As well as the usual round of welcomes and thanks to the wonderful sponsors, Cultural Development minister George Maggie’s speech and translation was a hit with all there.
To celebrate the 15th staging of the event, a huge decorated cake was presented with the original organisers present invited to do the honours and cut the cake. Paddlers were lucky enough to share the spoils and of course, the verdict was: “Yum”.
After the presentations for the first day’s iron races, kai was served and paddlers, dignitaries, and friends enjoyed a delicious meal.
While old friends renewed acquaintances and enjoyed a great evening, our new paddlers on their first visit were amazed by the cultural performance by dance team Akirata.
A great night and great start to the week’s festivities.
Meanwhile, following Friday evening’s blessing and flag rising ceremony at the Vaka Village, many of the visiting athletes took the opportunity to view the amazing array of carved and painted paddles on offer at the Beachcomber Gallery from the islands talented art community.
To say our visitor were impressed would be an understatement as there were many exclamations of appreciation ringing out in the gallery room housing the exhibition.
The paddles remain on display for the whole Vaka Eiva festival so if you missed the opening, make sure you put aside a little time to view these treasures and be prepared to be amazed.