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Keeping the flame alive

Thursday 9 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Rugby Union, Sports

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Keeping the flame alive
Teitini Pekepo with the ball, Steven Doherty (right), and George George (back), participate in the Golden Oldies Rugby Mini Festival Rarotonga a few years back. PC: CAMERON SCOTT/24050801

The biennial Cook Islands Golden Oldies Rugby Mini Festival kicks off this Saturday at 1pm at Raemaru Park in Arorangi.

The Turama Pacific Travel Group’s two-day sports bonanza will see six international teams, and a few local teams including Aitutaki’s Happy Feet stalwarts, bringing together over 150 players and supporters.

Matariki Wilson from Turama Pacific says this festival is based on fun, friendship and fraternity, and getting men moving while enjoying a game of rugby.

The Golden Oldies is a space for those over 35-years-old to keep active playing rugby, and fellowship.

George George, a men’s health advocate and former country representative in rugby league/union, encourages men to exercise and participate in sports for better health.

The Avatiu/Nikao Mongoose Golden Oldies member says in Rarotonga, it appears that once you finish playing in the premiers your contract is terminated from playing again.

George wants to see the next generation of men 50 years and over “keep the flame going” in the sport.

“There are too many men sitting around on the couch, we want our men to keep exercising, to keep moving or sooner or later they will struggle to walk,” said George.

“This an opportunity for past players to stay active, participate in rugby, and have some fun.”

The rugby festival will run from May 11-14, 2024.

On Monday, the games will continue at Raemaru Park. The wrap-up event will be held on Tuesday at The Islander Hotel. Festival managers are from Turama Pacific Travel Group'’ Destination Management Cook Islands (DMCK) team, alongside experienced festival directors Robert Skews and Stephen Doherty.

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