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Pacific Tatau
Dance Island Style
Weaving with Kikau
The Art of Voyaging

Cook Islands Escape Magazine
One unforgettable Day
“The view of the island from the plane
was just spectacular.”

“I think we’d all forgotten

how to relax, the cruise
fixed that.”

“This tour was the

highlight of our
trip. We loved
every minute of it.”
Flights depart daily
(except Sundays) from
Rarotonga Airport at
8.00am. Returns 5.30pm.

“Once they found the fish the For more information please
call our reservations centre
boys snorkelled for hours.” (Mon-Sat) on 22888 or email
LM/SD 2023017


Cruising, swimming, snorkelling,

Cruising, swimming, snorkelling,
relaxing over a barbequed
relaxing over a barbequed
lunch of freshly caught fish
lunch of freshly caught fish
as you explore Aitutaki’s
you explore Aitutaki’s
beautiful lagoon.
A I R R A R O T O N G A’ S
- Aitutaki
DAY T O U Risland
I N C Ltour
• Aitutaki island tour
- Island hopping
- Delicious barbequed lunch
• Island hopping
served on-board
• Delicious barbequed lunch
- Complimentary
served on-boardtowels and
snorkelling equipment
• Complimentary towels and
- Bathroom facilities
snorkelling equipment
• - Bathroom
Round trip facilities
airfares from
• Rarotonga
Round trip airfares from
All inclusive costs:
RO M $493
$459 PPER
Adults $493 (incl. VAT)
Child $246.50 (2-11 yrs)
Infants FREE (under 2 years)
Issue 26
January 2018
40 56

Up front Tour of the Cook Islands

6 Introduction 11 An introduction to the Cook Islands
8 Contributors to this issue 22 Rarotonga
78 Aitutaki
84 Atiu
Features 86 Our South Pacific Home – Southern &
Northern Group Islands
Manihiki Magic
Tim Meyer describes his time spent in Manihiki on a
lagoon cleaning trip and tells us about pearl farming. Regulars
48 The Ways of Weaving 12 Art Scene
Rachel Smith talks to local weaver Ruta Pirangi Our writer Joan Gragg talks about her early childhood
about weaving with kikau (coconut palm leaves) and memories of playing games.
her passion to pass her skills and art on to the next
generation. 16 Book Worms
A review of topical authors and their books.
A Pharmacist in Rarotonga
Local pharmacist Shannon Saunders tells us about her 18 What’s in Store?
times and experience working in Rarotonga. Taking a look in shop windows.

52 Tatau -A Language of the Pacific 20 Raro Rhythm

Local writer Glenda Tuaine talks to three local tatau Read about Tuaine Papatua a Cook Islander who has
(tattoo) artists about their passion for the artworks they returned home to share his singing talents, and can be
perform and share some of their designs. found playing around Rarotonga most nights.

56 Pushing Against the Tide – Te Mira Ura 28 Island Cuisine

Read about local young dancers and their performances We visit local restaurants.
to keep the art of Cook Islands song and dance alive.
38 Phillip Nordt on Food
Grow Your Own Learn how to prepare and serve short billed marlin or
Local Brian Tairea talks to Rachel Smith about his efforts spiafish as they are called locally.
to encourage the school children of the Cook Islands to
start growing their own food. 58 
Great Places to Stay
A guide to some of Rarotonga’s best accommodation.
Marumaru Atua: Under the Protection of God
Writer Amelia Borofsky tells us about the history and 90 Culturally Significant Plants and Animals
experiences of the vaka Marumaru Atua and how you In this issue find out about the pandanus or ara and the
may be able to help keep history alive. giant clam.

67 Waste Not: The Recyclable Art of Sabine Janneck 92 ‘The Bond’ Entertainment Guide
Read about the “garbage lady” and her efforts to recycle The inside story on the best clubs, island shows and
plastic in Rarotonga. nightlife.

68 Cook Islands Tourism Rebranding 96 What’s On?

Cook Islands Tourism tells Rachel Reeves the reasons A calendar of events and holidays.
they went through a rebranding of their advertising to
attract tourists to this little bit of paradise.

70 Cook Islands Takes Centre Stage

The Cook Islands appear at the Polynesian Cultural
Center in Hawaii.

Front Cover: Kiani Hand - Pushing Against the Tide- Te Mira Ura Photo: Chiavanni Le’Mon

Kia Orana and welcome to the Pacific Paradise of the
Cook Islands and issue 26 of Escape magazine.

While some of you are sitting on a beach or relaxing

by the pool in Rarotonga, Aitutaki or one of the other
RD Pacific Publishing Limited
Cook Islands. Others of you will be reading this,
sitting in an Air New Zealand Koru lounge in Auckland
editors or even the Qantas or Strata lounges while waiting to go away on holiday or having
Margaret and Steve Woulfe
picked up a copy from a Flight Centre Expo are planning already where to go and stay
design while over here. Hopefully this gives you a small taste of what the Cook Islands have to
Christina Thiele | Ultimo Group offer. When you ae thinking of that next trip away, this is the place to visit.
Auckland, New Zealand

printed in New Zealand Now we have three airlines flying to Rarotonga – Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin it is
Webstar a division of Blue Star Group easier and more affordable than ever to come over for a week or two or more. With daily
(New Zealand) Ltd, Auckland. flights from New Zealand to Rarotonga and easy connections to Air Rarotonga, all the
advertising director Cook Islands are in easy reach.
Margaret Woulfe
In the next 12 months there are lots of events and experiences to be had in the Cooks.
regular contributors
Rachel Reeves From traditional dancing and singing to running or cycling around Rarotonga (if you
Glenda Tuaine dare?) to rugby sevens to swimming in the blue waters or even running around Aitutaki
Joan Gragg in May for the inaugural Aitutaki marathon there are activities for all the family. For
Rachel Smith more information on Whats on see pages 92 to 100 or call any of the Cook Island
Kirby Morejohn
Tourism offices listed on page 98.
Amelia Borofsky

advertising sales Rarotonga We have accommodation from high end resorts and hotels to backpackers for the
Steve Woulfe
budget conscious to self-catering holiday homes, there is something here for every
Phone: (682) 23449 or 57298
Email: advertise@escape.co.ck
budget, so check out some of the best places to stay both in Rarotonga and Aitutaki
later in this issue. For those who like to dine out we showcase the best of the best
distribution Rarotonga restaurants and cafes in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Phone: (682) 57512
Email: advertise@escape.co.ck
We hope that everyone finds something to enjoy in this issue and welcome any
distribution Aitutaki feedback you may have either via email or on our Facebook page – Cook Islands Escape
Annie Bishop
Magazine. Don’t forget if you are on Facebook to please like our page and follow our
Phone: (682) 31009
Email: bishopcruz@aitutaki.net.ck
page to keep up with events and people in the Cook Islands. Don’t forget to mention
Escape magazine when you book or use any of our advertisers as some are offering a
Escape is published bi-annually by discount for name dropping.
RD Pacific Publishing Limited
P.O. Box 3010, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Email: advertise@escape.co.ck To all visitors please take this magazine home with you and share with your friends so
they too can come and experience our little piece of paradise.
All contents of ESCAPE magazine are
copyright of RD Pacific Publishing Limited.
Any reproduction of any part of this
Kia Manuia
magazine without prior written permission
is strictly prohibited. Margaret & Steve

Our resorts are an independent, character infused family of hotels
in our little paradise of the Cook Islands, filled with local, colourful
characters who go above and beyond. At Pacific Resort, we believe
the magic of travel is in discovering something different. Something
local, valuable and authentic.

