This year the Cook Islands celebrate 50 years of internal self governance in association with New Zealand.*
A long-time friend of the Cooks, John Roberts, has produced a video birthday card, Cook Islands 50 Beginnings, looking back on some of the events since 1965. John's website, www.cookislands.org.uk, is a great place to find out all about the Cooks, its islands, people, traditions, tourism ... you name it and it will probably be there. Check it out.
Many thanks to John for this great reminder of the last 50 years.
*The prime minister has recently been making noises about having a seat in the UN but our association with NZ doesn't allow for this. Changing the terms of the association, if it's even possible, would mean giving up New Zealand citizenship and the majority of Kukis here are just not interested in this. In fact they are vehemently opposed. No doubt this is even more true for the 80,000 or so who live overseas.
Friday, August 7
Saturday, June 27
We've got a new New Zealand High Commissioner on the island. Nick Hurley was appointed in April this year, taking over from Joanna Kempkers. He recently hosted the Matariki Maori Art Exhibition, a five day carving and weaving fest by artists from the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) based in Rotorua, finishing off work they started in New Zealand.
They were joined by local craftspeople at the outdoor exhibition and visitors were welcome to watch them at work. Many local schoolchildren took advantage of this opportunity. The exhibition took place from 15 to 20 June although the Rarotonga weather played a hand - one day's events had to be cancelled due to heavy and prolonged rain.
Motone Productions organised the logistical side of things and this included a daily free lunchtime concert with local musicians Henz and Destiny, Lincoln Mail and Kura Happ along with visiting NZ funk/soulo diva Bella Kalolo and friends.
More on the exhibition and photos can be found on the Cook Islands News website here:
and also on the NZ HiCom Raro Facebook page here:
Sunday, May 3
Ura Fitness is a Cook-Islands-dance-based exercise system using the hip-swaying motions and arm movements typical of our local dancing.
The sessions usually take place at Top Shape gym in Avarua with a couple of Muri lagoon beachside classes especially for visitors.
As the Ura Fitness Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/urafitness/timeline) says, "From slow soothing island songs to vigorous fast beats and the basic sway of the hips to modern technique.... Ura Fitness can get your heart rate pumping and muscles burning like you wouldn't believe!"
Last Wednesday (29 April) Ura Fitness fans gathered on the grassy area opposite the Banana Court for the first of five live shows. The $413 raised at the event was donated to Te Kainga Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre.
With great weather and an excellent turnout of regulars, tourists and newcomers it was a fun occasion (check out all the smiling faces in the video).
Many of the regular ura-goers went the extra mile with not just pareu but head ei and feathery, extravagent titi - great for emphasising hip movements.
And UF isn't just for the slim young and athletic. There were plenty of older ladies, some a tad overweight, but still able to show everyone how to swing those hips.
The 'Yes Please’ boys provided the music while sisters Avera Hunter, Alana Short with a new instructor Gary Taripo were up on stage leading the crowd.
Most of the exercisers were women but there were quite a few guys watching proceedings and Gary wants to encourage more men to join in at the next live show.
The smiles, laughter and singing were so infectious I just had to put down the camera and take part. So I can vouch for the fact that Ura Fitness is a fabulous fun, cardio, conditioning exercise.
Looking forward to the next one which will probably be later in May around the time of the Te Manava Vaka Festival.