The ceremony was to mark the gifting of two new giant LED screens donated to the Ministry of Culture by the Chinese city of Zhuhai, which has had something of a “sister city” type relationship with the Cook Islands for the past three years.
The screens are currently mounted inside the National Auditorium for the viewing benefit of Te Maeva Nui audiences.
In addition to Maggie, the ceremony was attended by Culture secretary Anthony Turua, associate minister for agriculture Patrick Arioka and other Cook Islands government representatives, as well as a Chinese delegation led by Zhuhai vice-mayor Zhu Qingqiao.
“Today, I am happy and proud to tell everybody that we have been gifted with these beautiful TV screens you see on the side from the Chinese government,” announced Maggie (translated from Maori).
“On behalf of the Ministry of Culture, we would like to thank the Chinese government for this beautiful gift you have given to this ministry.”
Later, speaking directly to vice-mayor Qingqiao from the podium, Maggie said that the Ministry of Culture had experienced “difficulties with a lot of machinery and trucks to assist the ministry with a lot of things that they need to do.
“Unfortunately we lack the machinery, and I would like to ask you for whatever machinery you can give to assist the Ministry of Culture. We would be very happy and very grateful with it.
“Mr vice-mayor, I would like to request a four-wheel drive to assist the ministry – as you can see, when it’s raining and it’s quite muddy, a four-wheel drive is one of the best vehicles we can have to assist the Ministry of Culture with their line of work and with things we need to bring into the ministry.
“I will sit with the secretary of Culture and discuss with him the machinery that we are looking for, and I will also give you a photo of the type of machinery that we would like to request from the Chinese government to assist the ministry.”
In his response speech (translated from Chinese), Vice-Mayor Qingqiao said he understood that “it is one of the key projects of the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development to improve the hardware of the National Auditorium”.
“Therefore, we have been making all our efforts to carry out the LED screens donation project, and we have completed the installation prior to the independence day of the Cook Islands.
“We hope that through the donation of the LED screens, we can do our part to improve the hardware of the Cook Islands conferences, and to enrich the people’s cultural life.”
The LED screen donation ceremony was preceded by a meeting between the Zhuhai delegation and representatives from the Cook Islands government departments of culture, education, agriculture, tourism and trade, and was followed by the opening of a Zhuhai City photo exhibition at the National Museum.
We’ll have more on these events in tomorrow’s CINews.