Rachel Reeves
Born and raised in California, Rachel Michele Teana Reeves has Atiu

WiFi HOTSPOT roots on her father's side. She moved to Rarotonga when she was
21 to get to know her Cook Islands heritage and fell in love with the
For fast internet connections on island and island life. Rachel has been writing for Escape Magazine
the go, Check out our Hotspots. for six years. She has also worked as a reporter and columnist for
There are over 300 Bluesky Cook Islands News and a reporter for a newspaper in Los Angeles. In
WiFi HOTSPOTS 2014, she was commissioned to write a book about the impact of Cyclone Martin on the atoll
in Rarotonga and
of Manihiki ; Matini was published a year later. Rachel is grateful to the people of the Cook
Aitutaki giving you
easy internet access Islands, who have welcomed her with warmth and aro'a.
to your family, friends
and Social Media.
Dr. Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky
Dr. Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky grew up in Pukapuka and
Hawai’i. A global traveler, she has visited 42 countries, but Cook
Islands remains her favorite place for prayer, play, food, and
MOBILE family. Her ideal day involves talking to people and then writing
their stories. She also wears hats as a community psychologist,
Grab a $49 Bluesky VISITOR
SIM card. Available from any storyteller, voyager, and avid surfer. She is currently at work on a New Book of Pukapuka and
of our Bluesky Outlets and our completing a documentary Homecoming: A Film About Pukapuka. She speaks fluent Spanish
Airport Kiosk. Our VISITOR SIM and has written for the Atlantic, New Zealand Geographic, and Cook Islands News.
card is preloaded
with 3GB of data,
30mins of calling and
300 TXT to anywhere Rachel Smith
in the world*. Rachel is a freelance writer who has recently returned to live in
Rarotonga. It was a love for the relaxed island pace of life, and
the beauty and warmth of the Cook Islands and its people, which
made it an easy decision to move back after three years of living
in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her freelance and fiction work has
featured in a number of online and print magazines, and she now
INTERNATIONAL combines freelance, fiction and policy writing with family life. http://rachelmsmithnz.wix.com/
CALLING rachel-smith

Get talking with INTERNATIONAL

CAPPED CALLING. Our one-hour
capped calling rates are some of Kirby Morejohn
the best under the Born and raised in California, Kirby Morejohn is a marine biologist
Pacific sun. For up who is currently based in the Cook Islands, where he and his partner,
to an hour pay $5.00 Jess Cramp, are studying sharks. Kirby enjoys photography, diving,
to call New Zealand
and $10.00 to call freedive hunting, and cooking wild caught and locally harvested
Australia, Fiji, UK, USA foods.
and Canada.

Glenda Tuaine
Glenda has lived in Rarotonga since 2005 when she returned to be
Visit us at any of our the Marketing Director for Cook Islands Tourism after working in the

Bluesky Outlets in New Zealand Arts industry as a Festival Director, Producer, Writer,
sometime Radio and TV Presenter and all round arts advocate. Now
Rarotonga and Aitutaki Glenda and her husband Mo run the successful creative company
Motone focusing on Music and Performing arts development in
Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Glenda is of Aitutaki and Rarotongan descent and when not working
on a myriad of projects can be found at the beach with her daughter Ruby and dog Nemo.

Joan Gragg, Jess Cramp, Ewan Smith, Alan Syme, Thomas Koteka, Tim Meyer, Nick Henry,
Margaret Woulfe and Steve Woulfe.
Learn our language & culture. Download
the Hika Kia Orana app today from the
App Store & Google Play store.

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VAKA Take a Romantic
Cruising Aitutaki’s magnificent
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on Aitutaki’s Lagoon
This is the cruise you can’t miss …
Experience a nostalgic tropical evening dedicated to
Six hours on Aitutaki’s beautiful lagoon. Island hopping, snorkelling, and a delicious barbequed
lunch served on-board with barthe1950’s worldand
service. Towels famous Coral Route on Aitutaki’s
fabled lagoon; includes dinner,
equipment are complimentary. Bathroom facilities.
drinks & entertainment.
This is the cruise for
The Vaka Cruise departs Monday to Saturday at 10am from O’otu and returns at 4pm.
true romantics.


Take a Romantic
on Aitutaki’s Lagoon
Experience a nostalgic tropical evening dedicated to
the1950’s world famous Coral Route on Aitutaki’s
fabled lagoon; includes dinner,
drinks & entertainment.
This is the cruise for
true romantics.
LM/SD 2023018

Aitutaki10 • ESCAPE
© Ewan Smith
The Cook Islands 15 tiny islands in paradise, that
a small nation calls home.



Beijing Seoul
Los Angeles

Hong Kong


Northern Group

Cook Islands
Southern Group

W here would someone say, “may you live long,” upon 13,000. The Cooks has been self-governing in free association
meeting you for the first time, but in the Cook Islands. with New Zealand since 1965. By virtue of that unique relationship,
all Cook Islanders hold New Zealand passports. The country
The Cook Islands greeting Kia Orana, means exactly that, “may is governed by 25-member Parliament elected by universal
you live long.” It is a unique first gesture of friendship from a suffrage. The Cook Islands Parliamentary system is modelled on
special Polynesian people, renown for their hospitality and the Westminster system of Britain. The Queens Representative
warmth. is Head of State. A House of Ariki (traditional paramount chiefs)
counsels and advises government, as does the Koutu Nui, a body
It is as if God chose his 15 most precious gems, and then sprinkled of traditional chiefs.
them over 2.25 million sq km of the Pacific to become the Cook
Islands – an ei (necklace) of islands awaiting to embrace all This is a delightful Pacific country where the ‘metropolis’ of
visitors. Rarotonga offers a wide range of activities, accommodation and
cuisine and visitors can choose to be as busy as they wish. A short
All the islands combined make up a land area of just 240 sq inter-island flight away are the less developed southern group
km. Each of the ‘gems’ is unlike the other and all have their islands each offering something different.
own special features. From the majestic peaks of Rarotonga to
the low-lying untouched coral atolls of the northern islands of Travelling to the isolated northern islands by inter-island flight or
Manihiki, Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Pukapuka, Nassau and Suwarrow. boat, one savours a South Pacific rarely seen by outsiders. Due to
The latter, inhabited only by a caretaker and his family, is a distance and infrequency of transport there are fewer visitors to
popular anchorage for yachts from all over the world. the northern group islands.
The Southern Cooks is made up of the capital Rarotonga, Aitutaki,
Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, Manuae, Palmerston and Takutea. But wherever you turn you see bright tropical colours and
Takutea is an uninhabited bird sanctuary and managed by the movement, whether it is the sway of palms and sea in the trade
Atiu Island Council. Manuae is the remaining uninhabited island. winds, or dancers entertaining at one of the many nightspots
found on Rarotonga and Aitutaki. While you may nearly always
Cook Islanders have their own Maori language and each of the hear the ocean, you will always feel the warmth of the people and
populated islands a distinct dialect. It has a population of around their tropical paradise. The Cook Islands truly is a slice of heaven.


