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Church launches 200-year Gospel project

Monday 12 September 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Church launches 200-year Gospel project
The Arorangi Cook Islands Christian Church plans for the 200 years of the arrival of the Gospel celebration in 2023. Pictured are Tinomana Tokerau Ariki and Orometua Tīnirau Soatini (seated in front) with executive members of the planning committee. 22091105

Over 3000 people are expected to attend the 200-year commemoration of the arrival of the Gospel to Arorangi which will be celebrated next year on July 26 and 27.

In October last year, the Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) celebrated the church’s bicentenary when Christianity arrived to Aitutaki in 1821.  

Next year the celebration will be repeated on Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke and Rarotonga with a significant ceremony on July 25, 2023.

The Arorangi Cook Islands Christian Church has started its preparation for the district’s biggest event in living history.

A special blessing ceremony for the project was held yesterday during the Arorangi CICC service which was attended by its members, uniform organisations – Girl Guide, Girls Brigade and Boys Brigade – and visitors.

The committee who are overseeing the planning project for 2023 is co-chaired by the Vaatuatua (spokesperson) for Tinomana Tokerau Ariki, Tere Taio and Diakono – Okirua Teokoitu.

Taio said the committee had received approval from the Rarotonga Konitara Ekalesia to hold their own village Gospel celebrations.

On July 26 – a day after the Gospel Day holiday – the district will commemorate the arrival of the Gospel to Arorangi. On July 27, Arorangi will honour Puaikura’s chief at the time, Tinomana Enua Rurutini Ariki who had accepted the Gospel in 1823.

The theme for the week is “Gifted to Give”. Taio said: “This is a get together for the whole village, it doesn’t matter which religion you belong to, let’s all come together to celebrate this historical event.”

Executive members have been working hard preparing for the event and people have been delegated particular areas to manage such as apparel, accommodation, entertainment, etc.

Yesterday, the official launch of the Arorangi Cook Islands Christian Church Facebook page and website was completed.

“Of course, it’s huge task and we will be reaching out to people from Puaikura worldwide through social media to ask them to kindly come on board and help celebrate,” said Taio.

Anyone who is available to help out with the project is welcome to and can contact any of the committee members.

“There are so many things to do on those two days.”

The first ever Tinomana Ariki Family Reunion will also be held later in the same week. Each line of the tribe will have their own exclusive design and colour T-shirts.

Diakono – Okirua Teokoitu said: “I’m sure all the other denominations will be embracing and coming together in these celebrations and we would like to open the door to everyone to feel welcome to be a part of this once only occasion that is happening during our lifetime.”

The Cook Islands Christian Church is the largest religious denomination in the Cook Islands. The church has congregations in the Pa Enua, New Zealand and Australia.

There are 23 church branches in the Cook Islands, 26 in New Zealand and another 26 in Australia. All these branches are looked after by ordained ministers trained at the organisation’s theological training institute at Takamoa, Rarotonga.