Rehearsals for school students for the opening ceremony of the upcoming Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting will start this week. MFAI/23102212
Pacific Leaders and delegates travelling to the Cook Islands for the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM52), can expect a warm and colourful Polynesian welcome during the PIFLM52 opening ceremony to be held on the evening of 6 November 2023 at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga.
islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki have been a hive of activity over the past
few weeks, as the island nation with a population of just over 17,000 people
prepares to welcome Pacific Leaders and their delegations for the week-long
than 200 Cook Islanders, consisting mostly of students, have been working hard
to perfect their welcome routines to showcase an opening ceremony that Pacific
Leaders and their delegations will remember.
culture coordinators Tereapii Tumutoa and Uirangi Bishop, along with their
team, have been finalising loose ends for the ceremony.
let me say that as Cook Islanders, we are looking forward to welcoming everyone
to our beautiful country,” said Tumutoa. “The opening ceremony will be a
showcase of our proud and lively Cook Islands culture, our people, and a coming
together of our Pacific cultures and Forum family. For example, the sounding of
the conch shell, which signals the arrival of someone very important will be
prominent at the start of the ceremony, to signal the arrival of all our very
the different stages of the opening ceremony, we will also showcase our Pacific
voices through Cook Islands drumming, our vaka as a means of connecting, and
our shared voyaging DNA as Pacific people. Chants from different parts of the
Cook Islands including the north to the south, showcasing our identity, have
also been woven into the ceremony.”
to take place at the National Auditorium, the opening ceremony shines the
spotlight on Cook Islands youth, with the event open to the public.
recent weeks, and directed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration
(MFAI) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, schools and volunteers
from within and beyond the government have been part of preparatory sessions
learning about the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) community, as they gear up to
showcase their learnings and cultural identity during the opening ceremony.
the heart of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific continent is the health and
well-being of our Pacific People, our oceans, and our lands through our faith,
our cultural values, and our traditional knowledge,” said Tumutoa.
inter-generational Pacific values must be nurtured within our children if we
are to ensure the security and prosperity of our Pacific people into the
future. We want our students to be excited about our Leaders gathering for
PIFLM52. It is their voices that will reach our Leaders and resonate across the
decisions our Leaders make that will guide the future direction of our Pacific.
At the forefront of these decisions is the health and well-being of our Pacific
people and our youth, who are the Leaders of tomorrow.
opening ceremony will also showcase the Pacific Islands Forum evolution and the
passing of knowledge from generation to generation,” Tumutoa said. “If we look
back at the history of the PIF Secretariat and our Cook Islands contribution
through the late Albert Henry, and all contributing Leaders of our Forum,
including the present day, we have much to be proud of. We want to highlight
the spirit of our Pacific leadership, aspirations and service through the
for school students for the opening ceremony will start next week, with
students participating at mid to lower levels due to seniors' student exams
scheduled in November. The doors for the opening ceremony will open at 5pm to
welcome guests to be seated before the event starts at 6pm.