HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 596: 29 December2011

Cook Islands Memories
Last week, CITV began screening a four part look back at an earlier period of our history under the title of “Cook Islands Memories.”
The series which deals with everyday life and events on Rarotonga and some outer islands during the period from 1956-1965, was made possible due to film footage taken by NZ government administrator Bob McEwan during his tenure here as the Director of the Teachers Training College in Nikao.
The original film was shot in colour by a standard 8mm movie camera at what appears to be 16 frames per second. By contrast, modern films are shot at 24 frames per second. The original, silent film was converted to two VHS video tapes with subtitles added and was donated to CITV by Bob’s daughter Margaret when she visited Rarotonga several years ago. CITV then converted the tapes to digital format for showing on TV.
While the colour in parts of the footage has faded over the years, much of the content-people and scenes, remains clearly identifiable.
The footage has no commentary, just background music, some of it from that era.
Cook Islands Memories then, is a memoir of the unique heritage of our country. Depicting the life events of that period of time. As we are viewing it, we can actually reflect back on the past and the changes that have been made to suit the modern era. One example is our style of dancing. Compared to the dancing patterns of today, back then, simple hand gestures and a few movements of the feet made up an entire dancing routine. They weren’t as flamboyant with their actions as dancers are in this decade. The one aspect that has certainly evolved is costume. If you observe closely, you will notice that the midriff area of the female dancers is completely concealed. Nowadays, the body of a female dancer is proudly put on display for the public, especially the tourist, to see.
Another item that has been changing drastically is our traditional sports. Although it is possible to see some traditional sports events (on the rare occasion) such as the Manea Games, it is not an everyday thing, whereas in the past, you’d see young chaps everywhere, walking on tall stilts called roro. It was a part of their everyday life, but now, it is just viewed as a form of entertainment.
Music is another factor that has captured the interest of many viewers. Although a small fraction of the songs played are songs of that era, viewers may be surprised that most of the songs are from today. There are a variety of artists, such as Sweet, Sour & Cream, Apiti Nicholas and the instrumental sounds of Bobby Browne and Te Manava Dance Group, whose music has been used in the editing of the program.
Cook Islands Memories has been split into four major episodes, all based on separate topics. The first two episodes are mainly about Rarotonga, while the third and fourth episodes reflect on education and Bob McEwan’s ventures to the outer islands. Watching this is truly an educational experience and a gives the viewer an opportunity to reflect back on the past, which might give an outlook of our future.
The series is fronted by Shona Pitt who provides an introduction and credit for the editing, sound and finishing touches goes to CITV’s Julie Taripo-Sheddon who did a wonderful job matching the music of today with the gestures and movements of yesterday. -Norma Ngatamariki

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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