In fact for the past three years we have been working with the House of Ariki to try to revive what our leaders in Parliament started in the late 1960s and early 1970s to put in place in terms of our traditional customs and practices.From the outset we realised why this important task was going to be very difficult.
Our leaders at the time, people like Papa Arapati, Apenera Short, Tiakana Numanga and a few others, all had the right intentions for our people when drafting the Bill. In my view the only difficulty was,that it was a whole-of-Cook-Islands approach rather than based on each island’s unique culture, customs and traditions. Based on this scenario this matter, among others, was placed on our conference agenda in the past two annual conferences. These matters were discussed in detail. The Are Ariki, with the Kaumaiti then proceeded to inform all Vakas and the Outer Islands to implement their own traditional customs and practices. At present each Vaka and most islands have progressed in compiling their respective traditional customs and practices.
Once these are completed then the Are Ariki will proceed to present each respective traditional customs and practices report to Parliament. These outstanding matters are well over 50 years now and there are so many irregularities and areas to remedy and improve on. Having said that it is by all means no easy task. We will continue to work on these matters until we get a general consensus from the majority of our Vakas and the Outer Islands.
Te Atua te Aroa,
Paul Raui Allsworth