The gleaming new instruments were handed over to the band last Thursday afternoon by New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley, who with his wife Christine attended a handover ceremony at the Nikao CICC Hall.
Master of ceremonies for the event was Jones Ave, who told guests the band had been providing its services at functions and celebrations around Rarotonga for 18 years.
The band had played at everything from Constitution celebrations and float parades, to Constitution Day celebrations and ANZAC Day parades, Koutu Nui and House of Ariki events…the band had played at them all, said Ave. It had also performed at parliament, for government and community functions, at church events and even private functions, he said.
“In 2001 we took a trip to Mangaia, then in 2002 we went to Aitutaki and the following year to Mauke,” he said.
“On all three islands we did a route march and a concert, and all the money we raised was left with the islands. Mauke’s proceeds were donated to the Disabled Society, Mangaia’s to the Boys Brigade and Aitutaki’s to the hospital.
“In 2004 we travelled to New Zealand and Australia and joined other brass bands to celebrate ANZAC Day at Manukau City. This was a big honour as we played the Queen’s anthem and songs for the laying of the wreaths.”
Ave said the tours had been educational as well as being great bonding and outreach exercises, to young people and the wider community.
“All our activities and service is motivated by love and eagerness to serve.”
Ave told the High Commissioner the new instruments would allow the band to continue to serve both the community and the country.
“Thank you for making a dream come true.
“This is the first-ever grant for us and we are so grateful – ata wai wolo!”
The Nikao Boys Brigade Band still has four founding members: Bandmaster and tutor Papa Pae Tuteru, ‘mother’ and drum major Mama Kafo Tuteru, multi-instrumentalist Papa Mia Tuteru and trumpet player Papa Kau Arakua.
The band is now preparing to travel to New Zealand for three weeks in December, visiting Wellington and Auckland.
Strong believers in the saying “God helps those who help themselves,” band members are doing their own fundraising for the trip and run a popular car wash in town on Saturdays.