If the walls of Ruaau Nui Maruarua meeting house in Arorangi could talk, they would tell many stories of the bustling crowds who once gathered there for meetings, church services and special occasions.
The meeting house is being given a new lease of life with a public meeting for the people of Ruaau tapere been held on Monday February 17 at 6pm to discuss plans to renew and renovate the existing building.
Consultation with the people is the main reason why the meeting will be held.
Ruaau tapere session clerk Teariki Purua or “Johnny Blue” as he is affectionately known, said the meeting house hasn’t been used for a while and it was time to get it up to scratch so it could once again be a place where the people could come together.
In the 1970s and 80s, Ruaau meeting house was very popular especially with the young ones who were to be looking to socialise and have a good time.
The land that the meeting house sits on was generously gifted by the late Teuru Nena long before a building with an open verandah and no walls was erected and opened in 1958.
In 1985, renovations took place to put walls on the building for security reasons and to accommodate groups from overseas travelling to Rarotonga for the South Pacific Mini Games, and in the early 2000s the roof was replaced.
Even though there is a lack of funds, Purua said the work will start after final plans are drawn up following on from the public meeting.
The building, which has full kitchen facilities will be divided to accommodate different functions and purposes with the ultimate goal being to create a place where everyone is welcome, especially the younger generations.
“We want to bring our people back together,” Purua said.
Land meetings, birthdays, church services from any denominations and resurrecting the Sunday School are just some of the plans they have on the agenda.
Honouring the legacy of those gone before them who founded the meeting house, is why Purua said it’s important to do the renovation.
“We have to look after what are forefathers put in place for us so it can be appreciated and used by our people, by our tamariki and future generations.”