Aitutaki Island, Cook Islands
My name means 'a mother to everyone'. I was born in 1949 and I grew up in the CICU church. At eight years old, I really wanted to join the Brownies but my mother wouldn’t let me. I went and spoke with the head of the Brownies to see if she could persuade my mother. That worked and later on I became a Girl Guide. In the CICU we didn’t understand much about the Bible but I loved sunday school. When we turned 12 years old, we had to wear a hat to church.
I went to Araura Primary School from Grade 1-8. When I reached Grade 8, I stayed there for three years as I didn’t want to leave school. I kept repeating it. I never passed my School Certificate though. At home, there wasn’t a lot of support for education and we had a lot of house work to do.
I left school when I was 16 years old without my Certificate. In 1967, when I was 18 years old I got married. My husband was a school teacher. Together we have five children. It was a bit of an arranged marriage. He wanted to marry someone else but his family insisted he marry me. He was very abusive and drank too much. Despite that, he was a good teacher.
In 1972, we moved to New Zealand. I was involved in the Pacific Health Care Trust. I went to a training course to become a care-giver. My mum still wasn’t supportive of me even then. In 1986, we moved to Aitutaki but our marriage remained the same. My eldest son stayed in New Zealand to become an engineer.
In 1988, I moved back to New Zealand with the children. I wanted them to have access to a better education. In 1989, I moved back to Aitutaki with my grandson and my youngest son. Seven years later, in 1996, I went to Auckland to visit my new grandson. I was supposed to return to Aitutaki but I told my son I didn’t want to. I stayed on in New Zealand living with my eldest daughter and her children.
In 2004, I met my second husband. The next year, I divorced my first husband so I could marry my second husband. In 2007, together we moved to Aitutaki. We renovated a house there. I started working as a special needs support worker for a young boy so he could attend school. Aside from that job, I make some money preparing and selling food and coconut oil.
My husband had an accident in 2010 working on repairs after Cyclone Pat. I have retired from the school but I am still active in the church. I want to be a youth mentor.