the la
of the
Story: Joan Gragg

to be cleaned from the seed by rubbing

it against a rock until it was completely
removed. To polish it another seed had

oday in our village of Tutakimoa in spoke to us in Maori but to be broken and the oil from the kernel
the centre of Avarua you will hear our Palmerston family who rubbed on the cleaned seed and polished
people speak English but when we lived in Kakirori spoke in on the hem of your school uniform. The
grew up in the forties and later, people Palmerston English. The only problem with puka marbles was they
spoke the northern Cook Islands Maori language we wrote in was English. were comparatively lighter than glass
dialect. As I wrote before the people in marbles. It wasn’t much fun if someone
the village came from the northern Cook A curious child survived and competed played against you with a glass marble
Islands, Manihiki, Rakahanga, Penrhyn in a village environment by learning the because they were much heavier and
and Pukapuka although Pukapukans lived language of the village. The reason I could blast you right out of the playing
mainly in Pue, a village a little further out learned to speak Maori was because if area. The main marble arena was on the
of town. I didn’t, I lost my marbles. All the game corner of Tutakimoa Road and St Joseph
rules were in Maori and you had to be able Road outside Mama Nio’s house. It was the
Our family spoke English at home to to defend the rules against smarties who Olympic stadium for marbles. The playing
our parents and Manihikian to our wanted to bend them. There were ditties field was approximately three yards
grandmother. At school English was the and chants to be learned. Glass marbles square that had been patted down by
language of instruction however our were the only marbles accepted when you hands to form a firm flat smooth surface.
maternal grandmother who had a huge played Pata rave, keeps. If you didn't want After school during marble season the
influence on us, lived with us and she to chip your marbles you could use puka young kids played first until the older kids
spoke Manihikian Maori and Palmerston seed marbles which were seeds collected turned up and took over the arena.
English. We were always encouraged from the beach where puka trees grow.
to speak Maori at home but at school There were always lots of them under There were some games we played that
we were not allowed to speak Maori. the trees but they needed to be cleaned we could make from the trees and bushes
The Maori language was ignored. Most and polished until they shone. Cleaning around us. We made stilts from thick au
of our relatives who lived in the village them is a tedious business. The bark had sticks. When au is cut from the tree it

has a slimy bark that is difficult to work The player places the point of the long TRADITIONAL PACIFIC
with so it is best to make stilts after the stick, teka, in the hole under the tokini. The FABRIC ART FOR YOUR HOME
dance teams had made their costumes idea is to flick the tokini as far as possible
and the au sticks and kiriau were dry. Au away from the hole without being caught
is wild yellow hibiscus. Kiriau is the bark by a fielder. If it is caught the player is out.
of Au. Hula skirts are made from the bark All players chant, Tokini tokini kare a au
by scraping the skin from the bark and re. (tokini tokini you haven’t won or you
soaking it in the lagoon or stream for are out) and the next player comes in. If it
about three weeks. It is then dried ready lands safely, the distance from the hole to
for use. The hardest part in making stilts the tokini is measured using the teka by SHOP
was to attach the foot piece to the stilt turning it end to end counting the turns. ONLINE!
shaft. If the only nails available were The second challenge is set up as the first,
too big they would weaken the shaft (tokini across the hole) the second tokini
and break it. Tying kiriau over the nails For quality tivaevae bedcovers,
is placed with one end in the hole and the
duvets, cushion covers, gifts etc.
sometimes held the foot piece together for other end resting on the first tokini but Look for our sign west of the airport -
longer. Most of our time was spent making protruding above the first tokini (across opposite the Weather Station in Nikao.
toys to play with and little time using the the hole) by about five inches. The player Rarotonga
toy before it broke. moves to the side of the hole and with the Anne 24688
teka strikes the tokini jutting out of the New Zealand
Ipanapana was a popular game. hole (leaning on the first tokini) sending it Kathrine
It needed three sticks with a diameter of into the air. With the teka the tokini must 021 0247 7893
about one inch, two sticks ten inches long, be flipped up again so it can be struck
The Must Stop Shop!
called tokini and one two feet long called again to send it further away. If it is not
teka. They could be cut from a hibiscus or caught and the task is uncompleted, email: info@tivaevaecollectables.com
panex hedge using a bush knife. An open everyone sings and dances Tokini tokini
area was used to play on. Any number kare a au re. (tokini tokini you are out) If

Playingof the
of players could play. To choose the first the task is completed the distance from
player one-person chants as she points to the tokini to the hole is measured. The third

each player. (eni meni mini mo) challenge is set up the same as the second
Piti piti patoro a challenge but player has to flip the tokini
tore tore romi twice when in the air before sending it into

Cook Is
e ia romi the field. If this is achieved the count is
tai rua toru a. made using the tokini from where it landed
The first player is where ‘a’ ends up. to the hole. Measuring can be tricky. Some
At one end of the playing area an players keener than most to win can
elongated shallow hole is scratched in quickly start measuring by getting a count
the ground, eight inches long, two inches of three or four when it should only be one
wide and one and a half inches deep. The or two. Each person has to remember their
first player places one tokini across the own score. This is the basic game but it
hole and stands behind the hole facing the does have many forms.
fielders. All other players become fielders.
We played pinipini ta’ae. Hiding from the
devil. Another name for hide and seek. Novel, unique and appealingly
Pere toka, a game similar to drafts or
attractive, this deck of cards features
snakes and ladders was made on the spot.
The grid was drawn on a flat surface and 54 art works by Joan Gragg. Joan’s art
stones or seeds in two colors found. is influenced by everyday life in the
Porenga was a chasing game. It was Cook Islands. An ideal gift or souvenir!
usually played with two people. You had
to be the last one to touch your friend Available from: Beachcomber Pearl Market
Bounty Bookshop • Island Craft • The Gift Shop
and say porenga before you ran away. It The little Red Gallery • Perfumes of Rarotonga
was an exhausting game because of the
running and laughing. Sometimes it took a See Joan’s artwork at The Furniture Centre

this happened we were in the grip of the was dead for sure but she only hurt her
sea. We totally forgot about going home. pride. We laughed about it for days. She
Forgot the promise we made never to go laughed too. We were all relieved because
swimming at the wharf without telling our that could have put a stop to swimming at
parents. We raced each other swimming the wharf forever.
to the ladder to climb onto the wharf. It Besides swimming, the wharf always
was fun time. Diving in at the deep end. had food. Delicious copra! Copra is
Swimming under the lighters moored five dried coconut. Copra from broken sacks
abreast. Running along the wharf gaining collected between the sleepers that held
momentum to launch oneself off the end a rail system that trucked the produce for
long time to get home because each one of the wharf as far out as possible. New Zealand on flat bed trollies from the
wanted to say the last porenga. Every kid had a scary experience at the storage sheds to the lighters that took the
wharf when they thought they might die cargo out to the ships anchored beyond
We always went home after school except or someone else thought they might die. the reef. Cold, hungry, water logged kids
on the odd time when we were highjacked My experience was when I dove under the with blue lips and wrinkled fingers could
by the sea. After school when we walked lighters racing one of my sisters when I pry out pieces of copra caught between
past the harbour on very hot days and no came up under a moored lighter. It was the sleepers and enjoy the delicious snack.
ships were in port, strange things would pitch black and I didn’t know which way Oddly enough copra did not taste so good
happen. The waves rippling and glistening was up or down, luckily a shaft of light if you were not at the wharf.
on the sea called out to us and said, came through when the lighters moved
“Come, dip your feet in the tide before you and I saw the light on the surface of the
go home”. We of course thought that was water. I did not tell anyone about it until I
a good idea so we would cautiously walk was sure I was still alive.
into the water but the waves would splash One of our friends once dove off the end
our clothes until they were wet. Once of the wharf into a dinghy. We thought she


