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Cook Islands leader Pa Ariki celebrates 30 years in leadership

The people of the Takitumu district on Rarotonga celebrated a milestone for one of its Ariki, or traditional leaders, in Auckland last week.

The ceremony is usually held in Rarotonga, but Pa Ariki was stranded here due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Pa Ariki has been Paramount Chief of her people for 30 years now, and she’s looking to use her influence to ensure the Ariki legacy lives on.

“It spans a very long time from 1823 to the present Pa, so our Pa of that day, the Ironui, was the holder in 1823, and then it comes right down 300 years later,” says Cook Islands Consul-General Rosie Blake.

As an Ariki in the 21st century, Pa Ariki says it was important to invite the youth and community to come together to learn and celebrate.

“Our ancestors, our Arikis before us, you know, they were there always for their people, so we have to do the same.”

Pa Ariki has worked on issues such as health and the Cook Islands name change, and in the next few years wants to establish a rest home in Rarotonga to ensure the Cook Islands’ ageing population is looked after.

She is also well known for promoting relations between the people of Takitumu and the tangata whenua here in New Zealand.

Watch the full story above.




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