However, it was a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable morning all the same, with VIP guests, local residents and curious tourists mingling to enjoy a feast and a performance by three members of a local dancing troupe, backed up by an enthusiastic drum band.
Traditional leaders including Tinomana Tokerau Ariki, Kaumaiti Nui Tou Travel Ariki, Itiao Mataiapo Andre Tapena, and Va’a Tuatua (speaker) for Tinomana Ariki, Tere Taio, attended a morning church service at the Arorangi CICC to begin the day’s celebrations.
At around 11.30am Tinomana Ariki, Tou Travel Ariki and a large group of district leaders and residents left the church and walked in colourful procession to the grounds of Au Maru, Tinomana’s residence, where tables had been set up under long marquees and large quantities of food were already being laid out.
Tere Taio started the celebrations with a speech, then handed the floor to the Kaumaiti Nui.
Shadowed by House of Ariki secretary Puna Rakanaui, he spoke extensively in Cook Islands Maori, lightening the mood with some humour along the way.
Then, after grace, it was time for a shared meal and it’s safe to say that no one would have left the grounds hungry.
Elsewhere on Rarotonga, the Takitumu service was shifted from Ngatangiia to Matavera, although the change in venue apparently had no effect on the numbers attending.
Following the service, the congregation moved to the Matavera CICC Hall, where they kicked off with speakers and tumu-korero from the three villages of Takitumu.
Last week Rakanui forecasted that the individual Ariki Day celebrations in the island’s three vaka (districts) would be reduced somewhat by the continued after-effects of the June 14 general election. And while he was proved correct, it was still a great day to celebrate the contribution of the country’s traditional leaders to the growth and stature of the Cook Islands.