Mauke loses favourite son

Monday November 14, 2016 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Father John Rovers (nearest to the camera) passed away on Thursday and was laid to rest in Mauke yesterday. 16111133 Father John Rovers (nearest to the camera) passed away on Thursday and was laid to rest in Mauke yesterday. 16111133

Mauke has lost one of its favourite adopted sons on Thursday with the passing of Father John Rovers.

The Catholic priest served the people of Mauke for more than 50 years. He was in his late 80s.

Originally from the Netherlands, Father Rovers arrived in the Cook Islands aged in his 20s.

He had also served in Atiu and on Rarotonga.

Father Rovers baptised many children of Mauke, married many couples, and presided over many funerals throughout his spiritual service to the people of the Cook Islands.

As a celibate priest, he was devoted to each and every one of his de-facto children, remembering each of their names although he had not seen many of them for many years as they have moved away from Mauke for both educational a

nd economic reasons.

He always greeted people with a huge smile and the familiarity of a close friend.

“At our last visit with him, just last week, he was at his usual evening routine –smoking a cigarette, sipping his whisky and listening to the radio,” friend Jean Mason said.

“He had lived with the effects of stroke for more than 10 years but had largely overcome it to carry on his work.

“His last major task was presiding over the Turama at Araki cemetery on the night of November 1 even though he had difficulty standing during the service. Such was his commitment.”

Mason added as a person Fr Rovers had a huge heart and a good mind adding he was always upbeat and happy and utterly devoted to his adopted home island.

“May God have mercy on your soul, Father John, and on all the souls of the dearly departed of the Cook Islands whom you served with kindness, humour and devotion. Aere ra ki toou akangaroianga.”

Fr Rovers will be dearly missed by all his friends especially Kairae, Paparongo, Chapman and Mason families of Rarotonga, Mauke, Atiu, Tahiti and New Zealand.

He was laid to rest in the early hours yesterday on Mauke.

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