11 Aug 2011

Cook Islands plans national day celebrations in San Francisco

7:06 am on 11 August 2011

The Cook Islands has planned a tourism exposure celebration today for their national day in San Francisco to coincide with the arrival of their vaka, the Marumaru Atua.

The vaka, the name of which translates as under the protection of God, is one of a fleet of six traditional canoes that has completed a voyage across the Pacific to the USA.

The Cook Islands Prime Minister is among the visiting dignataries who'll attend the one day event, that will offer traditional foods, cultural performances, and a sail around the harbour on the vaka.

The vaka's captain, Peia Patai, says it's the perfect opportunity to promote their islands and their eco-sustainable message about caring for the oceans.

He says the role of traditional knowledge is still key and still has value in how people can live their lives today.

"Promote the message that we are carrying on this epic voyage, that we are doing, which is to look after our oceans. So it will be our turn to bring the Cook Islands out and tap into that tourism market there."

Peia Patai says today's events begin with a traditional Cook Islands welcome ceremony.