Takamoa Theological College members and the Manihiki band. MELINA ETCHES/23071015
Te Kapua’anga O Te Evangelia’ Meeting House in Takuvaine, a special gathering place which was built to commemorate Gospel history, has reopened its doors following a two-month-long renovation project.
The rededication ceremony was attended by around 800
people and met with great anticipation and excitement among the community.
Meticulous and extensive restoration efforts have
transformed the once run-down building into a shining meeting place which now
also stands as an emergency shelter.
Dressed proudly in their village colours of white and
red, the Takuvaine community and invited guests joined the celebration in song
and dance on Saturday.
Built in 1953, the meeting house was named to mark the
historical occasion when Papehia Teato, a Tahitian first preached the Christian
message to the people of Te Au O Tonga on 25 July 1823 in Takuvaine.
The land 'Arepepe' the house sits on was gifted to the
Takuvaine Community by Karika Ariki at the turn of the century.
This gifting of the land was confirmed recently
through the signing of a perpetual lease by Makea Karika George Ariki, Prime
Minister Mark Brown (Government) and Pu Tapere of the village Tekura Potoru.
Makea Karika George Ariki and his wife Mere unveil the commemorative plaque for Te Kapua’anga O Te Evangelia Meeting House. MELINA ETCHES/23071011
Makea Karika George Ariki narrated his childhood
memories of the gathering place when the village met for dance practices, when
people would come together for discussions and host important events, and where
children would gather for recreation activities.
The Pu Tapere and Chairman of the Takuvaine Community
Inc Tekura Potoru said: “I was very happy to see hundreds of people attend our
“We didn’t think that many would turn up and so we
were all really happy to see that people did come to celebrate with us.
“We are proud of our beautiful meeting house which now
has ramps for easier and safer access, a lot of work has gone into it and we
“Everyone had a great day, everyone enjoyed themselves
and it was good to see people get up and dance.
“Meitaki maata to everyone involved in the
refurbishment of our meeting house,” said Potoru.
Emcee Papatua Papatua introduced the formalities of
the occasion which involved the removing of pareu surrounding the front of the
building by Sir Tom Marsters, Kathy Koteka and others, the unveiling of the
plaque by Makea Karika George Ariki and his wife Mere, the cutting of the maire
ribbon by Mama Jane Rairi, former Queen’s Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin,
Prime Minister Mark Brown and his wife Daphne, landowners and invited guests.
Former Queens Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin cuts the maire ribbon to the entrance of Te Kapua’anga O Te Evangelia’ Meeting House in Takuvaine. MELINA ETCHES/23071012
Representatives from Manihiki and Penrhyn also
unveiled commemoration stones, presented cash donations followed by songs and
dance as a mark of respect and gratitude to Takuvaine for hosting their people
to Rarotonga in 1953 and 1955-1956.
Motivation for the major renovation project was the
200 years commemoration celebration Te Arikianga o te Evangelia, the Arrival of
the Gospel celebrations on 25 July.
After 70 years, a traditional ceremony Te Kiriti'anga
Tapu - the lifting of the sacredness was conducted on 1st May before
renovations on the dilapidated building began the day after.
Tani Mussell’s SiteworX construction company carried
out the work which comprised of substantial repairs carried out to the hall,
including re-roofing, recladding the exterior and relining the interior and
replacing the rotten wooden posts with strong concrete posts.
Maria Ioane, secretary of the Takuvaine Community said
the renovation cost $213664.25, the
Takuvaine community contributed $100,000 and Government funded $113,664.25 under
the project called the ‘Rarotonga Safety Shelter Programme (RSSP)’.
The RSSP was established in 2021 to support remediation
works to community/public buildings designated or identified as potential
Cabinet approved two pilot projects under the
Rarotonga Safety Shelter Programme; the first was the Nikao CICC Hall and the
second is Te Kapua'anga o te Evangelia Meeting House.
Consultant Bim Tou was engaged by Government to
oversee the renovation project - a joint venture between the Government
represented by Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC), Emergency Management
Cook Islands (EMCI) and the Takuvaine Community Incorporated.
The Takuvaine Community Inc executive members:
Chairman – Tekura Potoru, Vice Chairman – Tangi Tereapii Numangatini
Ariki, Secretary – Maria Matua-Ioane, Treasurer – Anna Savage and their
committee members from Kaviri/Taumou, Takuvaine Valley, Takuvaine Tai and Tauae
would like to acknowledge and thanks everyone who assisted and supported the