Not only were there no standout floats (except for the solo man dragging a speaker on wheels, blasting behind him. You, mate, was the only thing that brought a smile to our faces) but not all of the floats completed the traditional circuit down Marine Parade and back up past the shops to return to Avatiu (where they started).
Instead they did their performances in front of the dignitaries’ tent at the new Constitution Dustbowl and then most of them went straight back to Avatiu leaving hundreds of spectators further downtown waiting for them to appear - and they did not.
Then there is the actual composition of the floats. It’s the same thing every year. Lots of kikau and dead banana trees does not make a float. Where’s the creativity? The imagination? The floats in the 1970s were way better than the ones today and yet we have so much more today in the way of resource materials to make better floats! You would think so.
Maybe it’s too much work and cost to troupes (especially those from the outer islands) so why not have the dance teams walk and dance down the road instead, like they used to? This would mean cutting the circuit route down a bit (start at the dustbowl reclaimed area next to Punanga Nui) then proceed to the heart of town, so the participants
1. Don't have too much distance to walk in the hot sun
2. They won’'t require transportation.
3. Diesel trucks' filthy fumes won’t poison them.
4. The spectators won't get sunstroke.
5. The whole float parade will end quicker.
At the moment they appear to be starting at the front of the CITC supermarket at Panama. It's too long a distance and each float is taking too long to do its presentation in front of VIPs (and judges); there should be less talk and more dancing.
After 45 years of the traditional route why has the heart of the float parade moved to that reclaimed dustbowl at the industrial end of town? It's hot and dusty and there's not enough shade for the spectators. And photo opportunities are more limited now with photographers having to shoot directly into the glaring sun to get the fronts of the floats.
Are we too ashamed to celebrate our most important national event in the heart of our capital anymore? For those who do know the dignitaries tent used to be placed in front of the Ministry of Justice building at the roundabout. The lighting of the torch took place at the roundabout and the crowds gathered around there to watch the action. Then the floats would go around the roundabout and return the way they came. Everyone got a good view.
Thank you TMN organisers for not warning us peasants that we are not entitled to view the parade to its full extent this year.
It's clear to us peasants that the primary reason for the float parade is the entertainment of government officials and their hangers-on only.
Next year my family will not be wasting their time coming to town to view this so-called parade.
A Sunburned Peasant
(Name and address supplied)
Editor’s note: Despite a Ministry of Cultural Development answering social media criticism of the parade by saying a meeting would be held on Saturday to review it, CINews has yet to receive answers to questions sent to the ministry on Friday.