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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 17) - 7 April: The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal by Aturangi Hosking against the order of the Rarotonga High Court made in March last year confirming that Iaveta Short has been properly elected to hold the Terei Mataiapo title and Tuingariki Short the Maui Mataiapo title.

Both mataiapo titles in Takitumu were previously held by their mother, the late Paiau Terei, for many years.

Aturangi Hosking and his brother Andrew objected on behalf of some of the Teatuairo and Ruatea families. The Hosking’s objection was based on the claim that a tupuna (grandparent) of theirs called Teatuairo held the Terei title over a hundred years ago. However, the court found many references in the court records, which showed that Teatuairo was an adopted son of the Terei Mataiapo at the time. Teatuairo himself admitted in court at the time that he did not hold the title and his claim for the title was not supported by the Terei family.

In its decision the court stated: "There is absolutely no evidence to indicate that the objector’s family (Hosking) ever held the Terei title. On the contrary, all evidence throughout the court minutes established the continuous retention of the title by the applicant’s family (Short)."

Following the court’s decision Aturangi and Andrew Hosking appealed to the court of appeal. The court was to hear the matter in November last year. However, in November they asked for an adjournment while the Shorts were ready to proceed and they moved to strike out the appeal. The court of appeal reluctantly allowed the adjournment but directed that Aturangi Hosking pay to the respondents the sum of US$2,500 within two months. They failed to follow the direction of the court and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

Iaveta Short, the confirmed Terei Mataiapo, stated that "my family has held this title for many generations. Before my mother the title was held by my grand auntie, and before her by my grandfather, and before him was my great grandfather and it goes on right back to the time of the great Tangiia Nui some many hundred years ago.

"We are very disappointed by the way these hearings have taken place; there were a lot of untruthful and defamatory allegations which in the end they were not able to substantiate. It is indeed sad that today people will say anything in court, even run down people who are no longer with us, and care little about the consequences even when the court records are clearly against them.

"However, our family is prepared to put all this behind us and move on. At least the future generations will have less trouble confirming the titles to future holders and the court records are very clear and straightforward for them to follow.

"Both Maui Mataiapo and I are grateful for the way Tina Browne prepared and handled our case as she was able to produce to the courts all the relevant records of statements of our tupunas and even their tupunas to bring out the truths to open court." April 18, 2006

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