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Saturday 18 June 2011 | Published in Regional


Te Tika Mataiapo was an outspoken advocate of the arts.

Most recently she was part of a cultural and creative industries focus group that presented at the National Economic Development Summit.

She was constantly pushing for local artists and creators to collaborate with government to drive the industry forward.

You sailed in on your vaka, bringing with you a wealth of encouragement, words of wisdom, warmth and inspiration. To empower and strengthen the spirit of others was your special gift. You were a mentor in every respect, your firmness and directness to be greatly admired.

You were a custodian of culture and traditions, a protector, a provider, a living embodiment of what you believed in. You gave yourself so generously, an almost relentless determination to encourage peace and harmony among those who were around you.

It was only just days ago that we spoke at length about the health and strength of the human spirit and the importance of forging ahead. Maybe one day soon we will all come to understand the universal language, present among all living creatures and humans alike.

You are now above the rainbow that welcomed you at Te Avamoa, and among the dolphins, whales and tavake that greeted you with excitement. Your vision and spiritual livelihood will live on, in the hearts of many. Your words of comfort and guidance will be with me always. Aroa nui, Aere ra, Mahiriki.

She was an inspiring leader who listened to everyone. She strived for excellence in her life and was not afraid to change things to achieve her goals. She was a great human being. We will remember her

I first met Dorice in 1987 when I was preparing to stage the Atiu Fibre Arts Studios first exhibition on Rarotonga. Because I did not know many people on Rarotonga, having lived on Atiu since 1983, I thought of turning to the CI Tourism office in the hope that someone there would be able to help me put together a list of VIPs and interested people I should invite to the exhibitions opening at the Atiu Hostel.

I was directed to Dorice, then manager of the Tourism Office. She welcomed me with the warmth we have all known her for and sat down right away to give me a list and directions of whom to contact and invite. I am sure that the exhibitions huge success was to a great extent on account of this list. Dorice and I have remained friends ever since, our common love for tivaivai tying us together over all these years. Her beautiful heirloom pieces, a taorei that she sewed with her grandmother, mother and aunty, and her own first attempt at sewing a tivaivai for herself, designed and cut by her grandmother, have been displayed in several tivaivai exhibitions that I was privileged to curate and can also be found in my book.

Id like to think that at least one of them might accompany her on her final journey. When the Tivaivai Associations first president Sonya Kamana was made Secretary to the CI High Commission in Wellington, Te Tika was elected the new president. I remained the vice president and we worked together as a wonderful team until my resignation from the association in 2007.

I have loved her for her peace-loving, just and humble nature, for her immaculate taste, elegance and appreciation of beauty and, most of all, for her friendship and hospitality over all these years. She was a wonderful ambassador of her country and would have made a superb High Commissioner. It is a loss for our country that she never lived to fill that position.

Juergen and I will hold her memory dear and will miss her. I am sure that she is in Gods hands now and will rest in peace. My sincere condolences go to all of her family, colleagues, and friends who mourn her loss.