Kaena Mataiapo Tipokoroa Utia had his grandchildren standing beside him as the families accepted an award for maintaining and reviving traditional practices at Marae Aretau.
The seven kopu of the Kaena mataiapo tribe plan to spend the $1000 Vaka Pride prize on further cleaning and restoring the marae.
Vaka Pride committee coordinator Sieni Tiraa remarked on the generations standing side by side. “There is still a lot of pride in our people, you can see the revival of our traditional practices.”
David Tipokoroa, son of Kaena Mataiapo Tipokoroa Utia said: “The initiative to enter the competition was based on the importance of what the marae means to our culture, and presented an opportunity for us to capture and share the history of our family marae with our young generation of Ngati Kaena."
The money would also help them hold a family workshop to share and cement the culture and history for our future generations, he said.
The last round of Vaka Pride judging was held at the end of February, but because of the national response to the coronavirus crisis, the announcement of winners was delayed.
This week the 14th round of the Rarotonga Vaka Pride contest prizes of $10,000 cash will be distributed to community groups or individuals who have put in their hard work to maintain our paradise.
The Akono i te Ao Rangi category awards are community groups that keep public areas clean and tidy.
Results are taken from the monthly clean-up reports from internal affairs ministry Te Tango Akarangatira Ora’anga and the compliance report from Te Tuanga Taporoporo (National Environment Service).
Three villages were recognised for showing pride in their environment over the summer months: Ruaau won first prize of $1600, followed by Takuvaine/Tutakimoa with $1400, and Tupapa Maraerenga with $1000.
The judges also focused on historical sites that contribute towards points in the Peu Maori section; the scores were based on maintenance, historical significance and a bonus point for extra effort such as signage.
And Cook Islands Security, Cook Islands National Youth Council and TMS Fitness were nominated by members of Vaka Pride for prizes in the Tupuranga Tangata category, celebrating those who address community issues.
The teams were given an opportunity to present and share some of the work they had done and continued to do, and all three nominees impressed the judges.
Sieni Tiraa said an executive decision was made to award equal rewards – a cash prize of $1,000 for each.