Tuesday, August 16

Tongareva drum dance at Rarotonga’s Te Maeva Nui

The drum dance (ura pau) section of the Maeva Nui cultural competition is highly competitive and always an audience favourite with its high-energy non-stop action mainly emphasising hip and leg movement.
The Tongareva (Penrhyn) drum dance was one of four to achieve an A grade; the others were Manihiki, Aitutaki and Mauke.
These extracts show just part of Tongareva’s stunning performance.
The northern group participants, about 220 in all, came to Rarotonga on the Lady Naomi, a ferry hired from Samoa. They are heading back home today (Tuesday) and the boat is going to be pretty heavily laden as several ministries are taking advantage of the boat to get supplies up north. However the number of passengers will be fewer. According to Penrhyn MP Wilkie Rasmussen, 63 people came to Rarotonga but twenty or so are not returning. They are probably going to New Zealand or Australia if they don’t stay on Rarotonga. The total permanent population of Penrhyn is about 200. And dropping.
Staff members at the Ministry of Cultural Development are working on a DVD of the whole of Te Maeva Nui. Should be available in a few weeks – Cook Islanders and dance lovers take note.