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Mitiaro’s Akaoki’anga Kaka event

Wednesday 6 April 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands

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Mitiaro’s Akaoki’anga Kaka event
Mata Tou-Rani, her grandson Treyvhon Kae and her husband Charlie Rani attend the Akaoki’anga kaka thanksgiving occasion on the island of Mitiaro. PC: MATA TOU-RANI. SUPPLIED/22040502

One hundred and forty woven kikau baskets filled with harvested crops like puraka (yam), taro, tinned meat, chicken and fish was shared out to the community of Mitiaro/Nukuroa on Sunday in celebration of the islands annual Akaoki’anga Kaka (Returning the glory) event.

Celebrated annually at the start of April, the food exchange thanksgiving tradition is held in recognition of the end of cyclone season.

From January, for three months the people of Mitiaro refrain from dancing, sports and celebrations in respect of the ‘tapu’ imposed for the duration of the cyclone season, the people have faith that in turn the Lord will watch over them and keep them safe.

The Principal of Mitiaro’s Tematangarengare School, Christopher Story says, “It’s a wonderful tradition that is still respected and observed, during this quiet period, the island is pious and calm and people usually stay home.”

In preparation, months earlier people plant special crops like puraka (yam) and prepare food they will contribute to the event.

People gathered at the Atai/Auta Meeting House with their baskets to be blessed and distributed to the Ui Orometua (Priests), Ui Ariki, Ui Rangatira, visitors and all the residents on the island.

The Akaoki’anga Kaka exchanging of food tradition is said to have started from the arrival of missionaries in the early 1800s, although it is observed throughout Nga-Pu-Toru, Atiu and Mauke observe the custom differently.