As you may have seen from previous posts, the Cook Islands are celebrating their 50th anniversary of independence in free association with New Zealand this year. Special Events and activities have been planned and celebrated throughout 2015. In fact, July has had its fair share of events such as: Te Moana Nui (Tales of the Pacific) Day, Celebrating their traditional leaders, Miss Cook Islands 2015, Cook Islands Bowls Festival, and the Cook Islands All Stars Concert.
The latest event to honor this historic time is the publication of a book titled, “Tatou Ipukarea,” researched and written by Cook Islander, Howard Henry. The book is about the Cook Islands and the country’s road to self-government. It tells the story how colonialism, its end, and how eagerly Cook Islanders anticipated being in charge of their own country in 1965.
Henry covers the period from those early colonial years to 1965 when his grandfather took over the helm of the Cook Islands and subsequently introduced the old age pension scheme a year after taking office as premier. Fifty years later, the Cook Islands remains the only South Pacific country to have a universal old age pension scheme for its senior citizens.
First and foremost among those keen Cook Islanders was Albert Royle Henry, the author’s beloved grandfather who was the country’s first premier. Howard Henry writes with empathy about his grandfather and the beginning of Cook Islands’ politics. He also manages not to get sentimental about his grandfather’s colorful political beginnings or romanticizes the “old man’s” life. Henry has managed to cram into 70 pages a highly interesting, packed with facts account of the country’s journey to self-determination.
The island of Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Henry states, “This booklet should be on the bookshelves of all Cook Islands home. It should be read by every Cook Islands adult who wants to learn about this country. Cook Islanders who read “Tatou Ipukarea” will come away far more informed about this country and so much better off for that.”
This is a great year to visit the Cook Islands. Keep checking this blog for updated events and festivities that will take place during the rest of 2015.