cook islands maori meet on custom

Customary law and how it applies to this day and age, will be the theme of traditional leaders in the Koutu Nui, celebrating its 30th annual conference on Thursday afternoon. Traditional leaders at the conference will discuss ways in which customary law can be enhanced and supported, says Koutu Nui president Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid. They will also hear from Cook Islanders who will share their knowledge on the conference theme. Lawyer Tina Browne will speak on issues relating to the land court, while Makiuti Tongia is expected to chip in with his knowledge of traditional and customary practices. Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Sonny Williams will brief participants on the regional framework and model law for the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture. Workshops during the three day meeting will be co-ordinated by Paenui Rangatira Vereara Maeva-Taripo. Te Tika Mataiapo says traditional leaders from Atiu, Mauke, Mitiaro, Aitutaki, Mangaia and Manihiki will attend the conference at the Cook Islands Christian Church Sunday school hall at Matavera. The prime minister Dr Robert Woonton is expected to officially open the conference on Thursday at the Matavera CICC church. — Moana Moeka’a (updated Wednesdays).