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Covid-19 won’t stop family reunion this holiday season

Wednesday 25 November 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Covid-19 won’t stop family reunion this holiday season
Chairman of the Matauia family Rarotonga Tumii (Pedryn line) and secretary Sonny Daniel (Andrew line) at the Marsters House. 20112308

For many years leading up to Christmas, family reunions were the norm, when hundreds of families would fly into Rarotonga from overseas. For one family, this year's event may be quieter but Covid-19 won't get in the way of their plans.

A reunion is a planned occasion to reconnect, reunite and educate the younger generation on their lineages, history and to meet their relatives - an event that has been a huge part of Cook Islands culture and socially valued.

Despite Covid-19, the Rarotonga branch of the Matauia family will begin their reunion today Wednesday November 25 at Marsters House in Tupapa.

The event was initially scheduled to be held in Auckland New Zealand.

“Families from overseas had planned to be here, but the coronavirus pandemic has cancelled those plans; so, we decided to continue on with our families here on Rarotonga,” said secretary of the Matauia family Sonny Daniel.

“There are thousands of William Marsters and Mama Matauia descendants all over the world. It is important that the family genealogy is updated regularly and with the way the world situation is today, we need to stay connected more than ever with family members.”

The Matauia Family is made up of eight family lines: Mahuta, Pedryn, Andrew, Tahenga, Joe, Mary, Aaron-Bury and Titera - being the eight children of Matauia a beautiful woman from Penrhyn Island and William Marsters, an adventurer from England.

Marsters first arrived to the island in 1863; he was a successful businessman and a loving father to all his children and his several wives.

The William Marsters family units have become custodians for Palmerston Island since then.

Invited guests and dignitaries have been invited to attend the formal opening that starts at 4pm.

Sir Tom Marsters the Queen’s Representative, a descendant of William Marsters from the Tepou Tenioi line, is the main guest speaker.

Willie John is a staunch advocate for reuniting and embracing the Matauia and Marsters families since the construction of Marsters house in 2019, and comes from the head of Matauia’s siblings - the Mahuta clan.

“He has been chosen to speak on behalf of the Matauia families worldwide, and will declare the reunion activities to ‘open’ and proceed,” said Daniel.

Members of the public as well as Matauia family members, are welcome to pop into Marsters House anytime throughout the three day programme to observe and support the proceedings and activities.