“Path to Pacific Trade Show’ – An enterprising step forward

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The Cloud was abuzz this past weekend hosting the ‘Path to Pacific Trade Show’ that packaged and brought to New Zealand the very best of our enterprising Pacific Islands. The day featured many traditional products such as tivaevae’s, ei katu’s, pearls from Manihiki, “organic jams and coconut soap from Fiji; rare gems and stunning handicrafts from the Solomon Islands; fashion, bilum weaves, coffee and baskets from Papua New Guinea; jewellery, garments and tapa art.”

“Hosted by New Zealand-based Pacific Trade Invest (PTI NZ), the economic development agency of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the trade show is part of PTI NZ’s Path to Market programme – an export capability building initiative for Pacific Island companies to export into New Zealand, helping boost employment and entrepreneurship in the islands.”

Ian Furlong, Trade Development Manager for PTI NZ, was inspired by what CIDANZ’s cooperative model has been doing for local communities and families; inviting our organisation to be a part of the Trade Show. We were able to feature many of our families, including the arts and crafts from members of the Taokotai’anga Vainetini Collective, Tarani Crafts, AMD Youth Enterprise, and respective craft-makers across Auckland. Of those families featured was also couple Jessica and Paul Rawiri, owners of SaMaori Coffee.

Creating pathways into the market has been part of our organisations goals to help our families achieve their enterprising dreams. We extend our warmest regards to Ian and PTI NZ for a wonderful and successful event.

Mini Pasifika Pop-Up at Kirkbride Road, Mangere

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In light of recent events, the last day of Polyfest and the whole of the Pasifika Festival was cancelled.

Statement from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage:

“Given the need to prioritise police resourcing following the terrible events in Christchurch, we have today decided to cancel the Pasifika Festival for the coming weekend, 23 and 24 March.

Initial discussions with New Zealand Police gave us hope that through the festival we would be able to bring Auckland’s communities together at this time of national mourning.

However, given the unprecedented nature of what has happened, we appreciate and respect that the New Zealand Police must prioritise resourcing to ensure the safety of all our communities across Tāmaki Makaurau.

Pasifika Festival will return bigger and brighter than ever in 2020.”

Many were disappointed with the outcome, but understood ATEED’s position on the matter. However, stall holders who had spent months preparing for these events, have been left without support and with beautiful products they intended to sell at these festivals.

To support those stall holders who had invested in traveling here from our beautiful Cook Islands, we are hosting a mini pop-up at CIDANZ today and tomorrow. This is the opportunity for us to still get our Pareu’s, Eei Katu’s, Drums and Ukes all the way from the Cook Islands. Which leaves the questions, when and where?

When: 21 – 22 March, 2019, midday to 8.30pm 

Where: CIDANZ HQ, 283 – 289 Kirkbride Road, Mangere. 

Pa Metua Super Gold Club Goes to Waiheke

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Led by our Ambassador Nana Kamo-Mataroa, our Pa Metua Club went to Waiheke Island on March 12th, 2019.

The Club was officially launched on October 2, 2018 with twelve new members pledging three things: to share and preserve their cultural knowledge for future generations, to document in a journal their insights and experiences; and to guide and nurture new and existing leadership in the community. “This club is for our 65+ year olds because like Auntie Nana, we value our elders and their place in our communities. We wanted to create a space where they were able to come and be among others, to share their cultural knowledge, experiences, insights, and mostly just to connect with those who understood them. During the time since the group’s formation, we’ve learned that most of them are at home alone. Their children have either moved on to raise their own families, or their partner has passed away. For some it’s a very lonely time in their lives” says Rouruina Emil’e-Brown, CE of CIDANZ. “There are treasures within their lives that we want to learn from and to preserve, like our language and the different dialects we have in our small nation alone. Most of these dialects have been taught through songs, dances and legends. Through the simple act of transcribing their thoughts in their dialect in a journal, they’re taking a step towards preserving those dialects.”

When they’re not sharing from their journals or singing traditional hymns, they’re taking part in workshops with positive social enterprise outcomes. One of those workshops was upcycling pillowcases donated by the University of Auckland’s Student Accommodation team. The members were able to screen print traditional Cook Islands motifs onto pillow cases that were then packaged and sold in the Kia Orana cooperative community store. The store is stocked by locals and because of this, the stores policy is to ensure that profits go back into the community, in this case, profits went back to the club where it was used to support the groups next outing – “a trip to the pictures.”

