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High Commission opening ceremony in Rarotonga

Media Advisory

High Commission opening ceremony in Rarotonga June 21

The new office of the New Zealand High Commission in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, will be opened on Monday June 21 in a ceremony involving New Zealand and Cook Island Maori groups.

The kawanga whare, or formal opening ceremony will take place in the early morning and will involve kaumatua led by Te Hau Tutua, Cook Island Maori and New Zealand Maori resident in Rarotonga. At the conclusion of the ceremony there will be speeches and cultural performances by all groups including some young artists from Tairawhiti Polytechnic> '> s Toi Houkura School of Contemporary Maori Visual Arts in Gisborne. The ceremony will emphasize the kinship and close cultural and historical links between Aotearoa and the Cook Islands.

A highlight of the opening will be the unveiling of a contemporary Maori carving that will dominate the High Commission office. It was created by the Toi Houkura students under the direction of toi moko expert, carver and painter Derek Lardelli.

The 2.4 X 0.9m carving illustrates ancient links between New Zealand and the Cook Islands, specifically the whakapapa connections between Rarotonga and Mauke Islands in the Cook Islands and Aotearoa, in particular the Mataatua waka and Ruiahona marae, at Te Teko in the Bay of Plenty. The New Zealand kaumatua who will lead the ceremony are from the Ruaihona marae.

The carving embraces elements of artwork and carvings recently completed for the whare kai (dining hall) at Ruiahona marae. These were created by the same team that has carved the work that will soon be on display in Rarotonga.


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