Wednesday, September 29
Hash House Harriers have been running around on Rarotonga since about 1980 and they usually hold their annual birthday celebrations when the round Raro visitors are in town. The Monday Hash run is one of the regular ‘week of running’ events.
It was a colourful affair as you can see with the emphasis on fun rather than exercise. The course was about four kilometres, starting and ending at the Edgewater Resort car park (the Edgewater is one of the ‘week of running’ sponsors) followed by a BBQ and liquid refreshments of one sort or another.
With two more runs to come – the Round the Rock Relay and the Nutters Coast to Coast – no doubt all the dedicated runners stuck to soft drinks.
Monday, September 27
The Round Rarotonga Road Race was a resounding success once again this year with about ninety people opting to get up in what I consider to be the middle of the night to head down to Punanga Nui market for the 5.30am start of the 31km race around the island.
Another fifty set off at the more civilised hour of 7.30am from Muri to run or walk 10km to the Punanga Nui finish.
First man home was Greg Gustafson. This used to be a regular occurrence in the 1990s but the last time Greg ran (and won) the RRRR was in 1997.
Second home and first local was Roland Neurerer.
The pair ran alongside each other for most of the race but a sprint finish (after 31km!) saw Greg home in 2hrs 15min 32sec with Roland 7 seconds later.
First woman was Vanessa Palmer, also the first local woman and sixth overall.
The first walker was Jos McDonald.
There were competitors from New Zealand, Australia, the USA and a lone one from the UK as well as locals of course.
The Round Raro is our longest running international sporting event; this is its 33rd year.
Tuesday, September 21
Takitumu primary school’s on the east coast of Rarotonga in Matavera and the teachers, pupils and parents recently enjoyed a great week celebrating Maori culture. The adults showed the youngsters how to play traditional games, and make toys, headbands, plates and other things from kikau (coconut palm fronds).
One day the entire school hired buses to visit local marae - parents and village elders were on hand to talk to the kids about the history of the places.
Friends and families sent along treasures like hats, tivaivai, pounders, necklaces and other traditional items to turn the school library into a culture museum for the week.
The children also learnt songs and dances for a show on the last day of culture week and then had a magnificent umukai – using the plates they’d made earlier in the week.
This first video shows the kids having a whole lot of fun learning how to weave kikau.
Tuesday, September 14
Rarotonga has just played host to another international sporting competition. This one was the 2010 Asia Pacific Bodybuilding Championships, organised here by the people at Top Shape gym.
It was originally supposed to be held in the Philippines - the venue was only changed in June I think, so everyone did a good job at short notice. In the end over fifty athletes took part including one local, Aaron Enoka – son of Cook Islands bodybuilding icon the late Felix Enoka.
Top Shape’s round up in Cook Islands News said:
“It’s time to re-label modern day bodybuilding.
The word bodybuilding easily conjures images of guys spending endless hours grunting it out in the gym and developing freakishly huge muscles…”
Well, the evening show turned out to be a real eye opener.
It had fantastic bronzed bodies, shapes to die (or possibly diet) for, great muscle tone, cool music and entertaining routines. Competitors’ ages ranged from seventeen to seventy! Seventy-year-old Colleen Sloane from Palmerston North was awe inspiring and there were several 60+ men strutting their stuff.
And everyone seemed to be having so much fun! We even had an on-stage marriage proposal (it was accepted).
It was a competition so you have to have champions but really I think everyone was a winner and I hope all the athletes had a great time here and come back to visit us again.
2010 Asia Pacific Ms Shape -Teresa Edwards
2010 Asia Pacific Ms Physical -Helen Aloiai
2010 Asia Pacific Ms Figure -Karen Kelly
2010 Asia Pacific Ms Fitness Model- Maeve Agnew
2010 Asia Pacific Mr Athletics- Jason Bartley
2010 Asia Pacific Mr Physique - Roshan Ferrao
Top Shape should soon have a half-hour DVD of show highlights available.
Sunday, September 5
The Ministry of Cultural Development has just issued the 2010 Te Maeva Nui DVDs – a box set of four.
The DVDs cover all the events of this year’s celebrations – the pe’e, ute, kapa rima and ura pau from each of the five teams (Atiu, Arorangi, Mangaia, Nikao and Pukapuka) plus international night, some really great guest artists and the drumming competition – all for just NZ$50.
Any overseas Cook Islands dance teams and culture groups should buy a set to see how culture is surviving and progressing here at home.
Check the MOCD website here.
In the meantime here’s a short sample from the Pukapuka pe’e.
The Pukapukans are always popular performers; they put so much energy into everything and they always look and sound as though they’re really having fun.
This pe’e (legend or chant) is about a boastful wrestler who annoys the rest of the tribe and is killed by the other warriors.
Come to think of it, many pe’e are a bit on the violent side. I guess it’s the stories with larger than life winners and losers that survive (even if the combatants don’t).