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Rutaki Village Festival draws huge crowd

Cook Islands Football through it’s Just Play program joined forces with four sporting organizations to put on the third Village Festival for youngsters aged 6 to 12.
The children received basic football, cricket, athletics, netball and rugby training from several coaches and enjoyed the chance to kick, throw, pass a ball, and jumping hurdles while learning some of the main points of each activity, which aims to promote physical activity for children while encouraging community involvement and healthy living.
Just Play project manager Michelle Paiti was delighted with the turnout and how the afternoon went and is excited about the future of the Village Festivals.
“It’s really good to see children coming out in such large numbers to play at these community festivals,” Paiti says.
“Every festival has its own identity and purpose – to help children who live in the different communities enjoy life with a variety of sports and we are seeing that happening in all the areas we have visited.”
“The number of children participating has increased each time and our target is to reach more children over the coming months.”
Paiti was quick to acknowledge the efforts of those behind the scenes who helped the festival run smoothly and become such a success.
“None of this would have been possible without the help of cricket, athletics, rugby, netball and Public Health as well as the parents and the children for attending the festival in Rutaki,” she says.
“In the end it was just what we wanted it to be – a positive and memorable experience for the kids to keep active.”
Ministry of Health nutritionist Karen Tairea enforced the importance of the health message – ‘5+ a day’ during a water break while explaining the importance of eating at least five fruits and vegetable servings a day.
Younger aged children a little shy to take part were kept busy with hula hoop activities on the side lines and a number of these kids actually joined in the activities towards the end.
The Health Lifestyle Expo followed in the evening from 6 – 7pm to get the health messages out to the wider community this was set up with visual displays at the Rutaki meeting house and attracted the best numbers so far of parents and children keen to learn more about the kinds of food they eat and drink.
Paiti would like to extend a big Meitaki Maata to everyone who contributed to the third village festival, Cook Islands Cricket, Cook Islands Rugby, Little Athletics, Cook Islands Netball and the Ministry of Health.
“We look forward to our continued partnership with this event”, says Paiti.
Michelle would like to thank the continued support of the Government of Australia – through its agencies the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

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