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!