SINCE 1943
Opening Hours:
• Pacific Cook Islands Arts & Crafts 8:30-4:30 Weekdays
• Elegant local designer jewellery collections 8:30-1:00 Saturday
• Flowers for all occasions Located Downtown Avarua
next door to BSP Bank
• Personalised engraving and gift selection Or at the
• and much more... Rarotonga International Airport



Located Downtown Avarua • Ph: +682 22009 sales@islandcraft.co.ck • www.islandcraft.com
One click
& you’re


Island kau
vi ng with Ki ng
Wea of Voyagi
The Ar

a gazine.
EBOOK: azine
FIND US ds Escape
Cook Islan

Be sure to check out our website.

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read the entire content, read back issues and link
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Clockwise/Day/Night Schedule Anti-Clockwise Day Schedule
Bus Stop Mins Past Hour Bus Stop Mins Past Hour
Paradise Inn 02 Punanganui Market 32
Fishing Club/Club Raro 05 CITC Supermarket 33
Kiikii Motel 06 Islander Hotel/Rarotonga International Airport 35
Super Brown/Ariana Bungalows 07 21.3 Vaiana’s Bar 36
Matavera Village Traders 09 Rarotonga Golf Club/Social Centre 37
Sunrise Beach Bungalows/Avana Condos 11 Cook’s Oasis/Sunset Resort 38
Aroko Bungalows 13 Edgewater Resort & Spa 40
Muri Beach Club Hotel 14 Crown Beach Resort 42
Pacific Resort 15 Manuia Beach Resort 43
Muri Beachcomber/Muri Beach/Sails 16 Castaway Beach Resort 45
Muri Beach Resort/Nautilus 17 Rarotonga Backpackers/Sunhaven 46
Fruits of Rarotonga 18 Aro’a Beachside Inn 47
Raina Beach Apartments/Charlie’s Cafe 18 Black Pearl/International Backpackers 48
Little Polynesian/Maire Nui Garden 19 Lagoon Breeze Villas 49
Moana Sands Motel 20 Sanctuary/Rarotongan Beach Resort 50
Royale Takitumu Villas/Bella Beach 21 Waterfall/Wigmore’s Superstore 53
Sea Change Villas/Saltwater Cafe 22 Palm Grove Lodges 55
Palm Grove Lodges 25 Saltwater Cafe/Sea Change Villas 58
Wigmore’s Superstore/Waterfall 26 Bella Beach/Royale Takitumu Villas 59
Rarotongan Beach Resort/Sanctuary 30 Moana Sands Motel 00
Lagoon Breeze Villas 31 Little Polynesian/Maire Nui Garden 00
International Backpackers/Black Pearl 33 Charlie’s Cafe/Raina Beach Apartments 01
Aro’a Beachside Inn 34 Fruits of Rarotonga 02
Sunhaven/Rarotonga Backpackers 35 Te Manava Villas 02
Castaway Beach Resort 36 Nautilus/Muri Beach Resort 03
Manuia Beach Resort 37 Muri Beachcomber 04
Crown Beach Resort 38 Pacific Resort 05
Edgewater Resort & Spa 40 Muri Beach Club Hotel 07
Sunset Resort/Cook’s Oasis 42 Sokala Villas/Kura’s Kabana/Tangaroa Cove 08
Rarotonga Golf Club/Social Centre 43 Aroko Bungalows 09
21.3 Vaiana’s Bar 44 Avana Condos/Sunrise Beach Bungalows 10
Rarotonga International Airport/Islander Hotel 45 Tropical Sands 12
CITC Supermarket 48 Super Brown/Ariana Bunglows 15
Punanganui Market 49 Kiikii Motel/Club Raro 16
The Clockwise bus departs Cook’s Corner Bus Terminal on the hour, The Anti-Clockwise Bus departs Cook’s Corner Bus Terminal at 30mins past
every hour. Monday to Saturday - 7:00am to 11:00pm the hour. Mon- Fri - 8:30am to 4:30pm. Saturdays from 8:30am to 1:30pm
Sunday Schedule (April – Nov) – 8:00am to 12:00 midday and from 2:00pm to 4:00pm. There are no Sunday anticlockwise or night buses. ESCAPE • 15

Rarotonga was a tropical paradise for

The Art of Tivaevae
Helen, Hugh and their family of four sons
and one daughter. The lifestyle was a Lynnsay Francis
far cry from the sheltered upbringing of
Auckland, where family and friends were When Cook Islands writer Lynnsay Francis’
only a phone call away. They struggled to The Art of Tivaevae won the lifestyle
make ends meet, but every day was a new section of the prestigious Montana New
challenge and adventure. Together they Zealand Book Awards back in 2002, she
created a home where their two cultures saw it more as a triumph for all Cook
and traditions intertwined. Above all, their Islands women.
household resonated with love, laughter
and chaotic carefree days, as they brought This is an attractive book with superb
up five barefoot children. photographs by John Daley, it contains
charming narratives from 23 women who
There were moments of drama when they relate the role tivaevae has in their lives
were caught up in the political turmoil of a and how they learnt the traditional art of
making the magnificent traditional bed
My Kotuku of the small nation forging its own destiny. Helen
experienced deep sadness and despair
South Seas when Hugh suddenly and unexpectedly
Helen Henry passed away. She was left to continue her The Art of Tivaevae is a book that one
journey alone. Out of the blue, Helen finds will first flick through, until the stunning
Helen Henry, daughter-in-law of the a second love and marries John Hay, an photographs and delightful real-life stories
late Sir Albert Henry, Cook Islands’ first environmental scientist and Nobel Peace gradually draws one in. An interesting
prime minister after the country became Prize winner. They share a love of traveling introduction gives the background of
self-governing in 1965, publishes her to exotic and exciting places around the tivaevae and its role in Cook Islands.
remarkable life story, in My Kotuku of the world. However, most of all they enjoy Useful reference material for anyone
South Seas. relaxing on the verandah of their home in wanting to learn more about the unique
Rarotonga. bed covers, are the three pages covering
Helen’s memoir depicts a simple life in a tivaevae making techniques.
much simpler time. Helen’s memoir is rich My Kotuku of the South Seas is one
in her descriptions of friendship, harmony woman’s remarkably inspiring journey with Francis and the 23 women profiled
and love. She weaves a simple tapestry of strong threads of family, harmony and deserve to be proud of this book. As Cook
the life of her family as they follow their unity. In all her trying times, Helen finds Islands scholar Rangi Moeka’a writes
dreams and aspirations. constant solace in the appearance in his foreword, “The womenfolk here
of ‘The Kotuku’ the beautiful bird she loved have not only taken the art of tivaevae
Helen grew up in a sheltered and happy as a child and which she now recognizes making to the pinnacle of excellence, but
home in a leafy suburb of Auckland, New as a symbol of enduring comfort.
Zealand. She was only 15 years of age
when she fell passionately in love with Available from Bounty Bookshop, Avarua,
Hugh, a Pacific Island boy, at a time when or log on to:
multi race marriages were frowned upon. www.helenhenryraro.com for more
Hugh’s father, Sir Albert Henry, advised information about this book.
Helen of the problems and disillusionment
she might encounter, but she was not
deterred. In fact they were both more
than ever determined to continue their
relationship. Their romance blossomed and
in 1961 they married.

