Conspicuously missing was Pa Marie Ariki who has held her title for 25 years and has spent most of her time living in New Zealand.
I believe she has also spent a lot of the title land, selling leases and using the money for herself offshore.
When her own Vaikai Matiapo Kura Bullen, died she did not make the effort to come to the funeral, or to the investiture of the new Vaikai Matiapo.
Another of her nobles, Tangiiau Mataiapo, recently died but because it was her birthday she didn’t come for the funeral. She didn’t come back to Rarotonga for Ariki Day either.
Pa is not the only ariki living abroad, but why should they, unless they have a serious illness requiring hospitalisation in New Zealand or Australia. It is time our ariki lived here in the Cook Islands the majority of the time with the people who they are supposed to lead.
Where are they? Who are they to live in New Zealand and still expect us to follow them?
Dame Margaret was a true ariki but to my mind, some are nothing more than “dole bludgers”, living off a title they do not deserve.
(Name and address supplied)