Useful Links

Local Time

Wednesday, 17th August  2022 11:12:pm

F.W. Christian wrote in his book: Eastern Pacific Lands, 1910, on page 193:

"The history of the Christianizing, civilizing and progress of these Rarotongan Maori is the brightest chapter in the annals of the South Seas.                                            

In 1823 the great and noble missionary, John Williams, found them a race of fierce warriors, addicted to civil wars and cannibal abomination. When he left them in 1834, there was not a house in Rarotonga where family-prayer was not observed morning and evening, and all over the group, the old evil customs had almost entirely disappeared.

In 1889, a British Protectorate was established over the Cook- (or Hervey) Islands, upon the invitation of the chiefs and people, and on October 8th, 1900, Lord Ranfurly, the Governor of New Zealand, called at Rarotonga in H.M.S. Mildura, proclaimed British Annexation to Queen Makea and her nobles, and hoisted the Union Jack amidst great re-joicing.

Queen Makeafrom the book “The Romance of the South Seas”, pp 298, by Clement L. Wragge, published 1906.Late in 1899, Makea (the Queen) petitioned that, instead of being a Protectorate, as has been the case since 1889, the islands should now be annexed by Great Britain. This was approved by the Secretary of State at home.                                                         

On September 29, 1900, I started on a second voyage in the H.M.S. Mildura, this time for the definitive purpose of annexation."

on page 47 he wrote:                                                                                              

"A days steam brought us to Aitutaki. The island was already supposed to be a British possession, but as none of our despatches gave any particulars, and as the people on the island (Aitutaki) could give me no positive information on the subject, at the same time declaring that they thought they had been annexed, I considered it best to go through the ceremony a second time, and make matters sure.    

The general idea of the natives was that the proclamation annexing had been buried with the late chief who had insisted that all his papers be interred with him. They made the very characteristic Maori suggestion of digging up the remains to see whether the proclamation could be found. As this, of course, did not meet at all with our approval, we suggested to the chiefs that they had better cede the land, maybe afresh, to the souvereign, and the ceremony would be in due course performed. This was all duly done."


Historically, Aitutaki has had an impressive past, with the island first being discovered by Captain William Bligh and the ill-fated HMS Bounty in April 1789. The first island to accept Christianity, Aitutaki was also a key base for John Williams and the London Missionary Society.  What is also impressive about Aitutaki’s past are the many marae or ancient religious meeting grounds found on the island. Historians believe that the Polynesians discovered Aitutaki around 900 AD, with the first settler here being Ru and his family, who named the island Utataki Enua O Ru Ki Te Moana. Another famous visitor to this island was Charles Darwin traveling aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835.


Aitutaki Lagoon