Tereapii Enua dances at the Women of the Month for March awards at the Islander Hotel. 21031902.
Meeting British royalty – Prince Edward, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, working as a radio announcer/reporter and acting are a few highlights of Tereapii Enua’s inspiring life.
This week she was bestowed with the prestigious Woman of the Month award for March surrounded by family and friends and former work and dancing colleagues at the Islander Hotel.
Tereapii Enua was born on May 27, 1949 on the
island of Mauke to parents Manarii Pierre Tutangata and Vaevae Emily Patetepa
(nee Vaatau); her siblings are: John (d), Charlie, Teina, Nga (d), Tamarii,
Takau (d,) Rua and Mata.
Her late husband was Ngametua-angai (Nganga)
Enua and her children are Narii Varsity Pierre, George Enua and Cherie-Apii
Enua. They all live overseas as well as her seven grandchildren.
At the age of 72, she has adjusted well to
living alone and enjoying life and happy being on her own.
“I get up and go when I want, sleep and eat
when I want and I read a lot,” she laughs.
She has the regular company of her siblings in
Matavera, her strong faith in her church and church activities and cultural
events to keep occupied.
The “Etu-Rere” women of Rangiatea were out to support Tereapii Enua. 21031908.
Her unwavering belief in her Catholic Faith
has comforted her during trying times, “My faith has carried me through my
tears, heartache, joy and happiness.”
The ‘Etu-Rere’ (Shining Stars) of Rangiatea –
a women’s group of widows who reside in the village, attended the occasion to
show their support.
Enua says their group is very special and
exclusive - we are all widows who meet up to share, confide, listen to each
other stories and to uplift and encourage one another.
“It’s quite shocking at the high number of
women in our village who are on their own; this group is good for us and we
look forward to when we get together,” she said.
Tereapii attended Ngatangiia Primary School
from 1955 to 1958 before moving to Pukapuka in 1959 (lived there with her
parents and two younger sisters for a year, her father was principal). From
1962 she attended Tereora College, and from 1987 completed USP courses.
Leaving college, she was first employed as the
wages/administration clerk from 1968 – 1970, preparing pay voucher. Her boss
was Henry Brown.
“We would drive around the island and deliver
the wages; some of the heads of the work gangs were Tepo Vakatini, Kura
Strickland and Glassie Strickland.”
Her dream though was to enter the arena of
radio broadcasting, “I admired Kopu Brown announcing on radio, I would watch
her, watch her style, I wanted to be an announcer just like her.”
In 1970 she applied and was excited to start
work in broadcasting – where she was employed for 19 years.
Tereapii Enua, seated, with the hard working “Woman of the Month” executive committee. 21031907.
“I had no formal training, no paperwork, but
learnt through observation.”
Temangi Jimmy Moeroa was her manager and she
started reading the news on radio. “We would get the newspapers, translate it
into Maori and go on air, reading with Tereau Mulholland and Kopu Brown.
“Percy Henderson was the overall head of us;
Keu Mitchell and Rouru Aurupa also worked at the station - they were older and
related to me and took me under their wing.”
One person she has never forgotten is Stuart
Kingan, “he did the technical side of things, he was a walking dictionary, I
have never met anyone quite like him.”
Her time at the broadcasting were her most fun
“We would do our own recordings and prepare
our music; sometimes we would buy our own music to play (our work place
couldn’t afford it) and we would carry our own music in our bags so it wouldn’t
go missing. Well, if you want to attract your listeners you needed new songs,
so we bought our own - you just do it.”
Her most popular radio programme was ‘Riddle
Me’ or ‘Te Maru Avatea’ that was on air at 3pm to catch the students after
“Adults would also call in with the answers,
it was a lot of fun, now people overseas would contact us with their answers.”
Co-hosting the well-liked radio request time
‘Party Time 100m’ was also a lot of fun. “People from the outer islands would
call in, we would try to convince them to request for a new song, but no, they
wanted the same song…”
Recording local singing artists was another
favourite show called ‘Stars of the Week’, and during that time there weren’t
many local artists with songs to play on the radio.
“With Tepou Boaza and Emma Daniel we would
look for artists and bring them into the studio to record their songs.”
The Tupapa Teenagers made up of Tepoave
Araitia, Mamia Tunui (Savage), Raiva, Sirara, Nooroa Terekia were very popular;
some of the songs they composed are “Kia Orana kotou Katoa ... Merry Xmas song
and Mou Koe iaku, ki to rima…” And the “Summer Love” singers from Penrhyn.
Among the artists were six inmates who formed
the group “Tarona Six” and composed popular songs.
“We brought them into the studio once to
record but one of them decided to escape … so after that we would go into the
prison to record … the other good prison bands were the “Manakonako 5” and a
trio - they had talent and loved music.”
The inmates also composed for her - about her
constant asking for them to write and sing songs.
Christian songs were played on air and were
admired, the most popular song she says was “Na te Atua koe e tiaki…” sung by
the Avarua CICC, and others were: ‘You will never grow old’ by Nat King Cole,
‘I love you because’ by Jim Reeves, songs by Pat Boone and Elvis Presley, and
“Turama, Turama, Turama te kuki Airani…” by the Mauke dance team.