In all the years that club members had lived in New Zealand, 70% of them had never been to the cinema’s before. “I remember taking my children to the Civic in the city to watch the ‘Sound of Music’ when it first screened. That was a long time ago! They didn’t have the fancy seats like they do now, and ice cream inside the movies wasn’t done. The other Mama’s had never been to the pictures and at first, they were worried about it, but were then amazed at how easy it was to get from the carpark, up the stairs to the picture room where they were served their little popcorn, ice cream, and drink. Then after the movie we were picked up, taken back to CIDANZ where we had fish and chips for lunch”, says Nana. Mama Kura Rasmussen also recalls having a wonderful time, “it was my first time going to the movies! It made me feel young again, like I was going on a school trip with my friends.” Mama Rasmussen also comments “I look forward to my Tuesday’s. I like coming to the shed, to sing and be around others.”

The visit to Waiheke Island was one they would never forget. The club sang from Auckland CBD all the way to Waiheke and back. Entertaining and charming travelers near and far. Once on the Island they stopped over to visit a local gallery owned and operated by a beautiful Maori Artist Jeanine Clarkin. They then had what is considered the “best fish and chips on Waiheke”, and concluded their outing with dessert at the Tantalus Vineyard where they were hosted by Alibi Head Chef Marco Edwardes. Marco had fallen in love with our Cook Islands people while he had been working in Rarotonga last year.

Tokoroa Cook Islands Community Set the Theme for Cook Islands Language Week 2019

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Cook Islands language week has been a project that we have committed to administering across New Zealand for our Cook Islands communities. We do this in partnership with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, and have done so for over four years now. It is a project of the heart because the process of setting the theme has always been a vulnerable one because we hear the stories of our people right across the country.

In 2018 we attended a CILW event held by Tokoroa Cook Islands Society. It inspired our team so much that this year  we reached out to our sixteeth star with the proposal to set the theme for language week 2019. Tokoroa is a community rich in our culture, and when we traveled down on February 22nd, we were again reminded of that fact. We were welcomed by students of Tokoroa High School and the Tokoroa Cook Islands Society with a tuoro befitting a high chief.

The community had also gone above and beyond to set the theme for language week 2019, and we couldn’t be more proud. The theme is currently being finalised by MPP, with a release date yet to be decided.

Meitaki ma’ata to the Cook Islands Community Society Tokoroa Inc and the students of Tokoroa High School not only for hosting us, but for being champions of our reo and culture. Here is a video of the community singing a beautiful song: https://youtu.be/zier168Ns0E

oneCHILD Project Build Set for early 2019!

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We are one step closer to achieving a vision that has been in the works since the development of the Cook Islands Development Action Plan set in 2013 to 2022.

The Ta’okotai’anga – CIDANZ is building the very first ‘total immersion’ Cook Islands Early Childhood Education Centre in Auckland.  Approved funding through the Ministry of Education for a 60 children facility in Mangere was received in 2015 and in 2016, the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board approved to lease approximately 640m² of Old School Reserve in Mangere for the building of the facility.  With the incredible Project Management and Architectural support of Strachan Group Architects and its many agents the resource consent was approved in January 2018, and final plans signed off by our Chief Executive.

As we draw closer to the turning of soil for the oneCHILD Centre Project this year, so too is the completion of the first ‘total immersion’ curriculum framework for the centre.

On Friday 15th June the oneCHILD Project Group met to view and discuss the proposal: Rima Akataka Approach – this is a hands on experience in learning for the tamariki potiki of the centre, based on tacit knowledge of the Cook Islands (indigenous people’s knowledge developed over time, and continue to develop). The discourse in literature and group discussion covered the Cook Islands Maori Reo, quality learning, quality teachers, authentic learners, practical and literate learning, nature studies, literature, global approaches and theories.

The centre will be indigegogy based, where our tamariki potiki will be totally immersed in the Cook Islands Maori reo and a Cook Islands Maori worldview. Our tamariki potiki will learn through a culturally responsive-relational pedagogy with a collaborative pathway to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the Cook Islands Maori Reo, Akonoanga and People in a new indigenous cultural environment. We are creating a new and exciting wave of learning for our tamariki potiki in Aotearoa.

Currently the Trust is going through a rigorous process to select the right builders for this work. We look forward to beginning the new year with a soil turning ceremony to mark this momentous occasion.

Exhibition & Launch of CITVCNZ

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On Monday 22nd October, the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini Collective NZ (CITVCNZ) was officially launched at a Cook Islands exhibition. The Collective was first set-up in 2016 with three members – Tepori Teariki, Nana Kamo-Mataroa, and Vaine Areora. Over time, the group grew, becoming 44 members strong and steadily rising.

With a vision to unite and prosper the Cook Islands community, CITVCNZ have several projects underway, including upcycling materials donated by the Takanini Sikh community, and adapting Cook Islands to be sold at the Te Papa Museum.

The launch of CITVCNZ was met with great enthusiasm from the Cook Islands community who rallied together in support of the women. We look forward to seeing more from our Mama’s.

