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66 years strong: Valentine’s Day message- Trust God, stay committed, thrive

Friday 9 February 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Features, Memory Lane, Weekend

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66 years strong: Valentine’s Day message- Trust God, stay committed, thrive
Tekura and Ngatipa Ruaporo of Titikaveka. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU / 24020842 / 24020843 / 24020844

A Titikaveka couple who have been married for 66 years share their secret to a successful marriage: commitment, belief, and faith in God. Losirene Lacanivalu reports.

In the 1950s, when Tekura (Kura) and Ngatipa Ruaporo met and married, Valentine’s Day wasn’t something they celebrated or even discussed, shares Mama Kura.

Yet, their message for young couples on this Valentine’s Day is one of commitment, belief, and unwavering trust in God.

“When you talk about Valentine’s Day, we never did anything like that before in Rarotonga. At that time in the 1950s we did not know about it,” Mama Kura says.

“For me the idea of valentine, it was not something we celebrated or talked about as something common. I never did find out what it is about.”

Now 88 and 84 years old, Mama Kura and Ngatipa have been married for an incredible 66 years.

Mama Kura admits that, like any marriage, theirs faced challenges. After tying the knot, they moved to New Zealand for three years before returning to Rarotonga, where she became a teacher and Ngatipa a fire brigade officer.

Their shared faith in the Apostolic Church led them to travel throughout the Pacific for conferences.

“We have been travelling throughout because we are affiliated in a church that travels from country to country – the Apostolic Church, and we were able to see Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Australia and all those countries, because of the church. We attended conferences here and there.

“We were one of the first couples in the church, when this church was started around 1988, so about 30 something years now since it started.”

While Mama Kura doesn’t delve into the details of their past, she shares what kept them together for over six decades: “There were times like any marriage you would want to give up, but for me the children are the ones that are close to my heart.”

“I see kids where parents are not together and life is not easy for them. I didn’t want my kids to be like that, I want them to grow up knowing that they have a mum and dad.

“Like every marriage, there is a situation where there will be a conflict here and there, but then it is really up to you two to keep it together.”

Mama Kura credits their experience in the church and their belief in God with helping them overcome their differences. They sought renewed strength from God and started again, she says.

“We’ve been married for 66 years, a long time,” she reflects. “It wasn’t always smooth, but praise God, you know who to turn to when you face a situation ... you just have to pray.

“It worked out,” she adds. “We had our differences, but there was always a time to come back together. And because we were building our lives together, we wanted to end it according to the Bible.

“It’s the commitment, belief, and faith in God, our Creator, that kept us together.”

Mama Kura believes that marriage is something to hold onto until the end of one’s life, with God.

“It’s not something you understand and believe in and then just leave,” she says.

Mama Kura adds that her faith helped them as parents to overcome their differences in life, and she’s grateful that she and Ngatipa share their affiliation with the Lord.

Now retired, the couple continues to attend church services and meetings, run their small food business, and dedicate their time to God’s work. They eagerly look forward to their weekly church gatherings on Thursdays and Tuesdays in Titikaveka.

Mama Kura’s message to everyone is simple: keep trusting the Lord and strive to live according to His word.

“We are all human, there are times we fail, but there is time to repent and ask God to forgive your sins and keep moving forward … What kept us together is knowing God and following His word, one husband one wife.

“We don’t carry on with disagreements, we put it away because we know that’s not … what keeps us together is our affiliation with the Lord

“We don’t think of divorce.”

The couple have 10 children, around 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.