subconsciously expressed their innermost
Hailing from New Zealand, Silk charts
feelings of love and appreciation for their
humble beginnings, to their inter-island
environment.” That statement is verified
heydays, until both boats, the Manuvai
by the many exquisite works portrayed by
and the Mataora, ended up on outer island
reefs, the fate of most traders.

The book is dedicated by Francis to her

His comments on Tahiti apply equally to all
five daughters and “the many women of
the islands: “People say Tahiti is not like it
the Cook Islands whom I have met who
used to be. People are saying it now, they
constantly inspire me.”
were saying it then, and Captain Cook said
as much on his second voyage. I believe
any time is the best time to see Tahiti. The
sooner - the better! For it certainly won’t be
the same again, ever.”

Pa and the Dolphins

Jillian Sobieska
A True Story of Pa, Rarotongan
Hero and his Journey to Tahiti
This spellbinding tale of one of Rarotonga’s
most loved characters (the same Pa that
escorts you on the Cross Island Walk) will
delight children and adults alike.

Well written and beautifully illustrated by

Jillian Sobieska, a renowned Cook Islands
artist, it tells the true story of Pa swimming
From Kauri Trees in Tahiti and being hassled by a shark.
to Sunlit Seas Believing his life to be in danger he prayed
Don Silk for help – and was rescued by dolphins.
Well that’s enough detail… do buy the

little paradise
Shoe-string shipping in the book, its a little treasure.
South Pacific
Available from Jillian Sobieska: Tel 21079,
For a light read, turn to Don Silk’s popular

or Bounty Bookshop
book From Kauri Trees to Sunlit Seas.

It’s like having a seat at the captain’s
table; many are the salty yarns about
leaks and creaks of inter-island shipping
in the ‘70’s. Silk and his cargo crony Bob Enjoy a spectacular 30-minute scenic ight
with all it’s natural glorious beauty. So pack your
Boyd were a household name during the camera & enjoy this ight with onboard
commentary from our Pilot.
1970’s and sometimes criticized; but this
book exposes the exasperating realities
of their lives and the challenges of their
occupation, with good humour and

in store
Looking for that eco present then call into the Dive Centre and see Sabine’s
recycled plastic rubbish bags, wallets, coin holders and more. The Dive Centre
(the Big Fish) is located at Aro’a Beach on the western sunset side of Rarotonga.
See their advert on page 27.

For a selection of
Cook Islands souvenirs
from t shirts and caps
to paddles and coasters
call into any one
of Treasure Chests
4 stores around
Rarotonga. See their
advert on page 26.

The famous “red oil” everyone asks for. Monoi oil is

the perfect gift or fragrant keep sake that helps you
keep your holiday tan. Available at CITC Pharmacy
from $5.90. Sizes from 50ML to 1L and gift packs also
available. See their advert page 50.

Tivaevae Collectables shop is located in

their house opposite the weather station
in Nikao. There you’ll find a great range of
these marine quality ‘Sunbrella’ canvas
cushion covers at $120.00. See their
advert on page 13.

Perfumes of

Island Perfumes and Gifts

Come into Pacific Weave today to experience and learn about traditional culture through
’ s
the beautiful art of weaving. Learn with our inspiring Artist & Traditional Weaver
Nanave Taime using ‘Rito’ – a fibre made from the young coconut tree leaves. Visit ok y
Pacific Weave located in Panama next door to Perfumes of Rarotonga today to make an o

appointment or call us on 27535. Pacific Weave – Passing traditional knowledge to the t
next generations. See our advert on page 19. C

From Bergmans bespoke Nature Range – Blue Starfish

Lariat, set with Sapphires, Diamonds and Cook
Islands Black Pearls on an 18ct White Gold Chain. Call
into Bergmans in downtown Avarua and see their Cooks CoRneR,
advert on the back page. avaRua Phone: 24238

Traditional jewellery that is ART. Volcanic
rock pendants “ti’a Mangaia” from the
Cultural WEAVE
southernmost island of the Cook Islands,
Mangaia. Exquisitely hand carved pieces
created by master carver Allan Tuara.
Exclusive to Moana Gems Pearl & Art
Gallery. See their advert on page 45.
Rito Hat, Cook Islands

Visit our factory:
Handmade local
products for your skin & Woven Crafts
from around
For personalized gifts see
hair, island perfumes, the
Island Craft who make a
Mauke Miracle Oil,
gifts and Pacific and
variety of wooden gifts to 120 ml: souvenirs. Cook Islands
order, from 21st keys to hand cooked oil with
skin healing
jewelry boxes. See their qualities.

advert on page 14.

Just before Airport - Panama,

Call: Perfumes of Rarotonga: 25238, Pacific Weave 27535,
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00 -ESCAPE
4:30, Sat 9:00-1:00,
• 19
Onlineshop: www.perfumes.co.ck, www.facebook.com/PerfumesRaro

ine a
P patua
Tua - The Music Man
Story: Glenda Tuaine

As I arrive at the Assembly of

God Church in Titikaveka I hear
music playing interspersed
with voices of young girls
giving each other instructions.
Entering the hall and I come
across the girls working
through some choreographed
moves and over on the other
side of the room Tuaine
Papatua, the man I am here to
interview busying himself with
cleaning. The room is set up
with instruments, microphones
what he likes playing he responds, “Here providing food packs, clothing and support
and sound equipment and you I play a good range of popular music. twice a year, once before winter hits and
can see at this Church music Tourists like to hear the songs they are at Christmas time. Tuaine became a lead
plays a large part in how they familiar with, so when I play I look around volunteer in the organisation and thrived
and bring out the songs that can relate in the multicultural environment playing
to them, but you know, in saying that I music in parks, school grounds, shopping
I call out to Tuaine who gives me a wave like to make songs mine, give them my malls and carparks, wherever the Helping
and I head over to him only to discover style”. Indeed, that is what Tuaine enjoys Hand event was he would play! Tuaine
the singer that I am going to have a chat doing, he loves to be an entertainer, and begins playing in Restaurants and Cafes
with has lost his voice due to cheering playing in Rarotonga he has plenty of in Melbourne mixing up his repertoire with
on his local footie team the day before. opportunities to do what he loves. Jazz, Blues, Rock and easy listening. When
The comedy of this not lost on me and I ask him what he prefers to play a twinkle
As a musician and singer Tuaine started
my temptation to whisper back to him appears in his eye and he whispers, “I
late explaining “In Australia I realised
is immense but I control that urge and really like the Blues, blues is it for me but
music was a part of me. I was going to a
suggest we go and sit in a quiet space so I hey smooth funk and jazz with a full band
church that had a great Musical Director
can capture his whisperings. I can do that too” he laughs.
so I introduced myself and sat right behind
Tuaine Papatua arrived back in Rarotonga him and sang my heart out! I was in my It is during this period in Melbourne that
just over a year and half ago from late 20’s. I thought this is me, this is my he also sets about helping young people
Melbourne, and very quickly established passion and I was hungry to learn”. From with music “I had a group of kids just
himself on the music circuit, playing at a that point onward, he started building up jamming in a factory area we found. One
variety of locations around the island. He his equipment and began volunteering of the managers from a shopping centre
has a smooth easy listening style that for an Australian Charity “Helping Hands”, heard about us and gave us a building
appeals to a broad cross section of the that assist people who are struggling by to practise in. That was when I made
market and when I ask him about that and

