News Release

Cook Islands Latter-day Saints Celebrate Easter with New Leaders 

Many share testimonies of the reality of Jesus Christ and the blessings that come from following Him

On Easter Sunday, a meeting for members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in the Cook Islands was held in Arorangi.

Some met together in person, while those living in Mangaia and Aitutaki were able to join via video conference.

The local congregations, called branches, are organized into the Avarua Cook Islands District which is part of the New Zealand Auckland Mission.

Garrick Parr, president of the mission, and his wife Susan, along with presidency counselor, Jeffery Nikoia, and his wife Fiona, came to the islands to attend a district conference for the first time in more than two years, having been delayed repeatedly by pandemic travel restrictions.

A new lay leader called a district president was called and was presented to the assembled Church members for their sustaining vote.

Tamatoa Ti’amana Rangimotia Jonassen is the new leader of the Avarua Cook Islands District, with counselors Turori Matutu from the Arorangi Branch and Glover Taiteari’i Tevei Iria Numanga from the Aitutaki Branch. Due to prior travel commitments, President Jonassen was in New Zealand and joined the meeting via video conference.

The congregation joined in showing their gratitude and warm appreciation to President Piltz Napa as he was released as district president after nearly nine years of service, along with his two counselors, Angaroakau Williams and Turori Matutu.

Brother Piltz has also represented the Church for many years as a member of the Cook Islands Religious Council, an interfaith organisation in Rarotonga.

Newly sustained President Jonassen said, “I invite all to begin by sharing your testimony of the blessings of the temple in writing to your branch president so they can be collated and shared with Elder Uchtdorf when he goes to New Zealand in October to dedicate the New Zealand Hamilton Temple.”

President Parr gave a special welcome to the Honorable Mac Mokoroa, Minister of Justice and Education for the Cook Islands, who attended the conference.

During the meeting, Easter messages of love and thanks to Jesus Christ were given by the speakers. Some focused on how each person comes to know for themselves that Jesus Christ lives and is the Redeemer. Others encouraged those in attendance to know and love the Saviour.

One speaker said, “He knows us and He loves us.”


Tarani Napa recalled a talk given by Elder Neil L. Andersen from the Quorum of Twelve Apostles when he visited the Cook Islands in 2016. He commented about how beautiful it was to see so many Cook Islands women wearing flower “crowns” or “ei katu.”

Elder Andersen recalled the words of Jesus Christ to Emma Smith, wife of Church founder Joseph Smith: “Behold, thou art an elect lady, whom I have called to walk in the paths of virtue and to lay aside the things of the world. Cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made, keep my commandments continually and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive” (Doctrine & Covenants 25:15).

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