Lest We Forget the 500 Cook Islands Soldiers

11 April – 6 May
Opening in the Main Gallery
Saturday 11 April 10am – 4pm.

Aue! Ko te ngaropoina uake ia tatou rima anere vaeau toa Kuki Airani

Arnette Arapai | Richard Shortland Cooper | Teariki Engu | Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French | Te Ulu O te Watu Community Dance Group | Kaute Enua Dance Group | Tiare Taina Mangere Women’s Group | Clinton Hewitt | Nooroa Te Hira | Laura Hirovanna | Pauline Hirovanna | Moeroa Hobbs | Brett Killington | Grace Lazaro | Numangatini Mackenzie | John Maeva | Sylvia Marsters | Fongsaiyuk Mckanzie Ngaro | NiaVal Ngaro | Michel Tuffery | Cypress Vivieaere-Davis & images from the late Jim Vivieaere

Lest We Forget the 500 Cook Islands Soldiers, Aue! Ko te ngaropoina uake ia tatou rima anere vaeau toa Kuki Airani, commemorates the Cook Islands’ contribution of recruiting five hundred men from 1914 to 1918 leaving Rarotonga to serve for King and Country in the Great War.

New Zealand Cook Islands Arts Collective is a group of creative people of Cook Island descent who connect, inform and support one another. Members from the collective have created an opportunity for the Cook Island creative community to pay tribute by creating new works of sculpture, traditional song and dance, photography, theatre play, moving image and installation.

This exhibition starts its journey right in the heart of Devonport, where all the soldiers trained at Narrow Neck Military Camp with Maori and Niuean as well as other ethnicities. Also eight Cook Island soldiers are buried at O’Neills Point Cemetery in Bayswater.

For Devonport to be a starting point for their journey shows it is so significant, not only did they live and train here, they would have exchanged language and culture, built relationships and created memories with one another. One hundred years later we believe this exhibition will not only pay tribute, but essentially encourage similar cross cultural exchange and learning experiences with people from the Devonport community and the Cook Island community.

Lest we forget the five hundred men’s journey.

Opening Ceremony: Saturday 11 April 10am – 4pm
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition and to commemorate the Cook Island soldiers there will be a series of special events.

At 10am a ceremonial procession led by the Devonport RSA and Te Ulu o te Watu will march from Bartley Terrace to the Depot Artspace.

This will be followed by a war chant from Te Ulu o te Watu. Throughout the day there will be Cook Island dance, performance, music, and speeches from Alfred Ngaro and special guests. Refreshments will be served throughout the opening.

Badge & Lei Making Workshop: Wednesday 15 April
Two sessions: 10am – 12pm and 12.30pm – 2.30pm
Devonport Community House
Gold coin donation
Open to the public
Ages 5 +

During the Easter school holidays visit the exhibition at the Depot Artspace and learn about the Cook Island soldiers who fought in WW1. Next door at the Devonport Community House you will be able to create replica military badges, flower leis, and remembrance poppy and hibiscus flower badges.

Living Memories: Saturday 18 April 11am – 3pm
Officials/relatives of soldiers share their memories, stories and songs of ancestors who served in WW1 along with musical performances from Tinitin Aronga Pakari Group.

Artist Talk: Sunday 19 April 12 – 1pm

Artist Talk: Sunday 26 April 12 – 1pm

Te Po Karioi Night of Entertainment: Saturday 2 May 4pm – 8pm
Join us for an evening of Cook Island dance, song and music plus artist talks to pay tribute to our soldiers.