21 Apr 2004

Court challenge over paramount chiefly title in the Cook Islands

4:02 pm on 21 April 2004

A court challenge is being mounted in the Cook Islands to the holder of one of the paramount chiefly titles.

Lily Henderson is filing a claim this week for the title of Pa Ariki which is held by her older sister, Pa Tepaueru Marie Ariki.

It is one of five paramount chiefly titles on Rarotonga.

Supporters say that one of the grounds on which the claim will be filed is that the current title-holder no longer resides in the Cook Islands and cannot fulfill her duties to her district.

Pa Ariki currently lives in Auckland and is employed by the Cook Islands consulate.

Mrs Henderson has challenged for the title of Pa Ariki previously but lost both the court case and the appeal.

Pa Ariki's lawyer says an investiture ceremony which was held over the weekend has no significance in law.