While it is of course a public holiday, the main focus of Gospel (Nuku) Day celebrates the arrival of Christianity to the Cook Islands 197 years ago, on October 26,1821.
On Rarotonga, the six Cook Islands Christian Churches (CICC) will host an event at Ngatangiia CICC mission ground, starting at 9am. It will be officially opened by Rev. Tuaine Ngametua.
Organiser and CICC secretary Mauri Toa says this year, the much-anticipated event will feature performances by the six CICC churches on Rarotonga. This year a new element has been introduced as each church will present items dedicated to one of the southern islands.
“There will be presentations based on the prophecies of the Gospel and each ekalesia has been allocated an island,” Toa says.
Ngantangiia will represent Rarotonga, Matavera will be responsible for Aitutaki and Avaurua will represent Atiu. Meanwhile, Mauke, Mitiaro and Mangaia will be represented by Nikao, Arorangi and Tivikaveka respectively.
Toa says the theme will be particularly interesting, as each of the southern islands has their own interpretation of the Gospel’s prophecies. Performances will have a strong traditional element and will include action songs, drum dances, chants and ute or imene tuki, with each item taking about 20 minutes.
The official start time is 9am and Toa anticipates the event will be over by around 1pm. Everyone is welcome to attend what promises to be a colourful, educational and action-packed event.
“The arrival of Christianity made a massive impact on the Cook Islands and the lifestyles of our people, and Gospel Day is a very significant event,” Toa says.
The work of organising tomorrow’s celebrations began earlier this year, alongside planning for an even bigger event – the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity, to be celebrated in 2021.