King Tuheitia strengthens kinship with Cook Islands

By Mānia Clarke

King Tuheitia received a traditional welcome for the first time by Te Ui Ariki at Atupare Marae in Puaikura on the second day of his eight-day visit to the Cook Islands.

Pa Teariki Upokotini Ariki of Takitumu Vaka says it was a delight to welcome the King and his entourage.

“He’s been here many times but not in this capacity to meet our president, our Ui Ariki of Tumutevarovaro,” says Pa Ariki, “And they’re all overwhelmed and happy.”

It’s the first time the Māori monarch has been on the marae, hence a kiritimarotai ritual is performed.

The Clerk of The House of Ariki of Rarotonga, Tupuna Rakanui says, “We don’t travel much by sea anymore: Before our ancestors use to carry the vairua from the moana.”

A greenstone called Whakapapa Pounamu was laid on the pito rock, as a symbol to consolidate the Māori King’s connection to the Cook Islands.

The exchange of goodwill gifts of a royal seat and Wahaika called Tere te Kaarohirohi.

“May peace prevail, let the seas glisten like greenstone, may the rays of the sun forever dance across the pathways of the locals and their chiefs,” says Te Toki o te Kiingi, Brad Totorewa.

Some words of advice to the King ahead of his trip to Aitutaki.

“He’s going to have a look,” says Pa Ariki, “But my plea to him is don’t look just, if you want to put something there, put it.”

The King will leave for Aitutaki tomorrow where he is expected to receive several welcomes by his relations there.