More Top Stories

Editor's Pick
Editor's Pick

TB cases detected

1 June 2024


Alleged rapist in remand

27 April 2024

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Raro to re-enact Gospel arrival

Tuesday 25 July 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Church Talk, Features


Rarotonga will celebrate 200 years of Christianity today starting with a re-enactment scene of the time when Reverend John Williams of the London Missionary Society (LMS) sighted Rarotonga on July 25, 1823, in his bid to bring the Gospel to the island.

The island’s residents at the time were not friendly, and the missionaries decided to leave. However, Tahitian missionary Papeiha, who offered to stay behind to preach the word of the Gospel, tied a Bible to his head and swam ashore.

The scenes of 1823 will be reenacted today to celebrate the arrival of the Gospel two centuries ago.

At 8am this morning, the special Gospel delegation for the Rarotonga “Arrival of Christianity Bicentennial Celebrations” will depart Avatiu harbour on Vaka Paikea captained by Peia Patai, for Avarua harbour.

They will be met by a traditional Kiriti Marotai welcoming ceremony at Avarua harbour led by Anautoa rangatira - Tuaine Unuia.

A guard of honour by uniformed organisations will line the road which will be closed as the delegation parade towards Avaiki Tautau (next to the Takuvaine Kapuanga meeting house).

At 10am the welcome and official service will start at Avaiki Tautau, the procession will then move to the Takamoa Theological grounds led by the brass band.

The main programme will start at the Takamoa grounds at 11am with the entry of the Vaka delegations starting with: Vaka Puaikura, Vaka Te Au O Tonga and Vaka Takitumu.

The brass band will play the Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC), Cook Islands and King’s national anthems followed by the theme song by Ephraim Taokia and singers

CICC historian Tangata Vainerere will deliver the historical presentation of the London Missionary Society (LMS) and the CICC church.

President of the CICC, Reverend Tuaine Ngametua will lead the prayer service and messages followed by the re-enactment of Prophecies before the arrival of Christianity to: Aitutaki, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and Rarotonga.

Presentations will be performed, praise and worship and thanks and closing by Ken Ben, CICC secretary general elect, who is also the organising committee chairman.