Henrica Ngamarama Wilson-Marona’s casket is escorted from the Requiem Mass at the St Joseph’s Cathedral. One of her sons John Paul stands at the left. MELINA ETCHES/21021018.
Hundreds attended the requiem mass for Henrica Ngamarama Wilson-Marona, also well known as Mama Henrica, yesterday at the St Joseph’s Cathedral.
popular and well-known woman in the community, Mama Henrica sadly passed away
on Sunday at her home in Rangiura, Nikao, aged 73.
the beloved wife of the late Murray Wilson and Pare Marona, treasured mother of
Manongi, her late son Lawrence, Tuakana, Julie and John Paul.
Henrica served the three pillars of the country and she has conquered all three
areas – E vaine akamoeau, e vaine matutu, e vaine inangaro ia, e vaine
maroiroi, e vaine aito no teia basileia.
Vananga Ministry of Culture acknowledged her contribution towards the Cook
Islands cultural identity and performing arts, more importantly the promotion,
preservation and strengthening of our language – to tatou reo Maori, said
Secretary of Culture Anthony Turua at a special family service held at the
Auditorium Domes on Tuesday evening.
was inspired and comforted by some of the speakers in the past few days who
shared their knowledge of Mama Henrica – “a great woman who was a grandmother,
mother, aunty, teacher, community supporter, composer, choreographer,
politician, artist, manager, sports woman, traditional leader, strong Christian
and more so a loving family woman”.
early 2000s, she was a member of the Oire Nikao Performing Arts Cultural Group
under the leadership of Raemaki Karati, Papatua, George George and many local
she continued her cultural legacy with Tupapa Maraerenga and the Nukuroa
a wealth of experience in judging for Te Maeva Nui competitions for many years
and shared her knowledge to the judging panel - especially her advice and
recommendations in the “ute” section.
event she judged on was the Mire Atu in December with Piritau Nga and Tuaine
said: “She always paid a lot of attention to the lyrics of the song and their
mid-1980s, Mama Henrica became a teacher and principal at St Joseph and later
the first female principal of Nukutere College.
early 2000s, she worked at the Ministry of Education (MOE) in the Reo Maori
division and was one of the long serving Reo Maori advisors who travelled to
all the Pa Enua with Mama Moetaua to train the primary and secondary teachers
in the delivery of the Reo Maori curriculum.
Henrica was a member on the Reo Maori Committee 2001 – 2003 that drafted the
first Reo Maori Legislation. She was very persistent with this Bill and was
always pushing for its enactment. It was passed in Parliament in 2003.
represented the Cook Islands at the third Polynesian Languages Forum in
Wellington in 2004, that saw the Cook Islands become the only other country in
the Pacific to have passed their indigenous language Act (Te Reo Maori Act
2003). New Zealand was the first country in the Pacific, Samoa followed behind the
there was a significant increase in translation needs and the increase of
foreign words to be translated into Cook Island Maori words. She stepped up to
be part of the committee, together with the current chair George Paniani. Since
2016 to date, the Kopapa Reo Maori have developed and gazzetted through
Parliament, over 1000 new Cook Islands Maori words.
October last year, she organised the Rangaranga section of the Emo’anga Peu
Tupuna or traditional sports – this was the first time the traditional sports
were held during the Cook Island Games.
said: “She was very particular about the neatness of the weaving and based the
competition on this factor and not speed.”
sports, Mama Henrica represented the Cook Islands in lawn bowls at the
Commonwealth Games in 1994, and the World Bowls in 1996 as a manager. She was
recently appointed the vice president of Cook Islands Bowls.
Catholic through her alignment with the Catholic Church, she supported
Christianity in the Cook Islands in all denominations.
represented the country overseas (Brazil and New York) at the World Prayer Day
Committee promoting our faith and trust in God.
Henrica was also involved in social sectors in the community from the youth,
women’s groups such as the National Council of Women, other non-governmental
organisations and the Pa Metua.
laid to rest at Panama Catholic Cemetery. Rest in Peace Mama Henrica.