Letters: Ariki v Aronga Mana

Saturday August 24, 2019 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear editor,

You report that Aronga Mana is noted in the constitution; as having holders of subordinate titles under the Ariki.


Clerk of the Are Ariki Tupuna Rakanui is reported as saying 'we need to be careful about created customs'.

This definition of aronga mana endorsed by the are ariki is a created custom.

In the 70's when the koutu nui submitted their customary practices for review by the are ariki, the ariki were quick to reject F. J. Moss' observation that the mataiapo were in reality the most powerful class who had a measurable influence upon the ariki.

The are ariki also rejected the involvement of the mataiapo beyond confirming the ariki’s (kopu ariki's) decision with regards to investiture, preferring instead to elevate themselves above the mataiapo (yet again).

And yet, there is more than enough evidence to show that there were key figures among the mataiapo tutara who held the customarily-defined authority to investigate and confirm the selection of an ariki.

In fact, there are letters preserved by the Land Court signed by the ariki, mataiapo, and other notable figures in Cook Islands administrative positions which state the exact opposite of what the current ariki (and the fifth House of Ariki) suggest.

There is no need for the ariki to "refer back to their Kopu Ariki and matakeinanga [to] determine and endorse their investiture practices" because those practices are already defined under Peu Maori.

Why does the current House of Ariki continue to ignore this?

The investiture process for high chiefly titles, namely ariki, was established with Tangiia Nui and the formation of the marae/tapere/ngati system on Rarotonga.
Court records show ample evidence, along with oral history of those involved, that there is a kau taunga consecrated to the work of akamarokura, namely:

Potikitaua, Takaia, Au ma Taurua. These mataiapo tutara and taunga have an akinanga at the two koutu taito, namely: Ara I Te Tonga and Pu Kuru Va'a Nui. Archaeological surveys conducted at Ara I Te Tonga beginning in 1897 attest to this fact.

Oral history given by Taraare sometime in the 1860s sheds further light on the matter regarding investiture.

Subsequent visits by scholars like Roger Duff again confirmed the existence of a kau taunga comprised by the aforementioned taonga.

Several individuals testified to this custom over the years to the Land Court and yet it was blatantly ignored, just as the current system ignores it today.

To this day, none of the present ariki's investitures are compliant with Peu Maori.

These discussion are nothing but an attempt at self-preservation. Truth will out. 

Mouria Ngati Au, Hawaii

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