The New Zealand High Commissioner, Tui Dewes, hosted a special event last week in honour of women who contributed to the World Wat I and II effort, knitting items for the soldiers at war. 21050602.
Cook Islands women whose knitting skills helped keep soldiers warm on the front lines during World War I and II have been honoured.
The New Zealand High Commissioner, Tui Dewes, hosted a
special high tea function last week at her official residence, Ngatipa, to pay
tribute to the women, some of whom attended the event.
She said it was wonderful to have some of the “Forgotten
Mamas” who had knitted socks, scarves and hats during World War II, attend the
Anzac Day-related gathering.
Dewes also acknowledged Takitumu chief Pa Marie Ariki, who
brought to life the journey of the Forgotten Mamas.
Pa Ariki shared the emotional experience in her search for
the women, which started in New Zealand and was completed in Rarotonga.
The known surviving women on Rarotonga are Ngamata Fuller,
who is 95 years old and was a member of the Takuvaine Girl Guides at the time;
Naomi Iro, Tapu Andrew, Tinomana Tokerau Ariki and Pito Maeva from the Seventh
Day Adventist Church and Kia Tereora, who at the time was a trainee nurse from
the island of Mangaia. Tepaeru Tereora and Tangi Bates Paniani reside in New
The Ngatipa gathering was initiated by a photograph taken in
the garden there over 100 years ago of Cook Islands women who knitted items
bound for the frontline during World War I.
Many of these women had been taught to knit by Effie
Northcroft, the wife of the then high commissioner, Henry William Northcroft.
In the old photograph, the women wore white to honour and
celebrate them and the women, who attended last week’s function, also came
dressed in white.
Although the rain prevented a recreation of the photo taken
outside, the women gathered inside for a group picture.
The mamas enjoyed the afternoon sharing tributes,
reminiscing and being together to commemorate the ‘Forgotten Mamas’.