11 Aug 2017

Cook Islands chiefs want anthem changed

6:15 am on 11 August 2017

The House of Ariki in the Cook Islands is trying to change the lyrics of the country's national anthem.

Cook Islands flag

Cook Islands flag Photo: RNZ/ Tim Glasgow

The chiefs have been promoting a change for some time but the clerk of the House of Ariki, Tupuna Rakanui, said they had gone public because the issue had been long-forgotten by the government.

The Prime Minister's Office, which is responsible for the anthem, said no formal approach had been made.

The chiefs took exception to the words 'pa enua' and want them replaced with 'Kuki Airani'.

They said 'pa enua' refers only to the outer islands, but our correspondent, Florence Syme Buchanan, said the words mean "all the isles of the sea".

She said there had been a lot of social media activity over the chiefs' proposal, with some labelling it disrespectful to the anthem's writers.