The Enuamanu/Atiu delegation from Sydney and New Zealand for the investiture of the new Rongomatane Ariki. Front left: Kathy Tuakeu, Teremoana Michael, Kura Michael (Chairperson), Ake Tei, Vaine Mau. Back left: John Tutaka, Nicholas Paenui Te-iti Nicholls - Rongomatane Ariki Elect, Teariki Kura. 21070525.
The people of Atiu gather again today for the akamarokura’anga (investiture) of Nicholas Paenui Te-iti Nicholls as Rongomatane Ariki.
Te Utunui i te turu enua o Avaiki, te va’a araara o
Rongomatane or the speaker for Rongomatane Rangi (Nani) Tutaka Tatuava expressed,
that the date of July 19th is significant – not only is it the date of Nicholls’
investiture and his 43rd birthday, it is also the date his late mother
Rongomatane Ada Ariki was invested with the title in 1972.
On the same date in 1823, Rongomatane Ariki accepted
Christianity on the island of Atiu.
Proceedings start with a 9am church service followed
by the akamarokura’anga on Te Au Tapu marae, and a kaikai hosted by Ngamaru
Tupuna Ariki, who had her investiture last Friday.
The ceremonial events with the Ngati Paruarangi will continue
in the afternoon with presentations of gifts, birthday celebrations and a church
service in the evening.
Unlike the recent double Ariki investitures of Ngamaru
Ariki of Atiu and Tamatoa Ariki of Aitutaki, there has been no known public
challenges or objections regarding Nicholls as the successor to Rongomatane
Ake Tei, the secretary of the Utunui I te Turu Enua o
Avaiki, who accompanied Nicholls with members of Ngati Paruarangi from Sydney, especially
for the occasion said: “His (Nicholls) selection was unanimous because the
Rongomatane tradition for the Ariki selection was clear.”
Nicholls was named successor to the Rongomatane Ariki
title in 2018, shortly after the burial of his mother - Rongomatane Ada Ariki
(20 August 1948 – 9 January 2018).
He is the eldest child of Ada Rongomatane Ariki, who
was also known as Ada Teaupurepure Tetupu Nicholls, and Ernest Nicholls of
Aitutaki, and has a younger sister Maeu.