I am pleased to announce that the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development has published the first National Cultural Policy. According to the policy makers,
“The policy is an attempt to redeem ourselves and our identity and to recognize the value of our culture. We also need to remind ourselves that we are custodians of this culture that we will pass on to our children in the manner in which it was bestowed on us. It is also important that we restore pride in our language and use it as our medium of communication, especially in our homes and our small nation. Improving on our cultural knowledge through our schools, homes and various other institutions is of utmost importance, so we need to increase our participation in cultural activities, appreciate the importance of knowing our various art forms, its uses and meanings; the value of knowing our history and maintaining our historical places as they serve to reinforce our connection to the land and spirituality of our culture.”
The mission of the policy is strengthen the culture of the Cook Islands as foundation for achieving a high quality of life. The policy examines five key areas for development that include language, art and art forms, history and historical places, cultural industry and support and co-ordination.
The Honorable Teariki Heather, Minister of Cultural Development, said,”Our culture is our business as Cook Islands people. It is our greatest asset. We own it. We are
its custodians. It is the heirloom our forefathers left us for our survival, security and pride. We have forsaken it for many years. It is time we embrace again so we are firm in our identity before we embrace others. Most importantly, we need to ensure our children embrace it too.”
Anthony Turua who is the Secretary of the Ministry of Culture promised in his opening statement that with preservation, our national archives, museum and cultural heritage sites will be improved to a standard that will better preserve our historical records, artifacts and cultural history of this nation. This is wonderful news because archives, libraries and museums will play a significant role in supporting the unique and dynamic culture of the Cook Islands.
I invite you to read this historic document that provides cultural and heritage vision and strategies for the people of the Cook Islands. I have attached a pdf version of the policy:
Congratulations to the people of the Cook Islands for this long-awaited and much needed policy!