6 Nov 2012

Niue row again closes village church

1:10 pm on 6 November 2012

In the latest development involving the troubled Ekalesia Church of Niue in the village of Hikutavake, parishioners are again being denied access to the building.

This comes a week after the president of the Ekalesia Church, the Reverend Arthur Pihigia, re-opened the church after its controversial closure earlier this year.

Don Wiseman has more:

"The church, which has about 15 parishioners, had been shut for months after a deacon and the local MP, Opili Talafasi, shut it down. According to the landowner, Lalomanogi Togiakona, Mr Talafasi was also instrumental in the removal of the pastor, or Ulumotua, Hale Ikitule. The row over the church began after unrest in the village which resulted in violence and arson, but the Togiakona family says the issues are unrelated. Mrs Togiakona was not advised of the re-opening the Sunday before last and so has declared people using the building are trespassing. The Togiakona family is threatening to take the issue to the Land Court but is first waiting on the church administration to call a meeting to sort the issues out."