It was also one of the windiest days we’ve had on Rarotonga for a while and there were a few anxious moments as he struck the match. However, in the shelter of Government House the flame held – and the torch carried by Rarotonga Scout Terry Akava lit immediately, to smiles all round.
Scouts from the St Joseph’s troop then joined with their St Michaels counterparts from Mauke in relaying the torch from Titikaveka to Constitution Park in Avarua for yesterday’s official opening of the annual Te Maeva Nui festival.
Rarotonga leader Ben Maxwell said the bearing of the torch by Scouts was a time-honoured tradition during Te Maeva Nui and was considered a great honour and privilege. He was uncertain when the torch-bearing relay had first begun, but thought it may date back to the early days of self-government.
Especially pleased to be involved yesterday was Mauke Scout leader Basilio Tutai Kaokao who has been involved with Scouting on Mauke for 35 years. He has attended several overseas jamborees in his time, but agreed that having his troop involved in carrying the flame for Te Maeva Nui was pretty special.
The group of 16 boys set a good pace with a combination of walking and running, and by a little after 11am had already reached Blackrock.
At Constitution Park, the flame was re-lit by prime minister Henry Puna, who declared Te Maeva Nui officially open.