Friday, November 26

The crowd goes wild!

Our three-day Rarotonga international sevens tournament was a fabulous occasion with good weather (at least for those watching – might have been a bit hot for the players), high-class rugby and plenty of entertainment both on and off the field. ‘Dash for cash’ races and goal-kicking competitions gave spectators the chance to win prizes and on the final day, a Saturday, many in the crowd dressed up and had a ball. There were more prizes for best team supporters (Vikings walked away with that), best dressed groups and best hats.
We even had a streaker (sort of).
Food, drink, entertainment and great rugby played in a sporting spirit; Sevens in Heaven was a huge success.

Tuesday, November 16

Sensational men's sevens in Rarotonga

The sixteen men’s teams taking part in the Cook Islands Sevens in Heaven tournament included four entirely from overseas: Porirua Magic, Melbourne Valley Reds, College Rifles and Hastings Rugby and Sports. But the eight local teams also had plenty of top notch overseas players including Rene Ranger, a recent All Black.
The on-field action over the three days was hard, fast and classy.
In the end College Rifles won the cup to make it a double after their women’s team also won the cup to become this year’s sevens champions. In the final Rifles beat local team Avatiu Eels.
Titikaveka Rehab Razorbacks beat the Tauae Bulls to take the plate; Ngatangiia Flying Dragons defeated Hastings Rugby and Sport for the Bowl and the Aitutaki outer island team took home the shield after disposing of the Melbourne Valley Reds.
As Cook Islands News sports journalist Matariki Wilson put it, “Sevens in Heaven 2010 has outdone past international tournaments with high calibre players from New Zealand helping to provide great games and lift the standards – and providing a great excuse for people to get dressed up and let their hair down.”
The next video will show some of the off-field action including those who dressed up.

Monday, November 15

Women's rugby at Rarotonga sevens

Women’s rugby sevens has improved a huge amount over the past few years and it was obvious watching the games at the Rarotonga international sevens tournament.
Eight teams took part, four local and four from New Zealand although the local teams also had overseas players.
T&M Crushers, Avatiu Motor Centre Eels, Club Raro Stormers and Titikaveka Rehab Ravens were the local sides; College Rifles, Waitakere Nesians, Hastings Rugby & Sports and Napier Tech Rugby came from overseas.
Final results: College Rifles won the cup after defeating local favourites Rehab Ravens; Hastings Rugby & Sport beat T&M Crushers for the plate and Waitakere Nesians (who reckon they trained on McDonalds) won the bowl over Napier Tech Rugby girls.
We had a great three-day rugby fiesta with fast-moving good quality and entertaining women’s rugby.
Look forward to more of the same next year.

Sunday, November 14

Sevens in Heaven - the tackles

Rarotonga’s recent ‘Sevens in Heaven’ rugby tournament was a lot of fun, at least for spectators, but the players weren’t messing about.
As you can see from the video, the tackles were solid, ‘take no prisoners’ affairs.
There were no serious injuries and only a few yellow cards. On the field it was serious stuff but at the end of the day everyone ended up smiling.

Friday, November 12

Rarotonga sevens - a look at the teams

The Rarotonga International Rugby Sevens tournament, held last week from 4 to 6 November, was another huge success.
This was the twenty-first birthday of the event which just keeps getting bigger and better each year. We had 24 teams all told – 16 men’s and 8 women’s sides. Some were predominately local with imported NZ stars while others were entirely overseas teams.
Sevens legend Eric Rush was one of the first New Zealand rugby stars to play here and we’ve also had players who went on to All Blacks fame – I think Jonah Lomu was one of them. This year Rene Ranger took to the field for one of our local teams.
The weather was great, the rugby was great and the crowd was great.
Here’s the first sevens video – the march past of teams.
There will be more to follow so watch this space!
By the way, for a bit of light relief check out the Edgewater flash mob video on YouTube here.
Strictly speaking it wasn’t a spontaneous flash mob as the Edgewater staff had been rehearsing it for a couple of weeks but it looked like a lot of laughs and had over 4000 views last time I checked. Good fun.

Sunday, November 7

Turama – Rarotonga's festival of light

All Souls Day is in fact 2 November but in the Cook Islands it is now customary for the Catholic Church to celebrate the eve of All Souls Day on 1 November in a local festival called Turama.
The main focus of this is the Catholic cemetery at Panama.

In the days leading up to Turama family members clean and paint their loved one’s graves and decorate them with flowers and candles. Water is blessed at a requiem Mass at St Joseph’s Cathedral in town then there is a short prayer service at the cemetery. As the sun goes down the choir sings hymns while priests sprinkle water on the graves. In the candlelight people have time to remember those who have passed away and to ask God to grant the dead the joy and peace of eternal life.
Turama is a colourful but peaceful occasion. There is an earlier video and more information about Turama here.