Te Maeu O Te Rangi Teikamata Ariki Mii O’Bryan at her home in Mitiaro. 20112712
At 92, Te Maeu O Te Rangi Teikamata Ariki Mii O’Bryan is the oldest and one of the longest reigning royals in the Cook Islands. Mama Mii hesitantly accepted the title in 1985 but has grown into the role, doing her best for the people. Losirene Lacanivalu met the island’s queen on her first-ever visit to Mitiaro.
O Te Rangi Teikamata Ariki Mii holds memories of her loved ones and the moment
spent with them close to her heart.
evident from the photographs hanging on the walls of her Mitiaro home.
are pictures of her families, visits to other islands and wedding chronicling
her childhood in Mitiaro and years of travel around the Cook Islands.
or Aunty Mii, as she is lovingly known on the island, also has a special
notebook where she notes very important dates and events.
her important meetings last week was a visit from the Cook Islands Tourism and
Cook Islands News team who were on the island to explore and experience its
also included meeting and interviewing well-known personalities on the island.
starts her story, recalling all the wonderful and beautiful days she spent on
the island as child.
recalls spending time at the Vai Marere and Vai Nauri caves, climbing up the
highest peak to jump into the water for a swim.
are places you can climb up and jump into the water. I enjoyed it,” Mama Mii
says with a big smile.
bred in Mitiaro, Mama Mii grew up in a family of 13 siblings. She is the only
surviving member after her sister passed away last year.
the daughter of Te Maeu O Te Rangi Ariki (Ngati Teaka Tauira O Iti Ki Tonga O
Nukuroa Enua) and Tangata Pokoati (Ngati Paruarangi).
my life on the island, when I was a kid, I learnt a bit of English, went to
Rarotonga at the age of 12 for two years of school at St Joseph. I finished
school at the age of 14.”
then, Mama Mii’s family would travel back and forth from Mitiaro to attend to
her mother’s medical needs and despite the circumstances, she says her parents
always kept them together.
Rarotonga, Mama Mii started working at the CITC main shop where she met her
husband, the late Stuart O’Bryan.
was a returning serviceman of the Second World War.
18, he was 30 and was a handsome man,” says Mama Mii.
Some of the captured memories Mama Mii keeps around her home in Mitiaro. 20112714
husband took up a government role, representing the State in the Pa Enua.
says the role was timely as it helped O’Bryan understand the island people,
culture and the language. This would prepare him for his retirement years in
became a government representative in Manihiki, Rakahanga, Palmerston and
Pukapuka, he knew and understood our ways of life in the islands. We would go
by boat those days. I enjoyed my time with the people. We spent eight years in
the north while stationed in Manihiki.”
retiring, Mama Mii says her late husband wanted to return to Mitiaro for
peaceful and quiet life.
always said he liked the peace and quiet and when we retire, we go back to
Mitiaro. My mother was still alive those days, papa passed away when he was 70
and I came back to take care of her.”
February 20, 1985, Mama Mii was bestowed with chiefly title of Te Maeu O Te
Rangi Teikamata Ariki.
mother passed away (at the age of 99) the tribe on Mitiaro they wanted me to
take the title and I told them ‘no, there are other people in the family or in
New Zealand they could get the title’.
had a meeting so I kept quiet and accepted the role. February 20,1985 was the
day I was given the title of Te Maeu Ote Rangi Teikamata Ariki and it’s been
about 35 years now.”
one of the longest serving members of the House of Ariki.
says life on the island is still peaceful, quiet and beautiful.
“We are getting help from government especially
the older people. We also have young ones in government offices, some are
school teacher. We are happy.”