The chosen panel of judges had their work cut out for them as all eight performers were naturally gifted and flawless dancers.
However, a graceful slow beat dance honouring her home island of Manihiki coupled with a well-honed and effortless fast beat performance earned seasoned dancer Helena Strickland the female dancer of the year title.
The winning dancer showcased the many changing styles of Cook Islands dance from the traditional to today’s contemporary flair.
Last year’s defending champion Kirsten Tangapiri was radiant in her ara (pandanus) tribute slow beat, and breathtaking in her fast beat outfit, earning her second place and the best costume award.
All eyes were on Andreena Teremoana Putua when she stepped out in a stunning shell-adorned costume to represent her village of Nikao.
Returning to stage in a vivid blue and purple costume she lit up the auditorium and earned herself third place.
Aloma Moore was a vision of confidence when she stepped out on stage for the night’s show while Villiama George honoured the Kura lorikeet of Atiu in her dance show.
In the senior men’s division, just three warriors entered the show however all three young men were standout performers and certainly made judging
In the end it was Aitutaki dancer Christopher Bishop who caught the judge’s eye. He oozed confidence on stage, with his cheeky grin receiving a rapturous cheers from the crowd.
Bishop won both the slow and fast beat section, while a theatrical performance by Nikao’s young Samuel Nga earned his second in the competition.
A passionate and emotional performance by John Pareanga for his late father moved the crowd for the third place getter.
The show was compered by Ministry of Culture Secretary, Sonny Williams who mentioned that a visitor had approached him to thank the team for putting on the show for them.
“But I told her, with all due respect, we put this show on for us Cook Islanders so we can set the standard for our dancers,” said Williams.
“This is not a tourist show, this is a show for us all.”