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The $150k dance

Wednesday 6 January 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands

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The $150k dance
Aitutaki started the year with the Koni Raoni New Years Day event. PHOTO: BLONDIES PHOTOGRAPHY. 21010512

The Aitutaki koni raoni (dance around) combined fundraising event for the villages of Vaipae and Vaipeka has raised over $150,000.

The host village of Vaipae raised the large amount of $81,566.10 for Aitutaki’s annual New Year’s Day koni raoni.

The koni raoni is exclusive to the island of Aitutaki; the event is held during the Christmas period, on December 26 and New Year’s Day to raise funds for the hosting or performing village.

Koni raoni involves the host village traveling through the villages on the island, dancing, singing and receiving donations.

Regina Potini, the Covid-19 Task Force team leader of Vaipae said: “The day was full of laughter, we danced, and sang our hearts out, not forgetting the eating part… what a way to welcome the New Year’s.”

Vaipae’s motto for the occasion was “No Rush - Pump It Pump it”.

Tiktok, a social media platform influenced some of the youth with the energetic performances on the day, the tamariki potiki danced right through all seven villages enjoying the music and actions until the end.

“This is the highest amount our village has made,” said Potini, who is also a leader for the Youth Movement on the island.

Funds raised are used for maintenance and repairs of the community hall and other projects in the oire (village). The executive committee of the village in a meeting will decide where the money will be dispersed and utilised.


Performers from the village of Vaipae in Aitutaki for the New Years Day Koni Raoni. PHOTO: BLONDIES PHOTOGRAPHY. 21010513.

The donation breakdown from each of the villages for Vaipae are: Vaipeka $16,064, Tautu $12,000, Nikaupara $10,122.50, Reureu $7725, Arutanga $7000, Ureia $10,625.10, Amuri $14,329.50 for a total of $77,866.10.

Donations were also received from family and friends who were unable to attend: Tokoroa $2000, Auckland $1000, Ioane Uri family $500, Popo and Max Poaru $100, Maria and Allan Mills $100 for a sum of $3700.00 bringing the total amount for Vaipae to $81,566.10.

Vaipeka village hosted the 2020/21 Boxing Day koni raoni and raised a total of $69,249.20. Vaipae raised $15,185, Tautu $10,042.70, Nikaupara $8030.10, Reureu $9640.40, Arutanga $4480, Ureia $8156, Amuri $12,315 and a $2000 donation from Tokoroa New Zealand was also received.


Vaipae residents Teata Metua (aka Melisa Sasha Fierce) with her daughters Mata Tutangata and Ilima, join in the 2021 Koni Raoni. PHOTO: BLONDIES PHOTOGRAPHY. 21010516.

Potini and the chairman of the Vaipae committee Mataiti Pitomaki, and Vaipeka councillor Bobby Bishop pass on their meitaki atupaka to everyone who joined in and supported the memorable and festive occasion.

The large amount of monies raised during the community fundraisers are not unusual.

On Boxing Day 2019, the village of Ureia koni raoni raised $65,405.50 and on New Year’s Day 2020 Amuri village received $81,153.70 in donations.