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‘This is a celebration for us’: Matavera women gather to celebrate life after loss

Tuesday 14 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Features, Weekend

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‘This is a celebration for us’: Matavera women gather to celebrate life after loss
Vaine Maui cuts the special cake at Te Au Vaine Purotu o Takitumu gathering for widows in Vaka Takitumu on Thursday. MELINA ETCHES/24050910

Te Au Vaine Purotu o Takitumu group of women gathered to celebrate motherhood, and their own lives despite facing the difficulties of losing their partners/husbands.

The special gathering was held on Thursday last week at the Ngatangiia/Matavera Club House.

Widower Vaine Maui, 83, who initiated the get-together, said: “This event was for all the ladies whose husbands have passed on, for some women they have been on their own for over 20 years.”

These remarkable women, who have experienced loss and faced life’s challenges, came together to honour their shared journey and to embrace unity.

Maui is a founding member of the “Etu Rere” group, a group of widows in the village of Matavera who meet each month to catch up.

“This time I was thinking of all the women in Takitumu who are widows, this is a celebration for us, to celebrate ourselves, and for us to know there is someone around if we need to talk,” she said.

“Sometimes you think about the past during your time with your husband, the good, the not-so-good times and you know all those things.

“I know too that sometimes the widows are neglected by the community…”

Maui’s husband Rouruina Maui passed away in 2020. She has also endured the pain of burying her three beloved sons, Teokotai, Junior, and Motua.

Born in Rarotonga on June 29, 1940, to parents Ngatokorua Ama and Ngapaku Rongokea, she was named Te Vaine Tou Marama.

In 1965, she married Rouruina Maui at the Avarua CICC. Together they had five children – Teokotai (male, deceased 2017), Junior (male, deceased 2021), Ngatamaine (female), Motua (male, deceased 2017) and Matangaro (female).

“Teokotai and Motua passed away on the same day, Motua died in Tahiti,” she said.

Maui lives with her daughter, and is grateful to have her company. She also keeps active by being a part of the Matavera Girls Brigade and a member of the Matavera CICC.

Many people gathered to sponsor, support, and assist with the special function held at the Ngatangiia/Matavera Club House. The working committee of Sharon Maoate, Mere Charlie, Joanna Hansen, Apii Marona, Apii Ben, and Margaret Matenga organised the food and set up.

The MPs of Vaka Takitumu: Vaitoti Tupa – Matavera, Tukaka Ama – Ngatangiia, and Sonny Williams from Titikaveka sponsored food for the event.

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