More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Team Cook Islands excels in badminton at Zespri AIMS Games in New Zealand

Thursday 7 September 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Badminton, Sports


Team Cook Islands excels in badminton at Zespri AIMS Games in New Zealand
Cook Island Tauranga family and supporters. BADMINTON COOK ISLANDS / 23090609

Badminton Cook Islands team for the Zespri Games in New Zealand are doing well.

According to Badminton Cook Islands, as of yesterday Singles Champions for Division 2 Boys was Makea Pauka, Division 2 Girls Runner-Up Talia Adams, Division 3 Girls Champion Trudeinus Tuaputa, and Division 3 Girls Runner-Up Itirangi Nicholas-Herman.

Team Cook Islands Final Singles Standings were:  Edon Teraitua, Division 1 Top 16

Uhain Gamez, Division 1 Top 32, Haize Gamez, Division 1 Top 32, Claude Simpson, Division 2 Top 4, Maraea Wichman, Division 2 Top 8, Terito Napa, Division 2 Top 16, Vincent Simpson, Division, 2 Top 16, Siaosi Cowan, Division 2 Top 16, Victor Anselmo, Division 2 Top 32, Raeyaan Narayan, Division 2 Top 32 and Prince Strickland, Division 3 Top 8.

Badminton Cook Islands President Thomas Ngauru said they are really proud of the team’s performance and they have done well.

“For most of them this is their first time overseas, for an international tournament. It is all about getting them to that level of environment and learning how to handle their nerves and the crowd.”

He said the team’s performance was more than expected.

The badminton team will begin their doubles competition today to determine who goes into the division event tomorrow.

Ngauru acknowledged the Cook Islands Tauranga family and supporters from the Cook Islands for being there for the team.

He also acknowledged major sponsor Bank South Pacific (BSP) and CITC (Cook Islands Trading Corporation) for support in getting the team to New Zealand.

Fifteen youngsters from the ages of 11 to 13 are representing the Cook Islands in the competition.

Meanwhile, a sense of unity and connection was felt as international athletes were officially welcomed to the Zespri AIMS Games for the first time since Covid-19.

Intermediate-aged athletes from the Cook Islands, Fiji and Samoa were treated to a powerful and moving pōwhiri at Tauranga Intermediate School on Monday (NZ time).

Tauranga Intermediate pupils filled the hall with songs and haka, bringing cultures together as Cook Islands and Fiji responded with their own prepared performances.

Cook Islands badminton team manager Ahkim Tikaroa said it was a “beautiful” welcome.

“The last time we came, we didn’t have this, and it is an honour to witness.”

Overseas schools accounted for two per cent of attendees.

Cook Island players will compete in badminton and tennis, the Fiji team will play rugby sevens and Samoa, which has only two representatives, will play badminton.

A Cook Islands team group leader and parent, who spoke at the powhiri, said he was thankful the pupils were able to experience the different cultures with such a traditional Maori welcome.

“The culture has unity, respect and hospitality.”

“It’s an honour to be a part of the AIMS games. Our goals for the tournament are to have fun, never mind the results.”

Tauranga Intermediate School’s kapa haka team also performed at the opening ceremony on Sunday evening, which was attended by 5000 people.

Kapa haka teacher Edward Te Moana said: “It’s a really good opportunity for the indigenous cultures to come together and keep that connection from all our families from the islands.”

“It’s a good way to calm themselves before the craziness of the games.

“I hope that for the following years we keep these connections between us, not even between indigenous cultures but as a whole of the AIMS games.”

A Tauranga City Council spokeswoman said the event was able to bring all cultures together, which was “incredible” especially after not being able to do that since 2019.

“By having a pōwhiri, and welcoming international students, we are showing that Tauranga are the good hosts.”

The spokeswoman said there were 20,000 people in Tauranga for the week, which will bring about $4.5 million into the area and to local businesses.

Losirene Lacanivalu / Additional reporting Harriet Laughton/Stuff