Ceremonial procedures for the investiture of Teao Tangaroa as Tamatoa Ariki of Aitutaki starts early tomorrow morning.
Like other Ariki title investitures in the
Cook Islands, the Tamatoa Ariki title is shrouded with controversy.
In February, Taraota Tom was invested with the
Tamatoa Ariki title without the presence of the Religious Advisory Council
(RAC) “orometua” (pastors).
The House of Ariki clerk, Tupuna Rakanui
confirmed the President Tou Ariki will not attend the investiture on Thursday.
The House of Ariki did not attend Taraota
Tom’s ceremony in February.
“Because there is a dispute over the title,
the House of Ariki will not attend the investiture; we will wait for the
court’s decision,” said Rakanui.
In February, Kiikoro Mataiapo Putokotoko o
Tamatoa Ariki, Arerau Maao voiced his disappointment at Tom’s investiture and
noted that at a meeting held in November 2020, the majority of the kopu ariki
selected Teao Tangaroa to wear the “pare Ariki o Tamatoa”.
And their side of the family would continue
with their investiture of Teao Tangaroa as Tamatoa Ariki tomorrow, despite the
impending court decision.
Villages on Aitutaki have planned and prepared
their “ata manga” platforms of food for the ceremonial event.
The late Puruanio Paniora O.B.E was the
previous Tamatoa Ariki. The title has been vacant since his death in 2013.