Plan to boost country’s biggest day

Thursday July 13, 2017 Written by Published in Local
A stunning kapa rima from Takitumu had the auditorium crowd entranced during last year’s Te Maeva Nui performance. Norman George says an over-emphasis on cultural events has been to the detriment of independence celebrations. PHOTO: Lawrance Bailey 16082426 A stunning kapa rima from Takitumu had the auditorium crowd entranced during last year’s Te Maeva Nui performance. Norman George says an over-emphasis on cultural events has been to the detriment of independence celebrations. PHOTO: Lawrance Bailey 16082426

The Americans hold their Independence day on July 4.


Australia’s celebration is on January 26, New Zealand’s Waitangi Day is on February 6 and Samoa’s on June 1. In France, Bastille Day is on July 14.

Nations fervently thrust their patriotic sentiments and nationalistic pride on their independence day.

They celebrate at home and in their foreign embassies overseas with diplomatic cocktails attended by fellow diplomats and local dignitaries.

We appear to do it differently here in the Cook Islands. We spend a week holding cultural competitions, where the only thing that seems to matter is dominance and the importance of coming first.

Slowly the whole event has drifted into a commercial tourism-based showcase. We have drifted away from the original concept of cultural preservation and performing arts, to remind ourselves who we are and our sheer enjoyment of our dancing, drumming and creativity.

Then on August 4 our national day, we go to the National Auditorium to witness the flag-raising ceremonies, the usual VIP parade and a few boring speeches, followed by the singing of hymns and prayers, then we all go home.

If we are lucky, there will be brunch served outside. On many occasions, an ungrateful host, the government, as let us go home on an empty stomach. The day quickly wastes away into another insignificant national day of celebration!  No state dinner, no public dance or ball, no concert or opera or theatrical performance. That seems to sum up the situation, a hollow and vacant vacuum.   Both political parties must accept responsibility for this pitiful state of affairs

There is a saying, “we shall pass through this world but once, let us celebrate now or we may not pass each other again!”  

Our national day should be a day to bring our nation builders together, past and present politicians, business owners, the private sector, public servants, sports men and women, our expatriate community, Ui Ariki, Koutu Nui and our churches. Set up dinner for 300 people, call it a state dinner, at a cost of $30 a head, total cost $10,500. Add a little bit more for liquid refreshments and it completes the historic significance of the occasion. Remember, the function is for nation builders, not for bludgers and political party hacks - if it is to be respectable, that is.

The August 4 dinner by the Cook Island Retired Police and Veterans Association is intended to fill the missing gap. It is fundamentally a patriotic move to remember and celebrate our national day. To celebrate and commemorate our achievements of the past 51 years, building this uniquely successful and beautiful nation of ours.

This arrangement for former servicemen and women to get together is intended for memory sharing, to recall the sacrifices made, mistakes made, near misses with serious injuries, nostalgic good times, meeting tough criminals, action flashbacks, memories of bad and sad events like comforting the families of victims of crime and so on.   The good memories include solving corruption crimes in relation to election issues. Maintaining law and order in tumultuous times of hard fought general elections between the two rival parties without death or injuries. Some may claim casualties from political deaths. We would love all our members to attend, but some of them prefer not to. That is why are inviting all interested members of the public to purchase tickets and be our guests.

To mark the occasion in a formal manner, we will invite our three patrons, the Queen’s Representative, Tom Marsters, the Prime Minister, Henry Puna and the Minister of Police Teariki Heather to be our guests. We will also invite the Commissioner of Police, Maara Tetava to attend.

We also have a very special guest in the High Commissioner of New Zealand, Peter Marshall. He will also be our guest speaker. Marshall will speak to us about his experiences as commander-in-chief of Ramsi, based in the Solomon Islands. As former Commissioner of the New Zealand Police, he may have a few anecdotes to add.

The dinner will be held at the reception wing of the RSA in Nikao and starts at 6pm on Friday, August 4. The dress code is formal island style and the tickets will cost $50 for dinner and dessert. Refreshments will be available, compliments of RSA services. Tickets can be obtained from Tearoa Tini (20605), Sir Fred Goodwin (70794), Ben Haurua (27709), Norman George (20241), Teremoana Ngatokorua of Arorangi and Johnny Hosking of Nikao.

We also take this opportunity to invite those in the private sector or business, retired public servants and anyone with family or friendly ties or connections with the police or the military and law enforcement services to join our growing association.

As a member, you will be entitled to all our social services, membership fees cost $50 each year. If  you’re interested, contact Tearoa Tini of the Ombudsman’s Office. 

            -  Norman George,

President RTP & V

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