in one last question. What is the dream?
“The dream is to finish my album, it is all
my music, originals. I recorded some of it
in Melbourne and am working on having it
completed by mid next year; then I want to
build a recording studio so I can help these
kids with a music career. “

Tuaine Papatua is a great entertainer and

a great community man so make sure you
get along to see him I promise his voice will
be fine, so long as his local football team
play well!

Tuaine plays at the following venues:

the decision that I wanted to study and his students in a way that is welcoming,
• Flambe restaurant - Tuesday night
become certified to teach music.” open and caring. He now performs around
the Island most nights and when he is not • Oceans restaurant - Wednesday night
Talking or should I say whispering with
playing at a resort or bar he is usually • The Islander – Thursday nights
Tuaine you can tell his inner commitment
booked for a wedding or birthday. He is a
to music, developing communities, • Trader Jacks – Lunch times - every
busy man with a music mission.
especially youth, to have the skills to be second Saturday of the month
great singers and musicians is what drives I realise that maybe we should wind up • Occasionally at Le Rendez Vous Cafe
him. He has a gentle and warm manner the interview after I notice the whisper
and he engages with his audience and is getting a little less audible but sneak

For phone enquires call Monday—Friday from 8—4pm For Daily Roadside assistance 8am—10pm

+682 29227 +682 54325

Take advantage of our hot deals online and get

20% OFF
conditions apply to all bookings
Email reservations@polynesianhire.co.ck
or visit our 24/7 website service.


“Love a little Polynesian drive in style”

Office Locations on Rarotonga — St Joseph Road | Downtown | Muri | Aroa | Edgewater | Rarotonga International Airport Flights Only
Rarotonga, the most populous of the Cook Islands, captivates
about 120,000 hearts a year. Whether you’ve been here once or
have been returning annually for decades, you know Rarotonga
as paradise, an escape from the drudgery of traffic and
consumerism, a window into a simpler past.

Rarotonga – Story: Rachel Reeves

a pacific

nce you’ve visited an outer island, When there’s nothing on either television about their canoes on plaques at Avana,
your perspective changes; you channel, when you don’t have easy access the site of their departure – but others
notice the modern conveniences to Wi-Fi, you learn to be outside, smell were hooked. They had travelled over
available on Rarotonga, the trucks and the flowers, taste the fruit, appreciate the thousands of kilometres, searching for
supermarkets and nightclubs, but still sun and stars, and commit to memory islands, navigating not with GPS but by
you appreciate the pace of life. Still you the natural beauty that’s been seducing reading the stars, swells, and skies. They
notice that there aren’t any stoplights and travelers for centuries. were migratory people, comfortable at
the same musician greets every flight. sea, but on Rarotonga they built homes
You notice that people wave at oncoming The first visitors to Rarotonga were the of coconut trunks and fronds, planted
traffic. You notice there are only two bus Māori people who came, depending on crops, and created a society in which
routes: clockwise and anti-clockwise. who you believe, from either Avaiki – the everyone had enough to eat. Rarotonga’s
You notice that on Rarotonga, time slows mythological centre of Polynesia – or East inhabitants split into three villages –
down. Asia or South America. Some continued Takitumu, Te Au O Tonga, and Puaikura,
Photo: Kirby Morejohn
on to settle New Zealand – you can read each with its own governing chief.

Centuries later the Europeans arrived,
The first visitors to
and were also entranced by the island’s
breathtaking beauty. A book written in Rarotonga were the
1842 documenting early missionary work
describes Rarotonga this way: “its hills
Māori people who
and valleys are rich in the fruits of the came, depending on
earth: mighty trees overshadow the land,
and grow down to the very borders of the who you believe, from
sea; not in a dense unwholesome forest, either Avaiki – the
shutting out the light of the sun; but
scattered here and there among the green mythological centre of
hills, and affording a delicious shade; some
are covered with beautiful flowers and
Polynesia – or East Asia
some with light foliage, waving like plumes or South America. Some
in the wind.”
continued on to settle
Nearly 200 years later, Rarotonga’s New Zealand – you can
splendour continues to make this kind of
impact. Despite the luxury resorts and 24- aerial tours in a small Cessna. A cheaper
read about their canoes
hour petrol stations that have since sprung option is to hike one of the island’s many on plaques at Avana, the
from its soil, the island is still the kind of peaks. Most require a tour guide, but a
beautiful that makes your heart swell. You hike to The Needle, and across the middle site of their departure –
can’t watch an Arorangi sunset or climb
one of Rarotonga’s mountains without
of the island, is manageable and clearly
but others were hooked.
marked. You’ll need good fitness and good
feeling awestruck by the beautiful world shoes. Locals are friendly; ask anyone
we live in. You can’t drive a motorbike how to get to the start of the “cross-island
around the island, with the wind in your walk” in Avatiu and they’ll point you in the
face and the salt on your skin, past right direction.
coconut palms, banana and papaya trees,
and remain undecided about whether you The ascent is steep, but the view from
love this place. the top makes the trudge worthwhile.
From The Needle, one of Rarotonga’s
Rarotonga might be just 32 kilometres tallest mountains, you can see every
around, but she is versatile, with creeks shore, ringed by a translucent lagoon,
and swimming holes and waterfalls some the white foam of waves crashing on the
locals don’t even know about. Take a walk reef, and the yawning blue Pacific. It’s the
or ride a scooter along the back road kind of view that makes you feel tiny and
or into the mountains; hear the air get insignificant, but also like you rule the
quieter and the birds get louder. Watch the world.
bush get thicker. You won’t get lost if you
remember to use the sound of the waves Descending down the other side of
as your compass. The Needle will lead you to Wigmore’s
Waterfall, one of the locals’ favourite

From the air swimming spots.

The best way to see all of Rarotonga is

For a more informative cross-island
from the air. If you miss the view when the
experience, book a tour with Pa, a
plane lands, and if you’re willing to shell
traditional healer who grew up climbing
out the money, Air Rarotonga does private

cycling, quad, or buggy tours that go
around the island; or hire bicycles (either
manual or electric) to explore the side and
back roads.

