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Putokotoko 2010

Putokotoko 2010


This is a report of this year’s camp at En Hakkore at Ranfurly and a brief insight into the reasons and eventual formation of Putokotoko.


Cook Islanders most probably have been in New Zealand since trading began between the two countries. Migration by Cook Islanders to New Zealand most probably started then, and with that they brought their culture with them. No doubt, they brought with them their church too. Church life was an integral part of their life. It was a place to meet; hear the latest news from home; and to keep contacts. However, the later part of the last century had brought about a different outlook to the way Cook Islanders lived their lives in New Zealand. Migrating Cook Islanders adopted the New Zealand way of life and with it they slowly disassociated themselves from regular church involvement to become partial participants. This change brought with it some deep concerns and a whole new rethinking of the church’s role in providing spiritual focus, inspiration and revelation to Cook Islanders became a challenge.


Church had and still plays a major part in building numerous networks of connecting with other communities while at the same time maintaining and developing ways of passing their cultural heritage to new generations born here in New Zealand. The Church and church leaders were once trusted and relied upon to lead and to inform the people what was and is best for them. But that no longer carries sway.  The relaxed alcoholic laws in New Zealand and the abundance of alcohol distribution outlets has given our young men another meeting place to socialize and enjoy themselves. As a result, many conclude that church along with its rules is nothing more then a hindrance and/or an unwelcomed intruder to their newly found freedom from a boring Sunday spent sitting in church. Since then the church have been struggling to recapture that place of importance in the hearts of Cook Islanders. The church therefore has become the gathering place for the old and the very young.


Finding ways to help Cook Islanders recapture their spiritual and cultural heritage suddenly became a major concern. It was discovered that culture and social activities had huge support, but spiritual and church involvement suffered. Cook Island spirituality was seen by the majority of New Zealand born Cook Islanders as irrelevant, foreign and too restrictive. Therefore, church attendance for many young Cook Islanders became stressful as they were dragged to church by their parents. Fortunately, some continued with their spiritual involvement with the church into adulthood and many have become strong leaders in the church. However, many more have alienated themselves from the church. This therefore is the mission field for the present day church.


So during the nineties, the Cook Island ministers serving in parishes within the Otago/Southland Synod area gathered with church elders from the Invercargill PIC, Dunedin First Church and St Pauls Christchurch to discuss ways of trying to meet the spiritual needs of the people. Visiting teams of minister and elders travelled to these congregations ones a month for pulpit exchanges. This ministry was support by Cook Islands students training at Knox Theological College who were co-opted onto the visitation teams.


Pastoral visitation was included in the programme which changed very little the attitude of the non church goers, but excited those who were regular worshipers. Sadly people doing the visitations became discouraged and felt that their effort was not bearing fruit, despite everyone’s commitment and sacrifices. So in 1999 the ministry was allowed to die. But the need to minister to the people remained strong. All were aware of the need to find new ways to address the spiritual void within the Cook Islands people in these three Centres. So the next two years was spent in meetings and praying.


During this time of course, some of the ministers had moved on to other parishes north of Christchurch. With the depletion of minsters in the area, it was decided to organise a camp for the people and to spend the whole week-end addressing the issue. What transpired at that first camp became the foundation of succeeding camps? That first camp was also the birth of Putokotoko. Spiritual revival took place within the lives of those who had been to those camps – and they continue to be excited about their walk and relationship with their God. They continue to come back for more of that spiritual joy and ongoing formation each year. This year camp was of no difference.


2010 Putokotoko Camp Report:

This year’s Labour Weekend Camp held at En Hakkore in Waipiata, Ranfurly. It was enjoyed by over 80 folk who attended. The theme was, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11). Our guest speaker, Brian France (Promise Keepers Coaching Director) focused on teaching us about discipleship with regard to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brian had a team of 5 with him and they were kept busy on Saturday/Sunday. He was scheduled to take 4 sessions and ended up taking 6. The sessions included:

  1. Repentance                             2. Baptism of the Holy Spirit
  1. The gift of tongues                   4. Authority
  1. Deliverance                             6. Testimonies & a word for the youth


All ministry and teaching session were held in a converted “Laundry” that has been upgraded into a beautiful and carpeted complex. How appropriate a place that, lots of cleansing (spiritually) and healing took place in it. A positive weekend overall with everyone unanimous in agreement that there should be another camp next year with the focus being on our youth.


Other activities include: 6am prayer times (teaching & ministry), great food and fellowship, awesome worship, great entertainment on Saturday evening, and the children grabbing an opportunity to take a dip in the local stream.                                                                                         G. Kopa.


Putokotoko 2010

Change in Leadership

Chairperson:                            Rev Tekura Wilding from Winton,

Assistant Chairperson:            Maeva Marie from Invercargill,

Secretary:                                Poe Kairua from Christchurch,

Assistant Secretary:                Tua Taomia from Christchurch

Treasurer:                                Tana Richmond from Ashburton.


Putokotoko has grown from its humble beginnings. It continues to be a Christian entity with a focus on disciples making disciples.


Next year’s gathering will concentrate on the Youth highlighting the increased attendance of young people. The multi cultural influence in Putokotoko has also been encouraging.  


Thank you so much to our previous Chairman Rev George Kopa for his giving of time and spiritual gifts. Behind a good man is an awesome woman so to Lusia and the kids, thank you for your support.

