Prime Minister Henry Puna praised the police – the first time a police commissioner had been invested with the title of an Ariki.
“We are actually making history,” said Puna.
He recalled when Maara Tetava became police commissioner in 2008: “It was also a day of celebration for Nukuroa (Mitiaro).”
“Today we are repeating the same, we are enhancing and adding to it, through this title that is invested on our commissioner.
“For me, police service is about service for others.”
He quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “If you want to find yourself, you must lose yourself in the service of others.”
Puna said: “He’s found himself not only in the service of our country but in the service of his people,”
Commissioner Ariki Tetava said he felt humbled to receive the title on Saturday, an honour that his father and uncle had held previously. He thanked the police for their acknowledgement and the respect for the bestowment of his traditional title.
Sargent Paraia Vainerere composed a song specifically for the occasion named ‘Tama Ariki’, that was sung by Tuaine Papatua and accompanied by Anania Brown on guitar.
Commissioner Tetava Ariki noted that he and Sergeant Vainerere had joined the police together in June 1985.