Influences of adoption on ariki system

Friday October 19, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

May I through your column make comments on an article in your CINews dated Saturday October 13, regarding the unveiling of Dame Margaret Makea Karika’s headstone.


Keep in mind that this letter carries no form of arrogance, malice, or talking down to anyone in particular. It has been written only to highlight some of the facts contained in the article. 

The story mentioned that Ernest Teiho Taripo was from the Tinomana Ariki family and held the tribal title of Teariki Tapurangi Rangatira. I am sure your readers will no doubt believe that Ernest was naturally descended from the Tinomana Ariki family. And that is, of course, misleading.

Let us look back to some history – Tinomana Teariki Tapurangi married Mereana Tiberio from Ngati Makea, they begat Victoria aka Mereana who married John Salmon. They had no issue. It was said that Mereana Tapurangi adopted John Taripo, the father of Ernest who was full-blooded Chinese with no blood connection to Ngati Tinomana. It’s a wonder how this adoption was accepted and legalised in court for confirmation.

My point here is that I believe this adoption business being adapted into our Maori custom was the cause of a lot of our indigenous people losing their rightful traditional titles. Our Ui Ariki, in Rarotonga, for example are some of the worst affected by this adoption business.

We find the Makea Ariki title saga unresolved, and the Makea Karika title will probably go the same way. In my opinion the Pa, Kainuku and Vakatini Ariki are all insecure in their Ariki titles and positions due to the influence of adoptions and what I can only describe as fabrications.

            Ata Piakura 

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