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Pacific Games 2009 logo
"Let us all join together and enjoy the games. Let's share our mana, our legacy, our tradition and our hearts."  Games CEO Mac Mokoroa



Games torch burns brightly
THE OPENING CEREMONY
21st September, 2009

'PRAY FOR PEACE' PLEA
The opening coincided with the United Nations Day of Peace.  Queen's Representative, Sir Frederick Goodwin urged athletes to visit peace gardens constructed by Rarotonga schoolchildren and to "stand, reflect and pray" for peace in the world.
We're getting a unique insight into the games through the eyes of eight teenagers from Manchester, England who are in Rarotonga to report on the games.    They're from a group called "Supporters to Reporters" (S2R) and this is their short film about the opening ceremony.
You can watch more of their videos, read their blogs and learn more at the S2R Manchester website
S2R logo
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  The photos on this page are taken from a YouTube video of the opening ceremony, made by Cook Islander. Penelope (except the one top right which was taken by the S2R team).  Click here to watch the video itself.  The words are my own, derived from the excellent reports on the games by Cook Islands News.
Click here to return to title page
Team Cook Islands
A colourful welcome
A warm Cook Islands welcome
To thunderous cheers and the sounds of traditional Cook Islands music, nearly a thousand athletes and officials from 22 nations were led into the new Telecom Sports Stadium.  At their head was the contingent from Palau, who hosted the 2005 games.   Teams from the previous week's  Te Maeva Nui cultural festival  - from all of the 13 inhabited islands in the Cooks - accompanied each country.
Team Cook Islands haka
Haka
The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed and teams quickly ignored plans for a continuous march round the stadium...instead, they peformed hakas in front of the main grandstand!
Pacific Games Council flag paraded
Father and son weightlifters, Sam Pera Jnr and Sam Pera Snr carried the new Pacific Games Council flag into the stadium accompanied by fellow Cook Islands team members.  Boys Brigade members formed a guard of honour.   All 10 flag bearers also wore olive branch head eis which were taken from an olive tree planted on the island after the Athens olympics of 2004.



Gifts of drinking nuts (nu) were offered to the teams....
Bearing refreshment
...and the refreshment was welcomed as they sat in the warm afternoon sun.
Papua New Guinea team
Games torch parade
Pacific Games Council flag
Let the games begin
The games torch was lit from a fire started in traditonal fashion by Cook Islands living legend, "Coconut King" Piri Puruto (he used to do a daily show scaling palm trees in seconds!).   The huge official flag  (above centre) was entrusted to the Boys Brigade to hoist up.   Last year's Cook Islands junior sportsman and sportswoman, Daniel Tutai and Patricia Taea had the honour of lighting the games flame, signalling the official start of the 2009 Pacific Mini Games (above right).