Traditional leaders in the Cook Islands are trying to boost their mana or prestige including making sure the government consults them on developments in the country.
The clerk of the House of Ariki, Tupuna Rakanui, says traditional leaders have felt overlooked in the past but they say they are making headway in their efforts.
Tupuna Rakanui says they have recently intervened over poor consultation with landowners over the multi-million dollar water infrastructure project due to start soon on Rarotonga.
"They hear that licenses will be granted to foreigners to commence developments on Rarotonga and yet here they are, they are the landowners. They own the lands inland where the water comes down, the reservoir and our people own the land where these pipes will be running on. They hadn't been consulted."
Tupuna Rakanui says the future constitutional role of traditional leaders is also the subject of ongoing talks with the government