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11 November 2022

Vaipae celebrates Christian legacy

Saturday 1 April 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, Local, National, Outer Islands


Vaipae celebrates Christian legacy
At the commemoration ceremony of Vaipae’s Te Arikianga o te Evangelia Bicentennial. From Left: Manarangi Ariki - Tutai Clarke of Aitutaki, Kaumaiti Nui Tou Travel Ariki - President of the House Ariki and his wife Debra. Picture: Bicentennial Media Crew-Blondie's Photography/23033136

Under the glow of the rising sun on Thursday morning, the village of Vaipae was bustling and humming with activity preparing for their commemoration day of ‘Te Arikianga o te Evangelia – the Arrival of the Gospel’ 200 years ago on March 30, 1823.

The customary offerings of gifts and baskets of food “Ata” ceremony started at 5am when the neighbouring villages began to arrive with their donations.

Regina Potini from the Vaipae Pae O Pau Bicentennial committee said: “The people of Vaipae were still busy multi-tasking, some with the Ata ceremony and some preparing the food for the massive feast later in the day.”

The flag raising ceremony was held at the CICC Vaipae church before the guests were led into the church by Reverend Ngarangi Tuakana.

King’s Representatives Sir Tom Marsters and Lady Tuaine Marsters, Aitutaki mayor Tekura Po’o Bishop, Government representative Associate Minister Tereapii Maki-Kavana, Kaumaiti Nui Tou Travel Ariki, the Ariki of Aitutaki, and dignitaries attended the historic occasion.

At the unveiling of the plaque ceremony, the village of Vaipae released their specially composed song created for the event.

Manarangi Ariki Tutai Clarke and the Vaipae CICC Mama Oremotua Ruaiti Tuakana were given the privilege to unveil the plaque followed by speech from dignitaries.

“The event was a huge success, and the village was filled with beautiful smiles and a feeling of unity,” said Potini.

“We had an incredible afternoon when the village portrayed their Gospel drama performances – the Nuku.

“It was truly inspiring to see our community come together and showcase our rich cultural heritage in such a fun and engaging way. We are filled with pride to be a part of such a wonderful village,”

The Vaipae Pae O Pau Bicentennial committee would like to acknowledge the “amazing support” from the Vaipae community in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia.

“Your unwavering support and encouragement have helped us to get to where we are today and we are grateful to each and every one of you. Thank you for always being there for us, and for continuing to support our community in any way you can. We couldn't do it without you.”

As the day drew to a close, the people of Vaipae felt grateful for the support of the visitors and fellow island home family.

“The day had been a reminder of the strength and resilience of their ancestors and a celebration of their legacy,” said Potini.