Present at the “emergency” contingency meeting last Friday were representatives of the Ministries of Health, Police, Education and Environment, the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, the Business Trade Investment Board and Avarua School and management staff from the Ministry of Cultural Development (MoCD).
The participation of the outer islands in Te Maeva Nui this year presents particular logistical challenges for the culture ministry.
With around 2000 people from all around the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia expected to arrive in Rarotonga for the event, culture secretary Anthony Turua stressed that it is important that the government agencies who play a supporting role put mechanisms in place to ensure the safety and health of all participating in Te Maeva Nui.
With this in mind, senior inspector John Strickland reiterated the Cook Islands Police Service’s “no drop” policy in terms of laying drink-driving charges during the period of the Te Maeva Nui celebrations.
“Police are mindful of the increased numbers of people during this time and encourage everyone to be safe,” said Strickland.
“Enjoy yourselves, but at the same time, behave.”
He added that there will be security staff patrolling the various event venues, especially around Avarua School, which will accommodate five dance teams.
The health ministry’s Karen Tairea said they will be promoting their NCD (non-communicable diseases) campaign with an emphasis on their “Eat Healthy” programmes.
Adopting healthy choices is also an important part of that campaign, with Tairea encouraging everyone, including the cultural teams, to stay hydrated by drinking water or nu.
The MoCD said they will be working closely with the Ministry of Health to ensure that their non-smoking policies are followed and that people caught offending are dealt with.
The MoCD is also working closely with the National Environment Service (NES), which is asking all attending the competition venues to use the allocated bins for rubbish disposal.
In the lead-in to the main event, NES and the culture ministry will promote the correct way to dispose of rubbish, including the separation of plastic, glass, general rubbish, etc, into the appropriately marked bins.
The use of biodegradable products will also be a priority, in support of the eco-friendly practices currently being promoted by stakeholders involved in Te Maeva Nui.
Starting this year with the official opening and float parade on Friday, July 27, and ending on August 6 with the 53rd Constitution Day ceremony, Te Maeva Nui draws all Cook Islands people together for a week of cultural competitions and festivities.