Main Road, Arorangi, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Office Bearers Executive management Team

  • Minister: Rev. Tinirau Soatini
  • Assistant Minister: John Andrew
  • Secretary/Treasurer: Okirua Teokoitu
  • Secretary, Deacon’s: Iro Rangi
  • Assistant Secretary: Daniel Munro
  • Assistant Treasurer: Mii Maui
  • Assistant Secretary, Deacon’s: Kimi Taokia
  • Mema Ekalesia: 
  • Trustee to Ekalesia Accounts: TBA
  • Clark in Session Tapere Ruaau: Pokoroa Pauka
  • Clark in Session Tapere Muri Enua: Iobu Pokipoki
  • Clark in Session Tapere Betela: Pare Rongokea
  • Clark in Session Tapere Rutaki: 
  • Assembly representatives: Iro Rangi, Teariki Purua 

Responsibilities for efficient management of the Ekalesia

  • Church building cleaning and florist decorations: Deacons’ Meeting, District Clerk & committees on duty
  • Church songs & musical directors/sound system management: Kimi Taokia, Andre Tapena, Si Aumetua
  • Manage & change covers of pulpit and caretaker of Ekalesia table clothes/curtains: Mataa Dean/Mrs Vaine Te Okoitu
  • Manage power point presentations for sermons and songs: Mrs Tangi Taoro
  • Maintenance cleaning of halls facilities/equipments, mission grounds: Clerk and committees on duty
  • Website management: Keu Mataroa
  • Management of Ekalesia Grocery stock: Mii Mataroa
  • Manage and monitor use of Ekalesia scaffold and mattress beds: Tina  Tamanui
  • Manage and monitor use of hall/bookings & special events: Oki Te Okoitu
  • Manage IT and use of computers/internet: Daniel Munro


Deacons 2011-2013: Ruaau Tapere; Iro Rangi, Pokoroa Pauka, Daniel Munro, Teariki Purua, Tamaka Tamanui, William (Smiley) Heather, Travel Tou (Ariki). Murienua Tapere; Iobu Pokipoki, Nga Vaineritua, Kimi Taokia. Betela Tapere; Daniel Apii, Pare Rongokea, Okirua Te Okoitu, Aumaro Tuakeu, Maota Gosline, Oirua Joseph. Rutaki Tapere; Uriake Taokia, Taere Romia, Paea Toka, Keu Mataroa,.

The restrictions to 12 deacons only in the Ekalesia was relaxed in 1991 to facilitate the Assistant Deacons who have been in the position for decades but could not be promoted to deacon unless the position is vacant. It is also to recognise significant responsibilities of a deacon that cannot be carried out by an assistant deacon (which makes the assistant position pointless in that respect) and relaxing the strict number of deacons from 12 to any number at any given time provides an opportunity for assistant deacons to be promoted without having to wait for the position to be vacant.

100+ regular adult members
200+ Sunday School children
100+ youth members

An estimated 100+ regular church goers but not engaged in Ekalesia activities and events, unless asked


For a more detailed history of the Arorangi church please go to the Ekalesia web address

On 4 July 1823 John Williams, accompanied by Bourn, six Raiatean teachers and their wives, and a Raiatean chief, sailed on the Endeavour for Aitutaki. Upon arrival they saw many changes on the Island and the work of Papeiha and his assistant was evident. But William was impatient as always to press on to other fields. He had discovered on Aitutaki two men and four women who had come from Rarotonga, the large Island in the vicinity about which he heard so much. So leaving there on Aitutaki two more teachers named Paumoana and Matoutai, he set off to search for Rarotonga. With him on board were the Rarotongans, as well as the Evangelist Papeiha and chief Tamatoa. After about a week’s vain search, they were forced to steer for Mangaia. There, he attempted to land Papeiha, Taua and Haavi with no success.

Next the “Endeavour” headed for Atiu, one of the group of 3 island known as “Ngaputoru”. When they arrived chief Rongomatane came on board and there Tamatoa explained the great things that were happening in Aitutaki. Encouraged by those words, Rongomatane accepted the new faith. From Atiu, the ship set sail with chief Rongomatane to Mauke and Mitiaro. John Williams was astounded how easily the people there, like those in Atiu, agree to undergo Christian Instruction. Taua and Haavi settled among them.

Cheered by his success on the 3 islands, John resumed his search for the elusive Rarotonga. After given direction from chief Rongomatane, the Endeavour sailed for Rarotonga. For several days the ship searched but in vain. Provisions were running low and there was still the long return trip to Raiatea against a head wind. Captain John Dibbs exhorted Williams to give up the search. John Williams agreed to do so if no land was seen by 8.00 o’clock the following morning.

Several times before the zero hour a man was sent to the masthead, but sighted nothing. The Island was in fact nearby but hidden by the thick cloud. Slowly however this lifted in the morning sun, revealing beautiful mountain peaks. Suddenly the watchman’s cry rang out; “Teie! Teie tau fenua nei” (Here! Here is that land). That exciting moment was on July 25, 1823, one of the great days of missionary history on Rarotonga and in the Cook Islands.

