Te Tika dies suddenly
Court shows respect
A leader, visionary, true Cook Islander
Artists recall outspoken advocate
Remembering an advocate of culture
Tributes to Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid
Passionate for environment
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Te Tika dies suddenly
The late Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid – widely respected, admired and loved by many. Readers are invited to email brief personal condolences for a weekend tributes page to email@example.com
Influential woman leaders death shocks Polynesia
The country mourns the loss of not one but two of its most prominent and progressive leaders this week.
Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid died at 1am yesterday in Auckland Hospital, not 24 hours after the death of Sir Apenera Short in his Muri home. She would have been 68 next week.
She wore many hats, and the Cook Islands will remember her as an outspoken advocate of the arts, an environmental lobbyist, an influential traditional leader and a successful businesswoman.
Dorice was born on Rarotonga to Ruby Peyroux (nee Matamua) and Leo Morrel. She left Rarotonga when she was just eight, but her dream was always to return to her enua.
Dorice worked in a number of industries she was a regional sales representative for Air New Zealand, a talk show host on Radio Pacific and a journalist for South Pacific television. Her influence in the Auckland community was almost as far-reaching as her influence in her own country, and she was the first Pacific Islands woman to be nominated to run for the New Zealand parliament on the National ticket.
She returned to Rarotonga in 1983.
She was marketing and sales manager for the Cook Islands Tourist Authority and in 1985 purchased the Little Polynesian Resort with her sister, the late Jeannine Peyroux. Under Dorices direction, the resort won two consecutive World Travel Awards for being the leading Cook Islands boutique hotel.
In the late 1980s the people of Takitumu asked Dorice to take on the Te Tika Mataiapo title the legacy of a fearless warrior, Te Tika. She was invested at Marae Te Pou Toru.
For the past 15 years Te Tika has held the prestigious position of president of the Koutu Nui. Under her guidance, the Koutu Nui supported environmental initiatives Te Tika often said that the Cook Islands people are the custodians of this land, and should care for it accordingly and the promotion of Cook Islands culture.
She was instrumental in re-introducing the raui system to the Cook Islands.
Multiple times Te Tika declined to run for the Cook Islands Parliament, as she preferred not to confuse her role as a traditional leader with politics.
Te Tika actively promoted Cook Islands culture and lobbied to preserve tradition. Alongside chiefs of other Polynesian nations, Te Tika visited Taputapuatea on Raiatea multiple times.
She was the only female crew member on a three-and-a-half month voyage aboard Te Au O Tonga to Raiatea, Tahiti, Nuku Hiva and Hawaii in 1995.
She did another voyage in 2002 from Rarotonga to Tahiti, Huahine, Raiatea, Tahaa, Bora Bora and Mitiaro.
Te Tika described her experience atop Te Moana Nui O Kiva at a UNESCO conference in Japan as a spiritual voyage, one that served to reinforce, to reaffirm and to validate traditional knowledge, traditional science (and) the brilliance of our ancestors.
Te Tika was a long-time member of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society executive committee and a great supporter of Te Mana o Te Moana, the voyage to Hawaii and beyond that is currently underway.
Her presence on the committee will be greatly and sadly missed, e aka tumurakau tei inga! CIVS president Ian Karika said in an email to society members. She was always a strong supporter of whatever we were doing and a very dear friend of Papa Toms as well, he added.
She was a Justice of the Peace and a member of five environmental agencies.
Earlier this year the New Zealand High Commissioners office confirmed her appointment as the next Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand, and she was to take up the Wellington post next month. She had planned to come back to Rarotonga after her Auckland trip this week.
Te Tika leaves two nieces and a nephew behind, and a void in the hearts of hundreds of Polynesian people around the world.
- Rachel ReevesRachel Reeves
Court shows respect
A minute of silence was observed in the Cook Islands High Court at Avarua yesterday morning for the recent deaths of two prominent Cook Islanders, who were both Justices of the Peace.
Sir Apenera Pera Short died aged 96 years at his Muri home on Wednesday morning, and early yesterday Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid died in Auckland, New Zealand.
A sitting of the High Court began at 9.30am and Justice of the Peace Tiki Matapo ordered all inside the courtroom to stand and observe one minute of silence in respect of the deaths.
