Leaders turn out for Pride

Friday August 21, 2020 Written by Published in Local
Te Tiare president Valery Wichman, left, patron Lady Tuaine Marsters, and event organisers Lara Sadaraka and Metua Vaiimene. 20082017 Te Tiare president Valery Wichman, left, patron Lady Tuaine Marsters, and event organisers Lara Sadaraka and Metua Vaiimene. 20082017

Prime Minister-in-waiting Mark Brown, Lady Tuaine Marsters and several heads of ministry were among a large and distinguished crowd raising funds for the decriminalisation of same-sex relations.

The Pride Cook Islands Campaign is rapidly gaining momentum: close to 300 people joined together to support the successful “Same-same but different” quiz night at the Rarotonga Golf Club.

The light-hearted event helped raise funds and stimulate local brainpower, while increasing awareness of a serious human rights issue for all Cook Islanders.

A Crimes Bill is currently before Parliament, with the Parliamentary Select Committee soon to make its recommendations to Parliament.

Te Tiare Association’s Pride Cook Islands campaign calls for equal human rights and the removal of any clause that criminalised same-sex relationships.

The quiz night had 41 teams take part – and there are more events to come.

Te Tiare president Valery Wichman said they were doing everything possible to ensure law-makers acknowledge their contributions to the community “and accept who we are”.

“We will be visible. We should not be made criminals when we are accepted already in so many parts of our society.

“One thing this has really highlighted for us, is the strong show of support from our Cook Islands people who also call for equal rights by decriminalising same-sex relations.”

Quiz-master extraordinaire Metua Vaiimene read through 10 rounds of questions,with fierce competition amongst the teams.  Team Wild Ones was the winning team with Pink Panthers second.

“We’re asking for a basic human right – equality,” Wichman said. “We’ll continue to do so until we see the decriminalisation of same sex relationships in the Cook Islands. Our community, our families and our people accept us for who we are – we are now asking our lawmakers to do so too.”

Next on the calendar is the Queer Cinema Week for Te Kūki ‘Āirani Film Festival, showcasing three documentaries and short films, hosted at TJ’s studio. Starting on August 25, entry is free.

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