130 veils for Mama Tu Tutakiao

Thursday 14 January 2021 | Written by Emmanuel Samoglou | Published in Local, National

Share

130 veils for Mama Tu Tutakiao
Papa Motu Kora unveils his belated wife Ngatuapikepike Tutakiao BEM also known as Mama Tu’s headstone held on Saturday, January 9, 2021. 21011105.

One hundred and thirty veils were unveiled for the headstone of the late Ngatuapikepike Tutakiao BEM who was also fondly known as Mama Tu.

The “unveiling” for the headstone of the late Ngatuapikepike Tutakiao BEM was emceed by son-in-law and Matavera Member of Parliament Vaitoti Tupa, who set the programme and proceeded with impressive organised speed through the 130 veils that was done within an hour.

Tutakiao, the beloved wife to Metuakore Kora – Papa Motu Kora and a cherished mother and great/grandmother, passed away on January 2, 2020 at the age of 92.

She was the first locally trained nurse to serve as sister in charge at Rarotonga Hospital and served in the Health ministry for 40 years.

The customary “unveiling” ceremony of a headstone for a loved one involves a lot of planning and hard work.

Preparations for the unveiling held last weekend at the family home in Matavera started soon after Mama Tu’s burial last year. According to the family, sourcing a monument company overseas took time and patience.

Her daughter Tauepa Tutakiao-Tupa contacted three companies in New Zealand and enquiries covered: costs, time frames, stone size shape, colour, design base size, shape, inscription, photo and graphics. She decided to go with Sanctuary Memorial.

Her mother’s favourite flowers were tipani, pitate, tiare maori and tiare taina. Tipani was chosen to adorn the headstone.


Maneuneu Te Kare O Te Moana Mere a Pee Tutakiao Tupa dances a tribute at the unveiling ceremony for her great grandmother the late Ngatuapikepike Tutakiao BEM. 2101106.

Extra requirements were also discussed such as the early shipping of the headstone to Rarotonga to ensure it would arrive before the unveiling and there were invoices, deposits and other payments to take care of.

Tutakiao-Tupa was assured the headstone would arrive  in Rarotonga before Christmas and she was pleasantly surprised it landed in November, 2020.

The family worked hard to cover the expenses of the memorial headstone. 

Then there were the invitations to design, she credits Mona Tangimetua from CIPS Fuji Image, “she is a great designer, I just emailed everything and she finished it off to my satisfaction”.

As with any occasion on the island, there was the food to consider – a decision had to be made whether to have the unveiling catered for or to cook the food themselves. That week was the Matavera CICC Pure Ebetoma and Tupa did not want to involve the Ekalesia.

In the end, the family agreed to cook the meat at home and food ingredients were given out to families and close friends to prepare the other dishes.

Tupa said: “We were blessed as well with food donations from families and friends – thank you so much to the cooks and for the helping hands at the umu, preparing the chicken and pigs.”

“We were blessed as well with food donations from families and friends – thank you so much to the cooks and for the helping hands at the umu, preparing the chicken and pigs.”

As the unveiling date of January 9 neared, the family decided to wear uniformed pareu attire that stood out amongst the guests.

A florist decorated the grave site with beautiful fresh cut flowers from a cousin’s garden, “we also acknowledge family and friends for bringing beautiful flowers on day”.

The lace veils of bold differing colours of cream, baby blue, pink and maroon, were a contrast to the typical whites that are used. The colours were chosen by Caroline Bishop to break up the usual white theme.

Guests included Queen’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters, families and friends and the community of Matavera.

A special dance tribute for Mama Tu was performed by great granddaughters Maneuneu and Te Pa Tupa followed by a delicious feast of local dishes.