ARANUKA

REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI

Aranuka is an island in the Central Kiribati located just north of the equator with an area of 15.5 square kilometers and a population of 852. 

           

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There are three basic types of Government in Kiribati. In most of the islands north of the equator there are several district leaders, each of whom led a group of kaainga. On Abemama-Kuria-Aranuka and, to a lesser extent Abaiang, one chief was usually recognised as paramount. From Nonouti southwards, the old men dominated the communities through the maneaba (public meeting place or hour) and provided political leadership.

It is difficult to know how these systems of governments evolved, but it seemed that the kaainga has always been important. Oral traditions from the northern islands suggest that a few kaainga were able, over time, to assume a dominant position over their neighbours. The traditional chiefly dynasties were only consolidated after the arrival of Europeans. The heads of the kaainga were always consulted on matters affecting the community and could initiate action, but always they were obliged to seek approval of the chief, who provided overall leadership, and regulated relationships amongst the kaainga. 

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Jane Resture
 (E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 16th January 2012)