Vaka Pride judges impressed despite need for improvement

The Vaka Pride judges were impressed with the efforts of the Rarotonga Community in the latest round of the Vaka Pride competition despite obvious need for improvements in some areas.  The Vaka Pride judging was held on Monday 19th and Tuesday 20th of February.  The judging for the Vaka Pride competition is conducted by the Vaka Pride committee. The committee members are made up of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Cook Islands National Council of Women, Ministry of Cultural Development, Office of the Prime Minister, Cook Islands Police, National Environment Services and coordinated by Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.

According to Destination Development coordinator, Sieni Tiraa, “Vaka Pride judging on both days went extremely well. There were a variety of plantations inspected on the first day and a mixture of Maraes and historical sites visited on the second day all around Rarotonga. The plantations and historical sites on Rarotonga were the focal areas to visit for these two days as part of the Peu Maori judging category for the Vaka Pride competition.”

The Vaka Pride committee were impressed with the level of commitment and dedication from our local farmers. The traditional forms of planting capturing Peu Maori by using ‘Arapo’ (the moons and tide schedule) to plant Kumara (sweet potatoes) were pleasantly noted by the Vaka Pride committee.  The committee noted however that there were pockets of littering and dumping of household waste all around the island.  This along with overgrown sections and abandoned motor vehicles highlighted to the Vaka Pride committee that while people are generally showing their ‘Vaka Pride’ some in the community are letting us down.

The Ministry of Cultural Development representatives led the second day of the Vaka Pride judging focusing on historical sites and Maraes.  This day of Vaka Pride judging started with traditional leader, Tangianau Tuaputa from the House of Ariki leading the Vaka Pride committee to various Maraes around the island.  At each historical site he would provide the history and story of each Marae as he knew it. A total of 12 Maraes were visited around Rarotonga with maintenance and details of the historical significance of each Marae being part of the scoring criteria.

The Vaka Pride prize giving has been scheduled for Wednesday the 21st of March to coincide with our visitor activities week. Save the date to celebrate the progress of our local farmers and the continuation of our significant historical sites.

Meitaki maata to all the community groups, Vaka Pride committee and members of the public who have contributed to making this round of the Vaka Pride competition a huge success.