Pa Marie Ariki, Prime Minister of Samoa Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Maoate Mataiapo Kiriau Turepu. Picture: RADIO COOK ISLANDS/23111510
The Ngāti Maoate tribe, who have close blood ties to the Mata’afa line of Samoa, have gifted land to the Samoan community on Rarotonga.
Maoate Mataiapo Kiriau Turepu, on behalf of Ngāti Maoate, has gifted an acre of titled land situated in Titikaveka to the Samoan community. His great grandmother is the late Lafala Mata’afa.
Turepu explained that this way, the land is gifted to
members of their extended Samoan family of Ngāti Maoate, as well as to the
wider Samoan community, to build a hall or a home that they can call their own.
Although not everyone supported his decision in a
meeting, he expressed that most of the family supported his vision.
Turepu made the announcement of the “gifting of land”
during the timely visit of Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa,
during the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting last week.
Jannette Browne and Gina Keenan Williams, who are both
descendants of the late Lafala Vaailua Mata’afa, were both proud and humbled to
witness the announcement.
“It was a beautiful gesture and very heartwarming,”
Ngāti Maoate hosted Mata’afa and the Governor of
American Samoa and his delegates at the Pa Ariki Palace in Ngatangiia.
An o’ora presentation of gifts, which included pareu,
ei pupu, tivaivai, and tifatara, was also included in the special occasion.
Pa Marie Ariki also received gifts from the Samoan
delegation, including a siapo (tapa cloth).
Following the ceremony, Mata’afa attended a welcoming
dinner at Ariki Café, hosted by the Samoan community, who were humbled and
jubilant at the news of their “gifted” land.