Pacific | Hawai'i

Kiingi Tuheitia will join Pacific leaders meeting in Hawai’i

The meeting coincides with the annual Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC).

Te Tari o te Kiingitanga has announced Kiingi Tuheitia will join the first of an annual series of meetings between Pacific leaders in Hawai’i this June.

In a statement this afternoon, the Māori King said the meeting would focus on “issues of regional and international concern”, singling out climate change and environmental protection.

Kiingitanga spokesman Ngira Simmonds said the king shared Pacific leaders’ concerns about upholding ancestral teachings and caring for future generations.

In February, Fijian paramount chief Epenisa Seru Cakobau hosted a meeting with Kiingi Tuheitia and leaders from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and Hawai’i on Bau Island, discussing similar climate and environment-related issues.

“The meeting in June will be a continuation of those discussions and how we tackle these issues together, drawing on the teachings of our ancestors and our respective cultures,” Simmonds said.

The Kiingitanga’s meeting will coincide with the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC), which he’ll also attend as a patron of Te Matatini, Aotearoa’s national kapa haka organisation.

The release said before Covid-19′s arrival, Kiingi Tuheitia was a regular attendee at FestPAC alongside his late mother, Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu.

The Pacific Traditional Leaders Forum is expected to run from June 6 – 16.

In a separate release, the Pacific Community (SPC) said, ‘“The significance of this talanoa for traditional leaders and its importance has yet to be realised. Ever so thankful to the core of Oceania’s traditional leaders for supporting this initiative and, more so, to those who actually made it to this talanoa despite other commitments. This is a first!”