All the announcers had to learn different
skills to be part of the team, “we had to be multi tasked.”
Daniel Webb, Jackie Tuaputa, Temangi, Opura
Ru, Louise and Hugh Graham, and Hugh Henry for Sports were some of the
broadcasters, the Minister at the time was Tupui Henry.
“We had such great times and moving into what
became CIBNC. From records to reels, to cassettes, we had to operate while we
were on air until technicians came along, they would work with us from another
room - we had a glass window in between.”
Tereapii’s most memorable interview was with
the late Papa Tepuretu Araitia about how the cenotaph was built and the history
of ANZAC Day. “I didn’t know much about it before I spoke with him, it was very
In May 1983, she and journalist Florence Syme
(Buchanan) travelled to Aitutaki with the official delegation for Prince
“He was a quiet, nice person. We were not
supposed to attend the functions that we couldn’t report on, but we both went
along it was fine…”
In September 1989 she travelled with the
government delegation to Sydney for the official Te Kukupa handover to the Cook
Islands - an eye opener for her in the overseas diplomatic environment.
Growing up she loved playing netball and
tennis representing Matavera and Ngatangiia.
In 1965 the first women’s rugby tournament on
the island was held – the Constitution Celebrations Cup.
“We (girls in Matavera) had never played rugby
ever, it was new for us but we joined in anyway.
“Our coach was Maru Taramai and the men in the
village who were more excited than we were, and were very supportive - they
wanted us to win, and we trained at Norrie park.”
There were many sisters in the team: Rau and
Tungane Tamarua, Tarani Pirangi, Ina and Take Simiona, the Puangi sisters, Tai
and Kimi Atera, Teina and Tereapii Pierre.
The final game between Matavera and Arorangi
was played at the Tupapa field.
“Tungane was our prop and no one could bring
her down, I was the half back; the Arorangi girls were bigger, we were smaller
“It was packed, Matavera came to watch us,
Papa’s commer truck was full, everyone squeezed in.
“Thinking back to that day, the men were
running down the field following us screaming and calling out what to do and
when to pass the ball… and we won, gosh the men were cheering - it was like
they won. Such a good memory and we had no shoes, we played bare feet.”
Tereapii Enua, middle, with her sister Teina Etches and brother Tamarii Pierre. 21031906.
Tereapii also had a stint at acting, in the
movie the Other Side of Paradise and The Eye of the Storm. She discovered
acting in a movie wasn’t so difficult because of her cultural stage and radio
She recalled auditioning with her sister
Teina, “the producers didn’t know we were actually real life sisters and they
cast us in the movie as sisters…”
in the movie, we were treated like queens, I’ve never been pampered like that
in my life, my hair was done, cup of teas… everything was really amazing we had
a wonderful time.”
For the Eye of the Storm, she went to New
Zealand to complete filming with Maria Pera and Natiti Pereiti and says, “we
were treated so well, it was a good experience.”
She and her husband Nga were one of the
founding members of the well-known local Te Ivi Maori cultural dance team that
was initiated by Ngarima George when the Cook Islands National Arts Theatre
Travelling with Te Ivi Maori took her all over
the world, a very special moment was meeting Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
“We were told not to touch them, but no, we went up to them, we put eis on them
and kissed them, what a moment.”
Other cultural highlights for her was
coordinating the Nukutere college culture team (joined for the first time) for
the Colleges Dance Competition with Tepoave Araitia when they created the
fantastic “Katikatia” pe’e (chant) - Nukutere won the event that year.
She was a member of the Matavera Youth, “we
practiced at William Cowan’s place, and I was taught the ‘ute’ by Papa Ngapoko
Kiritakau and Mama Noo Elia ‘kare e tuki i roto i te ute’”.
The Rangiatea Mapu dance group joined the
Constitution celebrations for the first time, the team began through the
Matavera CICC with Papa Turara and Mama Tamara Pekepo, Iotia Atera; she joined
the organisers and asked Tepoave Araitia to assist them - the legend of
“Taakura” was the focus of the items.
She is also a member of the Vaka Takitumu
dance team and was the co-director of Performing Arts for the Pacific Arts
Festival the country hosted in 1992.
Tereapii was the Mayor of Takitumu from 2002 -
2005, and acting Mayor in 1999.
They had a very small budget to work with and she is “thankful and appreciative to
Siona Paku who was my clerk at the time and very helpful.”
She also worked at the Agriculture department
for seven years.
And later at the Punanga Tauturu Inc - a
women’s counselling centre, that opened her eyes to the brutal world that some
women live in at the mercy of their husbands or partners.
“I didn’t really understand it (violence
against women) that it was happening here… the women are so brave to come out
and share their stories because sometimes they can’t talk to their friends or
family, because they are embarrassed.
“I really felt for the women I spoke with;
their stories are heart wrenching… we do the best we can to help them.”
Tereapii also prepares Maori medicine for her
family and makes a special coconut oil
“Mainu” with added herbs and loves gardening.
“My faith has given me strength and is comforting,
and today is about me - taking care of myself.”