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Rongomatane Ariki investiture underway

Monday 19 July 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National

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Rongomatane Ariki investiture underway
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 Ariki title.

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.

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