As was the case last year, the day will be marked in their own way by the three vaka on Rarotonga – Te au o Tonga, Takitumu and Puaikura. There will also be individual celebrations on the outer islands including Aitutaki, Mangaia, Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro and Pukapuka.
House of Ariki secretary Puna Rakanui says that on Rarotonga, much of the focus will centre on the district of Puaikura, where there will be a combined service at the CICC church. Leaders will include Tinomana Tokerau Ariki, Va’a Tuatua Tere Taio and Itiao Mataiapo Andre Tapena.
The traditional title holders led by Tinomana Ariki will be challenged on to Au Maru before a programme of entertainment begins. In previous years, Puaikura’s entertainment has been a highlight of Ariki Day on the island and this year is expected to be no exception. Speeches will be followed by a korero (discussion) session at Au Maru, and a brunch meal for the people of the district.
In Te au o Tonga there will be a similar programme, with Ngati Makea Nui, Ngati Makea Vakatini and Ngati Makea Karika hosting a combined service in the CICC Avarua church.
A korero session is scheduled to take place at the Sinai Hall following the service, and discussions will focus on designing and formulating a raui management plan for the district.
Leaders involved will include Vakatini Ariki, George Karika (elect) Helen Tatuava, Nono Manarangi and Rev Vaka Ngaro
Meanwhile at Takitumu, Kainuku, Pa Ariki and the Aronga Mana will host a combined service at the Ngatangiia CICC church, with a korero session to be held later at the Sinai Hall. Talks will centre on focusing on designing and formulating a raui management plan for Takitumu.
Pa Ariki and Kainuku Ariki will later hold a brunch for the Takitumu people at the Sunday School Hall.
Last week Aitutaki and Mangaia were still in the process of finalising their programmes. However, on Atiu, three days of Ariki Day celebrations were already scheduled, beginning on Wednesday July 4, when Kaumaiti Nui Tou Travel Ariki and Tupuna Rakanui will arrive on the island.
They will be met at the airport by the island’s leaders, with Ngamaru Ariki, Aumai Terea Mataiapo, Kau Henry – Va’a Araara no te Enua, Rev Mike Akava and executive officer Maara Tairi playing a prominent part in the proceedings. There will then be a meeting with Te Ana/Totiko, Vaipiake/Toano landowners at Teakatauira Marae.
The following day a meeting will be held with local government representatives and new signs will be set up at the new customary raui site at Te Ana/Totiko and at Vaipiake/Toano.
Friday will be a big day on the island, featuring an ecumenical commemoration service and a flag-raising ceremony, followed by the declaration of the new raui and closure of the old one. Further talks will then be held, followed by a meal.
Over on Mauke, Ariki Day will be a very special occasion, with celebrations to be attended by New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall. He will be welcomed at the airport and carried on a paata. A commemoration service will be hosted by the Religious Advisory Council, followed by a celebration at Opetipa Hall.
Leaders involved will include Tamuera Ariki, Teau Ariki, Kauono o Tararo, the island’s mayor and members of the Religious Advisory Council.
Mitiaro will also be going all out to mark the big day, with events centred on the Nukuroa Hall from 9am. The Ui Ariki anthem will be followed by a flag-raising ceremony and then Te maeu o te Rangi Teikamata Ariki, OBE will deliver the keynote address. There will be additional speeches from Te Maeu o te Rangi, Teata Tetava Ngarouru Tou, Julian Haupuni, and representatives of the island government and the Religious Advisory Council. The theme will be the genealogy of the Ui Ariki and title holders.
The formal part of the celebration will be followed by a song composers’ contest, then Te Maeu o te Rangi Ariki and the Kauono will host the island to a meal.
Meanwhile on Pukapuka, there will be a commemoration service followed by a sports day for the island’s two districts.
Competition is expected to be fierce, as it will be the losers’ task to prepare dinner. The meal will be followed by an evening of entertainment.