Our Aotearoa Maori teina launched Te Maeva Nui 50 with ferocity, the haka reverberating through a packed auditorium, poi striking through the air with lightning precision, the stage embracing their performance, the audience mesmerised.
Aotearoa Maori captured the attention of over 2000 people in Te Are Karioi – that attention didn’t waver throughout the first night of breathtaking, stunning performances.
Yes – the Cook Islands unfolds her culture and we are loving every moment of it. Meitaki ma’ata e te teina o Aotearoa – Ngati Hinerangi – for your rendition of our song “Mou Piri” – the tuakana wept because of its beauty.
From the mamas with blankets and five layers of clothing keeping warm from a wintry Rarotonga who wouldn’t miss this occasion for anything – they remember their first celebrations at Constitution Park as they reminisced to this reporter, but acknowledged this time is so much better. We are all together and the atmosphere of joy and national pride is infectious.
Hundreds of wide eyed children who will keep the memory of this beautiful beginning of a historic occasion and talk about it in years to come. Reassuring, because keep the Cook Islands breathing and pulsating with energy.
Uirangi Bishop, how you have raised your beautiful Aitutaki team to such heights – e taunga koe e maine. Mauke island, we respect your bereavement and the loss of one of your beautiful performers this week. The country mourns with you. Prime Minister Henry Puna said: “I happened to be at the costume show at the Edgewater (Resort) and saw this beautiful young lady and to hear she was the one involved in an accident and passed away was very, very sad.”
He reiterated the message that parents have a responsibility to “…encourage our young ones, particularly teenagers, to take care on the roads, yes the roads are beautiful but that doesn’t mean we have to go flying around on our bikes or cars – let’s just take caution when we’re out and about. “
Puaikura as always were ferocious and impeccable with their ura pau – constantly bringing the delightful surprise element – they continued performing after the evening had closed – giving everyone that wonderful element to take home. Energy. Our culture. Pride.
Mitiaro and Pukapuka – how these Pa Enua brought so much joy to a full house. Not a face without a smile. Yes. Our little Basileia is revealing herself to those who are blessed to call this place home and to those who are here for a short, sweet time. Bring it on! Te Maeva Nui has begun.
(Kua akamata tatou – we have begun)