Parade issues anger crowds

Saturday July 28, 2018 Written by Published in Culture
Hot and tired spectators from the Creative Centre were left waiting for a parade that failed to travel along the expected route on the lagoon side of the road through town. 18072767 Hot and tired spectators from the Creative Centre were left waiting for a parade that failed to travel along the expected route on the lagoon side of the road through town. 18072767

Rarotonga residents have aired their frustrations online after problems with yesterday’s long-awaited Te Maeva Nui parade.

The parade had a much-delayed start, leaving scores of spectators lining the main road through town waiting in the hot sun for more than an hour.

CINews understands the start was delayed after pre-judging of the floats, which had originally been scheduled to start at 12pm, did not take place.

This caused a flow-on affect with many would-be spectators frustrated at the time it took for proceedings to start after a speech from prime minister Henry Puna and the lighting of the Te Maeva Nui flame.

Another frustration for many was the lack of communication regarding the route of the parade, with spectators lining the main road from the VIP tent down to the ANZ Bank.

Many of the floats went past the VIP tent at Constitution Park before turning down St Joseph’s Road, rather than travelling the length of the lagoon side of the main road, as expected.

Only a few floats travelled the full length of the main road at random intervals, leaving many unable to enjoy the full parade experience.

One local resident aired her frustrations online, expressing similar views to hot and angry spectators spoken to by CINews.

“Just had to post the organisation of the Ta Maeva Nui parade was appalling and whoever was in charge, wow you messed up big time.”

Creative Centre principal Rodger Harkness said overall the parade was a disappointment for his group who had gathered to enjoy the festivities, even bringing along their own chairs for the occasion.

“We have been down in the past and like most years we got there nice and early around 11.45am and got everyone in our seats ready to go.

“Overall we are disappointed we had to wait for so long and then nothing eventuates. It has always been a great event in the past so I don’t know what happened.”

In a Facebook post he also said the group headed back without seeing much action, after deliberately setting up in a handy spot near the ANZ bank.

“We chose the shaded area due to it obviously being very warm, so we wanted to be comfortable. But also it meant it was an easier route for us to leave. I would expect if we had been down by the VIP tent we would still be stuck along the route well into the night.”

Harkness reckoned the group still enjoyed themselves but said he might re-assess their participation next year.

A suggestion from one Facebook user was that perhaps the VIP tent be moved to the end of the route, so that more people could enjoy the floats, and not see one every 10-20 minutes.

Another member of the public emailed a CINews reporter to say the parade was “very disappointing indeed”, considering the effort it had taken to get her mother there.

“I wanted her to partake in the festivities, so we ran around looking for a wheelchair for her, and luckily managed to get one from Te Vaerua. We set up not far from the public toilets. We were particularly interested in the tere parties coming our way so that mum could see family and so forth, but unfortunately, we did not get to see them.

“We were surprised when the first float that passed us was No 4, and then maybe No 7 before we realised that they weren't all coming up through town. We gave up in the end and left. I was more disappointed for Mum. She hardly gets to go out due to mobility. We were quite excited that we got given the wheelchair and just wanted her to have a fun day.”

One young mother with two children who waited in the sun on the main road for over an hour without seeing more than a few floats, said she was fed up and was going home.

“The kids have completely lost interest, and so have I.”

CINews asked a police officer stationed towards the Foodland end of the main road whether he knew if the parade was going to come further than St Joseph’s Road, but he said he hadn’t been told anything.

Late yesterday afternoon a Culture ministry media representative said the newspaper’s enquiries about problems with the parade had been forwarded “to the right people.”

“Hopefully we will have answers soon.”

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