Namukulu celebrates in style its 100th anniversary

The smallest village of the island, Namukulu is known to punch above its weight when it comes to hosting events and on Saturday they did just that, celebrating 100 years since the village of Namukulu was established, moving away from the village of Tuapa, Uhomotu in 1922.

Memorialised in the plaque of 1972 are the names of the founders of the village Kinitoa, Pulehemotu, Ikimaihetau, Talatoa, Liukaiha, Viliveti, Fakatala, and Makakona.

The central point of any village is the church, making the pastors who serve in the village, prominent figures in its history. For the Lipitoa family, this was the village that they would call home and their descendants will continue to live and serve the village including long-serving Ulumotua (church elder) and member of parliament, 89-year-old Hon. Jack Willie Lipitoa QSM and his wife Moka.

The village has fewer than 10 residents but is supported by much larger extended families living in other villages put on a tremendous feast to mark the auspicious occasion.

It was no surprise that the day would be an opportunity for Jack Willie and Moka to show yet another generous gesture by gifting for the day 100 tins of 3lb corned beef to mark the centennial anniversary.

The event started with the opening prayer by the first female pastor on the island, Rev. Hariesa Faitala who served as the pastor for Namukulu for several years. President of the Ekalesia Rev. Nuka Tauevihi led the church service and the flag-raising ceremony.

91-year old Mrs Marry Grace Sioneholo raising the centennial flag

The eldest former resident of Namukulu 91-year-old Mrs Marry Grace Sioneholo who came from Auckland for the special event was given the honour to raise the centennial flag on behalf of her brother Hon. Jack Willie Lipitoa.

Village church elder Sione Sionetuato spoke on behalf of the village thanking the leaders, dignitaries, and all the guests who joined in the celebrations, many of whom had some historical link to Namukulu.

One former resident of Namukulu is the Director of Education, Birtha Lisimoni Togahai who was part of the organizing committee and wrote the book documenting the past 100 years of the village. Birtha grew up at Namukulu, where her parents Richmond (Lisimoni) Lagaluga and Tufakava served as pastors from 1972 to 1985.

The book was launched by another former resident of Namukulu Lady Fifita Talagi, who grew up at Namukulu with her sister, former Niue High Commissioner to New Zealand Sisilia Talagi.

Mrs Sifa Kaukasi, Mr Laga Feleti and Mrs Nogi Feleti from Auckland

A small group of expatriate Namukulu people from Auckland came especially for the celebrations including Sifa Kaukasi, Ete Jackson to join Niue PIC church elder Lagatule Feleti and his wife Nogi.

BCN News understands more than twenty pigs and at least 110 large tins of corned beef were laid on tables and distributed to all the guests.

Kilimana Hiligutu Makaia is the chairperson of the Namukulu village council who was instrumental in the organizing of the celebrations, bringing together the old and the future generations of the residents and descendants of Namukulu. As seen on the day which was led by young people like Daniel Makaia and Numa Sioneholo.

Numa Sioneholo is seated right with Namukulu VC member Kilimana Hiligutu Makaia and Fenoga Sionetuato, organisers of the day

For the past few months, the families have been reviving some of the old chants, hymns and songs composed by the people of the village dating back many decades. On Saturday the group led by Lika Lipitoa sang and entertained the crowd with these old songs and hymns.

Families from the original village of Tuapa, Uhomotu also contributed to the event with former Tuapa member of parliament and current Niue High Commissioner to New Zealand Hon. Fisa Pihigia told of the history of the breakaway colonies of Tuapa. It started with families who moves away and established the village of Makefu and a few years later, Hikutavake was also established, and finally in 1922 several families started the village of Namukulu.

Dignitaries including Premier Dalton Tagelagi, members of the Fono Ekepule, New Zealand High Commissioner Helen Tunnah, church leaders, and former Premier Hon. Young Vivian was also there.

Everyone who spoke on the day acknowledged and thanked Namukulu member of parliament Hon. Jack Willie Lipitoa and his wife Moka for the many decades they carried the work of the village. 

Donations given for the event on Saturday and at the church service yesterday totaled $43,000 with organizers saying that more donations were still coming in.

For those who were there on Saturday, Namukulu did not disappoint, yet again putting on a magnificent event to celebrate its centennial anniversary, a legacy of its most prominent leader Hon. Jack Willie Lipitoa QSM for future generations to follow.

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