Weve received word that two prominent citizens of this country, Sir Apenera Pera Short and secondly Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid, have passed away and therefore I ask you all to support and stand for a moment of silence.
Those in the court included members of the public, registry staff, lawyers, and members of the probation service.
A leader, visionary, true Cook Islander
Te Tika Mataiapo was a leader, a visionary who committed herself to countless causes, and a woman who embodied the Cook Islands spirit, warmth and hospitality.
Her involvement with numerous organisations and initiatives kept her busy, but still she had all the time in the world to listen to her people.
She was a businesswoman and promoted Cook Islands tourism on the tourism council and through her leading resort Little Polynesian, which earned multiple awards under her guidance.
As the president of the Koutu Nui, she worked to raise the profile of the countrys traditional leaders. She refused to get involved in Cook Islands politics though she was the first Pacific Islands woman to be nominated for the New Zealand Parliament as she valued her role as a traditional chief first.
She promoted Cook Islands culture, art, song and dance, and was part of the cultural and creative industry focus group that banded together this year.
She was a guiding light for young ambitious women and a long-time supporter of the Business and Professional Womens Association.
Te Tika was a member of the Cook Islands Voyaging Society executive committee. A veteran voyager herself, she supported the sons and daughters of her country who felt the call of the sea, and talked fondly of her experiences on Te Moana Nui O Kiva.
Te Tika was a strong proponent of environmental awareness, and often said that Cook Islanders are the custodians of their land and should treat it with respect.
She was involved in community life in every way possible, and her legacy looms large.
Her influence extended around the world to which her hundreds of friends can attest and she will be forever remembered as an exceptional Cook Islander.
- Rachel Reeves
Young Dorice Reid as a Radio Pacific talkback host in 1981. Photo courtesy of Escape Magazine. Te Tika Mataiapo / te tika 1
Dorice Reid knocking on doors as a National Party candidate. She was the first Pacific Islands woman to be nominated to run for the New Zealand parliament on the National party ticket. Photo courtesy of Escape Magazine. Te Tika Mataiapo / te tika 2
Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid – poised and immaculate as she will always be remembered.
Te Tika Mataiapo at an investiture ceremony in 2007.
In past years Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid organised multiple blues and jazz concerts at Little Polynesian. On more than one occasion bands she invited to perform would say they fell in love with Te Tika before they fell in love with the Cook Islands. Los Angeles blues and jazz singer Diana Harris wrote in an email yesterday. “Te Tika was a sister to me. She was gracious, kind and generous... a teacher of life to me without saying a word. Just by example. I love you Dorice, my heart is heavy.”
As a successful businesswoman, Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid was an example for young ambitious Cook Islands women.
She was last weekend awarded the Patrons Award at a Business and Professional Womens Association event for her decades-long use of her skills of leadership, mentoring and active involvemenet and support (in BPW). She is an inspiration to all past and current members of BPW Cook Islands, BPW patron Helen Henry said upon presenting Te Tika with her plaque.
On Monday of this week, current and former executive members and presidents of the Cook Islands Womens organisations PPSEAWA (Pan-Pacific and Southeast Asia Womens Association) and BPW gathered to congratulate, celebrate and farewell Te Tika before she was to take up her appointment as Cook Islands High Commissioner in Wellington.
None of those present knew it would be her final Cook Islands function. Eleitino Paddy Walker, Henry, Mathilda Miria-Tairea and Dawn Baudinet spoke, but Walkers words are reprinted here. The womens organisations felt Walkers speech best captured Te Tikas essence.
Walker said: I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand as what direction we are going. These words, by Oliver Wendell Holmes, express Dorices sense of purpose and vividly her sense of courage and adventure; and her understanding of the fact that if we are to make progress forward there is a need for change. Over the many years Dorice has been in my life, her courageous attitude in the face of challenges of all kinds has aroused in me enormous admiration...We all bring you love and wish you courage this is the greatest gift we can give you. For you have shown us that nothing is more elegant than courage. I love the way you speak so positively. The way you think so positively. Your understanding that there is no doubt that what you think is what you get so you attract good things to you.