You can take photos of the abandoned

Sheraton – a hotel that was never finished
because its developer, who had links to
the Italian mafia, disappeared. If you
believe the local legend, a curse on the
land stalled the project. In Titikaveka, you
can visit Maire Nui gardens, a sprawling,
carefully manicured jungle with a quaint
café. There are several art galleries around
the island, and you can buy handcrafted
ukuleles from inmates at the Arorangi
mountains and studying the medicinal You can rent kayaks, take yoga classes Prison.
properties of plants. Pa takes tourists on stand-up paddleboards or sign up
across the island six days a week. for a kitesurfing lesson. You can swim to The Punanga Nui marketplace on a
The Boiler – what’s left of the SS Maitai, Saturday morning is an essential itinerary
shipwrecked in 1916 – and then jump off it item. For locals, it’s a social outing;
From the water into the sea. everyone goes. From 6 a.m., you can visit
To behold Rarotonga from the sea is to
the open-air market to get your fresh
channel the joy its settlers must have If you prefer to stay on the shore, engage nu (coconut water) and local fruits and
felt. They would have been at once weary with the sea by watching an outrigger vegetables. You can also buy cooked
from the long voyage and awestruck by canoe race, held weekly during the sport’s food, both international – the crepes and
the dramatic mountains and white-sand season. In November teams arrive from waffles are popular – and local delicacies.
beaches of their new home. all over the world to compete in Vaka Eiva, There’s something for every eater, from
There are dozens of ways to experience an international paddling competition smoothies to stir-fry to sausage rolls. The
this view. and Rarotonga’s largest sporting event. Punanga Nui market is also a one-stop
Between the months of July and October, souvenir shop. You can buy everything
You can spend the day on a fishing be on the lookout for whales. You can from island music to large handmade
charter, casting for deep-sea fish under learn more about them at the Whale & quilts to coconut oil to hand-painted
the tropical sun, or you can take a ride on Wildlife Centre in Atupa. pareu (sarongs). Mamas sell hats and bags
a glass-bottom boat. Both Captain Tamas
woven out of coconut fibre. Pearl farmers
Lagoon Cruizes and Koka Lagoon Cruises And if you’re a surfer, you know the drill: sell their black pearls, cultivated and
make daily trips to Koromiri, a motu (islet) respect the locals. It’s their wave. harvested on the island of Manihiki, 1100
off Muri Beach. Each tour features a local
kilometres north of Rarotonga.
string band and a barbecued lunch of
freshly caught fish. At low tide, the Muri On land If you miss the Punanga Nui market, there
lagoon is shallow enough to walk to the There’s always something to do on
are souvenir shops around the island, most
motu with a picnic lunch and a towel. Rarotonga. There’s sport to watch – on
of them in Avarua, where you can pick up
Dive shops hire out snorkeling gear, and Saturdays, village clubhouses host rugby,
something for friends and family members
the best place to see marine life is in an rugby league, netball, cricket, lawn
who had the great misfortune of not
area protected by a ra’ui – a traditional bowling, and soccer matches, depending
joining you in paradise.
ban on fishing and collecting seafood, on the season. They also throw socials
imposed and lifted by chiefs. Signs mark afterward, with cheap drinks and low
A special way to immerse in the island
the ra’ui; most snorkelers prefer the ra’ui entry fees.
culture is to attend a Sunday service at
at Fruits of Rarotonga in Tikioki and at The
the Cook Islands Christian Church. The
Rarotongan Resort & Spa in Arorangi. If There’s a nine-hole golf course in Nikao,
Cook Islands, like much of Polynesia,
you’re a certified SCUBA diver – or if you with a bar and eatery inside its clubhouse,
readily embraced Christianity; though the
want to get certified – visit one of the and two miniature golf courses in Arorangi.
missionaries ruled in authoritarian ways,
three dive shops on the island. There’s also a driving range in Vaimaanga.
You can play paintball and laser tag; take

imposing outrageous fines and penalties on the disobedient, their
gospel stuck. Church is a pillar of any Cook Islands community,
both at home and overseas. Congregations are welcoming if you
dress modestly, behave respectfully, and take some gold coins
for the offering plate. The power of the imene tuki – a blend of
traditional chanting and Christian hymns – will stir your soul.

Two museums in Avarua – the government-run National Museum
and the private Cook Islands Library & Museum Society – are ES
excellent resources for those seeking more information about FREE
Rarotonga and its history. The latter hires out books, or you can UP & DRO MO D A
buy beach reads at Bounty Bookshop in Avarua.

For beautiful food to suit any palette, try one of Rarotonga’s many
restaurants; more information is available within the pages of this SMALL CARS
from as low as
magazine. Whether you’re in the mood for freshly caught fish, a
burger, pizza from a wood-fired oven, French fare, or Asian fusion,
Rarotonga’s got a restaurant for you. $35.95 a day
From your seat
Celebrations of culture occur almost nightly. Attending an “island
night” a must during a holiday to Rarotonga. You get a chance
to watch local dancing, energetic and sensuous, and hear local
drumming, reportedly the best in the Pacific. If you dread the
limelight, beware the ura piani, when dancers recruit tourists of the
opposite sex for a number.



from as low as
$12.50 a day

*All prices are PER DAY

HEAD OFFICE: (Arorangi): +682 22632 Open 7 days
TOWN OFFICE: +682 24632 Open 6 days (Mon – Sat)
MURI OFFICE: +682 21632 Open 7 days


At an island night, you’ll also get to try
local food. Dishes like ika mata (fresh
Rarotonga is a popular spot for destination
raw fish in coconut cream), rukau (taro
weddings; hundreds of tourists get married
leaves in coconut cream), taro, and poke
here each year. On-island wedding
(arrowroot and coconut cream with a
planners can design a special ceremony
pudding-like texture) are available at some
on the beach, and liaise with hair and
shops and restaurants, but at an island
makeup artists, caterers, a celebrant, and
night you can have them all, buffet-style.
photographers/videographers before you
Hotels and cultural centres offer island
arrive. All you have to do is bring your
nights for a range of budgets; talk to your
loved ones and prepare mentally for a
accommodator about your options.
wedding you won’t soon forget.

If you’re on Rarotonga in August, you’ll get

Cook Islanders are notoriously generous
to experience the ultimate celebration of
people, some of the most hospitable in the
Cook Islands culture. A bit of background:
world. They will make you feel welcome,
Rarotonga’s chiefs consented to becoming
as long as you treat them with respect, the
a British protectorate in 1888; all of the
way you would anyone who invites you
Cook Islands were later handed over to
into her home. Be mindful of the fragile
Come in to view our extensive colonisers from New Zealand. In 1965,
island environment also; as the travel
to view island clothing,
our extensive the country became self-governing,
adage goes, take nothing but photos and
footwear and t-shirts. Rarotonga’s
range of sarongs, island clothing, and every August, Rarotonga holds a
leave nothing but footprints.
largest and
footwear selection of Rarotonga’s
t-shirts. souvenirs, festival to celebrate. Called Te Maeva Nui,
But above all, enjoy yourself and a place
largest and gift
selection of ideas.
souvenirs, the weeklong event features a parade
that makes you feel a little bit more alive.
of floats decorated with local foliage
crafts and gift ideas. When you leave, you will join the ranks of
and a spectacular nightly show at the
hundreds of thousands of people around
National Auditorium, in which villages and
the world who think often of, and talk
islands compete in singing, dancing, and
often about, Rarotonga, who dream of the
day they’ll return.

