui Ariki convoy to travel from Atupare Marae in Puaikura to host Vaka Te Au O Tonga for the day’s commemoration, the packed-out National Auditorium heard of the importance of national representation.
To illustrate the point that the Ui Ariki day commemorations are a national affair and not just for Rarotonga, Tou Ariki thanked the people of the northern group for the pearl-studded Rito hat he wore and the southern group for his traditional garment – saying his choice of attire was to reflect the country-wide importance of Ui Ariki Day.
He said that despite the heavy losses in the two sporting campaigns, the important thing was that the Cook Islands was represented, adding there was no shame in not winning.
Tou went on to urge Team Cook Islands athletes preparing to take part in the Commonwealth Games later this month to remember they are first and foremost representing the country.
Tou Ariki touched on some of the issues that will be discussed by traditional leaders during the House of Ariki annual general meeting.
He thanked the visitors and general public for attending the day set aside to acknowledge the important roles traditional leaders still play in today’s society.
Tou Ariki thanked the religious and political leaders for joining the day’s celebrations and after the grace was said for the kai provided by the family of the Ui Ariki from all three Vaka, the event hosted by Makea Nuia, Makea Karika and MAkea Vakatini ended with a kaikai for all and the promise of vigorous talks during the upcoming Ui Ariki annual general meeting.
See more photos from the day on our Facebook page.