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Friday 18 November 2011 | Published in Regional


A well-known painting from the 1830s of Pa Te Pou Ariki, chief of the Vaka Takitumu of Rarotonga, is a favourite of mine one of the reasons being, that he holds his weapon (a spear) in one hand and a fan in the other. The significance of which is, if he extended his weapon to visitors it was war but if he extended his fan, it was peace.

With this in mind, we the oe vaka family of Rarotonga, stand to greet you holding a paddle in one hand and a fan in the other!

As you enter the land, we extend to you our fan of peace and aroa from the songs of papa Jake Numanga as you arrive at the airport with the fragrance of flowers in the air and the warm and friendly smiles of our people from your accommodation hosts, Vaka Eiva officials, to those selling delicious food and creative wares at the Vaka Village and Punanga Nui Market, we warmly welcome you, your families and your friends to VAKA EIVA 2011.

But as you enter our waters for the races, we extend to you our paddle and look forward to the challenge and privilege of battling it out with you on the water for those 1st, 2nd and 3rd places acknowledging of course that being able to participate in Vaka Eiva is a prize in itself and that good sportsmanship rules overall.

Until finally, after the last race, a time to lay down our paddles for a lot of fun, laughing, dancing, paddle-talk (and more paddle-talk!) at our VE wrap-up Beach Party in Muri!

This year Vaka Eiva has chosen a charity close to my heart Adopt a School because it aims to strengthen and improve the educational facilities and broaden the cultural knowledge of our children. For those of you who have supported our cause, kia akameitaki ia a te Atua no kotou.

And not forgetting our Vaka Eiva sponsors, may I take the opportunity to say, Meitaki maata no ta kotou aka tauturu for we couldnt do it without your assistance.

In closing, a reminder to us all, of the need to be safe and responsible dont drink and drive, respect the environment, respect the people and respect one another!

Turou, oro mai, aere mai!

Te Atua te aroa kia kotou katoatoa.