Mikara Pupuke decided at the last minute she would attend the first Te Maeva Nui celebrations in Melbourne.
“I am so glad that I did,” says the Adelaide-based Cook Islander.
“To see the youth taking part in the cultural performances was just fantastic, and the costumes were lifted to another level – outstanding.”
Pupuke was impressed with the cultural items performed by Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia, and says it was also great meeting up with family and friends.
Margaret Nekeare-Cowan, president of the New South Wales, is extremely proud of their young leaders – Mama Fly, Ralph Ioane, Renaye Ioane, and Taina Natua – for uniting with their team “with one mind and one heart”.
In three weeks, they managed to put together an action song and drum dance, and the youth did well to learn the ute and imene tuki.
“The power of unity and faith in one another, boosted the confidence and faith of our youth,” she says.
Nekeare-Cowan is also the Secretary for the Cook Islands National Council of Australia.
“The presence of the Cook Islands Prime Minister, the Honourable Henry Puna and his delegation attending the festival, is very much appreciated, thank you for acknowledging us.”
She also tributes state association presidents James Henry (Victoria), Archie Atiau (Queensland), Rei Webster (South Australia) and Teina Tautu (Western Australia). Without these leaders the event would not have been possible, she says.
The national associations is looking forward to hosting the Australian Cook Islanders in Perth in 2021.