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Unveiling of monuments marks emotional day at Mangaia Bicentennial

Wednesday 12 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Art, Entertainment, Features, National, Outer Islands

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Unveiling of monuments  marks emotional day  at Mangaia Bicentennial
The three sphere monument at the harbour was the first to be unveiled as it marked the landing site of the first missionaries back in 1824. Mangaia Bicentennial Celebration 24061107

The unveiling of the monuments in Oneroa was the highlight of day three of the Mangaia Bicentennial Celebration on Monday.

The unveiled monuments mark the key landmarks where the gospel travelled when it was accepted in Mangaia 200 years ago.

The unveiling of the monuments was held at the harbour, Marae o Rongo, Akaoro and the Hospital.

During the unveiling, Numangatini Ariki Tangitamaiti Tereapii said: “These monuments hold the mana and historical events of our ancestors that has shaped the future of this island, in which we currently stand on and the fruits of their labour through the preservation of our land and the gospel of Jesus Christ that is working in our midst today.”

“I honour the work of our tupuna in their sacrifice and foresight in the work of the gospel on our island.”

At the Marae o Rongo, Taoi Nooroa, the representative of the Mangaia Historical Society, gave a brief history of the landmark.

Two storyboards were unveiled at the Marae o Rongo. One of them revealing the details of the 40 boxes of bones that were returned by the Japanese researchers in the 1990s and brought back to Mangaia by the University of Otago early this year.

In pre-Christian times, ceremonies concerning the declaration of peace, investiture of chiefs and the establishments of political order took place at the Marae o Rongo.

Marae o Rongo was also acknowledged as a place of remembrance for those sacrificed to the god Rongo in rituals by the Ariki Pa Uta and Ariki Pa Tai, before Christianity arrived.

On Saturday, before the opening ceremony of the Bicentennial Celebration programme, a drum of peace was sounded at 4am to signify the safety of those who were defeated around the island. This marked a groundbreaking change brought about by the arrival of the Gospel on Mangaia.

The Ariari i te Rangi bible statue at the Hospital site symbolises the fourth church to be built in Oneroa village. It was this church that inspired George Gill to compose the hymn “Beautiful Zion, Built Above”. The church was damaged once during a cyclone in 1849 but was rebuilt and relocated to its present site Punanga O te au, the main Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) now in Oneroa, situated across the Bicentennial Arena.

The three sphere monument at the harbour was the first to be unveiled as it marked the landing site of the first missionaries back in 1824.

The three faces of the sphere represent the Aronga Mana, the leaders of Mangaia; the Religious Advisory Council, the body that governs the spiritual development of the island; and the Cook Islands Government body.

These three bodies govern the development of the island and have played a vital role in the history of Mangaia.

The unveiling of the monuments wasan emotional moment for the people of Mangaia as information was shared amongst the people.

  • Anaseini Liku