Many years ago when we were talking in New Zealand you told me you wanted to return to the Cook Islands and work with your people towards positive change for good. You have done that fully and positively - now you will continue this dream in another equally important way. You have achieved so much in your life!
Even when the props are pulled out from under you - as they have been from time to time - it gave you a positive sense of what is rock and what is sand. Take with you this little Chinese proverb and remember it came from your sisters in the Cook Islands. Keep a green tree in your heart and know the singing bird will come.
And from BPW and PPSEAWA, Aroa nui e aere ra wonderful sister to us all. We will cherish the memories of you and embrace your visions.
Woman of the Year Nadine Newnham also expressed her admiration for Te Tika, whom she considered a role model for all Cook Islands women:
Dorice was the epitome of a Cook Islands leader all grace and softness with a hint of the steel that lay beneath. She is a true mentor and role model for generations of Cook Islands women with a legacy that many will envy. A trail blazer in this life, she now goes on to prepare a new trail in heaven for us to follow.
Prayers of love and strength go out to her family and close friends. Aere ra, Eric and Nadine Newnham and family.
Artists recall outspoken advocate
Local artist and museum curator Mahiriki Tangaroa Local artist Joan Rolls-Gragg Atiu textile artist Andrea Eimke
Te Tika Mataiapo was an outspoken advocate of the arts.
Most recently she was part of a cultural and creative industries focus group that presented at the National Economic Development Summit.
She was constantly pushing for local artists and creators to collaborate with government to drive the industry forward.
You sailed in on your vaka, bringing with you a wealth of encouragement, words of wisdom, warmth and inspiration. To empower and strengthen the spirit of others was your special gift. You were a mentor in every respect, your firmness and directness to be greatly admired.
You were a custodian of culture and traditions, a protector, a provider, a living embodiment of what you believed in. You gave yourself so generously, an almost relentless determination to encourage peace and harmony among those who were around you.
It was only just days ago that we spoke at length about the health and strength of the human spirit and the importance of forging ahead. Maybe one day soon we will all come to understand the universal language, present among all living creatures and humans alike.
You are now above the rainbow that welcomed you at Te Avamoa, and among the dolphins, whales and tavake that greeted you with excitement. Your vision and spiritual livelihood will live on, in the hearts of many. Your words of comfort and guidance will be with me always. Aroa nui, Aere ra, Mahiriki.
She was an inspiring leader who listened to everyone. She strived for excellence in her life and was not afraid to change things to achieve her goals. She was a great human being. We will remember her
I first met Dorice in 1987 when I was preparing to stage the Atiu Fibre Arts Studios first exhibition on Rarotonga. Because I did not know many people on Rarotonga, having lived on Atiu since 1983, I thought of turning to the CI Tourism office in the hope that someone there would be able to help me put together a list of VIPs and interested people I should invite to the exhibitions opening at the Atiu Hostel.
I was directed to Dorice, then manager of the Tourism Office. She welcomed me with the warmth we have all known her for and sat down right away to give me a list and directions of whom to contact and invite. I am sure that the exhibitions huge success was to a great extent on account of this list. Dorice and I have remained friends ever since, our common love for tivaivai tying us together over all these years. Her beautiful heirloom pieces, a taorei that she sewed with her grandmother, mother and aunty, and her own first attempt at sewing a tivaivai for herself, designed and cut by her grandmother, have been displayed in several tivaivai exhibitions that I was privileged to curate and can also be found in my book.
Id like to think that at least one of them might accompany her on her final journey. When the Tivaivai Associations first president Sonya Kamana was made Secretary to the CI High Commission in Wellington, Te Tika was elected the new president. I remained the vice president and we worked together as a wonderful team until my resignation from the association in 2007.
I have loved her for her peace-loving, just and humble nature, for her immaculate taste, elegance and appreciation of beauty and, most of all, for her friendship and hospitality over all these years. She was a wonderful ambassador of her country and would have made a superb High Commissioner. It is a loss for our country that she never lived to fill that position.
Juergen and I will hold her memory dear and will miss her. I am sure that she is in Gods hands now and will rest in peace. My sincere condolences go to all of her family, colleagues, and friends who mourn her loss.
