The Aitutaki Mayoral office welcomes King Tuheitia's proposal to host a biennial conference to advance the aspirations of all their Pacific relatives.
The proposal was the condition of the Mayors’ acceptance of a Tewhatewha [Long-handled Māori club weapon] gifted by the Māori King, during his recent visit to the Cook Islands' outer island.
“It was an honour to host our Ariki relative and we support the strengthening of our genealogical ties and community development,” says Mayor Tekura Bishop.
King Tuheitia named the tewhatewha Te Hoa Haere [The Companion] from an ancestral aphorism given to the second Māori King, King Tawhiao, ahead of his journey to England to seek tribal sovereignty from Queen Victoria in 1884.
“The King saw the idea as a way to sustain and maintain an enduring relationship of reciprocity with the people of Aitutaki and Rarotonga alike,” says Brad Totorewa.
In return the King has committed to returning with expert cultural and business practitioners, researchers and tribal leaders to participate in the conference.
“It is intended to attract both Māori and Pacific experts and practitioners as prophesied by King Tawhiao.
"My friends will come from the four corners of the world, they will be the shoemakers, the blacksmiths and the builders,” says Totorewa.
The co-facilitated Te Hoa Haere o Te Moananui a Kiwa Conference will include eight areas:
1. Cultural Intelligence
2. Environmental Protection
3. Social Development
4. Economic Prosperity
5. Technological Evolution
6. Education Advancement
7. Business and Innovation
8. Inter-generational Youth Leadership
Bishop says the first conference is proposed to take place in 2021, and there is much to do.
“Next month I will meet with our office and government officials, our four Ariki, Vaka Mataiapo and Spiritual Council Chair to start on a draft proposal,” he said.
Ideas will also be taken to the island communities for feedback.