A representative from the tribe, William Framhein, said: “Te Ara Rangatira Mark Brown says they want to correct the custom; we say, we want to correct the title holder.”
He said the geneology of Te Ora O Te Tangata proved they were rightful holders of the Makea Vakatini Ariki title.
Framhein said the Patai clan had always contested that they were the true title holders of the Makea Vakatini title, because a female had never held the title – it had always been a male. “That is why Vakatini adopted the two boys.”
He also disputed Mark Brown’s claim the investiture at the burial site was tradition. “What happened that day was not custom – you don’t conduct an investiture on someone else’s paepae, on someone else’s burial ground, it should be done on the marae.”
The late Pou Ariki Nia held Te Ora Rangatira title until he passed away in 2000; since then the tribe has not invested anyone with the title.
“We are not Rangatira, we are Te Ngati Te Ora O Te Tangata,” Framhein said. “That’s why we are objecting to the investiture.”
A message was delivered to the Makea Vakatini palace on Sunday to ask for a meeting; no response was received. “We had expected an announcement, not an investiture.
“Te Ora O Te Tangata have never been invited to any meeting to discuss the succession of the Makea Vakatini Ariki title.
“We want to take the Ariki title back to the rightful traditional owners.”