Mataliki gets Tokelau blessings

Fakaofo, 8 March 2016. Straight after the inauguration of the new Ulu o Tokelau it was time for the blessing of the ship Mataliki in Tokelau itself. She had been drifting not far from the shore, outside the fringe reef that surrounds Fakaofo.

Selected guests boarded the barge to be taken to the function at the ship. Pictured from left to right are Faipule Siopili Perez; Mr Mose Pelasio, the Pulenuku of Fakaofo; Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa, the new Ulu o Tokelau; and Mrs Maria Clayton Reijnen of the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).
BlessMataliki01-300 BlessMataliki03-300
Both the head girl and the head boy of the Tialeniu school in nearby Fenuafala joined the ceremony. They were joined around the dinner table by Maria Clayton Reijnen and the Acting Administrator of Toeklau, Linda Te Puni from MFAT,  the Fakaofo mayor, Pulenuku Mose Pelasio, and the Nukunonu General Manager Tino Vitale.

Deacon Salesio Lui from Nukunonu delivered a sermon inside the ship and completed the blessing by Vai Sa (holy water) over part of it. Several speeches later the guests moved to the passenger deck for the next proceedings.

One of the Hauatea (“Grey hairs”) from each of the atolls Fakaofo, Atafu and Nukunonu participated in “Breaking the coconut” – the local alternative to christening a ship with a bottle of champaign.
Below, left to right: Gaualofa Gaualofa (Fakaofo) Antonio Egeliko (Nukunonu), and Elia Mamoe (Atafu).
BlessMataliki10-225 BlessMataliki09-225 BlessMataliki11-225
TialeniuSchoolFeast8mar16jj-450 BlessMataliki13-225h
Captain Steve Christieson was presented with several gifts: a tuluma (the traditional Tokelau fish tackle box), a model paopao and some fans for the crew. 

Then it was time to head back for lunch on land, brightened up by performances of students from Tialeniu school.

The Mataliki is now truly ready for service.
Story and pictures by Jaap (‘iapi”) Jasperse