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Mama Koputai Hosea celebrates 100 years

Wednesday 27 April 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Mama Koputai Hosea celebrates 100 years
Mama Koputai Hosea and her daughter Ratai. SUPPLIED/22042616

Koputai Hosea (nee Elia) from the island of Aitutaki, turns 100-years-old today.

Currently residing in Auckland, New Zealand, her family have organised special birthday celebrations.

Her great-granddaughter, Ashleigh Potoru who lives on Rarotonga is related to Mama Koputai through her father Hosea Tangaroa Hosea, and his father is Tangaroa-Ariki Vaikai (Mama Koputai’s son).

Ashleigh has great memories of her great grandmother, especially times when all their families would return to Aitutaki, “she would always be the one we would run to for anything”.

“Comfort, when we needed that extra hug from her, if we got into trouble from our parents our mama would save us, and when we were injured from playing sports, her sore massages.”

Her most memorable occasion was when her children met their great-great grandmother (five generations), “and she still being with us today.”

Koputai was born on April 27, 1922 to parents Elia Teinamarokura (Tiarepoi) and Repeta Tetupuorongo (Atiroto) and raised on the island of Aitutaki.

She had 14 siblings (15 altogether) who have sadly passed on many years ago, they are: Taikoko Elia (1899), Emi (1901), Akerongo (1902), Teinamarokura (1904), Tititoa (1905), Uta (1907), Tangaroa-Ariki (1909), Tangaroa-Ariki (1912), Atuatika (1913), Teurukura (1915), Tapua Maronona (1917), Atuatika (1920), Koputai (1922), Raukete (1923) and Ngatuaine (1925) Elia.

Mama Koputai Hosea, pictured at her 98th birthday. SUPPLIED/22042615

On April 29, 1947, she married Vaikai Hosea of Atiu on the island of Aitutaki, together had ten children: Taikoko (d), Rongo (d), Tongariro, Tutai-o-Karika (d), Tangaroa-Ariki, Takapuna, Tuainemoeroa (d), Unuvai (d) Koputai and Ratai Vaikai.

They lived in Amuri, Aitutaki until Papa Vaikai passed away in 1995.

Many people would call Koputai “Aitutaki’s finest midwife”, because whenever they met her she would rub pregnant women’s tummies and correctly predict what sex the baby would be, says Ashleigh.

“I was fortunate enough to be one of her great-grands that had this experience with her.”

“Mama loved many things and is a woman of many talents from sewing, cooking in the ‘are’ umu, caring for children, and my fave would be her love for jewellery which we all admired.

“She loved collecting jewellery and if you were one of the lucky children, she'd give you either a ring, bracelet or necklace.”

Koputai has resided in New Zealand for more than 20 years and now lives in the care of her daughter Ratai Nelio (nee Vaikai) and granddaughter Vee Hosea.

Counting all Mama Koputai and Papa Vaikai’s grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren combined, totals to over 150, says Ashleigh.

“Our family have lost count of how many exactly there are of us from each generation, as each year we have new additions to the family.

“We wish our dear Mama, a wonderful and many blessings for her 100th birthday, with all our love here from Rarotonga.”