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Successor To Dame Te Atairangikaahu Named

Successor To Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu Named

Monday, 21 August 2006

Tuheitia Paki was named as successor to Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia, at 8.50 am today.

Tuheitia is the eldest son of Dame Te Atairangikaahu. It is customary for the successor to change their first name to reflect their new status.

Rangatira (respected chiefs) from around the country presented Tuheitia as the new King in a solemn ceremony in front of a crowd of thousands gathered around the Marae atea (courtyard). He was selected by council of leaders from iwi throughout the country after several days of discussions.

The original bible used in the coronation of his mother and previous Maori kings was placed upon his head, crowning the new head of the Kingitanga movement.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu will be transported by Tumanako, a waka used for special ceremonial occasions, up the Waikato river by helmsman Hoturoa Kerr to her final resting place on Taupiri mountain, about 10 km north of Ngaruawahia.

Her casket is to be draped with a Pingao woven whariki (mat) which is the oldest in Turangawaewae. The mat usually sits under Korotangi (a carved greenstone bird that Tainui believe led their waka to New Zealand). Te Arikinui will be buried with the regal Tongan Tapa used exclusively for royalty.

More than 50 buses will transport mourners to Taupiri. Two special trains will also bring mourners to and from Auckland to the burial site. The Waikato River will be closed to boats between Hamilton and Huntly from 7am-5pm. State Highway 1 will be closed from 10am-4pm, with detours at Huntly, Ngaruawahia and Tirau.

The funeral ceremony will finish with a hakari (banquet) to wrap up the proceedings later this afternoon.


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