Cook Islands National Visual Artists Society in 2004: from left patron, Te Tika Mataiapo, Ross Pierce, Joan Rolls-Gragg, Jean Mason, Ani Exham and Loretta Reynolds.
Te Tika with Mahiriki Tangaroa.
A taorei that Te Tika Mataiapo sewed with her grandmother, featured here at Little Polynesian.
Ina Goodwin, Tiana Meyer and Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid at The Edgewater.
Te Tika with Sir Terepai Maoate and Lady Maoate.
Remembering an advocate of culture
Te Tika Mataiapo was a long-time supporter of the University of the South Pacific, and recently became a member of the USP Cook Islands Campus advisory committee. Committee chairman Tevai Matapo remembers her here:
My work is inspired by my dedication to ensuring the preservation of our traditional knowledge and practices, which is based on our spiritual connection to the environment - Te Tika Mataiapo, 2009.
Te Tika Mataiapos strong and tireless advocacy of Cook Islands culture, creativity and scholarship was reflected in countless lectures, conference presentations and publications, both regionally and internationally.
Most recently she led the working group on cultural and creative industries which sought to combine the preservation of culture with innovative uses of new media.
Te Tika was strongly rooted in Cook Islands culture and environment. She recognised that part of the conservation and preservation of culture and natural environment, lay in its valuation by the tourism industry and worked long and hard towards this end.
She led efforts by the Koutu Nui to re-establish traditional cultural authority over resource management focusing on the raui of lagoons. The success of the raui system, she noted in 2009, has created a new awareness, understanding and change in the attitude of the community towards the environment and our resources. The lagoons are teeming with colourful fish and shops have increased their business in areas where tourists visit.
In recent years Te Tika was prominent in campaigns to declare the island of Suwarrow a sanctuary for birdlife and played a leading role with the Koutu Nui in action to prevent transgenic experimentation in the Cook Islands.
She was always personally courageous - battling illness, taking to the high seas in the vaka Te Au O Tonga, advocating causes that were sometimes unpopular or in advance of their time. In the midst of storms, she was always serene. She saw both sides of any argument and assisted others to a consensus. She was endlessly courteous but always determined.
In her own words, Like the ant who is industrious and respectfully greets every ant he meets, we must respect each other. We must work together in peace and harmony, to protect our planet for our future generations and all of its inhabitants. The responsible action that each one of us takes will make a difference.
Te Tika Mataiapo truly made a difference. She inspires us all to do the same and fill the great void that she now leaves behind. Farewell and God speed Te Tika Mataiapo.
Tributes to Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid
The family of Sir Tom Davis
Dorice is that rare individual who carries a light within her. We considered her a part of the family and her friendship with Papa Tom and all of us was very special. She found time for everyone and her encouragement of young Cook Islanders is unmatched. Dorice was integral to many aspects of life here and she did everything well. May we all carry on her passion for our culture and our country. Her grace and elegance carried her through everything. We will miss her perceptive nature, sense of humour, and those private moments we had with her. Whether she was giving advice about how to store fruit for her great smoothies or providing insight to navigating lifes ups and downs, it is those private moments with her that will be missed the most. We are grateful for our time with her and her friendship will be deeply missed. Cant help but wonder who shell have at her first heavenly dinner party.
Tourism CEO Carmel Beattie
Te Tika, you were to me the quintessential Cook Islander passionate, brave, fun-loving and with your feet firmly planted in both your worlds your Polynesian culture and as a modern entrepreneur. Thank you for your wise counsel, your support, your passion and your quick laugh. You achieved so much in your time here on earth and your mana will live on.
It is moments like these that we stop and take stock of the power that our female colleagues, friends and family have in making impressions on our lives.
Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid was a woman that stood by what she believed in and supported others to grow, understand and achieve.
Forever graceful and always giving, she led our community to places that broke boundaries, created acceptance and strove for cultural recognition devoid of prejudice.
It is with much sadness that we say goodbye to her but know that she now sits with her mother and sister watching over us.
You will be missed, Aunty.
Penny and Jack Maich
To my beautiful friend whom I have always placed on a pedestal and admired in all she did for her people. From going to birthday parties as a 6-year-old to entering Air New Zealand as a photographer and always seeing her there. I will miss you so much and the correspondence we shared. You were there for me always with that smile and I loved you for all you stood for.
