30 Aug 2019

Hopes Māori King will develop land in Cook Islands

10:56 am on 30 August 2019

There are hopes on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands that New Zealand's Māori King will develop land there.

060814. Photo Diego Opatowski / RNZ. Maori King Tuheitia Paki at the Ranana marae in Whanganui.

Maori King Tuheitia Paki Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The Cook Islands News reports the land on eastern side of the island was gifted to the King's family after World War Two but has sat empty ever since.

King Tūheitia is from the Tainui tribe and the land was gifted to recognise Tainui ancestors first voyaged to New Zealand via Aitutaki.

The King arrived in the Cook Islands on Wednesday for his first official visit since ascending to the throne in 2006.

He's due to travel to Aitutaki today.

Aitutaki mayor Tekura Bishop said there is "a powerful connection" between Tainui and Aitutaki and "people are hoping to connect on an economic level".

Aitutaki locals are reportedly hoping Tainui will build a new restaurant or a boutique hotel.