1,500 Cook Islanders Expected To Celebrate Fifth Ui Ariki Day

Ceremonies recognize the resilience of the traditional House of Ariki

By Losirene Chand 

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, June 30, 2016) – Around 1500 guests are expected to join traditional leaders of the Cook Islands at the fifth Ui Ariki Day celebrations tomorrow.

Clerk of the House of Ariki, Tupuna Rakanui said the celebration celebrated the resilience of the House of Ariki to endure the many institutional, political, economic and social challenges it had faced over 50 years.

Rakanui said it recognises the efforts and contributions of not only the current Ui Ariki, but also the former Ui Ariki of the Cook Islands.

It was around five years ago that the Cook Islands government decided it was time to acknowledge Ui Ariki’s contributions by legislation and this was demonstrated through the people of the Cook Islands coming together, joining the celebration.

“It is a celebration with a difference and the focus is the “Atamira o te Ui Ariki,” “the traditional thrones of our indigenous royalties,” Rakanui said.

He said several programmes would be happening simultaneously on Friday. In the morning, a large kura (boar) will travel on the back of a truck from Takitumu through Te Au o Tonga and Puaikura at the beat of traditional drums to Atupare Marae where the Ui Ariki would be summoned to attend the celebrations.

Later in the morning, and the 15 Atamira (thrones) and village teams will be given a traditional challenge on their arrival at the National Auditorium.

Rakanui said the day would feature dancing, singing, the cutting of cakes, and feasting all around.

Guests speakers to feature at the auditorium will include prime minister Henry Puna, a guests’ representative and the Kaumaiti Nui.

A carving workshop will also be set up to display the skills of some of the island’s craftsmen.

The proceedings at Atupare Marae in Arorangi will begin at around 8am and the auditorium programme at 10am.

After their welcome, the traditional leaders will be seated on their respective thrones at the auditorium. The programme is expected to end at noon.

“This time we also are hosting a forum that involves dialogue with our Pacific brothers and sisters on the future pathway of our Pacific indigenous traditional leaders,” Rakanui said.

He urged people to join the festival with their families and friends.

A speech contest at the auditorium tomorrow evening will involve 16 children representing eight primary schools.

The competition promotes the use of the Maori language and is part of a Ministry of Education  programme.

Yesterday several preliminary events were held at the Edgewater Resort restaurant, the Upou ki Tuoro and at Rangitapu road in Arorangi.

Several traditional welcome ceremonies will take place involving a number of invited guests.

Cook Islands News
Copyright © 2016 Cook Islands News. All Rights Reserved

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