New Zealand high commissioner Tui Dewes, Minister George Maggie Angene, Australian high commissioner Dr Christopher Watkins, Metua Vakapora, William Taripo and Io Vakapora, mark Australia Day planting trees at the Constitution Park. 21012604.
Australia Day was observed yesterday morning with intimate tree planting ceremonies at the Constitution Park.
The Australia high commissioner Dr Christopher Watkins was
given the honour to plant a coconut with two shoots at the entrance.
“It was a privilege to plant a coconut with two shoots in
Constitution Park, what a fantastic symbol. When you think of Australia and the
Cook Islands sharing their constitutional democracy, that’s a huge part of our
heritage and that two shoots are growing to represent Cook Islands and
Australia, and on Australia Day,” said Watkins.
Minister George Maggie Angene discovered the unusual uto
coconut and felt it was fitting to be planted to commemorate Australia Day.
Angene cut the back of the coconut, removed the fleshy soft
uto inside and refilled the coconut with soil before it was planted.
“Planting the coconut this way, it should bear fruit within
three to four years,” he said.
New Zealand high commissioner Tui Dewes was happy to join in
the celebration planting a red and yellow flamboyant (patai), also at the
entrance of the Park.
“It was an honour to be invited by Minister Angene to plant
the two trees to mark Australia Day. The
two trees – a yellow flamboyant (like the Australian golden wattle) and a red
flamboyant (like the New Zealand pohutukawa) – were planted side by side, and
are symbolic of the close partnership Australia and New Zealand enjoy,
including here the Cook Islands. Hopefully they’ll flourish. We wish our
Australian friends a healthy and prosperous year ahead,” said Dewes.
Metua Vakapora and her son Io also transplanted an avocado
and mango tree they had grown in a pot.
Pastor Ngarima George and Mii Upu, who are also residents of Australia, witnessed the tree planting rituals and were part of the coordinating team for the Aussie Cook Islanders celebrations at Vaiana’s Bistro and Bar last night.