Tautu and his wife Marjorie have five sons: Andrew, 33, Ben, 28, David, 26, Joseph, 23, and Tinokura, 21.
The couple always wanted a large family, they loved raising their kids, and they appreciate the assistance and support from both their parents.
Now their sons are all grown up, but there are certain traditions they hold dear. One is getting together for family occasions like birthdays and, of course, Father’s Day. This year, only Tinokura is on the island, so he’ll join them for church, lunch afterwards, and then marking the day by visiting Marjorie’s elderly father.
Tautu values those traditions that celebrate family, and sanctify marriage.
When their son Joseph was preparing to wed Carmelia Rangi this year, they performed the local Tiki Vaine custom of processing from Nga Pu Toru.
Their family traveled to the bride to show their appreciation to her family, and presented a pig “tuika’a” – a pig that was fed from the day the engagement was announced.
They travelled from Matavera to Avatiu with the tuika’a, to acknowledge and thank the bride’s tribe.
Tautu believes it is so important for children to understand the commitment of marriage; to understand they are not alone, the family and the tribe will get behind the couple to support them when it’s needed.
“They need to realise the value of marriage, how important parents and grandparents are in the lives of their children, we are not going to neglect this structure that has already been in place.
“When they are married the family gets involved, we are bound together.”
In 1997 Tautu moved to Atiu; two years later his family joined him and they lived there for about 20 years.
He had grown up in a farming family who were also strong member of the church – standards and experiences his sons carry with them today.
There was always work to do on Atiu, planting pineapples, vegetables, tending to pigs … after school each day, the boys would get into their delegated chores.
“We did everything as a family,” said Tautu.
Living in Atiu back then, one had to prepare for irrigation issues, and it was only while they were living there that the electricity supply was connected up 24 hours. There were challenging times.
The family returned to Rarotonga in 2009, but the boys had had their experiences of life in the Pa Enua.
Aneru and Marjorie got married in 1989, they have seven grandchildren; the latest additions to their family are Ezekiel, born in June, and twin girls Tumanava and Miro, born in July.
But he still reminds his sons that Sunday lunches, birthdays and anniversaries are very important; there is no need to celebrate these milestones on their own, they should do it together with the whole family.
Tautu is certain that fathers should attend church: “Our fathers built these churches, not for anyone else but for us.”
He feels blessed his kids are respectful, and is moved and appreciates that his sons love and have faith in God, as much as he does.
Something he has found difficulty with is to apologise – actually trying to say sorry. That is a challenge he had to overcome.
“My kids are like other kids out there; they didn’t grow up in glass houses … one thing I know of is, that they work hard.
“The world we live in, one does struggle, until one finds his place.
“We are Maori, these days there are some values that we think we don’t need. But family is and should be the centre of our lives.”