Always in the periphery of my mind, but stationed firmly within my heart.
So in awe of you as a woman - an achiever - that I move aside in your presence.
But you have left now, and you compel me to move forward to strive to be an achiever if even at a lesser degree to strive nevertheless. One of the many legacies you leave behind.
I will continue to think of you when groundbreaking moments occur as you have been a part of so many. Our family loves you dearly and so thankful I conveyed that to you recently. Now my words end and the tears begin.
Aere ra, rest in love, to a Pacific sister, mentor, former work colleague, and dear friend.
What a lady, one of those you meet and always remember. A woman of great stature, an imposing presence, a special and unique incarnation of our peoples best.
A mentor to all of us, a woman to see as an example. A sea farer, a cultural guardian, independent of any political involvement, a tohunga of many trades.
What a loss for our people, but what a star to look at as a guide.
My beloved auntie, whom I have welcomed home in Havai several times, beautiful, natural and highly spirited...te vahine marama, raatira, e vahine purotu, te hina.
We will miss you and the way you could make simple things special and the hope you gave us all when things seemed difficult. Thank you for your mana, for your support, for your presence. Thank you on behalf of all of our people in Raromatai for being who you are. A haere ra, a haere ra , a haere ra!
Hanna and Otto from Berlin
When we visited the Cooks first in 1985, we had the fortune to get to know Dorice immediately and from that moment we never lost contact with this wonderful person.
She brought us so close to the people of the Cooks, that we started to visit this little country nearly every year from Germany, the other side of the world. Her warmth, her sharp spirit, as well as her wide field of knowledge made us always keen to come back to the Cooks. She became an important part of our lives and we will miss her so badly.
I still dont quite believe it. She always supported us at CITV and always had uplifting words to say every time I wanted to moan and grumble about my work.
D Devoted, delightful, dedicated
O Obedient, orderly, organised
R Responsible, responsive, reliable, respectful
I Intelligent, interesting, inquisitive
C Caring, courteous, considerate, composed
E Elegant, experienced, extraordinary
She was a contemporary island girl. Shell be remembered for being a great leader and always well dressed. Wherever she went, she wore a rito hat or floral head ei, muumuu or floral dress, flower in her ear or neck ei. Every time she talked, she really emphasised the importance of our culture, language, customs, values, land, etc. She displayed a lot of passion for her culture and anything related to the Cook Islands...shes what I call a real contemporary island girl.
Passionate for environment
Jacqui Evans, Te Ipukarea Society programme coordinator, remembers Te Tikas passion for the environment:
Te Tika Mataiapo was a superb leader and ambassador for the environment. She had strength, perseverance, courage, an intricate understanding of customary practice, gentle communication skills and an unfailing, rare ability to never criticise but to provide positive reinforcement. She also had a deep passion and appreciation for nature. With these leadership qualities she worked tirelessly for the environment. Most outstandingly, she led the re-establishment of marine raui by the Koutu Nui after the regular practice of raui had been abandoned in Rarotonga for over 40 years.
At a meeting in 1997 she said: If we are talking about establishing marine raui, then leave it to us because raui can only be declared by us.
With that, the Koutu Nui took the reins from government agencies that were considering the introduction of marine protected areas but were stuck in bureaucracy and legislation.
Her leadership put the Cook Islands on the global map in the marine conservation field.
An eloquent, passionate and powerful speaker Te Tika was invited to give keynote addresses by conferences worldwide eager to learn how the marine raui were established and why traditional knowledge and practice is so important.
Te Tika understood natures important place in our physical, cultural and spiritual realms. She highlighted the importance of holding on to our spirituality when she said in an interview: .our ancestors had this enormous respect for the environment. For instance, in the olden days, our ancestors would never cut a tree down to make a canoe without praying, without their karakia, praying for authority to take the life of that tree. Today, we just blatantly go and cut a tree down, and we dont think about the fact that it has a life.
This is a fundamental lesson that we can learn from Te Tika to respect nature. Protect Mother Nature and she will provide for you. Farewell Te Tika. You will be sincerely missed.