Song and Dance - The heart of Cook Islands culture
Cook Islanders are known for their distinct Polynesian singing and dancing; they are amongst the finest dancers in the south pacific. Traditional dancers are accompanied by drums and perform to a beat whilst telling a story. Each island has its own unique dances and drumbeats.
Some well-known traditional dance categories include the Ura Pa’u, Kapa Rima, Pe’e and Ute. Ura Pa’u is a drum dance involving fast pace dancing accompanied by drumming. Kapa Rima is an action dance which involves a large amount of arm and hand movement, Pe’e involves traditional chants and singing whilst the Ute, known by some as the haka, are celebratory chants. Traditional costumes are worn by dancers which include kikau (coconut frond skirts), shell necklaces, coconut bras, flowers and head dresses which are made from woven matting filled with pearls, shells and feathers.
Cook Islanders have many dancing competitions and regular international awards throughout the year; where you can appreciate a full range of cultural dances and traditions. One of the most popular of these competitions is Te Maeva Nui, a week long festival and dance competition dedicated to celebrating the Cook Islands independence.
String bands play at restaurants, hotels and concerts, the bands combine modern electronics with traditional, locally made ukuleles, providing tourists with a more modern Cook Islands experience.