Parua Ariki says when Atiu’s chief, the late Ada Rongomatane Ariki passed away, he noticed the bareness of the walls and felt photographs portraying the island’s rich history would benefit his community.
Last Wednesday, Parua Ariki presented his contribution to Nga Teao-Papatua at the Atiu Hostel; he has also gifted the same photographs to the ‘Atiu Nui Marurua’ hall in Auckland.
Parua Ariki is particularly fond of an image of the infamous Kura (Rimatara Lorikeet). The species made headlines around the world when the bird was reintroduced to Atiu in April 2007 having being absent from the island for about 200 years.
He frequently visits Rimatara, and in October last year he managed a group of Atiuan’s to the island in French Polynesia, to inform and further educate them on the place the Kura had been transported from.
Other photographs feature past ariki of the island, and important occasions involving the people of Atiu.
Born on Atiu, he left at the age of 19 for the bright lights of New Zealand. Although he continues to reside in Auckland, he is a frequent visitor to Rarotonga and his island of birth.
Tu Hewitt (nee Potoru) was pleasantly surprised to recognise her mother Tairi Potoru in one of the photographs - by chance she was attending a youth council workshop based at the hostel and noticed the photographs.
Teao-Papatua is thankful for the thoughtful gifts, “Parua Ariki is paving the way for other people to share their visual history and knowledge for the hostel - it’s a first.”