Dancers in the expatriates and masters Rauti Pi competition ended the Te Mire Ura event with a bang at the Rehab nightclub on Friday night.
The annual event which was divided into four evening shows, brought together a group of talented local and expatriate dancers who wowed the audience with their poise and grace.
The much-anticipated expatriate category had two new champions – Claire Wilson and Zac Moran who both edged out the defending champions Carina Wenzel and Marlon Rebollos.
Wilson was stunning and professional in the slow and fast beat dances. She sang along to every word of her selected song and swung her hips with ease.
She was filled with joy after her win on Friday night.
“I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful circle of loving and committed people around me. They invested their time and effort into my actions and my understanding of Cook Islands culture,” she said.
“They gave me confidence when I was lacking. This award is not only mine, it belongs to many, especially Punanga Kaveao and Mama Moe. But also, to Pare Kaveao, Liana Scott, Avera Hunter, Alana Short, Carlene Mapu, Bianca Whittaker and all of the beautiful women who have taught me over the years. They all hold a very special place in my heart. And have created fond memories for me that will last a lifetime.”
She also extended a huge congratulations to Moran for his amazing pe’e tribute to the late Sue Fletcher-Vea, the former president of Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council.
Moran wowed the crowd with the proud delivery and Maori pronunciation of his pe’e and his outstanding dancing skills.
Experienced and graceful dancer Mata Arnold took out the female Masters Rauti Pi competition.
Arnold said she was “very excited and over the moon” to be crowned the new female champion.
She is a former member of Te Ivi Maori, Taakoka and the Orama dance troupe. Dancing has taken her all over the world promoting Cook Islands Tourism.
Merle Pukerua placed second and Lotiola Mateariki, the mother of the current Te Mire Ura dance champions Ambushia and Tamaiva, came in at third.
Nooroa Ngametua held onto his Male Masters champion title with his strong slow and fast beat. Katu Teiti placed second and James Tuaputa came in third.