Plans to celebrate 50 years of Cook Islands independence
The chair of the organising committee for the 50th anniversary of Cook Islands independence, says the year-long celebrations will benefit the country long term.
The chair of the organising committee for the 50th Anniversary commemorations in the Cook Islands says the year long celebrations will benefit the country long term.
The celebrations have been criticised for excessive spending, however Mr Henry says less than 400-thousand US dollars have been allocated, not the 1 million the Opposition suggests.
Mr Henry told Koro Vaka'uta about plans for 2015.
NICK HENRY: We will do a signature event every month which will be supported by various other sporting and cultural events. Our crowning glory is Te Maeva Nui which is our cultural festival around the constitution period in August. There's a huge amount of interest from Cook Islanders locally and around New Zealand and Australia. One of the efforts is to do an All Stars concert and we will do that sort of by decade and to bring in guys from 65-75, 75-85, you get the picture, all the way through to 2015. You have to look back and reflect on what are the milestones for the last 50 years and then we have to take a mature see where we want to be in the next 50 years. The theme is really a journey as one people so we are talking about 15 islands in the Cook Islands and then another couple of islands out there in New Zealand and Australia. One of the concepts that we will be running with is something called '50 national treasures'. The idea behind this is to engage the entire community. It could be a bird, it could be a flower, it could be a song, it could be an island, it could be a mountain, it could be a person. What is it that you think makes a national treasure? In addition to that we're doing another project called '50 milestones'. We have got to look at the highs and the lows. It's not the government's gig that's for sure. This belongs to the people and we want everybody from the school kids right through to the elderly to all have a role to play in next years celebration.
KORO VAKA'UTA: In terms of other areas, a politician, he was concerned that people in the outer islands wouldn't get much benefit from these celebrations.
NH: That's just one of the rather ill-informed opinions. The whole celebration has got to be inclusive. For example, we haven't had magicians in the Cook Islands for about 30 years, and they're coming over. So they are gonna do a concert in Rarotonga, then they're going up to one of the other islands as well and Annie and Will, they're doing a concert in Rarotonga on the 1st and then on the 3rd they're gonna be in Aitutaki. One of the things we are gonna do is a concept that is involving all the young kids. The ministry will develop the questions and they're sort of around the Cook Islands over the last 50 years. These kids, they're gonna do it online. It will be streaming, sort of a 20 minute quiz show from various schools on all of the other islands all in 100% te reo Maori. We're going to be doing wood-carving, stone-sculpting. We're looking at developing a park area. I met with the Are Ariki the other day and said to the chiefs, you guys are the landlords of this country. Now I want you to set aside some land so we can start planting now because when all of our people from Tongarewa and Manihiki etc, when they arrive, we gotta have some food ready for them. The chiefs said, yeah great idea. They're gonna start putting aside tracts of land. They're gonna plant that land so when their families come over, they've got that food. Once we do it like this Koro then it's gonna be like 2016 and we can do it again, again and again.
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