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Kāre e ngaropōina ia mātou a rātou e tuātau `uātu

By William Kainana Cuthers
Researcher and Academic Writer

2020 Epetoma o te Reo Maori U-Enua. 

Kia orana tatou katoatoa ite aroa maata o te Atua. Kia orana ki nga Pou Toru o te enua – te Aronga Mana,  Evangelia, e te Kavamani. Tei maata ia tatou e tae uatu ki te iti, to runga e to raro, to maui e to katau, to mua e to muri, kia orana ite aroa ngao, atupaka, ranuinui, rahi o Iehova, aaokia/amene. 

Urou maata kia kotou e to matou kau pa metua, ko kotou tei piapa, imene, tateni, akatara ki o matou pukai taringa ite vene reka e te rito o te reo tupuna, reo u-enua, reo rekareka enua, e te reo toketoke enua mei po mai. Tairi mapuapua nei tona muka e rau kakara ki nga oka ma tauu tururangi ite Are Vananga nei, kua ora tumaraurau te Ivi Maori, e kai ra. Ia… haha…!!! 

Cook Islanders dressed in white and in military uniforms performing, 1914-1919, Cook Islands, maker unknown. Gift of Majorie Sedon, 2005. Te Papa.

Cook Islanders dressed in white and in military uniforms performing, 1914-1919, Cook Islands, maker unknown. Gift of Majorie Sedon, 2005. Te Papa.

Gift of Majorie Sedon, 2005. Te Papa. (PS.002926)No known copyright restrictions.

Ko te ra teia tei akonoia e Iehova kia rekareka tatou e kia perepere kavana. Taki ruru mai, akateretere mai, turou… e oro mai. Aria mai, ano mai, nau mai e tau mai ra; turou, aere mai e tiaorooro mai e tama e maine ma.

Te mareka nei au ite akaaravei ia kotou ki ta tatou tama taunga koi korero koia a William Cuthers. Ingoa poto ko Willie Cuthers, e vakevake na Tumutearovaro, na Tongaiti, na Rongo ma Tane. No roto mai teia uri ite Tapere Rangatira o Makea Karika Ariki, koia Te Rua o te Tonga e te koutu Arai te Tonga. E utaro teia na Papa Vaevae Anguna o Tupapa Nui a Au e Mama Tevairangi Enoka o Ruatonga (Willie’s paternal grandma Tevairangi and his paternal grand uncle “Potene” Rei Jack Enoka and I are second cousins, descendants of Arerangi a Taruia Pakau.) 

Photograph of Tuainekore o Anautoa Rei Jack Enoka who served with the Cook Islands Local Defence Force.

Photograph of Tuainekore o Anautoa Rei Jack Enoka who served with the Cook Islands Local Defence Force.

Image kindly provided by Willie Cuthers, copyright restrictions may apply.

Na Willie i akapuera i to tatou nga mata ma nga pukaikai taringa ki te turanga ngateitei tei rauka i to tatou au pa metua. Kua vaeau ratou ite tuatau o te Puruki’anga Rua o te Ao nei (Second World War 1939-1945.) E taniuniu/wireless operators ta ratou angaanga i roto i to tatou Pa Enua Tonga e te Pa Enua Tokerau meia Papa Tonga Henry, Tutu Ringiao, Pamatatau Pamatatau e te vai atura ratou. Ko te rua o te pupu, ko te au tiaki kainga/coast watchers meia Rangi Mokotua, Tere Mataroa, Tiputoa Taio e te vai atura ratou to Rarotonga nei. 

E tuatau teia no tatou no te akaraumaire/honour e te akararangi’anga/veneration i to tatou pa metua ki te turanga ngateitei kia marama pu, kia pararauare to ratou rongo, e kia arangatu uatu rai to tatou upoko ki te rangi anakenake ma te rekareka e te perepere kavana. E mea tau rai kia akangateitei katoa a Nu Tireni ia ratou no to ratou pata’ou, inangaro e te turu pakari ia Paratane. Uatu e kare ratou ite taua puruki o Solomona, Papua New Guinea, e te Philippine, kua oronga i to ratou ora’anga no te Atua, te ariki e te basileia. Kia orana e kia toa.

Arerangi Tongia



As part of our annual Cook Islands Language Week here in Aotearoa New Zealand, I commemorate the service of our small island nation to Aotearoa New Zealand’s war history.

