Traditional Games 2022- Cook Islands

Journalist, Melina Etches, is covering the 2022 version of the Cook Islands Traditional Games and recently wrote an article about how the stage is set for Friday’s events in Rarotonga.

The revival of traditional games like rore (stilt) races and peipei tiporo (juggling with limes) were among the highlights of the 2020 Cook Islands Games. The Emo’anga Peu Tupuna or the Traditional Sports events are set to return in the 2022 Games which will get underway this Friday.

Over 10 teams representing each of the islands participating in the 2022 Games are expected to compete in the Kopapa Reo Māori (Cook Islands Maori Language Commission) Emo’anga Peu Tupuna this coming Saturday, October 1st at the Constitution Park, at 8.30am.

The five traditional sport events are: Rore (Stilts), Peipei Tiporo (juggling with limes), Amo Manga (carrying coconuts), Ko Akari (husking coconuts) and Rangaranga (kikau weaving).

There is only one event which will be judged – the “rangaranga” kikau weaving category. The other events are all races – first to cross the finish line wins.

The traditional games will be coordinated with the assistance of Tauranga Vananga (Ministry of Culture Development).


Cook Islands traditional game of Rore (Stilts). Photo from

Tauranga Vananga’s national identity director Ngatuaine Maui said all participants must be over 14 years of age, and the categories are for both men and women.

Each island shall be responsible for supplying materials needed for participating in these games, such as the rore, kikau and coconuts.

Teams need to take note that a person can participate in two events only and each event must be from different categories.  “You cannot participate in more than two events, and you cannot join in two events in the same category,” said Maui.

For Rore, the height of the rore from the foot stand to the ground shall be two feet, the remaining height of the stilts shall be to the length of the shoulders of the person using the stilts.

Participants will race in three rore categories,

Taemoemo Rore for the open men and women’s is a race to the finish of about 50 metres. Depending on numbers, two heats will be run – the Northern group islands teams in Heat 1 and the Southern group islands in Heat 2. The top two finishers in each heat will compete in the finals.

Tipi Rore (combating) category is for the men only. Two competitors will fight with the rore and the person left standing on their rore will be crowned the winner of that combat. The winner of each combat progresses and the loser is knocked out.

Rore Tatakitai (single rore) is for the open men and women section. In this competition, all participants are required to stand on both rore and when the second whistle is blown one stilt is removed – the last person left on their stilts is the winner.

In the Peipei Tiporo/Poroiti, the junior men and women aged 14 to 16 years (one boy and one girl from each island) juggle two limes using one hand.

In the Amo Manga which is open for men only, each person carries six bundled coconuts tied to each end of a stick, a total of 12 coconuts. The participant is required to carry the bundles for 50 metres then pass on to the next runner (relay), the first team with all six runners across the line wins the race.

The Ko Akari, the popular coconut husking event, will feature three men and three women in a team. The fastest team to complete husking 12 coconuts wins the event. The first person up will run 50 metres to where the coconut is stationed and husk it completely then race back to their team where the next person will continue in a relay fashion.

In rangaranga (kikau weaving) competition, a male and a female from the participating teams will compete in each of the four categories – Rango kere (food basket), Apuka (fishing basket), Tapakau and a Pare Ukarau (kikau hat).

Meanwhile the Cook Islands Games bowling event is scheduled to start today at the Rarotonga Bowling greens in Tutakimoa. The Games will officially begin on Friday with the opening ceremony.

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