Here is our guide to major events taking place in 2019, many of which you can participate in.
Sport and fun play an essential part in the everyday lives of Cook Islanders. There’s always something of interest taking place, be it sport, festivals, or celebratory events; plus there’s a multitude of sports codes and active clubs where you will always find a warm welcome.
2019 EVENTS CALENDAR
16 to 21 March: Golden Ukalele Festival. This festival is about sharing our love of the ukalele. Celebrations during the week include an evening Beach Concert and an Awards Night at the National Auditorium.
25 to 28 March: Pursuit in Paradise - Aitutaki Marathon. An exciting running event that will become an iconic event for marathon aficionados and runners from all corners of the globe, as well as fit locals.
April: Kia Orana Youth Football Festival. The Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) holds it youth event for all interested clubs and schools who wish to play football in paradise. Held at the CIFA complex in Matavera.
26 April to 9 May: Te Mira Ura (Dancer of the Year competitions). Poetry in motion! Dozens of dancers in three age groups, junior, intermediate and open, take to the stage individually to determine who will be the winner in their chosen category. Finals are then held in the National Auditorium in Rarotonga. This is always a fun and enlightening spectacle for visitors.
02 May: Cook Islands International Triathlon Week. First run in 1995, this event sees many overseas athletes from as far away as Sweden competing alongside the locals. Day one starts with the infamous ‘boiler swim’ followed by a pasta party. As well as the triathlon, the week features the Hash House Harriers Fun Run and Island Feast, the Turtles Tour de Raro Cycle Race and wraps up with the Matutu Mile Fun Run and sausage sizzle.
01 June & 03 June: Opera in Rarotonga. An annual event held on Queens Birthday weekend.
June: Rarotonga Amateur Golf Open 2019. If you love to play golf, why not plan your holiday around this annual event organised by the Rarotonga Golf Club.
26 July to 5 August: Te Maeva Nui Constitution Celebrations. This week-long cultural marathon is held around the date of August 4th, which is the birthday of the Cook Islands as an independent nation. Big dance teams from different islands and districts challenge each other in vibrant competitions requiring energy and dedication. Held at the National Auditorium in Rarotonga, this is the cultural highlight of the Cook Islands year. See photo at top of this page.
August: Manureva Aquafest (dates to be confirmed). Some of the biggest names in kitesurfing and rank amateurs also, have a thrilling time at the annual Manureva Aquafest. Don’t miss it!
September: Round Rarotonga Road Race (dates to be confirmed). The Round Rarotonga Road Race is an annual week-long event which caters for everyone including families, social, recreational and seriously competitive. The main event is the 31km round the island road race, but there are also many less serious events happening during the week for recreational runners. Why not take the opportunity to combine this event with a holiday in our little paradise and visit the beaches too?
October / November: Raro Rugby Sevens (dates to be confirmed). Playing sport and having a good time is something Cook Islanders know how to do well. Attracting participating teams from far and wide, Raro Rugby Sevens (previously known as Sevens in Heaven) has become one of the most popular 7’s competitions in the Pacific. It has also developed a real festival atmosphere.
22 November to 29 November: Vaka Eiva International Paddling Competition. Hundreds of paddlers and their supporters hit Rarotonga’s shores in November each year for Vaka Eiva, an outrigger canoeing festival that is now the largest sporting event in the Cook Islands. This is one of the few traditional Polynesian sports that has survived the test of time plus it has a strong cultural significance. There is an air of festivity on the island all week, from the opening ceremony, throughout the days of racing and social activities, to the wrap-up party at Trader Jacks.
November: Te Mire Tiare Flower Festival (dates to be confirmed). An annual colorful festival featuring competitions for the best floral decorated shops, schools and government buildings. The week wraps up with a float parade and the crowning of Miss Tiare 2018
November - December: Netball in Paradise (dates to be confirmed). Now in its 8th year, Netball in Paradise attracts teams from around the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand for week-long competitions, from under 13 age grade upwards. This fun week of games and camaraderie provides a good excuse for a family holiday.
All events take place on Rarotonga, unless stated otherwise.
Dates and events are provided courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism Corporation but are subject to change without notice. We will do our best to update this page as information comes to hand, but we do recommend confirming event dates with the Visitor Information Centre – phone (+682) 29435, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Page last updated 27 February 2019