The Te Maeva Nui celebrations on Rarotonga, Cook Islands, began last week and will continue to run for about nine days ending on August 6, 2016.
The Cook Islands Constitution Celebrations is the nation’s celebration of nationhood, self- government and independence. Held annually around the national day of 4th August since 1965, it is the one event that involves the whole country, all the islands, vaka, oire and tapere. Since 2001, it has been re-named as Te Maeva Nui, in recognition of the cultural basis upon which the event is based. It has also developed into an event with significant public participation and therefore economic activity, creating the environment and potential for investment and returns. The celebrations include a float parade & opening ceremony, international night, choir competition, island days and cultural performances.
Several Te Maeva Nui participants say they’re enjoying the spirit of sharing their culture and camaraderie among the teams and the 2016 festival already has an atmosphere of unity and joy.
The event typically starts with a colorful float parade along the main road of Avarua, on Rarotonga. Click here to view some pictures of the parade.
The cultural performances will feature original compositions, original choreography and original costumes, take place throughout the celebrations. In addition to the Imene Tuki (known as the”hymn of grunts” which is a traditional hymn of the Cook Islands. It is unaccompanied singing noted for a drop in pitch at the end of phrases, and rhythmic nonsensical syllables, comparable to Scat singing. Similar nonsense syllables and improvisations are found in Tahitian Himene tarava) and Choir sections these performances display unique and vibrant performances in 4 categories:
- Ura Pau – Fast upbeat dance displaying stamina, creativity and endurance of the dance team to a composer rhythm of the drums.
- Kapa Rima – Slow pace item showcasing technique and grace in the hand movements of the dancers.
- Ute –Traditional chant, all performers sit in a U‐shaped formation with the women sitting down in the middle and men standing up around them.
- Pe’e ‐ Traditional chant performance showcasing the strength, courage and unity of the island performing.
All these performances portray a sense of Cook Islands Culture through the art of dance displaying strength, courage, uniqueness and many other traits that all Cook Islander possess.