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A sense of pride

Saturday 21 May 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National


A sense of pride

The best senior individual cultural dancers had over 1000 strong audience members roaring with pride at the Ministry of Culture’s Te Mire Ura dance competition on Thursday night.

After deferments of the annual event because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this first cultural event of the year held did not disappoint with outstanding performances from the dancers wowing the crowd at the National Auditorium.

Te Mire Ura involves weeks and sometimes months of rehearsals and costume making before any cultural performance on the big stage.

The competition is passionate and intense – there is expectation from the dancers to do their very best carrying the pride of culture and representation of the country on their shoulders while on stage.

Estelle Short, 17, who was crowned the new senior female dance champion, delivered stunning and impressive performances, and her talent, skills and costume saw her make a clean sweep in her division.

Short, who represented Vaka Takitumu and Te Manavanui Cultural Group, says she was “really nervous” before stepping on stage and focused on her actions.

Estelle Short - Te Mire Ura 2022 Senior female Dance Champion in the slow beat. Photo: Melina Etches/22052015

“I was very grateful, there are a lot of things that go on behind the scenes, but no one really realises it. I was just so happy I didn’t make any mistakes and I’m grateful for my team for being there and supporting me,” says the Tereora College Year 13 student.

“I love our culture, it makes me feel proud to be a Cook Islander. We are really rich in our culture and we stand out compared to a lot of other countries.”

One of the challenges Short says was making sure “I know all my actions and singing the song when I dance”.
Short says she believes it’s important for young people to know their culture.

“You should be proud to know your culture and to be a Cook Islander, and give it a go. It helps build your confidence.”

The Ministry of Culture Te Mire Ura 2022 Senior Dance competitors. Photo: MINISTRY OF CULTURE/22052055

Short would like to encourage more dancers from the Pa Enua to join in the future, noting how good it was to see more of the islands represented in the event.

Former senior male dance champion Tamaiva Mateariki reclaimed his crown, winning all the categories in the event.

The Tauranga Vananga (Ministry of Culture) secretary Anthony Turua says the performances continue to maintain high standards, despite the pandemic landscape.

“We were also happy with the significant crowd attendance both inside and under the Dome despite the notorious wet weather,” says Turua.

“It was also great to see the young participants from Aitutaki, Mangaia and Mauke making themselves included in this prestigious national Mire Ura event.”

Tamaiva Mateariki - Te Mire Ura 2022 Senior Male Dance Champion in the fast beat section. Photo: Melina Etches/22052042

Turua laments the technical issues with the internet network for the livestream, and says this will be addressed with the network provider in preparation for the next cultural events.

The 2022 theme for all cultural activities is “Te au Vairakau Tupuna o toku Matakeinanga/Enua’ or the Traditional Medicine of my Community/Island”.

Judges for the evening were: Moana Taio, Anna Savage, John Pareanga, Larry Tumai, Merle Pukerua, Enua Peyroux, James Tuaoputa and Taina White-Pittman.

The results for Te Mire Ura Seniors Dance Competition are as follows

Female section: 1st Estelle Short, 2nd Tori Sosene, 3rd Nicolea Mateariki; Estelle Short also placed first in the Slow Beat, Fast Beat and Costume categories; consolation prizes were awarded to Toia William, Lisiane Messine, Irene Clude and Janice Moekapiti.

Male section: 1st Tamaiva Mateariki, 2nd Piritau Nga Jnr, 3rd Christopher Bishop; Tamaiva Mateariki also placed first in the Slow Beat, Fast Beat and costume categories; consolation prizes were awarded to Terry Akava, Temarama Rio and Maitoe Henry.

More photos and highlights from the competition below:

Toia William from Aitutaki Enua in the fast beat section. Photo: Supplied/22052019
Terry Akava representing Enuamanu in the fast beat section. Photo: Supplied/22052022
Janiece Moekapiti from Mangaia Enua in the fast beat section. Photo: Supplied/22052024
Nicolea Mateariki representing Akatokamanava Enua. Photo: Supplied/22052034
Irene Clyde from Aitutaki Enua. Photo: Supplied/22052013
Maitoe Rua Henry from Aitutaki Enua. Photo: Supplied/22052014
Lisiane Messine representing Oire Ngatagiia. Photo: Supplied/22052038
Piritau Nga representing Vaka Takitumu. Photo: Supplied/22052030
Tori Sosene representing Nukuroa Enua. Photo: Supplied/22052029
Christopher Bishop from Aitutaki Enua. Photo: Supplied/22052007
Temarama Rio from Aitutaki Enua. Photo: Supplied/22052025