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Team Cook Islands prepares for FestPAC with fundraising concert

Wednesday 29 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Entertainment, Features


Team Cook Islands prepares for FestPAC with fundraising concert
The Cook Islands National Arts Theatre (CINAT) team is pictured with some of their sponsors who have contributed to the new set of drums. MELINA ETCHES/24052501

Cook Islands is sending a 160-member delegation to the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture in Hawaii, with a fundraising concert and official send-off planned before their departure.

The Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) is the world’s largest elite celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders.

Team Cook Islands’ 160-member strong delegation will depart Rarotonga on Sunday, June 2, for Honolulu, Hawai’i, for the festival taking place from June 6–16, 2024.

The general public is being offered the opportunity to see the extravagant Cook Islands National Arts Theatre (CINAT) performance this Friday night by purchasing a FestPAC24 Banquet and Cultural Show VIP ticket for $100, which includes a sumptuous meal.

And this Friday night, the general public can experience the extravagant Cook Islands National Arts Theatre (CINAT) performance at the FestPAC24 Banquet and Cultural Show. The VIP ticket is selling at $100 each and includes a sumptuous meal.

Emile Kairua, Secretary of Tauranga Vananga (Ministry of Cultural Development) who will be leading the Cook Islands delegation, says the concert will serve as an introduction of Team Cook Islands before their departure for Hawaii.

Only 400 VIP tickets are available. There will be no general admission ticket.

Kairua said the purpose of the concert was to present the team to the community and to assist with any shortfalls the group may have in Hawai’i.

“We have had to make some changes to the movements of some people and we haven’t been able to return everyone on the scheduled June 15 flight. So, we’re having to look after possibly about 35 – 45 people after the festival,” explained Kairua.

Whilst there are already funds to take care of that, managers of the group are not too comfortable and felt a fundraiser concert to cover any shortfalls would be best.

The 46-member CINAT group of dancers, singers, drummers, and costume designers is led by performing arts experts Mark Short and Jane Rubena who are passionate about culture.

Dancers have been rehearsing every day polishing their items.

Taunga rakei (costume designer) Mareta Angene Teira assisted by Kura Taruia and Tautapu Samson have been consistently working on the creations.

“The audience can expect a mix of popular old and new items,” said Rubena.

CINAT is grateful for the new drum set carved and crafted by Teariki Unuia that will be taken to Hawai’i.

Kairua said there are many engagements and key presentations to attend to when they arrive.

“We need to be at the top of our game.”

Tauranga Vananga will also have a social media team providing daily updates and live streams of the Pacific Arts Festival to the Cook Islands.

Three months ago, the ministry commissioned the vainetini in Penrhyn to create 150 rito hats in green and white colours.

The beautiful hats have arrived in Rarotonga, thanks to Te Kupapa II who stopped in Penrhyn on their way to Tahiti. The hats were then flown to Rarotonga.

Team Cook Islands is kindly reminded to attend the presentation and blessing of the uniforms at Te Are Karioi (National Auditorium) tomorrow, Thursday, at 8.30am.

On Saturday morning, the team will be presented at Te Are Ariki (House of Ariki).

Team members are asked to wear the official green TAVs uniform and a rito hat and meet at Te Are Karioi on Sunday at 9.30am before proceeding to the Apostolic Church as a team for the service at 10am.

FestPAC’s main objective is to promote cultural exchange and understanding among the participating nations.

This festival has been hosted by different Pacific Island nations on a rotational basis, each host country takes on the responsibility of organising and hosting the festival.

During this year’s event, Cook Islands will be putting in a bid to host the 2032 FestPAC.

The CINAT team would like to acknowledge their sponsors Bank of the Cook Islands, Malcolm Sword, and Jessie Sword of Cook Islands General Transport (CIGT) and Transam, Office of the Prime Minister, Chris Vaile, Sean Willis, Brett Porter, Allen Parker, and Heinz Matysik.