They landed in Avarua and tried to settle in that village, but the people were not friendly and John Williams feared for their lives and decided to leave land. However one of the Tahitian missionaries on his boat named Papeiha requested that he be allowed to stay to establish the new Gospel. John Williams agreed and sailed his boat to the western side of the Island known as Puaikura, a village under the command of Tinomana Ariki, the chief of Puaikura.

Papeiha, the Tahitian missionary who stayed behind on Rarotonga to help establish the church.

There Papeiha tied the bible on his head and swam ashore. It is believed that the divine act of God enabled him to avoid the strong warriors of Tinomana guarding the path to his famous sacred fortress Maungaroa (long peak) where no enemy invaders can get to him. Papeiha converted the Puaikura chief Tinomana Ariki to the new gospel and in memory of that converting, the chief Tinomana renamed his tribe and village to Aro-Rangi, which means peeping to the sky. This came about when Tinomana asked Papeiha the question ‘Teiea toou Atua?’ (Where is your God). Papeiha pointed into the sky. Tinomana stepped out his hut and looked into the sky and “believed”. He named his village Arorangi to remind him and everyone else of that significant change of his life to becoming a believer and accepting the Gospel. From that moment to this day, lived the name Arorangi. The first church building was built in-land under Maungaroa, Tinomana’s sacred fortress.

Materials used were local timber in structure and thatched palm leaves for roofing and walls. This was great to house the teaching of the new Gospel and for the people to worship but not so great to withstand hurricanes. When the Gospel fully settled Papeiha convinced Tinomana it is safe to establish his village along the western coast to be closer to their main food source, that is the fish and sea food which are bountiful in the lagoons and since there now is peace on the island due to the works of the Gospel and fear of tribal invasions no longer an issue. After a strong hurricane destroyed the first church building, Tinomana decided to move closer to the coast. There were two other church buildings built along the move towards the coast, both destroyed by strong hurricanes experienced during the time. In 1849, Tinomana and his tribe along with the architectural knowledge and skills of the European Missionary’s built the Arorangi church today from stones and coral made into lime to hold the stones together like cement. It went through many hurricanes in later years and many changes to its architectural structure which is noticeable in the photo below of the original church building.


Management in the church comprises the Minister as chairperson for all meetings except departmental ones. The overall administrator is the Secretary, assisted by the Assistant Secretary, the Deacon‘s meeting and the Executive Management Team. The Treasurer looks after the church’s finances and reports regularly to church meetings. The Ekalesia has completed a detailed terms of reference for all positions which spells out the duties and responsibilities of the office bearers as well as those in the individual departments. However since the completion of the TOR for the CICC as a whole, the church now follows that  TOR.

Working Groups of the Ekalesia

There are 12 working groups recognized by the Ekalesia as a result of its recent budget format introduced in 2010. The Deacons Meeting is the superior group responsible for the overall management of the Ekalesia which meets monthly on the last Sunday of each month after the 5am service. They are assisted by the Executive Management Team whom meets when required to ensure the proper and sound management of the Ekalesia. Others are the Sunday School, Women’s Fellowship, Boys’ Brigade, Girls’ Brigade, Christian Youth, Brass Band and the 4 districts.Each group has its own regular programmes and activities.

The Uniformed Groups (Boys’ Brigade, Girl Guides and Girls’ Brigade) are affiliated to their own International/national bodies. Sunday School and Youth are also linked to their own council at the national level. All groups work closely together with the senior management of the church to ensure the smooth implementation of their respective activities without any clash with the programmes of the church as a whole.


All groups hold regular individual meetings to monitor the progress of their own programmes. The parish as a whole has a combined meeting at the end of every 3 months. In these quarterly meetings, developments in each of the groups are reported, as well as reports from the Minister, Secretary, Treasurer, and the Deacon’s group. Irregular meetings are also convened as and when the need arises.


Religion is very much a way of life for most Cook Islanders irrespective of their denomination. Church-goers cherish this a lot and portray it in the way they dress and attend services. On communion Sundays, men wear white suits and women wear white dresses.

On church parade Sundays, children and youth wear their designated uniform. Special apparel is also worn during special services. On normal Sunday services, church goers usually wear their best clothes. Informal/casual wear is not the norm and not encouraged.

During the actual services, the following are observed:

  • Quietness at all times unless part-taking in the hymns
  • No cameras & videos are to be used inside the church, except for special functions (e.g. wedding) which must be arranged beforehand
  • Casual wear (singlets, shorts, etc.) is not preferred.

After the services, feel free to chat with the Minister and members.


The CICC follows the Scripture Union Bible Reading Plan which sets out daily scripture readings. It is quite common for all services to be based on the day’s reading. Sermons are conducted in the local language (Cook Is Maori), unless visitors are present in which case the Minister makes a brief translation of his message in English. No other foreign language is used. Sermons are prepared and presented by the Minister, Deacons and fully ordained members of the church who are talented, through practice and training, to undertake such task.

