Editor's Picks

Other Sports

Paddling and dancing in the blood

Saturday 23 November 2019 | Written by Anneka Brown | Published in Paddling

Share

Paddling and dancing in the blood
Tamaiva Mateariki on stage at the International Dancer of the Year contest. 190051044

When he was at school, Tamaiva Mateariki used to paddle vaka. He would marvel at the view of the island from the sea.

This weekend, the award-winning dancer and the renowned group Akirata will welcome the hundreds of local and international paddlers to 2019 Matson Vaka Eiva at Saturday’s opening ceremony.

Ceremonial dancing is an important part of Cook Islands culture – and it is just one of the country’s many unique attributes that will be celebrated this coming week.

Akirata marketing manager Rohan Ellis says the dancers are renowned for their “fast and furious” moves, as well as the big and bold costumes representing the colours of each outer island.

Ellis says the performances will be especially entertaining for all the visitors who are here to compete in the Vaka Eiva races.

“Vaka Eiva is a signature event of the Cook Islands and certainly promotes the destination. We’ve been supporting Vaka Eiva for over 10 years and value the relationship.”

Cook Islands Tourism Chief Executive Officer Halatoa Fua says Vaka Eiva is a signature event of the Cook Islands and certainly promotes the destination.

“We’ve been supporting Vaka Eiva for over 10 years,” says Fua.

Ellis adds: “It will be a taste of our culture and hopefully encourage people to book an island night dinner.”

Akirata performs at the Islander hotel and bar every Tuesday and Saturday, a show paired with a $49 buffet.

Tamaiva Mateariki is excited at the opportunity to share his culture with the islands’ new visitors.

The performance will convey a welcome from the ancestors for the celebration of Oe Vaka.

“I love dancing, it is in my blood,” says Mateariki.

The opening night which starts at 5.30pm on Saturday November 23 will have the Avarua teachers string band and later at 6pm will have a pure and kaikai followed by Akirata’s performance at 7pm.