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Performing arts ‘peu karioi’ to be recorded

Wednesday 9 February 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Performing arts ‘peu karioi’ to be recorded
Minister of Culture George Angene, Secretary of Culture Anthony Turua and Secretary of the Ministry of Education Danielle Cochrane who is also the Cook Islands UNESCO Commissioner, Culture staff and participants at the opening of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) workshop. PHOTO: MELINA ETCHES/22020803

Cook Islands ‘peu karioi’ (performing arts) traditions, expressions, craftsmanship and practices will soon be collected and documented.

For the first time, the Ministry of Cultural Development has received significant funding from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to make the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) - ‘Peu kite karape papa akamou korero o te Ipukarea’ project possible - to gather and record peu karioi across the country.

Participants from Rarotonga and the Pa Enua attended the first ICH training workshop on Monday at the National Auditorium.

The participants will deliver the inventory collection of Maori cultural traditional knowledge around the Peu Tupuna from artists, choreographers, producers, performers, community leaders, costume designers and so forth.

Culture’s Odile Urirau noted the importance of passing on the knowledge and information of peu karioi, it’s traditions and expressions, cultural heritage, social practices, knowledge and traditional craftsmanship from generation to generation.

“We need to understand how important it is to safeguard, protect or preserve our peu karioi for future access and awareness, and we are to promote the benefit of the project and legacies for the community…” Urirau said.

The Secretary of Culture Anthony Turua announced that the project had taken almost 18 months to prepare, and last year the funding was successful which enabled participants from the Pa Enua to be included in the training.

“It is timely that this project aligns with our new National Sustainable Development (NSDA 2021 – 2121) Goal 13 – Cultural Heritage, History, Identity and Language,” said Turua.

Turua also noted the UNESCO ICH trainer Sipiriano Nemani from Fiji who assisted the Culture staff with training via a virtual platform, said, “without this training staff would not have been able to conduct the training for the participants.”

In a zoom session from Fiji, Nemani said the project is a big responsibility, “… on the islands, culture and traditions are challenged on a daily basis.”

The Cook Islands is only the second nation in the Pacific to have successfully secured funding from the UNESCO ICH Assistance Grant, said Nemani, “this is something to celebrate because it is a difficult ad cumbersome task preparing documents.”

Turua said, when this project is completed, the Ministry will shift to other cultural strands like language, tivaevae, traditional medicine, arts and craft, carving, traditional agriculture and fishing, traditional sports and more.