A VIBRANT non-denominational Christian music festival aimed at getting "lost" youths off the street, out of nightclubs, away from criminal activity and back to church took place on December 15 from 1 pm - 9 pm at the National Auditorium.
The Kīnura Tapunui Music Festival was the brainchild of Kōrero o te `Ōrau Executive Member, Teina Rongo, and Matariki FM’s director William Framhein and will be represented by all Christian churches on the island.
Over the last few decades there has been a noticeable erosion of values and attitudes among the youth on Rarotonga, thanks to various cultural shifts.
“Less family time spent together, more social media influences and technological distractions as well as increased temptations from the ‘clubbing scene’ where alcohol and drugs are present,” says Framhein.
The festival's goal was to draw youths without direction onto a meaningful path leading them, not only a better moral understanding, but also ultimately to their salvation.
“Kīnura" is the Māori word for harp in the Bible. "Tapunui” refers to a state of being holy or sacred. The theme of the festival stemmed from Psalms 98: 5, which reads ‘Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.’
“This verse embodies the goal of the festival, which is to praise the Lord through music and singing.”
The timing of the festival is also to celebrate the “reason for the Christmas season” - Jesus Christ, says Framhein.
Kīnura Tapunui Music Festival
The event was alcohol and smoke-free, with lots of fun activities for the whole family. Food sales also took place during the day for the Christian youth groups represented to fundraise for their churches.
The festival provided young and upcoming performers the opportunity to showcase their talent alongside established local performing artists such as Tuaine Papatua, Tara Kauvai, Jarome Pare, Ephraim Taokia, Katreena Smith and more.
Inspirational guest speaker Raj Narayanan spoke on the night, communicating to the heart of promoting family and Christian values. Youth speaker Wayne Robati touched on challenging issues youth are facing today such as suicide and bullying, re-emphasizing the fact that "Jesus Loves Me and You".
It is envisioned that Kīnura Tapunui will become an annual event and draw international Christian artists.
Festival co-organiser Dr Teina Rongo of Kōrero o te ‘Ōrau says being involved with a youth group’s performance and festival provided a safer environment for kids. He adds one problem in Rarotonga is a lack of activities for youth.
He also saw the potential for a Christian music festival when he visited the Mauke Youth conference.
“When the music comes on, you see all the māpū charging off… dancing.”
The organizers were grateful to the sponsors who came on board, believing in this idea and helping cover the costs of running the event to make entry free for all.