Celebrating one vision, one voice

Monday August 12, 2013 Written by Published in Culture
Celebrating one vision, one voice

Okotai Orama, Okotai Reo is the message from Queensland, Australia, to all Cook Islanders celebrating Te Maeva Nui this month.

Brisbane-based Cook Islander Alex Sword, a former editor of CI News, provided this piece and images from the recent celebrations held by the Cook Islands communities of Queensland:

The One Vision, One Voice theme was showcased recently at the Mabel Park State High School Hall in Brisbane’s Logan City with eight cultural groups providing a cross-section of items from around the Cook Islands.

Represented at the Saturday August 3 event were Rarotonga Enua, Aitutaki Enua, Mauke Enua, the Turama Cultural Group, Mangaia Enua, Ka Maeva Cultural Group, Rakahanga Henua and the Rutaki-Aroa Group. They all presented short sets while displaying ornate costumes, exciting rhythms and uplifting songs. The Cook Islands Council of Queensland Inc. organised the celebrations in three parts. The day-long event began mid-morning with the raising outside the hall of the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in recognition of the Australian cultures, before that of the Cook Islands flag.

The anthems of both Australia and the Cook Islands were performed with Reverend K Pereiti and the Cook Islands Heritage Christian Fellowship, youth and Elder Sonny Glassie involved in the service prayers.

Cook Islands warrior Allison Makimare performed a welcoming chant (pe’e torou) before guests were led into the school hall where a crowd of about almost 300 people were gathered for the opening speeches and the performances. There were just as many people outside organising their dance troupes, as well as food and Cook Islands souvenir vendors readying for the day’s business.

The senses were bombarded with the delicious smells of island doughnuts, mayonnaise, butter-chicken and curry, and the stunning sights of brightly costumed dancers and the pareu wares of Mama Mii Quarter.

The dance troupes leapt into action just after mid-day with 20-minute performances that had the crowd filling almost every nook and cranny to get the best views.

Following the presentation of trophies to all the participating groups and closing service, and in sync with the brilliant Brisbane sun descending into the fringes of the day, the four flags were lowered outside to mark the end of a thoroughly awesome Te Maeva Nui, Aussie style.

A combined church service was held the following day, at the Old Inala Hall with the celebrations tuning into the Cook Islands blend of gospel vibes.

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