                                                                                                                                    Tekura Wilding


Testimonies from first-time attendees:

This year I had the opportunity to attend the Cook Islands Putokotoko camp, held at En-Hakkore near Ranfurly. I was accompanied by my daughter Nickalette and husband Campbell Froude and their 3 children, Tane 8, Milan 4 and little Ava 2. I went with an open heart and mind, not knowing what to expect but I was motivated by the constant nudging and prodding of the Holy Spirit since February when I attended the committee meeting that confirmed the venue for the 2010 Putokotoko Camp.

Arriving at about 8.00pm on Friday 22nd October we were met by Rev. George Kopa (chairman) with a welcoming call that I thought was fitting to the occasion. We were guided and shown through the facility that we were to stay during the week-end.

Saturday’s program started at 6.00am with a prayer meeting, breakfast and followed with devotion at 8.15am. As I mentioned earlier I came to this with no expectation except I was prepared to open my heart and mind to whatever was on offer. I did not have any knowledge who was going to be there and how many. When the devotion started I was so amazed with the number of people that were there with their families. Devotion started with singing songs of praises that brought tears to my eyes. I felt heaviness of heart as it started to beat faster during devotion. This I realised later was the Holy Spirit at work in me doing his divine work of transforming my life in a new and fresh way which I was - though nervous very much willing to embrace. As the session progressed through the day with Rev. Brian France the guest speaker and his team of supporters, focussing on the theme for the week-end; “Lord teach us to pray,” I found myself being overwhelmed and so engrossed in the teaching.

It was during these sessions that I believe was a confirmation of what I felt earlier as the Blessing and Grace of the Holy Spirit on me, for I was in a state of inner peace and contentment that is indescribable. This strange yet wonderful feeling continued to the point that my spirit came alive and uplifted, and I realised then why the Lord had encouraged me to attend the camp. For me the whole experience re-ignited and re-awakened my Faith, Hope and Love in my God.

I was brought up in a Christian family, attended church regularly, and of late reading the bible daily. I was ordained as an Elder in the Pacific Island Church, I thought then I was blessed, but now I know what a fool I had been. Putokotoko has opened my heart, mind, soul and eyes to a new insight into the Lord and Saviour I thought I knew! My wife gave her life to the Lord Jesus Christ before she passed away. Now, with the help of Putokotoko, I have a relationship with the Christ my wife trusted her eternity to. I am proud to know and love Him, Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Saviour.

Let me encourage anyone who is in the church – who was like I was, and who hadn’t experienced what I now am enjoying, when you read this; please allow me to encourage you to do what I had done. Look for Jesus Christ and give your life to Him and invite Him to be in-charge of your mind, body, soul, spirit and life. You will not regret it – and please share the experience.

To the organisers of Putokotoko 2010 I am so grateful and thankful for the opportunity and I am looking forward to 2011.

PS. It is often said that, “God works in mysterious ways!” Well, I was nominated as the Vice Chairperson of Putokotoko. Being my first time at this camp I was surprised to being considered. I wanted to decline the nomination, but I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to accept the position. So I accepted the role and with humility of heart, and a new enthusiasm to serve my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I look forward to many lives being transformed by the Holy Spirit. Today, I live and thank the Lord for His encouragement and for leading me into a realm that I thought was unreachable.

Maeva Marie.


The camp was an enjoyable, challenging and welcoming experience. I appreciated the warmth and acceptance of the Cook Island people and I felt a link in the spirit with what God is doing amongst you. The ministry team on the Saturday provided clear, understandable and very practical teaching that lead naturally on to ministry that was effective and life-changing for the people there. While it was not new for me, I appreciated being reminded about these truths and some things have stuck with me, for example, the value of speaking in tongues daily. I was impressed with the sincerity and maturity of the team members, and the effectiveness of their ministry as evidenced by the numerous testimonies on the Sunday morning. I felt during the camp that there was an open heaven there and that there was an real need for mission amongst the Island people scattered around NZ, especially among the young people; that your culture, traditions, language and Godly heritage could so easily be lost if they are not handed down to and received by the next generation - but I'm sure you are well aware of that anyway. I appreciated George's leadership of the meetings, the joyful singing, and your willingness and courage to let an 'unknown' like me share from the platform. Lyn felt the Holy Spirit touch and was aware of something lifting off her when she was prayed for at one of the sessions.
Thank you for letting us be a part of what Dad was doing.

God bless


Prophecy given at the Camp:
"My dear Island sons and daughters from Rarotonga and Aotearoa. How I love you and have been looking forward to revealing myself to you. For I knew you before you were born, I purposed and planned for you to be alive and present at this time and place that I might bring you into the light and life of my son, that you might know what it is to be my child and to find deep fulfilment and peace in your relationship with me. I have brought you to a place of cleansing and a place of healing that you might be whole and holy.

Some of you are like canoes that are lying on a white sandy beach, basking in the sun under the palm trees; others are out in the lagoon floating in the clear blue waters; others have gone beyond the break waters and are out on the open sea. But I am calling you all to come out beyond the safety and certainty of island life, to gather your boats together and embark on the great adventure of sailing with me. For I am the captain of your souls, the master mariner who is calling you to embark on a great ocean voyage with me. I want you to take my message of love, reconciliation and healing to other communities of your people, to other islands. Though you will experience storms I will be with you. I will protect you and as you continue to trust me I will calm those storms and protect you from shipwrecking your faith on the reefs. I will provide for you and I will be with you. I am for you and invite you to be part of what I am doing at this time and in this generation."



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