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A Cook Islands-style degustation meal was on the menu on Tuesday evening when about 50 guests, sponsors, stakeholders, food writers and visiting and local chefs gathered at Highland Paradise to launch the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation’s search for a Cook Islands cuisine strategy.

Cook Islands artist Apii Rongo is all set for his first solo presentation in 15 years in an exhibition proudly presented by Beachcomber Pearl Market and the Print Room from July 9 to 27.

The Takurua programme, designed to be interactive and to engage all sectors of the community, enters day three today and focuses on Te Ki o Te’Enua, visiting plantations and agricultural sites.

The House of Ariki is in the midst of finalising programmes for this year’s Ui Ariki and Aronga Mana Day, to be held on Friday, July 6, with celebrations to be held by the three Rarotonga vaka and individual islands.

The international chefs who are helping the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation develop a Cook Islands cuisine strategy arrived in the country early this morning and will join representatives from the 25 businesses and groups that have put their hands up to sponsor the ‘Takurua O Avaiki Raro, Avaiki Vaenga, Manavanui’ programme at an opening event at Highland Paradise this afternoon.

With an estimated 2000 people, most of whom will be arriving in Rarotonga from the pa enua, participating in Te Maeva Nui this year, the countdown is on to make sure all is ready for the nation’s biggest annual celebration, starting on July 27.

The Vaka Pride committee started their quarterly judging for round nine competition yesterday.

The Cook Islands Voyaging Society (CIVS) is hoping that a special visit this week will inspire the next generation of traditional voyagers.

Cook Islanders in New Zealand are playing their part in the reduction of carbon emissions by using recycled materials to produce tivaevae, or traditional quilting.

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