Wednesday 3 May 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National
Cook Islands News raised these concerns with the Ministry this week.
In regards to the late entries, Culture Secretary Anthony Turua said: “We need to be flexible that if we only have limited number of participants then we have two options – either to cancel, or extend the registrations for the event. That’s our call based on return investment in revenue vs expenses.”
In a statement the Ministry said after an extensive investigation, it can confidently confirm that they did not receive an application from an overseas contestant.
However, enquiries had been received from and on behalf of individuals interested in applying whilst living overseas.
“We can confirm that these were responded to in accordance with the Te Mire Ura rules and regulations.”
Te Mire Ura eligibility rules state all contestants must be of Cook Islands ancestry and residing permanently in the Cook Islands, except those travelling overseas to attend education or short-term training programmes, and then return to the Cook Islands. A person must have lived in the country for three consecutive months to be eligible to join.
The Ministry would like to extend its deepest apology to the registered 13 contestants and “takes ownership of its misunderstanding, and insufficient communication relayed to its contestants in regard to the Pa Enua endorsement protocol”.
On April 24, the Rarotonga Te Mire Ura registration process officially closed with seven male and four female contestants. A line up draw was conducted with those successful applicants.
On April 28, the Pa Enua Te Mire Ura registration process officially closed with two female contestants. The draw was then amended to accommodate the additions, the Ministry said.
“Unfortunately, an error was made whereby a Pa Enua endorsement was prematurely approved by the Ministry without full disclosure of the contestant’s residency status. Therefore, with great regret, an executive decision was made and only one (1) Pa Enua contestant will be added to the line-up draw bringing our final numbers to 12.
“An invitation has been extended to the Pa Enua contestant that we were unable to include this year to perform as a guest artist for the night as we believe their talent is one to be acknowledged.
“Once again, the Ministry of Cultural Development apologises for any inconvenience caused and would like to extend the best of luck to all our 12 dancing champions.”Melina Etches