Cook Islands Celebrate 50th Anniversary on Constitution Day

The high point of the Cook Islands’ celebration of 50 years of self-governance took place a couple of days ago with a huge outdoor gathering in town to mark Constitution Day. The waterfront in Rarotonga had a huge crowd that gathered for traditional dancing and speeches. In fact, they gathered from all over the Cooks far-flung islands.


Constitution Day celebrations got underway in earnest at the new Constitution Park at noon, when there was thrilling cultural performances from Rarotonga school pupils, as well as a huge variety of entertainment from a top line up of local and overseas musicians. The theme of the concert was “Remembering the Past and Celebrating the Cook Islands’ Future.”

Perhaps, the highlight of the day was a performance of the national anthem by well-known singer, Curly George.

The arrival of Queen’s Representative Tom Marsters was followed by a rendition of God Save the Queen by the Royal New Zealand Navy Band. This was then followed by a prayer and service, and the flag-raising ceremony.

Two students spoke on the past 50 years of Cook Islands self-governance from a young person’s perspective. After this,  there were speeches from both the New Zealand and Cook Islands prime ministers.

Eventually, the 50th anniversary celebration cake was cut, followed by a presentation of gifts, the lowering of the flag, and a closing prayer.

At 4pm the Tamataora Akaepaepa concert began, followed at 6:30pm by a ‘sunset neon’ float parade.

The day of festivities ended with a bang at 7pm with what was a highly memorable fireworks and laser light show.

Hopefully, photos of the day will become available. Let’s keep our eyes open for them!

Happy Birthday Cook Islands!

About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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