Tuesday 30th July 10.05am Cook Island time
Kia Orana to everyone in NZ !
Had an emotional arrival into Rarotonga on Thursday morning here and were greeted by a mild 23 degrees at 1-30am, we were so excited and had to sit outside in our shorts & jandals till 4-00am with a few cold beers !
We arrived at the club at 11-00am that same morning hoping to have a roll up but were seconded to work – water blasting the walls & concrete areas around the green then clearing away the rubbish from the club which had been freshly tiled and painted for the arrival of 68 Australians on Friday. This is the inaugural Bowls Carnival event hosted by Cook Island Travel so everyone has been working hard to impress our visitors.
We didn’t finish working till 5-00pm and weren’t allowed to roll up at all, as all the members would want to join us and no work would get done as they had an after work “working bee” till 9-00pm! Collected our friends Andy & Ali Ellis from the airport at 1-30am Friday.
Friday was much the same but this time we started at 9-00am dressing the fences around both greens with Cook Island Travel and Te Maeva Nui (a cultural festival) signage – didn’t finish till 2-00pm and had a short roll up. We went home and had a well earned shower then dressed and off to Trader Jacks for a few beers with Andy & Ali (Andy’s 2nd birthday celebration in two days because of the time difference).
Went back to the club at 4-45pm to be greeted by a green full of Australians wearing island clothes and playing bowls (unbelievable !) and smiling and dancing all over the place while a local band played !
It was a beautiful night and a unique way to build up to the Nationals, we weren’t very happy at first but seeing and being part of the final result has been very rewarding.
Saturday at 11-00am we had the opening ceremony and were gifted our Shirts & Caps by the club who have now embraced us – especially the women (our Aunties) as we have done more work than the local men ! They say we are real “Cook Island boys” and our mums must be proud of us (LOL!).
The Fours started today around 1-30pm, 12-10pm we were informed that RBC (Rarotonga Bowling Club) only had 6 of the required 8 players to field two fours teams and that we had to find a fourth player for our team !
Fortunately the afternoon before we met Gus (Gussy Bro) Miller at Trader Jacks who lives 6 months in Auckland and 6 months in Rarotonga. He plays at the Point Chevalier club in Auckland – he came and played with us !
After a rough start in the first game against Arorangi (down 5 nil early after 4 ends) we finally got used to driving to play a draw shot, caught up, got a lead then cruised away to a 27-6 win picking up a 5 on the last of the 15 ends. GO THE BUMBLE BEES draw first blood.
For the second game against Aitutaki we switched greens but it was still difficult – slow as, lucky if it was 12 seconds. After switching the lead back and forth in the first 10 ends, we finally got a break on the 11th end, extended that on ends 12,13 & 14 – to have the game in hand going into the last end. In the last end a miracle bowl saw us 5 down with Junior still to play 2 bowls, fortunately he managed to sit on the shot bowl with his first bowl, so we only went one down.
After day one we are on top of the table with a huge points differential, next game is at 1-00pm Mon (11-00am Tues NZ time), our group of Aunties at the club are wanting us to go all the way but anything can happen on these greens.
Junior,Vince,Andy & Ali came to Nikao where I’m staying with my brother John & his wife Linda this morning – we had a cooked breakfast “Island Style” – taro leaves on grilled tomato,bacon,eggs,sausages & toast !
Vince is off to church and to see some of his family, Junior is going to catch up with his family too.
I’m off with John & Linda to the Aoteroa Society – NZ Maori have a Marae in Rarotonga and there is a group of teenagers from Christchurch that have travelled here to perform in Te Maeva Nui. They are Amokura Kapa Haka – Christchurch, so we’re going to have a bbq and they are going to perform for us.
Meeting the boys & Andy & Ali at Aroa Beachside in at 4-00pm for Margaritas in a jam jar , literally on the beach – won’t be too late even though we play after lunch tomorrow !
Our mate Brendan Perry from Mt.Albert Bowling Club arrived this morning just after midnight and is staying at the Central Motel where Junior is. I got home at 2-30am and need a sleep could be the effects of the Margaritas and heat!
11-00am , the Te Maeva Nui float parade is on through the middle of town – absolutely log jammed with floats,drums and dancers everywhere.
1-00pm – should be playing but as customary in the Cook Islands we are going to start at “whenever” – whats the rush ? Finally get going at 2-00pm.
First up we played Mangaia (Juniors birthplace) unfortunately , although we didn’t play badly – we go down after being in touch – holding several times to get in front but just being outgunned. Juniors Uncle Peter sure knows how to work his ABT Evo 5 Heavy’s. We are slightly dejected but know whoever is next is going to feel the wrath.
It’s hot and even though we are drinking water every end during the break we decide to have a beer – there are a group of Australians watching so we join them.Just one beer so we don’t have to wait till the end of the game which will finish under lights !
We play Rakahanga and trounce them 38-4 picking up two 7’s, we’re back on track ! Some of the players (including a Cook Islander selector) on neighboring rinks, want to know if we are playing cricket.
We don’t play again in the Nationals till Thursday but will play with the Australians (68 of them) on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, they have their own tournament for $2,000.00 Aussie Dollars !
All pretty boring stuff I know – I’d rather be at home in the cold (not!).
Write to you soon – Kakite & Kia Manuia
Junior, Vince and Willis
RANGO PATIA (BUMBLE BEES)