Secretary of Culture Anthony Turua says the stage has provided an outlet for many youth and cultural groups to showcase their talents to both locals and tourists.
“With the availability of finance, MOCD is looking at the possibility of extending a proper outdoor stage for various performances on the foreshore in the vicinity of the Punanga Nui,” Turua said.
Dance groups are an important asset to the Cook Islands, helping to keep the nation’s culture alive, he says.
“This has been a place where most of our locals and tourists go on Saturday to see our local food and produce and to view our performing arts for free.”
Turua encourages youth groups to form cultural groups to promote their art and culture.
“I am definitely encouraging young boys and girls to join groups so that they value our culture and heritage.
“Developing their skills at a young age will give them the confidence to perform in front of an audience and to be proud of our performing arts culture.” Turua said.
The Te Korero Maori Cultural Dance Group performs every Saturday. The group is made up of performers aged six to 18.
The group’s leaders say performing with the group does more than just help children stay in touch with their culture. It also keeps them fit and healthy and their beautiful items create a great atmosphere at the market.
Market manager Elmah McBirney-Rahui said the group had been entertaining for a long time and while they were not paid, whatever money they received from tourists was their own.
They also perform at various local tourist venues and have travelled to a number of countries showing Cook Islands culture to the world.
Visiting groups are also welcome to perform at Punanga Nui.