Te Ariki Rauru Fanovaha and his wife Mareta Rauru Fanovaha unveil the last cover for his beloved grandfathers memorial stone. 23011303
A unique unveiling ceremony for the late Te Ariki Rauru (Anautoa Rangatira) of Ruatonga was held at the Rauru family homestead in Ruatonga on Thursday, January 5, 2023.
Rauru was born on October 6,1944 to parents Rauru
Vaike Tupa and Tekonini Tautu. A devoted husband to the late Mapii Parau Marie
Louisa Rauru (1947-2012), Rauru passed away on October 24, 2020.
He was a man who treasured Maori culture and values and
held the traditional title of Anautoa Rangatira for 46 years.
Devoted to the Catholic Church, Rauru was a man of faith, a catechist for 20 years and a respected family man who provided for his tribe.
His daughter Anna Rauru said one of her nephews Te Ariki Rauru Fanovaha, who is named after his grandfather, was responsible for the design and creativity of the memorial rock and plaque.
The memorial stone of Te Ariki Rauru Anautoa Rangatira. 23011325
“He has learnt a lot from our father and I’m so proud
of him, we are all really proud. He wanted to honour his Papa,” said Anna.
“And we wanted to do something different, we wanted to
honour our father as a traditional leader, a catechist, and a father,” she
The first part of the ceremony began with the “unveiling
of the crown” which comprised of the uplifting of three fine rito hats signifying
Rauru’s traditional, faith and family values.
“He has now rested so it’s time to take off the crown,
to lay it down,” explained Anna.
Bishop Paul Donoghue representing the Catholic church,
Makea Karika George Ariki for the traditional leaders and King’s Representative
Sir Tom Marsters who stood for the family, were chosen to perform the uplifting
of the crowns.
“It was fitting we had these dignified men to participate
in our dad’s unveiling,” said Anna.
The memorial rock is from family land in Avatiu. Rauru’s
grandson Te Ariki designed the family motif and rosary for the rock and the
carving was completed by Bed Rock Ltd.
Te Ariki designed the plaque from Tamanu wood which
was carved in the shape of the Bible, the plaque is placed on top of the rock
to signify the lectern in church, “which represents preaching the gospel since
our father was a catechist,” said Anna.
The second stage involved the “unveiling of the veil”
by a Sister of the St Joseph of Cluny, Sister Emeli Marafonoq who was given the
special honour of unveiling the first tivaivai.
“She is very special in our family and our parents
acknowledge her as one of their own tamariki and she have great love for our father
for which we are grateful. The Cluny Sisters have a special place in our father’s
heart,” said Anna.
The third part of the ceremony was the “unveiling of
the light”, and only 30 covers or veils were uncovered to reveal the memorial
Te Ariki designed the marae structure around the base
of the rock using the umu rocks his grandfather used for traditional
He wanted to use those specific rocks because of all
the umukai food his Papa would prepare to provide for his tribe, explained
The dark gravel represents the land and the white sand
for the ocean our ancestors as seafarers voyaged on, and a beautifully woven
rito mat was created specially to surround the base of the memorial rock.
Te Ariki and his wife Mareta were given the honour to
unveil the last tivaivai to reveal the memorial plaque and stone for his
The late Te Ariki and Mapi Rauru are survived by three
of their four children Anna
Marie, Georgina Tekonini and Andrew Phillip, and grandchildren; their second
eldest child Ngati Tautu passed away.