23 Jun 2008

Cook Islands chiefs drop take over claim, return to normal duties

3:35 pm on 23 June 2008

The Cook Islands deputy Prime Minister says the House of Ariki, which last week proclaimed its ownership over the country, appears to have gone back to its normal role.

Last week, several traditional chiefs, or ui ariki, claimed they were dismissing the Queen's representative and government, and assuming leadership and ownership of the country, after meetings with Sydney-based businessman, Bruce Mita.

Sir Terepai Maoate says he was invited late last week to a meeting with the House of Ariki, and was informed that it has resumed its normal repsonsibilites and function.

"Government is very pleased with that, I suppose there are still one or two, or three, who still feel strongly about what they've done, but I think with the majority coming back together, I hope that everyone should come back to normal. Otherwise they might lose their membership of the House of Ariki, under their own act, and under their own administration."

Sir Terepai Maoate says the situation with Bruce Mita is now in the hands of hte ministry of immigration.