Niue and the Cook Islands

30 Oct 2013

For more photos from Niue, click here

For more photos from the Cook Islands, click here

The Governor-General, Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, visited Niue and the Cook Islands in late October 2013 to reaffirm New Zealand’s close ties with the two South Pacific nations.

The Cook Islands and Niue are self-governing in free association with New Zealand and, along with the territory of Tokelau and the Ross Dependency, form part of the wider Realm of New Zealand.

The Governor-General and Lady Janine Mateparae left New Zealand for Niue on 18 October before travelling to the Cook Islands on 20 October, and returned to Wellington on 24 October.

Sir Jerry and Lady Janine Mateparae provided high-level representation at the celebrations marking Niue’s 39th Constitution Day, the anniversary of the establishment of self-government in free association with New Zealand in 1974. The centrepiece of the celebrations was the Flag-Raising Ceremony, where the Governor-General gave an address reaffirming the special nature of the bilateral relationship and the unique ties that bind New Zealand and Niue. 

In his speech, the Governor-General said it was both an honour and a privilege to stand before the Fale Fono and to extend to the Government and people of Niue, warm greetings from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and the Government and people of New Zealand.

“This occasion is a proud moment for all of us here today.  It is an especially proud moment for all Niueans, including those who join with us in spirit from New Zealand and many other places.  Thirty nine years ago, in 1974 the people of Niue expressed their desire for self-determination in a United Nations-sponsored referendum.  The referendum asked the people of Niue how they, their children and their grandchildren wanted to be governed in future.  Their choice – your choice – was self-government in free association with New Zealand."

The Governor-General said that since 1974 New Zealand and Niue had been bound together in a special and enduring relationship.  “At its heart, however, the relationship is founded on the authority and mana that comes from Niue’s expression of self-determination.  And it is the choice made in 1974 and the ensuing legacy that we celebrate today as Niue’s flag is raised.”

While in Niue, the Governor-General and Lady Janine also attended the National Show Day, while they also promoted New Zealand’s support to build the Niuean economy, particularly in tourism.

In the Cook Islands, Sir Jerry and Lady Janine Mateparae received a full ceremonial welcome at Atupare Marae, during which they were honoured with the Tapu of the Kiriti-Maro-Tai ceremony. This was a significant honour and underscored the close cultural links between the Cook Islands Māori and New Zealand Māori.

Speaking in Te Reo Māori, the Governor-General spoke of the significance of his visit.   “Kua haere mai māua, ki Kuki Airani, ki te whakanui i, Te hononga Kāwanatanga o Aotearoa me Kuki Airani; Te hononga whakapapa Māori o Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa; Te herenga whanaungatanga ki raro i te Kuini o Aotearoa; Me te waihotanga o te taonga kohatu no Aotearoa ki runga te ahurewa tapu nei.

“No reira, e nga tuākana whakapapa, E harikoa ana māua ko Janine, me taku rōpū, Ki te huri haere i te motu, Ki te haere hoki ki Mauke motu, Mātaki i nga kaupapa katoa, Ki te here i a tātou o Kuki Airani, me Aotearoa. Aku mihi whakaiti mo te honore, te tapu o Kiriti-Maro-Tai, ki runga ki ahau. Kia ora huihui tātou, “Kia orana tatou katoatoa!”

(“We have come to honour and recognise: The constitutional connection between New Zealand and the Cook Islands; The genealogical connection of Māori in the Pacific; Our relationship under the Queen of New Zealand and the placing of a taonga stone on the ceremonial area.  So Janine and me and our group are happy to be here, to move around the island and to go to Mauke, to visit and some of the relationships that bind us from the Cook Islands and New Zealand. Thank you for the honour of the ceremony placed upon me.  Greetings to us all.”)

Later the Governor-General, and Lady Janine called on the Queen’s Representative, Tom Marsters, at Government House, where he spoke to a large number of invited guests.   In his speech, he spoke of the relationship between the two countries.

“The relationship between New Zealand and the Cook Islands is a special one.  While our formal association in a modern sense began in 1901, it is founded on far more intimate historical, cultural and social ties.  Those ties include similarities in our tikanga, our reo and our ancient stories, that have existed between our peoples and our countries for centuries.  That history includes visits by Maori – Cook Island and New Zealand – and European explorers, including your nation’s namesake.”

Sir Jerry and Lady Janine Mateparae also visited several projects in Rarotonga that are being supported by New Zealand. 

They also visited one of the outer islands, Mauke, where the Governor-General unveiled a new war memorial as well as learning of assistance provided by the New Zealand Aid Programme and attending a kaikai feast hosted by the local community.

In his speech at the memorial unveiling, the Governor-General praised the service of the people of Mauke and the Cook Islands to New Zealand.

"I do not know the stories of the people of Mauke who left their homes to fight for our God, their King, and their country. What I do know is that the people of Mauke can be proud of their contribution. Like the great explorer Paikea, they set off into the unknown and gifted us the taonga of peace and freedom we enjoy today. This memorial stands as a silent witness to their service, their sacrifice and their honour."

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