As is quite often the custom, Mairaro was unofficially adopted by his feeding parents, both of who passed away during his teenage years.
His siblings had attempted to make contact with Mairaro for the past 40 years, eventually locating him in New Zealand.
Mairaro accepted the family’s invitation to join the get together on their home island of Aitutaki.
Retire Puapii said meeting their brother for the first time brought out mixed feelings.
There were tears of joy and sorrow as they also remembered their mother Tara Vavia Tereroa, who had passed away in 2012.
Puapii said the reunion also involved their mothers’ siblings.
“It was good seeing cousins meet for the first time, make connections and get on well,” said Puapii.
“Having good times together, sharing memories and just going about activities like fishing and cooking together was special.”
The reunion included lineage from the Ngati Pakau, Ngati Rupe, and Ngati Aumaro lines.
Born on December 22nd 1940, Tereroa is a daughter of Vairangi Ngataua Aumareva and Vavia Tereroa; wife to Fakau Henry, Puapii Mairaro and Poona George, and a mother of 14 children.
Fifty six members of the family attended the occasion that started on December 18 and closed on the day Mama Tara’s birthday, December 22.