Visitors, who turned up in large numbers, were treated to one of the favourite local dishes – ika mata – during the Kia Orana Week at Maire Nui Park yesterday.
The day four activity started off with coconut husking and grating demonstration, followed by a demonstration of how to make ika mata, the iconic local raw fish dish.
Coco Putt Ale House owner and chef Tokerau Turia (Tooks) prepared the ika mata. The visitors were also offered a sample of the dish. The weeklong Kia Orana Week which ends today had a number of activities aimed at highlighting Cook Islands culture and heritage as a key part of the tourism industry.
Today, the visitors will be taught ura (dance) followed by the Ura Fitness class and demo. Ura Fitness is a local fitness craze involving Cook Islands and Polynesian dancing. Cook Islands Tourism Corporation director of destination development Metua Vaiimene said it was important to teach visitors the local culture and tradition to help them better understand the Cook Islands way of life.
“We don’t want visitors to come here just for holiday because in that way, we won’t realise the full benefit of tourism. Tourism is in essence an exchange of ideas and cultures,” Vaiimene said.
“We want to promote to the world the way to live like we do in a little paradise and help the world to slow down a bit and enjoy what we have got.
“It is very important that our visitors are able to take a good story, a true story that is authentic about our country, and that can be gained when people are interacting with the locals.”
The Cook Islands Meteorological Service will open its doors to the public today to commemorate this year’s World Meteorological Day.
The turnout on day two of the Kia Orana Week celebrations at Maire Nui Park yesterday was much better as visitors tried their hands at making ei and weaving.