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New ukulele festival gets a $20,000 boost

Wednesday November 28, 2018 Written by Published in Culture

A $20,000 donation from Bluesky has helped Rarotonga’s first ukulele festival get off the ground.

The Golden Ukulele festival, to be held from March 16 to 21 next year, is setting out to showcase all the unique styles and sounds of the ukulele.


It’s an initiative by ukulele enthusiasts in the Cook Islands who want to enhance the culture of ukulele into a festival of celebration, with the overall aim of enjoyment by participation.

Bluesky commercial manager Lahaina Kelly presented the cheque to Golden Ukulele secretary Geoff Tama and festival director Papatua Papatua, last Thursday.

So far the organisers have received 16 registrations. They say keen ukulele players from other countries have also shown interest, with further numbers to be confirmed nearer to the event.

The highlight of the festival will be a planned ukulele orchestra evening when every ukulele player is expected to take part in the finale of the Golden Ukulele Awards.

This award will be presented to a ukulele artist in recognition of their extraordinary contribution to the ukulele instrument and its music.

Festival committee members are: Temu Okotai, Lahaina Kiely, Emile Kairua, Papatua Papatua, Robert Ioaba, Geoff Tama, Metua Vaiimene and Sue Fletcher-Vea.

The festival events will include the Punanga Nui Market for the opening and Vaiana’s for a Concert under the Stars. The Festival Expo Finale Concert will be held at the National Auditorium.