King Tuheitia to visit Cook Islands

By Mānia Clarke

King Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero will make his first official visit to the Cook Islands tomorrow.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna says he extended the invitation to the Kiingitanga monarch following a private visit to Rarotonga in August last year.

“We welcome King Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero to the Cook Islands," says Puna, “As this strengthens yet again our ancestral links to the Tainui vaka and its people and the modern links we are carving out today.”

The visit is being undertaken to strengthen the strong cultural and historical bonds between the Cook Islands and Aotearoa and reinforce the covenant signed between the prime minister and the Kiingitanga at Turangawaewae Marae in 2015, during the Cook Islands 50th Anniversary of self-governing celebrations.

The king is directly aligned to the island of Aitutaki, where the Tainui tribe trace their ancestral origins, and will make a special two-day visit to the island.

The supporting delegation will include the king’s household; his royal consort Makau Ariki Atawhai, his sons Ariki Tamaroa Whatumoana and Ariki Taituruki Korotangi, daughter Puhi Ariki Nga wai hono i te po and grandson Ariki Hikairo.

Also in attendance are Mr Turongo, Mrs Matetahuna, Brad Totorewa (Te Toki o te Kiingi) accompanied by staff of the Office of Te Kiingitanga, Helen Kotua and Tui Kaumoana.

A group of Tainui supporters of 34 kaumātua and kapa haka group members will also accompanying HM the King.

The eight day official program includes:

  • Wednesday 28th August Welcoming of the delegation at Rarotonga Airport.
  • Thursday 29th August 2019Welcome onto Atupare Marae by House of Ariki.
  • Friday 30th and Saturday 1st September Visit to Aitutaki and prominent historic sites of significance.
  • Sunday 2nd September Sunday church service at Ngatangiia CICC.
  • Tuesday 4th September Kia Orana Dinner hosted by Cook Islands government.

King Tuheitia returns to Aotearoa the following day.