Construction of the hostel began in 2008 and it was officially opened in December 2015, after the Te Maeva Nui celebrations in July and August that same year.
Atiu spokesperson Tapuni William said it was “a real joy” that the group could enjoy their stay in a hostel of their own.
“The last time we were here for Te Maeva Nui we had to stay across a couple of locations which was really tough on the group. It was a bit exhausting having to stay in one place, then move somewhere else.
“We were in Tupapa at one point, then Tereora College and back to Sinai Hall next door, and while we appreciated their hospitality, being right across from the auditorium and in the same area as the other groups from the Pa Enua this time around is just great and makes things easier to manage.”
William said 70 Atiu residents had come to Rarotonga for the celebrations. While the group was smaller than the one that visited in 2015, he said they were confident in their routines for the Te Maeva Nui cultural competitions.
“We are practicing each day for three hours, up nice and early at 6am and getting stuck into our routines to make sure we bring it during the competition.
“This time around we had a group in Atiu coming up with routines and then a group here in Raro doing the same thing. We got together when we all arrived and have put everything together into one.”
William said doing this allowed his group to highlight some of the cultural differences between the two islands.
As is the case with many of the outer islands teams, William said the younger members were enjoying their first visit to Rarotonga.
“They are particularly enjoying our transport here with some of the trucks we have been using. Usually back in Atiu we only have scooters or simply use our legs to get around.”
The Atiu team will also have a stall at the BTIB Trade Days this week and William says members are looking forward to meeting everyone.