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Nuku Day commemorates Christianity

Wednesday 25 October 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Church Talk, Features, Local, National


Nuku Day commemorates Christianity
The Avarua Ekalesia performer their “nuku” presentation at the Takamoa grounds in 2020. MELINA ETCHES/23102401

Each year on Gospel Day draws an assembly from each of the six Ekalesia of the Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) on Rarotonga to perform their gospel dramas, or nuku to commemorate the Arrival of Christianity to the Cook Islands.

Tomorrow, Thursday October 26, the Cook Islands national Gospel Day - a public holiday, will be celebrated at the Teimurimotia Park in Titikaveka with the theme of ‘Te Oki Mai Nei a Iesu’ (Jesus is Coming Soon).

Tomorrow’s nuku programme will start at 8.45am with all the six Ekalesia marching into the Teimurimotia Park to assemble in front of the VIP tent and welcomed by the emcee of the event Sonny Williams, Member of Parliament for Titikaveka.

Reverend Tereapii Matakere from the Titikaveka Ekalesia will present the ‘pureanga’ (devotion) offering, followed Reverend Tuaine Ngametua, president of the CICC and Executives ‘akatuera’anga’ (declaration) of the opening of the nuku day celebrations.

The nuku presentations must be based on Biblical celebrations, the order of appearances (25mins each) of the Ekalesia are as follows: Ngatangiia - Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matavera - The Judgement of the Nations, Avarua - The Thief in the Night, Nikao - The Cloud Rider, Arorangi The Second Coming of Christ, finishing off with Titikaveka the host with their The New Heaven & Earth item.

At the conclusion of the nuku, all the Ekalesia will march in for topirianga’ (closing remarks) by Tauturu Orometua, Moe Tutira.

Aitutaki was the first of the Cook Islands to receive and accept the Gospel, when Christianity first arrived to the island on October 26, 1821, introduced by the London Missionary Society (LMS).

Vaipae was the last village on the Aitutaki to accept Christianity – two years later on March 30, 1823, which they celebrated this year.

Also this year, the southern group islands of Atiu - 19 July, Mitiaro - 21 July, and Ma'uke on 23 July marked two year hundred years since missionaries arrived, two of which were the celebrated Tahitian converts Papeiha and Vahapata.

Rarotonga too commemorated their 2023 bicentennial Te Arikianga o te Evangelia on 25 July, followed by the Arorangi Ekalesia and Tinomana Ariki on 26 and 27 July.