Dear Editor – We Tikopians are quite known for our respect, kindness and other good cultural behaviours.
We are generally peaceful, non-hostile citizens of our country.
These are some of the products of good relationship between the chiefs and the people.
However, these good relationships will keep on diminishing if the above subject is not considered.
Before 1940s, the chiefs were not numbered as 1, 2, 3 and 4 because it was uncultured to do so.
The title Te Ariki (chief) is relatively tribal, and thus, it has no broader meaning in this context because each chief’s rulership is limited to his own tribe.
Although they rule corporately, each chief has due respect for each other. The numbering has brought a sense of inferiority and superiority which weaken island units.
Historically, the chief played equal role in governing and defending the island from foreign invaders, but they were equal in status.
It was late 1940s when the D. O of Eastern District toured the island of Tikopia and during a meeting with the chiefs; the D. O and his interpreter, Pae Wisten labelled the chiefs as numbers One, Two, Three and Four.
This went down in the national record of the colonial government at that time.
Nowadays some tribes strive for dominance, saying that because their chief is numbered higher, they are superior and have the right to overall leadership.
But this numbering is a comparative western ideology which provokes pride and jealousy among the tribes.
At times this provocation erupts into argument between individuals, which end up in hand battle.
Therefore I call upon all Tikopians at home and at our settlements to cease the practice of calling our chiefs as numbers One, Two, Three and Four.
I also request the people who keep the Tikopian records to erase the numbering from our national record.
But most importantly I humbly ask the chiefs to humbly agree to have the numbers detached from their tribal titles, ARIKI, for the sake of peace and harmony among your good people.
Jones Mua (Pae Tefao)