Ministry of Cultural Development staff are putting the finishing touches in place at the National Auditorium (Are Karioi Nui), from left, audio visual unit officer Travel Moeara, Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Development Emile Kairua, events manager Robert Ioaba, technical officer Anka Atiau, and at front, policy and research manager Jane Wichman-Poa. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS 23110307
Thousands of people are anticipated to converge on the National Auditorium (Are Kariori Nui) over the coming week, with months of planning and preparation behind the scenes.
Cultural Development staff are putting the finishing touches on the auditorium
as leaders from 18 nations converge for a series of meetings, starting with the
opening ceremony, “Turou! Oro Mai!”, on Monday evening.
Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Development
Emile Kairua was on site yesterday, alongside supporting staff.
Kairua said the auditorium and surrounding buildings
would be the headquarters for the upcoming leaders’ meetings, and he was
confident they were ready to host them.
The focus was to get “the house ready” to welcome
them, he said.
“With the help of Infrastructure Cook Islands and the
Cook Islands Investment Corporation we have been able to give this place a much-needed
For the Cook Islands, it was about understanding the
background and the significance in having leadership in the Pacific, he said.
He named Henry Puna, Mark Brown and the late Albert
Henry as examples.
On Monday the House of Ariki would play an integral
role in welcoming the leaders and people in an “Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper” theme.
“We are going to see a mix of the past, modern
technology, there will be a hybrid of live and pre-recorded performances.
“We have engaged known authorities on our culture; the
level of expertise is actually quite young, which is good to see.”
Ministry of Cultural Development policy and research
manager Jane Wichman-Poa, also on site at the auditorium yesterday, said there
had been a number of “layers of different work to be completed”, starting about
two months ago.
She anticipated about 1000 people would attend the
opening ceremony on Monday.
Leaders are expected to arrive about 6pm followed by
formalities at 6.30pm and dinner at 7.30pm.
Paramount chiefs would be in attendance as well as traditional
leaders from across the Cook Islands.
“We will have our finest orators available.”
Wichman-Poa said it would be one of the bigger events
the Ministry of Cultural Development had supported.
“We are confident; it hasn’t been a walk in the park.
“There is a lot more we could have done but we had to