Te Tuku anga i te Tapu o te Marae starts today at 8.30am, by the main road in Puaikura.
Tupuna Rakanui, Clerk of the House of Ariki, said “a change is always a challenge, this is a change, and a challenge for the good of the people and the Ui Ariki”.
Bishop Tutai Pere will conduct the blessing. And the Taunga to Te Fuinga o Niva Manihiki/Rakahanga will perform ‘Te Pora’, their traditional welcome for Prime Minister Henry Puna, who will unveil the new Atupare marae signage.
Puna will deliver the keynote address and declare the 49th session of the House of Ariki open.
Atupare marae was relocated from its original site on the side of the building, in June.Construction of the new marae was overseen by Minister of Culture George Angene.
Rakanui said: “We hope people will come along and observe the proceedings.”
Since 1966 there had never been a national marae, until Atupare.
The House of Ariki will meet in closed sessions at Marsters House for three days, starting tomorrow.
There are 24 Ui Ariki of Cook Islands, but only 13 are registered in the House of Ariki. Rarotonga has six Ui Ariki, Aitutaki has four, and Ma‘uke, Atiu and Mitiaro have three apiece.
Together, Rakahanga and Manihiki have two, and Mangaia, Pukapuka and Penrhyn each have one.
Several Ariki from the Pa Enua have arrived for the occasion.