 

Empowering Young People Through Ei Katu-Making

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Emerge Aotearoa provides a wide range of recovery and rehabilitation services designed to empower people to reach their full recovery potential. They believe that everyone is capable of living a meaningful life and are committed to helping their service users to be the best they can be – resulting in improved overall community well-being and participation. On Wednesday 18 July, Emerge Aotearoa, through Cook Islander Louise Tito, joined forces with the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini to teach a workshop on ei katu-making to young people facing difficulties in their life. With changing times, young people are challenged constantly to be the best version of themselves, especially in an environment where social media and the media play a big role in building up the self-esteem of young people. Sometimes being the best version of themselves is not always easy to do, especially when young people don’t have the right people or values in place to support them. And sometimes this leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and many other mental health conditions affecting our mapu. The ei katu workshop was part of three workshops offered on the day. Through it our Mama’s – Nane, June, Mariana and Nana, were able to get to know these young people and through their humor and kindness, were able to bring these young people out of their shells to enjoy a craft most Cook Islanders have grown up with. Although the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini have been highlighted across several news media articles, as our favorite Auntie Nana Kamo-Matoroa says “we’re more than just a group of women that sew tivaevae’s.” Vainetini’s are a group of skilled women who make Cook Islands crafts. Lately the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini are teaching us that they’re more than that, especially through their work with the Sikh Community, and our young Pacific and Maori people.

NOW CLOSED – Funding applications for CILW community activities & events!

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[APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED!]

The Cook Islands community are the second largest Pacific ethnic group in New Zealand (after Samoans) making up 20% (61,839) of the Pacific population (295,941) with 59.5% (36,810) living in the Auckland region (Census 2013).

The annual ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ’Āirani: Cook Islands Language Week is being held from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 4 August 2018.

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples (the Ministry) supports community efforts to encourage the preservation and retention of the Cook Islands language by Cook Islanders living in New Zealand. In 2012 the Ministry in partnership with CIDANZ and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) delivered the first Cook Islands Language Week.

Since 2012, engagement in Cook Islands Language Week has grown and is being celebrated across New Zealand through schools, tertiary institutions, workplaces and communities. Cook Islands Language Week is a chance for all Kiwis to celebrate our rich language and beautiful culture.

If your community, organisation or group is holding an activity/event in celebration of Cook Islands Language Week 2018, applications are now open from today 2 July, and will close on Friday 20 July, 1.00pm. Your applications will be assessed by Wednesday 25 July, the results of which will be communicated back to you via email.

Application Criteria:

  • Articulate in written form how your activity, event, or workshop will contribute to the following: use of language, awareness, resources, literacy proficiency – knowledge (speaking, listening, and writing)?
  • Clearly outline your budget distribution across all activities.
  • Provide a calendar of events/activities to be held.
  • Activities should not weigh heavily on ‘catering’ as the key component to gathering the community or holding the event.
  • Provide an accountability (financial/none financial) report with a small write up and photograph of the activities/event held.
  • Organisation or Group must be based in New Zealand.

For any questions or to submit your application, please contact Janet Akai at janet@cidanz.co.nz.

“Telling a New Story” – A Cook Islands Vainetini’s twist on an old craft

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The years have been kind to the development and growth of our Cook Islands crafts. There has been a steady rise in the skills and numbers of Cook Islands craft-makers, including our very own Vainetini’s, with 13 formulated groups currently operating in the Auckland area alone. Of those 13 is the Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anga Vainetini (Taokotai Vainetini) headed by Tepori Teariki.

Under the umbrella of the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ), this vainetini was the first National Cook Islands Vainetini group formed in July 2016 . The vision of the group was to unite and prosper the Cook Islands community, its formation being an example of how they were achieving that vision. Comprised with over 30+ members from over 7 other Auckand vainetini groups, the true strength of the group is their ability to create an equal platform that recognizes each mama’s strength, knowledge, and the strength of that knowledge when combined. Individually these mamas are craftswomen sustaining our Cook Islands heritage, but together they are a powerhouse of mama’s sustaining our community.

On June 10th, the Taokotai Vainetini was featured on ONE News Network. The story highlighted the women’s creative abilities to give new life to the the traditional Sikh fabric known as the Rumala Sahib, a fabric destined to be burned to protect its sacred role in the Sihk religion. The women have given our traditional tivaevae’s a new twist by incorporating the Rumala Sahib into it; a technique that up until that moment, had never been attempted before with another cultures traditional cloths. At first the Mama’s were reluctant to cut into the beautiful material, but through prayer, trial and error, they were able to respectably give the Rumala Sahib a second chance at life, ultimately telling a new story.

Currently the women are recycling the fabrics by sewing it into beautiful pieces of arts and crafts. They look forward to featuring a few of their creations in October 2018.