What's On

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we are unable to provide an accurate guide to major events in 2021. However, many events follow similar dates to those of 2020 which are listed below. We will provide updates as soon as they become available.

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.


March 07 to 12: 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.

March 19: Te Mire ‘Atu. Song Composers Competition. An event to celebrate and acknowledge local music and composers.

March 23 to 28: Pursuit in Paradise - Aitutaki Marathon. An exciting iconic event for marathon aficionados and runners from all corners of the globe, as well as fit locals. Why not add some adrenaline pumping activity to that relaxing holiday in Aitutaki.

April: Kia Orana Youth Football Festival. The Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) holds its youth event for all interested clubs and schools who wish to play football in paradise. Held at the CIFA complex in Matavera. April 18: Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards 2020 Our premiere tourism industry event which recognises excellence attained by industry members over the past two years.

April 24 to May 07: 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.

April 30 to May 05: 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 on Saturday 2nd May, the week features the Hash House Harriers Fun Run and Island Feast, the Turtles Tour de Raro Cycle Race and wraps up with a Fun Run and sausage sizzle.

May 28 to June 01: Opera in Rarotonga. An annual event held over Queens Birthday weekend. Don’t miss the Family Day on Thursday 28th at Punanga Nui Marketplace.

May 29 to June 01: Rarotonga Amateur Golf Open 2020. If you love to play golf, why not plan your holiday around this annual event organised by the Rarotonga Golf Club.

July 31 to August 08: 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 15 to 21: 43rd Round Rarotonga Road Race. The RRRR 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 (dates to be confirmed): 18ft Vaka Open & National Championship. Amazing sailing in unique 18ft sailing yachts. Held on Muri Lagoon from the Rarotonga Sailing Club base at Sails Restaurant.

October (dates to be confirmed): Te Ata O Avaiki. Empowering and inspiring emerging Cook Islands designers through culture and environment to promote creativity in fashion, is the theme behind a new event initiated by the Ministry of Cultural Development.

October / November (dates to be confirmed): Raro Rugby Sevens . 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.

November (dates to be confirmed): 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 23 to 26: Te Mire Tiare Flower Festival. 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 2020.

November / December (dates to be confirmed): Netball in Paradise. Attracting 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.

November 30 to December 04: Aitutaki Motu 2 Motu. Paddling 36kms, 7 legs, 6 changeovers, mixed crews. One awesome week of paddling fun augmenting the main event, with paddling activities and races to suit all family members.

All events take place on Rarotonga, unless stated otherwise.

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: info@cookislands.gov.ck

Information last updated 25 April 2021

Rarotonga Amateur Golf Open
Start of the Boiler swim at Trader Jacks
Manureva Aquafest
Jubilant faces completing the Round Rarotonga Road Race
Te Maeva Nui celebrations
Vaka Championship
Raro Rugby Sevens
Vaka Eiva