Marumaru Atua Blog: June 8, 2015 | Pacific Voyagers

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Marumaru Atua Blog: June 8, 2015

Tuorooro ia mai ki Taunganui i o Enuamanu.

Enuamanu (ancient name for Atiu Island) welcomed us on Saturday morning in true Atiu warrior style.

Te Moana Nui A Kiva came to life as the Te Manava vaka fleet of four sailed to the reefs edge of Taunganui. Te Matau A Maui, Haunui, Faafaite and Marumaru Atua looked as if they were smiling at each other as they came within reaching distance, well one thing for sure was the crew were very happy to be reunited, after farewelling each other 5 days earlier in Aitutaki… the frustrations of not having wind for that period were gone however, as we could hear the drums and the singing of the children of Atiu on the beach.

The Atiu barge parted the calm rich blue waters as the sun rose in the east, their mission was to transport all crew ashore for an official welcome by the Ariki and people of Atiu.

The swells were rolling into the harbour entrance making it very challenging for those of us watching the entry from on the barge, but our barge Captain Rouru handled every turn with ease and a big Atiuan grin on his face. The response from our Aotearoa crew was a quick Churr bro, that was mean!!! Meanwhile lining the cliffs and harbour was virtually of Atiu islands population, young and old. The drums had stopped but the songs of Atiu were bouncing off the cliffs as the her people sang and laughed and some had tears as we were laden with flowers.

Picture credit: Cecile Marten

Picture credit: Cecile Marten

For the first time in many years, Atiu was witnessing an event they had only heard of in legends and stories but on this day they could see the reawakening of a Voyaging tradition they had treasured since the stories of Mataatua, Kurahaupo and Te Arawa vakas leaving their shore heading to Aotearoa.

Te Manava Vaka festival was organised as a part of the 50th Anniversary of our Cook Islands Self Government and today through these vaka we have taken this celebration to our sister islands.

Rongomatane, Ngamaru Arikis and representatives for Parua Ariki were present to receive Kaumaiti tou Ariki and Vakatini Ariki. We acknowledge Parua Ariki who was present in Auckland to farewell us at a kaikai at the Takitumu hall.

We were lead up a pathway to a guard of honour of approximately 140 children of all ages chanting and singing. Marumaru Atua was welcomed first in Cook Islands Maori, the Faafaite in Tahitian and finally a karanga was performed for the Haunui and Te Matau a Maui from Aotearoa.

After the official welcome of speeches from the island council and aronga mana and responses from Tou Ariki, Tua and Hoturoa, the crew were entertained by the children as they were treated to a succulent feast of Atiu delicacies ( I’ll leave it to your imagination, what to workout what was on the table)

Following the feast and entertainment, the crew were taken on a tour of the island to all the areas of interest.  While this was happening the school children of Atiu college were taken out to spend time on each vaka and to share with the crew members who had remained on board to care for the vakas. Atiu college had been conducting studies of traditional voyaging and to gain credits it was a requirement that they spent some time on a vaka, practicing what they had studied. It was an absolute thrill to have these kids on board opening sails, steering and sailing our vaka.

Te Manava Vaka is about sharing our culture of voyaging with our children, our future and this was achieved today.

The children were brought back to shore as the crew on shore swapped with the crew on the vaka so they could see the island too. On their return a departure ceremony was held where gifts of fresh produce and foods where given to each vaka.

The children of Te Manava vaka are completely overwhelmed at the hospitality of the people of Atiu, the sharing, the caring and love shown to us will never be forgotten.  To the Ui Ariki of Enaumanu, To Mayor Ina Mokoroa and your council, to Mr Apii Porio meitaki maata for all your support.

We were later told that once the people of the island had heard that the vakas had arrived on Friday night, they went to the harbour and cliffs above and camped the night watching the vakas tacking up and down the coast in preparation for the days events.

As the sun set to the west all the vakaa sailed past the harbour on a last farewell to the Atiu people. This was also a sad moment for the Te Manava Vaka fleet as Faafaite bid everyone farewell as they set there sails for their destination Tahiti. Haunui vaka also bid farewell as they had to head straight back to Rarotonga.

Our next stop is Akatoka Manava – Mauke Island, Te Matau a Maui and Marumaru Atua will continue to carry the message of celebration for our 50th anniversary and Te Manava Vaka.

Turou e Akatokamanava to aere atu nei te anau… iiieeekoko!!!!

Watch “Voyage of discovery – Marumaru Atua the first vaka home” by Tagata Pasifika

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