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Te Maeva Nui Celebration

Explore > Cook Islands > Rarotonga > Te Maeva Nui Celebration

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Te Maeva Nui Internation Festival Video

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The most important event in the Cook Islands calender is the annual celebration of self rule, granted in 1965. Formerly called the Constitution Celebrations, it was renamed in 2001 because the Prime Minister of the time wanted a Cook Islands Maori name to capture the essence and joy of the annual festival. "Te Maeva Nui" translates as "the major or most important celebration".

Each year, performing artists from Rarotonga and the outer islands gather at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga to present new dances, songs, drum beats and costumes expressing the cultural theme chosen for that particular year. It's also a time when the creative community of the Cook Islands gathers on the capital island, contemporary and traditional visual arts exhibitions are staged, and ancient and modern sports are played between the islands. Other events during the festival include coconut husking, and a Maori food festival.

In this cultural festival there is also a large visual arts, sporting and culinary element with contemporary and traditional exhibitions, traditional and modern sports competitions, coconut husking, a Maori food festival and a fire knife competition.

The float parade through the town of Avarua marks the opening of the celebrations and gives visitors the opportunity to participate with the islanders in celebrating their most important festival of the year. The atmosphere is festive and all around there is colour, movement and celebration. The islanders know how to express their joy and throughout the Te Maeva Nui Festival this becomes self-evident. There is no other festival that encompasses all the aspects of Cook Islands culture like the Te Maeva Nui Festival.

If you want to experience this extraordinary event, July is the month you will want to make sure that you are in the Cook Islands.