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The name Avaiki Nui

Wednesday 19 October 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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The name Avaiki Nui

Dear Editor, God save us from another insecure Cook Islander born overseas (Te Kaveinga ki ‘Avaiki Nui, Oct 18) who needs to remind us who live here how useless we are.

Sorry, but for some of us changing the name of the country is of secondary concern to the high prices of goods in the shops, the poor state of our roads, and our slack health and education systems, especially in the outer islands . True, the name Cook Islands might not adequately reflect our culture today but at least it is a neutral name. So until a new, better one comes up, and after some of the major problems of this country has been solved, let’s think about a new name. The money that would be invested in another referendum would be better spent subsidising shipping to the outer islands, increasing freight capacity and creating incentives to get people moving back to the outer islands.

The proposed name, Avaiki Nui,  was used in a previous referendum in 1992 and was lost because we outer islanders did not feel it reflected us adequately. It is a Raro-centric name that does not encompass all of our islands. Not all of us trace our ancestry to this mythical place called Avaiki Nui, sorry. Would we rather be named after a famous navigator and cartographer, or a mythical place that does not even feature in the folklore of our home island? It’s a tough one.

So miserable old Captain Cook visited just 5 of the islands that now constitute the group called Cook Islands yet that’s not good enough for his name to be used on our islands? How many, or how few of the islands were discovered by someone should not be the only basis for naming things. Who was Mr Moon? Who was Mrs Earth?

Whatever name is chosen at some future date, please be sure to include the other 14 islands that comprise this country. There is more to Cook Islands than just Rarotonga.

Nelson Mandela never went to Tahiti but apparently there is a highway there named after him.

Aere na mua ka oro ei

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