‘Nu Tapu’ the WATSAN tivaevae is unveiled

22 February 2013

A local group who spent many months practicing their craft at the Muri Meeting House, the same place the WATSAN office is housed, made the tivaevae.

“It was great to have the mamas spend time in the Meeting House and we shared many morning teas and chats. After seeing the beautiful tivaevae being sewn, we asked if they could make us something to reflect our connection to the Muri community,” said Tekao Herrmann, WATSAN Technical Advisor.

The group’s leader, Mama Orometua, from Ngatangiia CICC took over and spent many weeks imagining and sketching the right elements for the WATSAN design. Once the design was completed the large tivaevae took three weeks to complete with many mama’s from Muri/Avana helping to complete the creation.

Reflecting the focus of WATSAN’s work on preventing pollution in the lagoon, the tivaevae was presented at a ceremony next to Muri beach, hosted by Mama Meti.

Attendees included Minister Teariki Heather, New Zealand High Commission representatives, many Muri locals and the staff from WATSAN unit. Following the conclusion of donor-talks, two senior aid officials from New Zealand were also able to attend.

With the sun shining, and many of the beautiful tivaevae completed by the group swaying in the gentle breeze, the star of the show was unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Tom Marsters and NZ Deputy High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers.

The tivaevae was christened ‘Nu Tapu’ to reflect the connection to the Muri Lagoon, and the shared qualities of the newly started WATSAN unit and the fresh, young nu spring to life.

The lovingly crafted quilt includes colours to reflect the environment, maire to represent the love of god, 15 stars to represent the unity of the Cook Islands and has the WATSAN logo at it’s centre.


Deputy High Commissioner, Joanna Kempkers, started her words of thanks to the mamas by apologising for the absence of High Commissioner John Carter, but added she was delighted to attend as she understood exactly how much time and love went into creating each beautiful tivaevae.

“WATSAN’s work in Muri is a great example of a partnership between the Cook Islands Government, New Zealand and the local community to achieve very concrete result,” said Kempkers.

Minister Teariki Heather spoke next talking about the significance of the tivaevae, and the importance of the community feeling part of the project to repair the lagoon.

He gave thanks to the government of New Zealand and urged support for ongoing work to tackle sanitation issues including replicating the Muri and Avan septic upgrades in other areas around the island.

The ceremony concluded with a blessing and the crowd moved on to enjoy delicious kaikai and spend time admiring the beautiful tivaevae of the talented mamas of muri!