Tupapa member of parliament George Maggie and the owners of Island Booth have started a petition for the photo booth to be included in next year’s Te Maeva Nui night markets.
Island Booth owners Justine Matatoa Flanagan and Andy Kirkwood booked early to secure their place as a vendor at this year’s Te Maeva Nui – as they had done in 2011 and 2012. Though their booking was confirmed twice by phone, they received a call the week before the event from the Ministry of Culture, saying their place had been cancelled.
Secretary of culture Sonny Williams said the ministry’s policy is to prioritise food vendors and there were some food vendors who also missed out on a space. The Ministry of Culture’s stall and vendor policy states that only food and drinks shall be sold at the National Cultural Centre, but also says other products can be sold with approval. This approval was granted in previous years.
Kirkwood said he and Flanagan appreciate the support the booth has received from the community, and hope to be involved next year.
The couple said the booth is a good way for people to record their memories of Te Maeva Nui.
“It’s a good chance for families to have photos together at Te Maeva Nui. We think it’s a service that’s wanted by the Cook Islands, and we know from the response from the last two years that people do use our services.
“Te Maeva Nui is a rare chance to get everyone together, all in one place. It is the perfect opportunity for a family portrait, especially when a family is spread across different islands.”
The ‘back the booth’ petition can be signed at Kia Orana Store, The Caf, Reefside Caravan, at the booth or through George Maggie, and will continue running for about another week.