It was a great occasion not only for the many children and parents who attended, but also for the CIFA staff members who stood out in their green Just Play tees.
Before English’s arrival, over 250 children from around the island flocked onto Victoria Park ready to rock out the Village Festival with sporting codes including athletics, netball, badminton, rugby, cricket, gymnastics and soccer.
Overwhelmed with the attendance from the children, Paiti beamed with excitement.
It was a proud moment and an opportunity to showcase to PM English and his delegation just how their aid programme is assisting with the development of the children here in the Cook Islands.
New Zealand Aid Programme partly funds the Just Play programme.
“It is great to see the many children and the support from the parents in attending Tuesday’s special Village Festival,” said Michelle.
“I believe that they loved the occasion, with the opportunity to see him up close and even speak with the prime minister and his delegation.”
The response from the children was certainly impressive as they fully embraced their moment, says Paiti
“In our community we have a huge health issue, especially with obesity and diabetes, and this is one way to get our children started in the healthier path, as agreed by PM Bill English who believes in keeping active for a better lifestyle.”
English tried his hand at cricket only to be run out by the little ones who were fielding, before making his way around the ground to chat and participate in a number of activities.
Kicking around with the six-year-old category in a small-sided soccer match, he opted to be the goalkeeper, blocking a number of attempts at goal by the keen footballers.
At the grounds were booths for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Health, which shared how important it is to always drink water, eat fruit and vegetables and be physically active.
Before departing to his next meeting, PM English and minister Ngaro was presented with a small gift from Just Play.
Just Play is a programme fully funded by the New Zealand Government, Australian Government, Football Federation of Australia, UFEA Foundation for Children and UNICEF. - CIFA