Cook Islands pay special tribute to Māori King

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

King Tuheitia Potatau Te Wherowhero VII has arrived in Rarotonga for his first official visit to the Cook Islands. The monarch and his entourage were received by government officials.

Cook Islands House of Ariki Clerk Tupuna Rakanui says they are excited to host the Māori King and hopeful the visit will enhance their genealogical ties and commercial aspirations.

“Maybe in the future to consider the broader base of the nation; like Rarotonga," says Rakanui, “We have the Northern and the Southern group.”

The Kingitanga monarch is set to receive gifted land, the Cook Islands government is hopeful that the goodwill gesture is reciprocated.

“One of our greatest needs in terms of help in terms of patient referrals to New Zealand, because as you’re well aware accommodation in Auckland is a very, very serious challenge,” says CI Prime Minister Henry Puna.

He says, “Maybe through our connection with Tainui, with the king and his tribe, there might be some opportunities.”

Likewise, the Kiingitanga is keen to collaborate and widen their cultural ties and interests to their relations of the Pacific.

“No doubt we want to develop economic or business opportunities,” says Te Toki o te Kiingi, Brad Totorewa, “But not only here in Rarotonga, we want to work with our relatives in Tonga, Fiji and Hawaii.”

Tomorrow will be a significant event with the King receiving a traditional welcome by the House of Ariki of the Cook Islands at Atupare Marae for the first time. 

King Tuheitia and his royal consort Makau Ariki Atawhai, will be seated on a platform that will be carried upon the shoulders of warriors onto the marae.