There are many unique cultural features on the South Pacific island-nation of Cook Islands. And there are some unique holidays too, like Ra o te Ui Ariki, meaning “Day of the Council of High Chiefs”. This public holiday is observed on the first Friday of July to celebrate the existence of this traditional Cook Islands legislative body.
|2020||3 Jul||Fri||Ra o te Ui Ariki|
|2021||2 Jul||Fri||Ra o te Ui Ariki|
|2022||1 Jul||Fri||Ra o te Ui Ariki|
|2023||7 Jul||Fri||Ra o te Ui Ariki|
|2024||5 Jul||Fri||Ra o te Ui Ariki|
Although the main governing assembly of Cook Islands today is a popularly elected parliament, the Ariki council still exists and takes part in the governing process. This body is much like the House of Lords in the UK, consisting of traditional chiefs and leaders.
The Ariki was first formed in 1967, but the traditions underlying it go back for centuries. The council has 24 chiefs, with anywhere from one to six chiefs hailing from each major inhabited island within the Cook Archipelago. Today, it plays only an advisory role to the parliament and has no real power aside from influence. The Ariki Council is much more symbolic than real in its governing role.