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Deeping their roots in Cook Islands for Australia Day

Wednesday 27 January 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Deeping their roots in Cook Islands for Australia Day
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.