Tou Travel Ariki of Mitiaro was re-elected president at the annual meeting of the House of Ariki held at the Matavera Cook Islands Christian Church on Wednesday.
Vice-president Tamatoa Purua Ariki of Aitutaki was also re-elected.
As required by the Constitution, election of office bearers was held behind closed doors in the church after the hour-long official opening of the 32nd meeting.
Officials and invited guests including Queen’s Representative Frederick Goodwin, Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton and Members of Parliament filed out of the church before the election.
However the election process was relatively quick and it wasn’t long before the traditional leaders emerged outside the church to announce the successful nominations, while a brass band played the House of Ariki anthem.
Tou is one of the youngest of the Ui Ariki and was elected at last year’s annual meeting held on Aitutaki. At the time he said he would work closely with his colleagues and former president Pa Ariki and use her past work as a guideline.
His aim was to create a united Ui Ariki for a better future – “no matou ete iti-tangata.”
Tou Travel Ariki has been a strong supporter of a close relationship with government efforts to preserve traditions and customs – and especially the reo (language).
The House of Ariki meeting continued at Parliament yesterday [Thursday].