Pā Ariki celebrates 25th coronation

By Wepiha Te Kanawa

Several people paid tribute to and celebrated Pā Tepaeru Te Ariki Upokotini Marie Ariki's 25th coronation today in Rarotonga, many having travelled across the Pacific to take part in the celebrations.

There is a feeling of excitement in the air here at Te Puna o Whatu Moana Palace where a number ceremonies took place this morning in homage of their Ariki's reign.

At the foot of the ruins of her great grand aunt's palace, Pā Ariki takes the throne for the 25th time.

Pā Tepaeru Te Ariki Upokotini Marie Ariki was crowned after the death of her late mother Pā Terito Davis Ariki in 1990.

Pā Tepaeru Teariki Upokotini Marie Ariki say, “I liken my life to my people where, if I have to make a decision on something, I have my vision or my own answer, but I do ask for their answers first.”

Only stones remain here. But each stone tells a story.

Patu Hohepa says, “Pā Ariki asked if we could bring stones from the areas our ancestors made it to.”

New Zealand's support was present with delegations from the Kīngitanga, Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa taking part.

Tukuroirangi Morgan says, “The main reason is to solidify the bonds of Māori and Takitimu.”

With 25 years under her belt, Pā Ariki says she will dedicate the next 25 to the welfare of her people.