5 Aug 2016

Cooks marks Constitution Day today

10:59 am on 5 August 2016

The Cook Islands is today commemorating its 51st anniversary of self-government with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga.

Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga.

Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga. Photo: RNZI/Eipuatiare Arthur

Self-government in free association with New Zealand is celebrated by the Cook Islands each year with the week long Te Maeva Nui Festival, culminating in today's events.

The southern and northern group islands are also holding their own on island celebrations this year rather travelling to Rarotonga at the expense of the government.

Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga.

Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga. Photo: RNZI/Eipuatiare Arthur

Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga.

Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga. Photo: RNZI/Eipuatiare Arthur

The head of the Ministry of Cultural Development Anthony Turua said the country came together to celebrate the events once every two years as a full annual attendance by each of the outer islands would be too costly.

Continuing de-population was also making it hard for some of the villages on Rarotonga to have big teams as in the past.

The country's resident population is estimated to be around 13,000 down from 19,000 in the 1990s.

Most people live on Rarotonga where the population is estimated to be about 8,000.

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