Today is the start of the takai time of the year, when villages, families and visitors would drive around the island in celebration and welcoming of the new year. The takai is a spectacle of decorated vehicles from cars, trucks, motorbikes and the “odd bomb” that’s been sitting under tarpaulin for the year only to come out during takai time.
The takai is a revelry of loud beeping of car horns, music blasting from open car boots and elaborate sound systems mounted on top of trucks blaring the latest music. Alcohol is often a key part of the revelry for the passengers. This is also the only time of the year that dressing up in your favourite cartoon characters is encouraged and men in bikinis riding their motorbikes is a normal thing.
In previous years’ the revelry has created some concern with the Police because it can get out of hand and motorist forget to abide by the road rules.
The Police have issued a reminder of the rules on their Facebook page, reminding the revellers not to get out of control in their celebrations. “We would like your full cooperation in making sure everyone’s SAFETY COMES FIRST!!”
The rules are that:
- All bike riders – helmets are compulsory
- No alcohol for all drivers of vehicles
- Passengers to be seated inside a moving vehicle. Do not stand or sit on top of the a moving vehicle, this includes the car bonnet and vehicle window.
- Slow down within village boundaries and stick to the left side of the road
- If you don’t have a drivers license, DO NOT DRIVE.
For the people watching the takai, DO NOT use water bombs on the takai, DO NOT use water hoses to wet people on the back of trucks and anyone in the vehicles on takai.
The Niue Police advise all drivers to be responsible for the safety of all your passengers. Police officers will be on duty to make sure that all is well with the takai celebrations this year.
The Takai will start today with the villages of Avatele and Makefu. Most of the villages will go on their takai tomorrow Saturday and the last village to take part in the Takai is the village of Vaiea on Saturday next week.