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Traditional leaders call for ‘respect’ on Ui Ariki Day

Thursday 30 June 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National

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Traditional leaders call for ‘respect’ on Ui Ariki Day
Makea Karika George Ariki and his wife Mereana, Kaumaiti Tou Ariki, Queens Representative Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters and Rangatira celebrate Ui Ariki Day last year. Photo: Melina Etches/21070202

Cook Islands traditional leaders want people to start respecting and observing the Ui Ariki public holiday instead of playing sports and doing other activities.

Ui Ariki or traditional leaders are calling for people to respect and observe Te Ra o te Ui Ariki (Ui Ariki Day), a public holiday which falls on the first Friday of July of each year.

This year’s Ui Ariki Day will be observed tomorrow.

 “We want to see people respecting the Ui Ariki Day, we don’t want to see people playing sports,” said a spokesman for Tinomana Tokerau Ariki.

“If people don’t want to pay respect to our traditional leaders, we may as well cancel out the Ui Ariki Public Holiday in the future and all go back to work on that day,” he said.

Te Ra o te Ui Ariki is a national public holiday that government legislated just over a decade ago in recognition of the nation’s traditional leaders - the Ui Ariki and Aronga Mana.

Tomorrow, each vaka, tribe, and matakeinanga will undertake their own respective activities and celebrations to mark the day.

Vaka Puaikura will start their official programme at 10am with a church service at the Arorangi CICC and at 11am Te Au Tua Taito (Historical Oration) will start.

Lunch will be served at 12pm hosted at Te Aumaru Palace of Tinomana Ariki in Arorangi. Permanent resident applicants are welcome to join in the Vaka Puaikura celebrations.

Makea Karika George Ariki and Makea Vakatini Phillip Ngamatoa Ariki will combine their celebrations starting with a 5.30am Pure Popongi with the Avarua Ekalesia, followed by breakfast at the Makea Karika Palace.

For Matavera, the Ui Ariki Day programme will be observed as a Thanksgiving Pure dawn service at the Matavera CICC at 6am.

Ngatangiia and Titikaveka will conduct their own programmes and services.

The president of Te Are Ariki (House of Ariki) is Kaumaiti Tou Ariki. Te Are Ariki Council is made up of 24 traditional leaders who play an important role in dealing with a range of issues, including land, customs, traditions and public welfare.

Initially, the holiday was commemorated annually on July 6, the date that the House of Ariki met for the first time in 1967.

For some years now, it is observed on the first Friday of July, to celebrate the existence of this traditional Cook Islands legislative body.