Tomorrow Marumaru Atua, Haunui, Te Matau A Maui and Faafaite will be welcomed into Atiu by the Children, Island people and the Aronga Mana of the island.
But before I touch on what we will experience on the island of Atiu, we would like to thank the people of Aitutaki for their never ending hospitality.The Mayor and your council, the many families that hosted us for Breakfast and Dinner, we want to say meitaki atupaka…. Mike Henry and your team thanks again for always being there. On behalf of Te Manava Vaka Fleet, Haunui, Te Matau a Maui, Faafaite, Gaualofa and Marumaru Atua we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
After leaving Aitutaki on Tuesday we have finally arrived outside Taunganui landing on the westside of Atiu. For four days we have been battling very very light winds to get to Atiu. The ocean has been beautifully calm and night sky brilliant filled with stars and a bright moon, but to be able to sail on these craft, we have to have wind, which was nonexistent.
On Marumaru Atua we have been fortunate to have a mixture of crew, firstly we have the presence of elders Kamaiti Tou Ariki, Vakatini Ariki and Ports Authority CEO Mr Bim Tou. We also have 3 youth from Te Matau a Maui sharing the experience of Marumaru Atua, 16 yr old Pounamu Tipiwai-Chambers, 15yr old Tanera Nepia and Tuirirangi Kereama… they have a been a thrill to have on board a great mixture of young and old sharing stories and laughter and songs.
Tomorrow we look forward to having on board all vaka our children from Atiu island. We are being welcomed onto the island at 8:00am all being transported ashore by the island barge. An official welcome ceremony will be held at Taunganui landing followed by an island feast then a tour of the island. Once this is completed children will be brought on board our vaka, where they will be assessed for studies they have completed on vaka traditions.
Vaka crew are excited about meeting the Atiu people and the Atiu people are waiting for this historical visit, this will be the first time that 4 vaka have arrived together from the different families of the Pacific.
We are honoured to be here… Te Manava Vaka lives through the stories, songs and dance that the children of Atiu will share with us…
We look forward to this day…