Tou Ariki was re-elected as Kaumaiti Nui (president) of the Ui Ariki on Monday during its 48th annual conference.
The elections are held every four years, Kaumaiti Iti (vice-president) Tinomana Tokerau Ariki also retained her role.
Core discussions focused on traditional Maori customs and language, tamariki angai (adopted and feeding children) on their blood rights involving claims to land, and deliberations on ‘who are Te Aronga Mana’, and chlorination of our water.
Issues with Ariki titles, traditional titles, and land rights are also a problem, “We are looking at how we can solve these,” said Tou Ariki.
Submissions on their resolutions will be presented to the Minister of Culture George Angene on Friday, the last day of tabled conferences.
There are technically 24 Ariki in the Cook Islands and the House of Ariki offices are located in Puaikura.
The House of Ariki was established in 1967 by Prime Minister Albert Henry. He stated that the ariki were the Cook Islands’ ‘royal heritage’.
“It was intended to confer additional legitimacy and strength to the newly self-governing nation, and to help it define its national identity,” Henry stated at the time.
Previous Kaumaiti Nui holders are: Makea Karika Takau Margaret Ariki 1978 – 1980, Pa Tepaeru Terito Ariki, Lady Davis 1980 – 1990, Makea Karika Takau Margaret Ariki 1990 – 1992, Pa Tepaeru Teariki Upokotini Marie Ariki 1992 – 2002, Tou Travel Ariki 2002 – 2006, Ada Rongomatane Ariki 2006 – 2008, Tou Travel Arik 2008 to present.
At last year’s annual conference traditional leaders debated the need to create laws to support and protect customs such as investiture of titles. Land ownership and other customary matters are regularly disputed and challenged in court. House of Ariki clerk Puna Rakanui said the Ui Ariki were looking at being more proactive in addressing customary practices by working out ways to legislate them.