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Cook Islands performers gear up for FestPAC debut in Hawai’i

Wednesday 5 June 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Entertainment, Features


Cook Islands performers gear up for FestPAC debut in Hawai’i
Cook Islands National Arts Theatre team members Tehina Tommy, left, and Mereana Bishop are performing at the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture for the first time. MELINA ETCHES/24060411

After months of intense rehearsals, the Cook Islands National Arts Theatre (CINAT) performers are “really excited” to showcase their culture at the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) in Hawaii.

The event held every four years will run from June 6-16 in Honolulu.

Among the performers are sisters Mereana and Uirangi Bishop who are both performing at the FestPAC for the first time.

Mereana said: “Being here with my big sister is such a good feeling. And being with group is great, we all know each other and we are like a big, happy family.”

Mereana said she has heard from previous performers about the significance and excitement of representing the country on stage.

“I’m excited to be able to have my own experience performing for my country at this festival. I’m really excited.”

Another performer, Tehina Tommy said: “It’s a privilege and an honour to be a part of this here with our Cook Islands team. I’ve been excited since we started our rehearsals as a team.”

Tommy said she’s enjoying everything “as we go and looking forward to our first performance”.

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

Yesterday, the CINAT team rehearsed their performances at the Hawaii Convention Centre.

The Cook Islands delegation will be attending the welcoming ceremony of the Vaka (traditional voyaging canoe) this morning. The 13th FestPAC opening ceremony will be held tomorrow.