Cook Islands flavour at French museum

Tuesday August 05, 2014 Written by Published in Culture
Cedric Cremiere, Museum Le Havre Director, receives a special gift of a ‘rei’ made of shells from museum director Gerald McCormack. 14080182 Cedric Cremiere, Museum Le Havre Director, receives a special gift of a ‘rei’ made of shells from museum director Gerald McCormack. 14080182

A French museum will soon be showcasing items that have been handcrafted right here in the Cook Islands.

At a meet-and-greet event held at the Cook Islands Library Museum last week, Director Cedric Cremiere from the Museum Le Havre in Northern France was on hand to receive a handmade rito hat from the Northern Group island of Penrhyn,  a necklace ‘rei’ made with rito and pipi shells, and a collection of books.

Cremiere said the items will be logged before being displayed along with other items from the Oceania region, and the books added to the museum’s library.

He said under French law, the items can be neither bought or sold, meaning the French people will have the opportunity to get a little South Pacific flavour for generations to come.

Cremiere’s connection to the Cook Islands came about after meeting long term visitor to the Cook Islands Tabatha Forbes and local dancer Jackie Tuara.

Both Forbes and Tuara were invited to the city of Le Havre last year to work on an upcoming project which will celebrate the ties between the Pacific, Australia, and the city’s museum.

 In the 19th century, French explorer Nicolas Baudin left Le Havre to explore Australia and the Pacific region, forming the context for the upcoming project.

The museum is planning to showcase its Oceania project in 2016.

“Over the next few years, I hope to continue this relationship,” said Cremiere. 

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