Saturday, August 10
This year's Te Maeva Nui festival was another wonderful experience even in its shortened form.
In order to cut down on expenses there was no government subsidised transport to bring outer islands dance teams to Rarotonga; instead the islands were given cash grants so they could have their own celebrations and competitions.
Well, it's always enjoyable to have outer islanders here but many people have pointed out the good things to come out of this.
For a start, we had ten teams of Rarotonga villages and Raro-based outer islanders. This meant that all our dancers, young and old, had the thrill of being involved, not just the stars from a few communities. It was a joy to see so many kids up on stage singing and dancing with heart and soul and clearly having a ball! And remember that hours of practice and costume making goes into each performance.
The same was true for the outer islands. We've read reports and seen photographs in Cook Islands News of the celebrations on Aitutaki, Manihiki and Mauke. No doubt when travellers get back from the northern group we'll hear about the events up there. Some of these islands had a full programme of dances, including the pe'e, sports and parades. On Manihiki tthe villages had a real float parade - decorated boats on the lagoon!
And this year everyone was able to take part instead of sending off the best dancers to Rarotonga.
That's the way to keep the culture alive and growing.