21 Aug 2006

Successor to New Zealand's Maori Queen named at her funeral

9:57 am on 21 August 2006

At the funeral service for New Zealand's Maori Queen, Dame Te Aitairangikaahu at Turangawaewae Marae ; her eldest son, Tuheitia Paki, has been appointed as her successor.

There had been intense speculation about who would succeed Dame Te Aitairangikaahu, who died on last Tuesday.

Her casket was closed just before sunrise.

Tuheitia Paki, who is 51, was brought before the people to be annointed by the coffin.

He is a cultural advisor to his Tainui tribe and is married with three children.

The selection of the Maori Queen's successor was decided by other iwi; (or tribes) not Tainui.

"Dame Te Ata will be laid to rest in a sacred burial ground at Taupiri after taking her final journey on her waka, Tumanako , flanked by up to twelve other waka."

There are representatives from around the Pacific attending the funeral.

They include - Fiji's vice-president Ratu Jone Madraiwiwi, Princess Salote Mafile'o Pilolevu Tuita from Tonga, and the New Zealand Queen's Representative from the Cook Islands, Sir Frederick Goodwin, President Oscar Temaru from French Poynesia, Tupua Tamasese Efi, a former Prime Minister of Samoa, Niue's Premier, Young Vivian, and a representative from Hawaii among others