Rainbows over Rarotonga – Cook Islanders invited to wear their Pride on their sleeves



Love, respect and acceptance for everyone – that’s the powerful message Pride Cook Islands aims to spread as their campaign to repeal the laws that criminalise homsexuality gathers momentum.

Organisers say this week’s Pride Cook Islands launch event will bring together and celebrate Akavaine, Akatututane and LGBT+ people in the Cook Islands – and put the spotlight on the urgent need to change the country’s outdated Crimes Act 1969.

“We’ve taken strength and inspiration from the support we’ve received not only in recent weeks but also from our history, culture, heritage and families. With so much at stake for the Cook Islands LGBT+ community, we’re focused on continuing to promote inclusion and understanding. All loving relationships should be valued. The Pride Cook Islands launch on Wednesday gives voice to our diverse experiences and raises public visibility at a critical time,”
says Te Tiare Association President Val Wichman.

To mark the occasion, a special Pride Cook Islands t-shirt will be unveiled at the event. The design represents Cook Islands’ distinct culture and heritage and features the rainbow flag, which is the universal symbol for the LGBT+ community around the world. T-Shirts are $30 and
can be ordered from Te Tiare Association.

“We’d love to see rainbows all over Rarotonga,” says Val. “Wearing the t-shirt is a way people can publicly show their support for our cause – you can literally wear it with Pride!,” she says.

Organisers are also encouraging people to download the Pride Cook Islands graphic and use it as their profile picture on social media. Using the hashtags #TeTiare and #PrideCookIslands will help raise the profile of this important cause.


WHY NOW: same-sex activity is banned under current Cook Islands law. Earlier this month the select committee reviewing the Crimes Bill said it would recommend reinstating the criminal penalties for same-sex activity – despite earlier indications the law would be repealed.

WE SAY criminalising same-sex activities is unconstitutional and discriminatory. Human rights are universal.

OUR FOCUS is decriminalising same-sex activity – we’re not asking for same-sex marriage. Pride Cook Islands is about love, respect and acceptance for everyone.

LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and along with heterosexual they are terms used to describe people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The “plus” in LGBT+ means we’re inclusive of other rainbow groups in our community.
Akavaine and Akatututane are Cook Islands Maori terms for trans women and trans men.

Show your support – join us for the Pride Cook Islands campaign and t-shirt launch!
➡️Wednesday 27th November 2019
➡️The Lounge, Avarua Harbour (The old TJ’s next to Vibe Cafe)
➡️Doors open at 6pm, formalities begin at 7pm

Te Tiare Association would like to thank Fave Designs, The Lounge and KJ Party Hire and our supporters for sponsoring this event. Pride Cook Islands is supported by all the wonderful members and friends of Te Tiare Association – with a special mention to our events team!

Please contact: Janette Olliver on 76111 for any enquiries.