3 Oct 2002

Land dispute in Cook Islands leads to sister challenge for paramount chief

11:46 am on 3 October 2002

A land dispute is brewing in one of Cook Islands influential families.

Lily Henderson from the House of Ariki says there are concerns over plans by its paramount chief Pa Upokotini Ariki to bring family land under her direct control.

Ms Henderson, says she will challenge her sister for the paramount chief's title to prevent the loss of the land.

But Pa Ariki has said that her title cannot be challenged.

Lily Henderson says that Pa Ariki wants family owned land to become titled which means no one other than a paramount chief can use or develop it.

Ms Henderson says family members are upset over the plan.

"The time she has held the title, she has and continues to act in a manner unbecoming to the dignity of the title. The straw that broke the camel's back was her intention to acquire family lands as title lands. If she claims title lands, we the siblings, we just won't be able to use the land at all. There will be difficulties in challenging the title but I have the support of the majority of the siblings."