Cultural competition unites students

Tuesday July 08, 2014 Written by Peka Fisher/Matariki Wilson Published in Culture
Cook Islands students from Auckland University on their way to Wellinton for this week’s Taokotaianga cultural competition. 14070705 Cook Islands students from Auckland University on their way to Wellinton for this week’s Taokotaianga cultural competition. 14070705

Cook Islands university students in New Zealand are putting their text books aside to get their hips swinging in this year's Taokotaianga cultural competition over the next seven days.

The competition was created to give students the chance to take a break from their studies and celebrate the Cook Islands culture in New Zealand.

This year the cultural event is being staged in Wellington, with around 300 Cook Islands students from across Aotearoa gathering in the capital.

The theme for the 2014 festivities is “voyages”, and groups have composed songs and choreographed dances to this theme.

The competition is run and judged similarly to the annual Te Maeva Nui constitution celebrations in the Cooks, with teams performing kapa rima (action song), ura pa’u (drum dance), ute (story telling song), solo, duet, string band as well as academic debates and speeches in both Cook Islands Maori and English.

Teams from universities around New Zealand including the University of Auckland, University of Waikato and Eastern Institute of Technology will begin their week of cultural enlightenment with a formal kaikai.

This year’s event is hosted by the Victoria University Cook Islands Association, which looks forward to sharing in the experience of professional and personal development and fellowship on a uniquely Cook Islands platform.

Over the course of the week participants will take part in debates and sporting activities, be inspired by guest speakers - including Miss Cook Islands and Miss South Pacific Teuira Napa - and share their passion for Cook Islands culture and history.

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