Titikaveka college year 7 students and teachers with Potikitaua Mataiapo Anau Manarangi. 20061121.
At Taputapuatea, history is real and living and now.
As a young child, Potikitaua Mataiapo Anau Manarangi would help pick up leaves and cut grass with a reap hook knife at the massive yard of the Makea Nui Ariki palace grounds at Taputapuatea.
Now, Manarangi had had the chance to share his memories with Titikaveka College students.
Brought up by his grandparents near Apii Avarua, on the inland side, Manarangi remembers how, once a month, people from Atiu who lived nearby would help clean the area.
The immense property is where Makea Takau, the paramount ariki (chief) of the area, signed the treaty accepting the Cook Islands’ status as a British protectorate in 1888.
Manarangi returned home from overseas when his father passed away; the title of Potikitaua was then bestowed upon him.
He told the students that accepting the responsibility of a title comes with lot of financial responsibility.
Unarii Tafale, the classes’ teacher trainee, says the kids are studying colonisation and missionary influences, for a history project.
“We are looking at the Ariki system, understanding their mana; how as a people we lived before the Gospel arrived here; the Blue Laws and when the missionaries landed,” Tafale says.
“The kids were very interested and amazed and realise how important history is and how far we have come today.”
Students Tangiia, William Robertson and Tunui Arakamati, were excited to be invited to the ancient site.
“It has been really good and interesting seeing these old places,” says Tangiia.
Eleven-year old Teina Vogel was inspired to learn about the history of the nation.
“It’s good and we have learnt a lot, we have found answers to what we were looking for but there is still more to learn as we complete this project.
“What I found most interesting was knowing about the missionaries that came here and to the Pacific to convince people to believe in the gospel.”
Raelyn Brothers says the lessons have been a lot of fun, “to realise the real reason about why the missionaries wanted to come here to a place where they have never been and spread the word of God; was so that we can have a better life.”