The real women’s work is honoured on island Manihiki

Saturday February 29, 2020 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Queen’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters presents Vainepoto Makita with the British Empire Medal of Service in Manihiki.  ANNA RAURU 20022621/20022622 Queen’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters presents Vainepoto Makita with the British Empire Medal of Service in Manihiki. ANNA RAURU 20022621/20022622

When an emotional Mama Vainepoto Makita was presented the Queen’s British Empire Medal of Service on her home island of Manihiki this week, she paid tribute to her father Elia Teka.

 

It was he who taught her the skills of fishing and pearl diving.

But she also paid tribute to those other women, who taught her how to cook, how to weave, and most important, how to believe in herself.

Women were always heavily involved in every aspect of the community life in Manihiki, said the elderly business woman and community leader.

Makita herself has been involved in women’s organisations all her life: the Family Welfare, Cook Islands Christian Church women’s groups, and as a former president of the school parents and teachers association.

The Queen’s Representative, Sir Tom Marsters, travelled to Manihiki to recognise her for a lifetime contributing to and assisting the community in whatever way she could.

Makita was humbled by the ceremony this week, and overwhelmed at the presence of Sir Tom on the island to present her with the award for services to business and to the community.

She had never thought a medal of this honour would ever be awarded to her, she said.

Maramaangite Tuatoru from Tahunu and Trainee Samson from Tukao, two prominent leaders in the community of Manihiki, received a Justice of the Peace warrant to ensure the court is manned and justice is expensed in a timely manner.

Both Mama Makita and Saitu Marsters from Penrhyn were issued the Queen’s Empire Medals in 2018, but neither was able to travel to Rarotonga to receive them at the time.

So this week, Prime Minister Henry Puna and his wife Akaiti, Queen’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters, Penrhyn MP Robert Tapaitau and his wife Sarakura, and official secretary Anthony Brown, all travelled to both northern islands to invest the medal recipients.                       

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