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Animation: President Teburoro Tito of the Republic of Kiribati. (2000)

In the biggest media event in history, more than fifty broadcasters, telecommunications companies and satellite operators around the globe teamed up to provide the first images of the year 2000 to audiences around the world as the new year dawned.

The unprecedented coverage started in the South Pacific and followed the path of the sun, delivering images of celebrations as they occurred in each of the twenty-four time zones.

The focal point of the coverage was Millennium Island, Republic of Kiribati where Kiribati President Teburoro Tito and a group of the country's elite entertainers provided the world with a unique insight into Kiribati mwaie (dancing) and singing.

         

The highlight of the proceedings was the ceremonial and symbolic passing of a "torch" from the old generation to the new.

The following are images of this historic occasion - traditional Kiribati culture performed on the foreshores of Millennium Island, the first place to see the dawn of the new millennium.

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Animation: Traditional Kiribati dancing (mwaie)

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Prior to the dancing (mwaie), there is a traditional chant.

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Animation: Kiribati dancers doing 'te buki'.

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Animation: Left: Kiribati male dancers. Right: Kiribati dancers.

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The boy and old man with the "torch" leave the proceedings via canoe in a symbolic gesture of peace and hope for the future.

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The boy reflects on the significance of this important occasion.

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PRESIDENT TITO'S SPEECH DELIVERED ON MILLENNIUM ISLAND,
1st JANUARY 2000

To all our beloved guests and friends from overseas. On behalf of the Government and the people of Kiribati, let me congratulate you for a mission most perfectly accomplished. On the same behalf, I wish to thank the Director and the staff of APTN, the BBC and the other International media groups that have covered the Kiribati celebrations of the new millennium.

I am conscious of the many difficulties that you have to go through to make possible the live transmission from this remote island. This is the challenge that both you and the people of Kiribati have jointly faced and it is indeed very pleasing to know that your participation with us in this unprecedented task has been most successful and rewarding.

I want to thank each one of you for the contribution that you have made towards the success of this joint mission. I hope that in the next day or so, you will have time to relax and enjoy the pristine environment of this atoll and I will encourage you to spend some time on Christmas Island before you join your loved ones back in your beautiful countries.

I hope to see the relationship between yourselves and our people continue to grow into the future.

Thank you again.

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Jane Resture
(E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 2nd January 2010)