Attendees at the 51st Are Ariki Assembly, from left, Tiori Rangatira - Nooroa Teina; the Ariki who received their warrants, Vaeruarangi Tuaine Ariki (Aitutaki), Tararo Ngamata Ariki (Mauke) and Makea Vakatini Phillip Ngamatoa Ariki with Are Ariki Clerk - Tupuna Rakanui and Tai Manavaroa. Picture: SYLVANA TAORO-PUIA/22102509
The 51st Are Ariki (House of Ariki) Assembly opened with the recognition of official warrants which were presented by the King’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters to three Ariki on Monday.
Vaeruarangi Tuaine Ariki (Aitutaki) – Tuaine George
invested on November 5, 2020, Tararo Ngamata Ariki (Mauke) – Ngamata Tapoki
invested on September 3, 2021 and Makea Vakatini Phillip Ngamatoa Ariki – Phillip
Vakatini invested on July 20, 2020, can now vote in the Are Ariki.
The three received their warrants at the opening of
the 51st Are Ariki Assembly being held at the National Auditorium.
Te-O-Tari-Kura o te Are Ariki (Clerk) Tupuna Rakanui
said receiving the warrants on Monday was “very heartening and a great
Rakanui extended their appreciation to the King’s
Representative Sir Tom Marsters who presented the warrants.
The theme for this year’s Are Ariki Assembly is Te Mana Maori.
Rakanui said the traditional and political leaders
have expressed their concerns over the ongoing squabbling in certain lines of
the Ui Ariki over traditional titles that eventually end up in court.
“We are keen to look into the processes in confirming
traditional titles including the Ui Mataiapo, Rangatira, and all traditional
titles,” said Rakanui.
When members of the tribe disagree with the selection
process for an elected title holder and some conduct another investiture
(double investiture) for the same title, challenges are filed in court.
Rakanui said some of the court processes had taken
years to resolve.
“This impacts on what we want to do and sometimes
delays our sessions waiting for these cases in court to be heard.”
“These issues will be discussed (at the meeting) and the
Are Ariki will determine a way forward.
“It could mean that we will make recommendations to
Government to change legislations … but then it means we have got to put the
processes in place. It’s got to be robust.”
Rakanui expressed that traditional title processes
must be given to the Are Ariki – the view is that investitures and procedures
should not be endorsed by one single person in a particular tribe.
“It should be endorsed by the tribe, by the Kopu Ariki
those involved in making the determination in that tribe.
“Yes, it can be done, but a lot of people are not
making any move to bring the procedure into the Are Ariki. We need a resolution
from this session.”
Last year, the first Are Ariki Runanga Tango Enua
(Native Customs) Special Committee meeting was held at the Atupare Marae.
The committee is a combined effort, made up of some
members of the Are Ariki, Aronga Mana, Koutu Nui, legal advisors and a
technical support group to discuss the “roadmap” to “define the rule for the
election processes” of Ariki and other Taonga Maori such as the Mataiapo,
Kavana, Rangatira and its legislation.
A presentation from Runanga Tango Enua looking into
the traditions, customs and customary reports which were submitted in the 70s
to Parliament, is also expected to be discussed during this week’s meeting.