Main Road, Taputapuatea, Avarua, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Church Vision

“To be the model for the Cook Islands Christian Church growing spiritually with one mind, one heart, one purpose in joy, love and strength to prosper the new- generation”

Office Bearers

  • Minister: Rev. Vaka Ngaro
  • Secretary: Makirere Poila
  • Assistant Secretary: Tuaine Unuia
  • Treasurer: Tangi Tereapii
  • Assistant Treasurer: Tuakana Ngametua
  • Secretary of Deacons: Tuaine Unuia
  • Representatives to CICC General Assembly: 
    • Rev. Vaka Ngaro
    • Makirere Poila
    • Tangi Tereapii
    • Tuaine Unuia


2018 Deacons Forum
  • Chairman: Rev. Vaka Ngaro
  • Secretary: 
  • Tupapa (2): Jimmy Areai, Tenga Epi Mana
  • Maraerenga (3): Almein Vakapora; Yitiri Akama; Avele Simona
  • Takuvaine (2): Tereapii Charlie; Tekura Potoru
  • Tutakimoa (2): Makirere Poila; Pita Totoo
  • Ruatonga (5): Tou Vainerere; Mona Ioane; Tangata Vainerere, Tuaine Maunga
  • Avatiu (5): Tuaine Unuia; Bob Williams 

Elders (Diakono Mutukore)

  • Tupapa:
  • Maraerenga: nil
  • Takuvaine: Tuamotu Matamaki 
  • Tutakimoa: nil
  • Ruatonga: Tangi Kapi
  • Avatiu: Tutavake Tutai


Avarua Ekalesia consists of six villages – Tupapa, Maraerenga, Takuvaine, Tutakimoa, Ruatonga and Avatiu.

There are 22 Deacons currently serving in the Church. The number of regular adult members (16 years and over) stands at around 300. The youth members currently stand at 150. Total membership including those who do not attend church regularly is around 600.


The church was established by the Reverend John Williams and Tahitian Missionaries in 1823.

The first church building of the Avarua Ekalesia was built by the Reverend Aaron Buzacott on 23 August 1831. It measured 100 feet in length and 48 feet in width. It accommodated around 2000 people. This church was made out of coral limestone and was destroyed by a tropical cyclone three years later.

In 1853, the Reverend Buzacott built the second church and named it Ziona Tapu (Holy Zion). It still stands to this day measuring 64 feet in length, 40 feet in width and 30 feet in height.

Major renovations were carried out on Ziona Tapu in 1887 by the Reverend Adoni during the reign of Makea Takau. While routine maintenance was carried out over the years the next major renovation of Ziona Tapu took place in 1995 under the leadership of Reverend Enua Totini (from Aitutaki) and Tauturu Orometua (Assistant Pastor) Papa Eric (Man) Browne. Other leaders included the Secretary, Papa Kura Strickland, and Treasurer Papa Ngata Urirau. Local builder Mr Potiki Mataroa of Arorangi supervised the renovation.

The church was reopened on 4 November 1995 with Reverend Mata Makara of Mitiaro replacing Reverend Enua Totini who retired due to ill health. At 3.00 pm on Monday 13 January 2003, the Pulpit inside the church was damaged by a fire believed to have been triggered by an electrical fault. The church was closed down and the pulpit was restored by builders Charlie Tamangaro of Atupa and Teremoana Tongia of Ruatonga. The church was reopened for service on Sunday 30 March 2003.


The operations of the Church are governed by the “ARAKA”, the official Strategic Plan of the Avarua Ekalesia for the period 2010-2012.
ARAKA stands for:

  • A - Akarongo o te Ekalesia (Faith)
  • R - Ravenga kia papu te Akarongo o te Ekalesia (Strategies) A - Akakoroanga o te Ekalesia (Mission)
  • K - Kaveinga tau no te Ekalesia (Vision)
  • A - Akanoonooanga a te Ekalesia (Policies & Guidelines)

The ARAKA outlines all aspects of the administration of the church including rules and procedures as well as strategic direction. The ARAKA is available on request through the Secretary for a small fee of NZ$5.00.


The Church has 10 Departments within its structure namely The Deacons Forum; General Assembly Representatives; Sunday School; Girl Guides; Girls Brigade; Boys Brigade; Christian Youth; Choir; Evangelism Explosion; and Women’s Fellowship.

Each Department has its own programme and they conduct the activities under a consolidated Annual Programme of the Church which is a compilation of all the various activities to be conducted by the various Departments. They present written reports on the progress of the implementation of their respective programmes to the Quarterly Meeting of the Church.


The Church holds Quarterly Meetings during the year to monitor progress of the activities and address issues of concern.

The Deacons Meeting (Rekapi) takes place after the early morning service on the last Sunday of each month (prior to the Communion Sunday). The Annual General Meeting is held in the month of January each year.

Where necessary, Special Meetings are called to address specific issues needing the attention of the Church. The various Departments convene their own meetings as required throughout the year.


  • Church members hold much respect for the Church and its governing rules and regulations.
  • Visitors to the Church are reminded of the dress code for church attendance.
  • Regular church-goers normally dress conservatively.
  • Women are welcome wear hats to church but are cautioned against wearing casual wear including singlets, shorts or trousers.
  • Smoking and drinking of alcohol are not permitted in the church.
  • In the Avarua Church, the use of video cameras are not permitted in the church during the service except at during weddings and christening ceremonies.
  • Visitors are also reminded not to wear flower eis (garlands) into church. Wedding couples are exempted from this rule.
  • On Communion Sundays (first Sunday of the month) all members normally wear white attire.
  • From February through to November each year, visitors to the 10.00 a.m. Main Service on Sundays are treated to refreshments after the service.


Sermons are normally based on the Scripture Union Bible Reading Plan. The Minister normally delivers the sermon during the main service on Sundays and the early morning service on Fridays. Deacons and church members take turns in delivering the sermons during the other services.

The sermons are delivered in the local language. The Minister sometimes presents a summary of the sermon in English for the visitors before delivering the sermon. These sermons may vary in length from between 15 to 20 minutes.

Regular Church Services

The Church holds the following worship services:
  • Wednesday Morning Service (5.30 am)
  • Friday Morning Service (5.30 am
  • Sunday Morning Service (5.30 am)
  • Sunday Main Service (10.00 am)
  • Sunday Evening Contemporary Service (4.00 pm)
  • The Church also observes the following Special Services:
  • First Sunday of the Month – Communion + Evening Uapou Second Sunday of the Month - Church Parade/Youth
  • Third Sunday of the Month – Sunday School
  • Fourth Sunday of the Month – Takamoa Theological College Fifth Sunday of the Month – Evangelism Explosion
  • Wednesday (post-Communion) - Pure Etene
  • 3rd Sunday of May & November – Teretere Apii Sabati
  • 3rd Sunday of February & August – Teretere Mapu
  • Easter Service (as per Calendar)
  • ANZAC Day – 25 April
  • Rarotonga Gospel Day – 25 July
  • National Gospel Day – 26 October
  • Christmas Eve (24 December, 12 midnight) and Christmas Service (25 December, 10.00 am)
  • New Year’s Eve (31 December, 12 midnight) and New Year Service (1 January, 10 am)

Contact for more Information

Minister: Rev. Vaka Ngaro Phone: 23760
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Secretary: Mr. Makirere Poila Phone: 21030
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