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Last of 4 Aitutaki time capsules to be opened in 2221

Saturday 6 November 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Last of 4 Aitutaki time capsules to be opened in 2221
Teina Bishop helps bury the four time capsules at Orongo Park, Aitutaki. 21110435

In remembrance of the 200th Bi-centennial celebrations of the arrival of Christianity to Aitutaki in 1821, four ‘time capsules’ were buried in an emotional ceremony in front of the memorial stone at Orongo Park.

The ceremony on Monday was witnessed by members of the Aitutaki Konitara (council), clergy, and Tamatoa Ariki (Teao Tangaroa).

The capsules have been dated in 50 year stages, meaning that instead of waiting for the next 200 years to unearth the cases, they can be uplifted in 50 year cycles culminating in the fourth capsule being opened on October 26, 2221.

Starting from 2021, each capsule will contain various items and images of memorabilia that reflect on the livelihoods of the generation at that time.

The first capsule (the dates are welded onto to the aluminium round containers 12 inches in length) which is to be opened on 26 October 2071 holds a memory stick with several thousand photographs, videos and several letters from the mayor of Aitutaki, Tekura Bishop, and the youth co-ordinator of Aitutaki.

Aitutaki’s Konitara anticipate that when each capsule is opened (every 50 years) information will be placed inside by the generation of that time; the opening of the fourth capsule will coincide with the 400 th anniversary celebrations.

This initiative was steered by Mereana Bishop, a member of the events co-ordination committee, “because the youth have played such a significant role in the planning of this Bi-centennial celebrations, so it was only fitting that something is left behind to also remember the youth of today’s generation”.

The mayor of Aitutaki Tekura Bishop, Bishop Tutai Pere, acting executive officer Teiti, Te Putokotoko O Tamatoa Ariki - Kiikoro-i-te-Maru-o-te-Ao Arerau Maao Jnr, Tamatoa Ariki (Teao Tangaroa), Reverend Frank Williams, Mereana Bishop and Teina Bishop. 21110428

“This is a legacy that we leave behind for our generations of tomorrow, so they may appreciate how we lived and the importance of the realm of our spirituality as our anchor in everything that we do, and to encourage our future youth to reflect on their past,” said Bishop.

The unique event also marked the significant contribution of youth in Aitutaki.

Each time capsule was specifically arranged to be laid by the following people because of their significance and contributions to the 200th Bi-centennial celebrations: chairman of the Aitutaki Religious Advisory Council Rev Frank Williams, the mayor of Aitutaki Tekura Bishop, Tamatoa Ariki (Teao Tangaroa) whose ancestors accepted the arrival of Christianity to Aitutaki, and Bishop Tutai Pere on behalf of the Religious Advisory Council of the Cook Islands.

Bishop Pere remarked: “The power and strength of the Lord’s love will remain with each capsule as they are lifted during each 50-year cycle.”