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Voices of Rakahanga

Saturday 30 July 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National

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Voices of Rakahanga
Anthony Kaina, Ngametua Takai and Kairua Roimata Mataio are representing their home land of Rakahanga in the 2022 Te Maeva Nui celebrations. Photo: MELINA ETCHES/22072930

Voices of Rakahanga will be singing loud and proud in the 2022 Te Maeva Nui cultural festival next week in the Ute, Imene Tuki and Choir performances.

This year the team will not be participating in the dance items which require more preparation time and material to produce.

Rakahanga’s team leader and composer Kairua Roimata Mataio said they had thought of joining the Kapa Rima but all the dancers were new.

“We really didn’t have enough time to teach them or to make costumes,” Mataio said.

The group then focused on the items they could enter. In the first few weeks of rehearsals only six people showed up, after week three the numbers grew to 30.

“And now our Rakahanga team has increased to over 80 members, so we have more than enough,” said Mataio.

Mataio composed the Ute and Imene Tuki songs and Ben Tuteru the choir.
“But everyone in the group also contributed to the songs and helped out adding their bits to liven up the songs,” said Mataio.

He is proud Rakahanga – an atoll in the north of the Cook Islands – will be represented in this year’s Te Maeva Nui cultural festival.

“I wanted to do this because I wanted my people to be part of the celebrations and enjoy it, because it has been too long.”

Mataio had approached the Rakahanga executive to initiate a team for the festival which the committee agreed to and supported.

“Now, here we are and I want everyone to have a good time presenting our songs.”

On the Constitution Day on Thursday, August 4, Rakahanga will perform in the choir and the Imene Tuki programme followed by Ute on Friday evening.

“There was a good feeling amongst the group after the float parade (yesterday) and we are looking forward to next week,” Mataio said.