Contrary to the official Ariki Day programme issued earlier last week, Takitumu’s celebration was shifted to Matavera.
Following a service, the congregation moved to the CICC Hall, where there were speeches and discussions involving Titikaveka, Muri/Ngatangiia and Matavera.
Speeches focused on the “endless” challenges to the Aronga Mana and the Ui Ariki today and the need not to become complacent.
Speakers emphasised that Cook Islands traditional customs must be sustained because much of the country’s socio-economic development is rooted in the traditions and cultural elements of our society - including tourism, the mainstay of our economy.
At the Puaikura celebrations, which started with a service in the Arorangi CICC church, the absence of former and current parliamentarians, with the notable exception of William “Smiley” Heather was noted.
Absent also, said House of Ariki secretary Puna Rakanui, were huge crowds that attended the vaka’s 2017 celebrations.
“Whether it was related to the chilly weather or some other undercurrents, is not clear,” he said.
“But the emphatic message from the pulpit by village orometua Tinirau Soatini re-emphasised the focus on our traditional leaders and how we relate with and to God.
“The congregation was urged to reflect on the important roles of the Ui Ariki and Aronga Mana in asserting Christianity and (assist) our government in moulding the 15 islands as a nation, our proud Cook Islands.”
Tou Ariki reminded the crowd that it was the Ui Ariki who had historically allowed their traditional “atinga” to be given to help nurture their newly adopted child, the "Tama-Ua" - the Christian religion. “Later still, the traditional leaders helped to champion our political future, signing over the reins of our country to the "Tama Paru-Angai Peniamina" - our government,” Tou Ariki said.
“As a result, the "metua" has lost the capacity today to rely on traditions alone to manage the family, our nation.
“The leaders must unite if the nation is to be competitive and sustainable regionally and globally.”