New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta welcomed onto the Atupare Marae at the House of Ariki in Arorangi yesterday. NZHC Cook Islands/22101237
New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta was welcomed to the Cook Islands in ceremonial style yesterday.
The event which
was held at Atupare Marae in Arorangi featured performances from an Aitutaki
choir, a speech from Kaumaiti Nui Tou Ariki, a prayer service, drumming and a
presentation of a gift to Mahuta.
It marked the
first time Mahuta had visited the Cook Islands since she became Foreign Affairs
Minister, and her speech acknowledged the ties between the two countries.
All of the
speeches and presentations were in Cook Islands Māori or Te Reo Māori.
There was much singing and dancing throughout the ceremony, along with a ceremonial challenge to Mahuta.
House of Ariki
clerk Puna Rakanui said Mahuta’s speech was “from the heart”.
genuinely moved by the whole experience,” Rakanui said.
“She spent as much
time talking about her ancestral ties to the Cook Islands as the political
ones. She was even a little bit apologetic that she hadn’t visited the islands
in a Ministerial capacity sooner.”
Rakanui said the
theme of Mahuta’s speech was that the “bonds between the Cook Islands and
Aotearoa New Zealand will never break”.
“I believe her
too. Her speech was so appropriate for the event itself, and I look forward to
her coming back to the Marae at another time.”
Rakanui said he
also appreciated the singing from the Aitutaki choir, as well as the presence
of the students from Takamoa College.
was very keen for them to experience an event like this, it would have been
very educational for them,” he said.
Mahuta has a busy
day ahead of her today, which includes a number of cultural events as well as
the bilateral meeting with Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, where they
will sign the statement of partnership.