Whilst in the past only men are allowed to conduct services, women after attaining set standards, criteria and ranks, have recently been allowed to make presentations. Certain types of services and sermons are earmarked for Ministers, Deacons and ordinary members only.

Regular Church Services

Normal church services are as follows:
  • Sunday early morning service: 5.00am
  • main service: 10.00am
  • evening service: 4.00pm
  • Wednesday & Friday morning service: 5.00am
Other/special services include the following:
  • Rekapi (pre-communion): Wednesday prior to Oroa
  • Oroa (communion): 1st Sunday of each month
  • Etene (post-communion): Wednesday after Oroa
  • Pentecost: As per calendar
  • Teretere Apii Sabati: 3rd Sunday of May & November
  • Teretere Mapu: 3rd Sunday of February & August
  • Church parade: 2nd Sunday Feb. to Nov.
  • Youth rally: 2/3 per annum on set dates
  • National Gospel Day: October 26
  • Rarotonga Gospel Day: July 25
  • Boys’ Brigade Day: October 8
  • Girls’ Brigade Week: 1st week of June
  • Easter: As per calendar
  • Christmas/New Year: As per calendar
  • Mothers’/Fathers’ Days: As per calendar

Order of Sunday Main Service

The order of the main service (10.00am Sundays) is as follows:
  1. Invocation
  2. Sunday School hymn (imene Apii Sabati)
  3. Prayer of confession/Lord’s prayer
  4. Bible reading
  5. Traditional hymn (imene tuki)
  6. Bible reading
  7. Prayer of thanksgiving/intercession
  8. Traditional hymn
  9. Receiving Offering, Notices and announcements
  10. Dedication of offerings and blessing of notices
  11. Sermon
  12. Sunday School hymn
  13. Vesper
A normal service of the above order runs for about an hour, with the actual sermon taking from 15 – 25 minutes. Variations of the above order happen during special services. Functions and ceremonies are also held in the church, for example baptism, marriage, bereavement service.


Seating is arranged in 4 rows partly to coincide with the 4 districts of the village; Ruaau/Murienua also known as Akaoa, Betela/Kavera, and Aroa/Rutaki. Visitors may sit anywhere, but are usually escorted towards the front as a show of respect and honor in accordance with tradition and custom.

Other Information

The Arorangi church is a member of the Rarotonga CICC Council and participates in all programmes and activities organized by this council. Furthermore, it complies with the resolutions passed by the CICC General Assembly.

It has 3 properties: church building, Sunday School Hall, and the minister’s residence. It also has a Meeting House and Halls in each of the 4 districts to house and facilitate the programmes and activities of each respective district. The Sunday School and Youth are linked to each respective district under the umbrella and care of the district management.

Contact for more Information

Minister: Rev. Tinirau Soatini
Phone: 22331 Mob: 77331
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view 
Secretary: Okirua Teokoitu
Phone: 23435 (home), 22680 (work)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Memory Lane

The following are those who served in the Ekalesia in recent times:
  • Rev. Tupou Apolo
  • Rev. Isaia Willie
  • Rev. Samuel Samuel (from Aitutaki)
  • Rev. Pittman (from Tahiti)
  • Rev. Teinaki (from Manihiki)
  • Rev. Tekere Pereeti (from Pukapuka)
  • Rev. Matatia Matatia (from Pukapuka)
  • Rev. Nootai Henry (from Aitutaki)
  • Rev. Abela Williams 1989-1999 (Manihiki)
  • Rev. Nio Mare 1999-2003 (Arorangi)
  • Rev. Moutaiki Ngametua 2003-2007 (from Mauke)
  • Rev. Lelei Patia 2007-2011 (from Pukapuka)
Assistant Minister
  • Pi Moana
  • Tutai Mataroa
  • Enota Apolo
  • Tuiate Dean
  • John Andrew (current)
  • Ru Samuel (Arorangi)
  • Teroo Naea (from Pukapuka)
  • Alex Munro (deceased) (Arorangi)
  • Daniel Apii (from Manihiki)
  • Okirua Te Okoitu (current) (from Mauke)
  • Pi Moana
  • Utia Matata 1965 – 2009 (until passed away) (Arorangi)
  • Okirua Te Okoitu – Acting from 2009 and elected -2011 (from Mauke)
  • Taru Moana (Betela)
  • Matata Tamarangi (Betela)
  • Tiputoa Taio (Betela)
  • Utia Matata (Betela
  • Ti Taru (Betela)
  • William Richard (Rutaki)
  • Piniki Utia (Rutaki)
  • Enota Apolo (Rutaki)
  • Ru Samuel (Murienua)
  • Teariki Tinirau (Murienua)
  • Puna Kaimarama (Murienua)
  • Apolo Dean (Ruaau)
  • Alex Munro (Ruaau)
  • Tepai Tepai (Ruaau)
  • Teroo Naea (Ruaau)
  • Pauka Paepaerei (Ruaau)
Assistant Deacon
  • Uti Tou (Betela)
  • Temu Spoon Haua Marsters (Betela)