E maunga noku ko Maungaroa, orotu kite kaveinga ko Arai- ava
Tere tere na runga i te taunga o te arai tapu
E pae pae noku, ko kai o kaveka
Mata – kite mata, kiko – kite kiko, ivi –kite –ivi, toto kite – toto
Kia orana, and welcome to all our Rugby 7s families and players.
Firstly, kia orana to the main threepillars of our country:
1. Our traditional leaders, Ui Ariki, Ui Mataiapo, Ui Rangatira of our respective islands, Matakeinanga.
2. To our many denominations of Churches across our Country
3. Lastly and most importantly our Government of today. Thank you maata for the support for 2019 Rugby 7s.
To all the players, men and women from overseas and our own local players and your respective management, a special kia orana and meitaki maata to you all.
Kia orana to our core sponsors: Edgewater (gold) and Bluesky (silver). Thanks to our bronze sponsors Islander Hotel, CITC, Tourism Cook Islands, ICBH, Cook Islands News, MAD Design; and also to brass sponsors and friends, ANZ Banking, Raro Mart, HPM, Origin Gas and Cook Islands Herald. Plus the many sponsors who are on board to assist and celebrate our 30th anniversary of international 7s Rugby on our small paradise, Cook Islands.
The last 30 years of our Rugby 7s have always been at your doorstep. Definitely one would not believe how it has come through the many years of waves, wet and windy weather, the regular cyclone warnings that have occasionally bypassed and sometimes hit us.
Today we have achieved through that many unforeseen boundaries, which has come through for 30 years of Rugby 7s here on Rarotonga, the capital of the 15 Islands.
We must also acknowledge many of our local players past and present and to those from overseas, the like of Waisale Serevi, late Jonah Lomu, Eroni Clarke, Blair Larsen and lastly Eric Rush, who is here with us today as the tournament ambassador.
Our own local players still with us today include George George, Tangiau Tepai, Ben Koteka, Walter Henry, Semesi Foliakie, Jeff Karika, Ngere Tariu (Warrior), Henry Iripa, Minister of Sport Vaine Mac Mokoroa, the Piri brothers Darren and Terry, and many more. I remember the late Rea Rea. I acknowledge Cook Islands Rugby Union president from the past, the late Lionel Brown, Amene Rangi, Terry Hagan, Nooroa Ina Tou, Tangata Ina Tou, Chris Mackienly, Phillip Anderson, John Wichman, Lara Sadaraka, Moana Moeka’a and Sean Smith.
To our many volunteers working behind the scenes, our security, ball boys, timekeepers and, importantly, our technical officials and supporting staff.
Our very own Cook Islands base referees members past and present, I also want to acknowledge our New Zealand referees from the Auckland Rugby Union Referees Association who have been here for 10 years, namely Peter Willis, Paul Devan, Steven Salty and many more.
Our Cook Islands Rugby Union referee main sponsor Arama Wichman and your Cook Islands Building Supplies hard-working staff. Air Raro for bringing our outer islands referees: Andre Tanga and Arthur Emile (Aitutaki),Toru Orii (Atiu), Junior Aberahama Pokino (Mitiaro), Taokai Taokia (Mangaia). Meitaki maata for the support.
The current Cook Islands Rugby Union executive board in conjunction with Government support and also to CISNOC, a big meitaki maata. I pray to the good Lord to provide us good weather and exciting time during the next three days of successful rugby 7s.
Cook Islands Rugby Union