Heavily involved in the lead-up to the much-anticipated trip is the secretary for the Rarotonga’s Atiu community, Nga Teao-Papatua, who has hosted a number of people at the Atiu hostel in Tupapa-Maraerenga.
“I am already telling our people to get prepared, as we are going to Tahiti, for the Atiu Island Trust Conference,” Teao-Papatua said.
“There will be representatives from our various community groups. There is Atiu, Rarotonga, Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.”
Affectionately known as Aunty Nga, Teao-Papatua says the main reason for the early planning is to contain the cost of airfares, so that the more than 100 people expected to join the trip, will be able to save the money to afford to go.
One of the key reasons for the trip is to monitor progress on the various Atiu community group projects or activities currently underway in the Pacifric.
“Each community group of Atiu people has its own activities and projects,” Teao-Papatua explained.
“For example, there is a hostel in Auckland whose project is to renovate a hall, and they have already started with their renovation programmes.
“And in Sydney, they are starting to raise funds to build a hostel to accommodate our people who travel to the city.”
Sporting activities have also been a focal point for the Atiu community.
The Brisbane chapter hosted sports groups from Sydney and Melbourne over the Easter holidays this year for a number of different activities.
Another important topic up for discussion is the Cook Islands Christian Church General Assembly in 2019, which will be held on Atiu.
“It is a huge honour to host the general assembly. We feel it’s something that we are very fortunate to be hosting, especially when over 200 people will be attending.
“I see this as a great opportunity for our other branches of CICC to see our island, our culture. This could be the first time many of the people who are coming have been to Atiu.”
Atiu hosted the first general assembly back in the 1960s, and now that most of the people involved in that have passed away, Teao-Papatua sees the 2019 event as a great opportunity to carry on their legacy.
The Manea Games, will also be hosted by Atiu next year.
Meanwhile, Teao-Papatua is also excited that the newly-named Miss Cook Islands, Lydia Tariu Simonis chose to represent Atiu, her ancestral island.
“For me, it’s all of us that she represents. We are thankful that Lydia has taken Atiu to a new level of recognition. Also, my joy in that title is because she was involved in the Atiu culture team during Te Maeva Nui.
“I’ve met her. She’s down to earth, and when she was in the Atiu culture team, she was just a normal young woman from Atiu.
“She made us proud.
“And on behalf of all people from Enua Manu, New Zealand, Australia and the Cook Islands, and especially the Atiu culture team, I am honoured she chose Atiu.”