Takitumu is one of the Districts on the island of Rarotonga. This is their drum dance during the 2007 National Independence week cultural celebration. There are four categories in the cultural competition: drum dance, action songs, chants, legends and the following is the winning drum dance for 2007.
Christianity arrives in the Cook Islands in 1823
In 1823 Christianity was brought to the Cook Islands via Tahiti by the London Missionary Society (LMS). The Rev John Williams was the LMS Missionary and he was accompanied by two Tahitian missionaries. The mission work of the LMS in the Cook Islands was overseen by a missionary from London until 1965 when the last missionary (the Rev Bernard Thorogood) left. The LMS then changed its name to the Cook Island Christian Church which has flourished in the Cook Island until this day with its congregation accounting for approximately 60% of the population.
The following is the different parts of the drum dance:
This scene depicts the predominance of Idols and darkness – four large carved idols are shown with the men dressed in traditional regalia performing dances and providing gifts of foods to the idols.
The next scene describes the arrival of Missionaries – this is shown by men dressed in white regalia and bringing the bible to the indigenous people.
The indigenous people resist the missionaries at first but the Missionaries succeed in converting the natives over time to accept the gospel. This is depicted by the bibles being passed from the Missionaries to the Native men.
Much soul searching and great discussion – this is represented by the women dancers coming onto the stage. To protect them from the destruction proposed by the missionaries, some are surrounded the three idol gods.
Finally after the discussion, it is decided to burn the idols – to represent the fire, the women dancers dress in red and at first they cannot burn the idols so more fanning of the fire is needed; note the fanning action of the women dancers.
The fire then catches and devours the idol gods which were completely burnt – this is seen by the idols slowly but surely coming down in ashes and disappearing.
Following this there comes a period of celebration of the arrival of salvation to the islands. A period of consolidation and teaching of the bible is followed by 100 years of native missionaries from the Cook Island travelling to Samoa, New Caledonia, Papua Nu Guinea and further afield to carry the light of salvation. Many died as martyrs.
The London Missionary Society, now called the Cook Island Christian Church, carries on with the work of the church.
The drum dance ends with a final act of returning the glory to God on high.