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New book explores Ma’uke’s connection to the London Missionary Society

Monday 4 March 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National, Outer Islands


New book explores Ma’uke’s connection to the London Missionary Society
Cook Islands author Moana Moeka’a has launched his fourth book ‘Ma’uke Mission 200 Years’. He is pictured with his wife Takau, twin daughters Tekura and Rima’ati, sister Myra and family. MELINA ETCHES/24022911

Author Moana Moeka’a has launched his fourth book, “Ma’uke Mission 200 Years”, a story about the island’s connection, his father’s homeland, to the London Missionary Society (LMS).

The book was launched at the Tauranga Vananga Ministry of Cultural Development’s National Library last Wednesday. The ministry contributed to the publication of the book.

Ma’uke Mission captures a brief snapshot of the church on the island over the past 200 years.

Moeka'a felt “very relieved” to finally have the book published and launched.

Ma’uke has never had an English missionary based there, so much of the information related to the church was passed down by word of mouth.

“I’ve endeavored to put in stuff I’m 100 per cent comfortable with,” said Moeka’a.

He also acknowledged a Ma’uke tumu korero, the late Aiturau Ra'iri, and those who were able to interview him.

It took up to a solid two-month period to write the bulk of the book since Moeka’a had already written a book about his father Rangitukua for his family reunion in 2019, using some of the information in this book. He further refined it, researched a bit more, and discovered more material.

In his address, Emile Kairua, Secretary of Tauranga Vananga, remarked that it is encouraging to see Cook Islanders writing their own stories.

“My hope is that maybe if we start introducing these topics or events to our children at a young age, maybe by the time they are older, they are already inspired,” said Kairau.

“For us to know where we take the Gospel to in the next 200 years, we need to look back over the last 200 and understand the rights the wrongs and everything that has happened.”

Chief librarian Odile Urirau was overwhelmed and pleased to see the great support from Maukeans and the students from Apii Avarua and St Joseph’s.

“Our history is an important part of our children’s education,” said Urirau.

“It is import for them to be invited to these events, hopefully one day we will have more Cook Islanders conducting our own researching and writing our own history as currently our university students and researchers find it a big struggle when writing a paper about our people, our country.”

It is Moeka’a’s hope that this book will be a starting point for the next generation to delve deeper into the past to understand Ma’uke history a bit more.

Ma'uke Mission is available for $30 and can be purchased at the Cook Islands Library and Museum at Taputapuatea on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.