Mrs Akaiti Puna, Mrs Christine Hurley, His Excellency the NZ High Commission Mr Nick Hurley (holding the newly launched book), and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mr Henry Puna, at the USP Cook Islands book launch. (Photo Credit: Cook Islands News)
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Cook Islands Campus hosted the launch of a new book titled, Cook Islands Art and Architecture, which was co-edited by the Campus Director, Mr Roderick Dixon.
The book was launched by the Prime Minister of Cook Islands Honourable Henry Puna and the New Zealand High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Nick Hurley on 17 March 2016.
The 21 essays in the book provide compelling evidence of Cook Islands visual and performance art as essentially collaborative endeavours, often inspired by the vision of a single ta'unga or expert, but elaborated through the collective improvisation of artists or performers who at the same time observe a highly complex, delicate and critical sense for ensemble.
Speaking at the launch, Honourable Puna noted the importance of collective activity in Cook Islands culture, society and economy.
He talked about his desire to see Cook Islands society move from the new trend towards individuality to the more traditional concepts of family, community and “neighbourliness.”
His Excellency Mr Hurley said even though he had not been able to be part of the book, in that he was no artist, it had been his privilege, on behalf of the New Zealand High Commission, to contribute funding to enable the book to be published.
He made mention of a section of the book about Cook Islands coral architecture and how delighted he was to see many of the old coral buildings and walls around the island being restored.
Co-editor of the book, Dr Marjorie Crocombe took the opportunity to issue a challenge to the Prime Minister to help preserve the Cook Islands Maori language by funding half a Maori language teacher’s salary at USP.
She said this would fulfil her dream of providing Te Reo Maori language courses at University level, starting in the first semester of 2017.
The Prime Minister was up for the challenge and gave approval for the funding.
Cook Islands Art & Architecture has a first edition run of 100 copies and costs $100.00. With the first print run almost sold out, plans are underway for a second edition.
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