Military parade in the Cook Islands, 1914-1919, Cook Islands, maker unknown

Military parade in the Cook Islands, 1914-1919, Cook Islands, maker unknown

Gift of Majorie Sedon, 2005. Te Papa (PS.002932)No known copyright restrictions.

As a child of Cook Islands descent, I was raised by my non-Cook Islands Maori speaking mother in South Auckland in the 1980s. At that time there was largely an absence of realisation and acknowledgement of the importance of reservation and preservation of Pasifika languages, and I recall being told that learning our language would not get me anywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand so there was no need to bother learning it. Thankfully, those times are behind us and, this week especially, our rich language and culture is being celebrated.

Private Makiroa Cuthers, Image kindly provided by Great Grandson Willie Cuthers

Private Makiroa Cuthers, Image kindly provided by Great Grandson Willie Cuthers

No known copyright restrictions.

The same can be said for the war contribution from Pacific Island nations, contributions which were never seen on par with the service given by European New Zealanders, raising the question of why would anyone bother learning about this? We have seen how in the past our language was viewed as unimportant, yet now we know it needs to be celebrated. Our Cook Islands war history has similarly lacked significant recognition, but now the commemorations for our Cook Islands servicemen have begun.

As we dissect our war history we discover previously untold or undocumented war stories of many Pacific people who served. Bringing to light these stories will allow a more complete history to be told of our country’s war efforts and we must reserve and preserve this history. I acknowledge and am forever grateful for the service of any man or woman that has contributed to the defence of New Zealand and the Pacific from our past, in our present and in the future.

Anguna Kainana (left) who served in the Maori Pioneer Battalion alongside his brother Ma Kainana, during the First World War.

Anguna Kainana (left) who served in the Maori Pioneer Battalion alongside his brother Ma Kainana, during the First World War.

Image kindly provided by Willie Cuthers, copyright restrictions may apply.

I am fortunate to have many familial connections to the Cook Islands contribution to the wars. My paternal great grandfather Anguna Kainana and my maternal great grandfather Makiroa Cuthers were members of the Pioneer Maori Battalion who served in World War I along with four great granduncles from both sides of my family. My other paternal great grandfather Tuainekore Enoka was a member of the Cook Islands Local Defence Force of World War II. My maternal grandfather William Cuthers, whose name I carry, served as a Coastwatcher during World War II. While our men served it was our va’ine rangatira that kept our islands together and nurtured the generations to come.

William Cuthers, Cook Islands Coastwatcher

William Cuthers, Cook Islands Coastwatcher

Image kindly provided by grandson Willie Cuthers, copyright restrictions may apply

Our reo contributes to our identity as Cook Islanders. We are a small nation with a rich and beautiful history that stretches back to primordial beings that have now become part of myth and legend. We remember these great ancestors in our songs and in our dance and in our reo. The service given by Cook Islands people adds to this rich history. As we celebrate Cook Islands Language Week here in Aotearoa New Zealand let us commemorate our Cook Islands ancestors that served.

Kia manuia

Willie Cuthers


Meitaki to Arerangi Tongia for his kind introduction and to William Cuthers for his beautiful words. 

Willie Cuthers, has been researching service persons from the Cook Islands, especially Pasifika Coastwatchers who served during the Second World War. Online Cenotaph has created records for Coastwatchers which can be found here. 

You can learn more about Coastwatchers from the Pacific, in the documentary by Aotearoa Media Collective, below is the trailer - the full documentary can be found here, on TVNZ On Demand. 

More than 700 Cook Islander served for New Zealand in during the First and Second World War and later conflicts. You can find these Cook Islands service people here. 

Much of William Kainana Cuther's research is avaliable from Te Kaharoa the eJournal on Indigenous Pacific Issues, we have linked his articles below.

Re-Writing the stories of the pasifika coastwatchers.

Reclaiming Identity

Chief, Land and Family

The Mana Model

The Significance of Stories

He Raranga Tangata: A Māori and Indigenous master’s research supervision model derived from our experiences of the Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge programme at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Māngere in 2019

To find more of William Kainana Cuther's research from the National Library here


Online Cenotaph is happy to create records for Cook Islanders who have served for New Zealand, or add and amend information on the database. Please feel free to contact the team  -  if there is a record you wish to be created. 

Cite this article

Cuthers, William Kainana. Kāre e ngaropōina ia mātou a rātou e tuātau `uātu. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 4 August 2020. Updated: 5 August 2020.
URL: www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/features/Cuthers