Letters: Self-discovery is the answer to vacant Ariki titles

Tuesday September 17, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,

At the recent Ui Ariki conference, with re-elected Kaumaiti Nui president Tou Ariki said the longstanding vacant Ariki titles were to be discussed.


So far, it has only since been reported that the Ui Ariki deliberated how the subordinate Te Aronga Mana titles would be decided under the Ariki.

And, with a number of Ariki titles still open throughout the Cook Islands, this will ultimately impact how any future Te Aronga Mana be decided in each of their vaka or villages.

Many of the vacant Ariki titles have been very confusing and greatly contested, such as the Aitutaki 'Tamatoa Ariki,' to which I'm related through the Tepaki family line.

Could I suggest to readers that we open the lines of discussion as to how the vacant titles should be resolved, as this affords a great opportunity of "self-discovery", to know who we are as a people, and where we really come from. 

I'm from the Punoua John Raki family, the youngest of Tamatoa Line, and growing up our grandfather always said the Ariki title was rightly his.

This is an example of how generations of conjecture could finally be resolved, through our people’s humility, and end the inter-family fighting over our most sacred titles. 

The Tamatoa Ariki, a great King, who sadly passed away in 2014, with his title vacant ever since – even though subsequent family members have stepped up to contest the reign.

In my opinion, the vacant taoanga Tamatoa Ariki should reach the end of the royal line – to the last born. Only after then, should we begin again from the top.

Melbourne Raki

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