Merita Wi-Kaitaia and Kurere Tuaputa recently travelled to Brisbane to attend the Commonwealth Games Arts and Culture programme where one million woven stars were on display, including some from the Cook Islands.
The women spoke at the Women of the World (WOW) Festival, a three day event that features women from all corners of the Earth speaking on a variety of topics including domestic violence, indigenous rights, creative expression and climate change.
The pair talked about the impact of violence in the Cook Islands community and the healing spaces created by the Cook Islands participation in the One Million Stars to End Violence project.
Wi-Kaitaia had been part of the local Star Weave Community organising committee and Tuaputa wove 5,800 stars on behalf of CITC’s participation in the Star Weave Challenge held in 2016. The two were contacted by the WOW organisers and sponsored to speak.
One Million Stars to End Violence Project was created by Samoan weave artist Maryann Talia Pau after a woman was murdered in the city she lived in.
The project was endorsed by the Commonwealth Games Committee to be part of its Arts and Culture Programme and Maryann travelled here to the Cook Islands in 2016 to encourage and be part of the community here.
By the deadline for completion of the project in 2017, she had received 2.4million stars, 22,142 of those by the Cook Islands.
The final installation of the stars was held at King George Square, Brisbane, until April 16, and will be housed in a permanent location to be announced.
The pair would like to thank all in the Cook Islands community who supported, sponsored, funded and wove for the important message of speaking up against violence.