Mana Court, Avarua | Ph: 22325

Mana Court, Avarua
Rarotongan 22325
Resort | Ph: 27325
Rarotongan Resort || Ph:
Edgewater Resort Ph: 28325
Edgewater Resort
Pacific Village Muri||Ph:
Pacific Village Muri | Ph: 21325

Salt & Pepper shakers

Salt & Pepper shakers

Cook Islands
From our very own
Manihiki Island Farm
Top Jewellery & Gift Store


- Avaiki Black Pearls -
Karen Walker Jewellery
Polynesian Rings in Gold and Silver
Wedding/Engagement & Dress Rings
Gold & Silver Chains, Charms, Earrings
Lladro • Amber • Jade • Coral • Opal

For the best deal in the Cook Islands come to

Goldmine, Main Road, Avarua

P. 24823 | F. 24824 | email: goldmine@oyster.net.ck




Big Fish d see it live!
Dive Centre

Take a dive an



Lesley & Temu Okotai

Quality service, dives, Harbour House, Avatiu
training and equipment P. 20635
Ph +682 20 238 Mob+682 55 238

At the beautiful Aroa Marine Reserve look for:


Muri Beach Resort

A hidden treasure tucked away on the cocktail with a selection from our chef’s then a short 30 sec stroll to the poolside
tranquil southern end of Muri Beach, irresistible tapas menu. Or perhaps you venue for dinner, dancing and fun! The
Rarotonga’s only eco-friendly resort, Muri would like to share a pizza or a range of resort specialises in co-ordinating elegant,
Beach Resort, offers affordable luxury. inventive tacos – all the rage! With the intimate and romantic island weddings.
This relaxed and laid-back boutique resort kitchen and bar open from 3pm daily, With the beachfront location, the
is absolute beachfront on Muri Beach in afternoon snacks with friends can flow beachfront deck or the resorts white sandy
Rarotonga. With 20 newly refurbished through to dinner by the pool. The light beach have both proved very popular,
modern beach bach style villas, you will and fresh menu serves a selection to suit having a stunning backdrop of the tropical
feel like you are at your home away from the tastes of virtually everyone, as we palm-fringed Ta'akoka Islet and the
home. And at the same time, you will do cater for those with special dietary crystal turquoise waters of Muri Lagoon. A
be supporting the resorts eco-friendly needs too. Soak up the serenity of the photographers dream! Then carry on the
initiatives to reduce your carbon footprint relaxed poolside dining while savouring celebrations with family & friends in the
and the environment that we exist in. The the flavours of the chef’s gourmet delights Polynesian style reception space to finish
resort has its own power supply with an available to eat in or take away. Famous off the perfect day. This venue caters for
extensive solar system, operating off the for our Tacos – our crew of international weddings and wedding receptions of up
grid – a unique resort being the only one in chefs have created a taco menu to set the to 60 guests. Experience the Polynesian
the Cook Islands to operate like this. taste buds off, with creative combinations flare for your island celebration with
These spacious and very well-appointed of local and imported meats and salads your family and friends and make your
self-contained villas and apartments, or vegetables - you have to try the special day a truly memorable one. Your
are scattered over 2.5 acres - some tacos filled with slow cooked pulled hosts will take care of everything for you
beachfront, others set amongst tropical pork and island slaw, chicken popcorn – accommodation for the bridle couple
gardens – all with the mod cons of air-con, with pineapple salsa or locally caught and their group, ceremony arrangements,
kitchenettes and with the unique feature fish with salsa verde. And a must try is reception, entertainment, and any other
of a Jacuzzi spa bath in each villa. Need the Chocolate & Banana dessert pizza services you need on the day, right down
we say more? This is perfectly styled for to finish the night! Using the freshest of to the last details. Wedding & Reception
those who like the ‘comforts of home’ – local ingredients, and our fish of the day packages available.
and when you want to leave the cooking to is straight off the boat, the tantalizing
others, there is the trendy little Polynesian flavours are sure to have you coming back Aqua Café • Ph 22779
style cafe & cocktail bar overlooking the for more.
swimming pool, and a stunning award-
winning restaurant next door in the stylish Open from 3.00pm for afternoon snacks
sister hotel Nautilus Resort. and dinner. Meeting with friends for a
cocktail or wining and dining with that
Aqua Café Bar – the resorts trendy al someone special in your life, Aqua Cafe
fresco café and cocktail bar, located can cater for your needs.
overlooking the resorts centrally placed
swimming pool, will welcome you home Getting married? This venue provides a
from a day of exploring the island with a wonderfully intimate location to host
happy hour daily. You will be enticed to a wedding celebration. Muri Beach
wind down with one of the local staff’s Resort and Aqua Café are the perfect
famous COD’s – cocktail of the day! Be location – with the stunning beachfront
surprised and delighted daily with a new location for your ceremony and to kick
concoction each day – often served in a off the celebrations with a cocktail party
pineapple glass! Compliment your daily overlooking the lagoon as the sun sets


A u t h ent i c e

Sashimi & Carpaccio

Ika Mata
Asian C u i s
Seafood Platters
Fish, Chips & Salad
Fish N Chips Gourmet Sandwiches
All day breakfast
And heaps more

A short stroll east of town | Phone - 28830

Ika Mata

Mon 8am – 4pm Fishermans

Now with online menu - www.bamboojacks.net
Tues – Fri 8am – 9pm
Sat 8am – 2pm
$18.00 We also have an air-conditioned private room for
P. 23 577 Phone orders welcome dining & meetings (with conference facilities)

Mon – Sat 6:30am – 4pm

P. 23 575
Phone orders welcome

No.1 !
for seafood
Fresh Sushi
Cabinet food daily
Freshly squeezed
Juice Boosts
Healthy & delicious
Espresso Coffee
& Cake
And heaps more
try our
Located Pizza Shack
beside the
eat in or take out
Nui Market,
Best chocolate
brownie in Raro! PH 26464 • info@traderjacks.co.ck
tortilla, that famous fresh fish, and packed Whilst lunch time is popular with both
to the brim with crisp local salad - we were locals and visitors to the island, Bite Time
impressed to say the least. now opens two nights a week for the
die-hard fans. Friday’s menu is a mixture
What says “The Islands” more than nu of the daytime favourites plus a seafood
(coconut water)? It is said that Nu is full chowder, steak, and pork dishes. Tuesday
of electrolytes which hydrate you faster nights celebrate the Filipino culinary fare, a
than water. We ordered a couple of sweet, hit among the growing Filipino population
chilled nu, served in the coconut. A good of the Cook Islands.
option after a morning in the sun. Fresh
juices and espresso coffee are also on It would be remiss not to mention the
offer and the “Body Fuel” half of the café eco-initiatives this little café with the big
serves a tasty array of smoothies and reputation has implemented in recent
health drinks. months. They were the first café on
Rarotonga to reward coffee drinkers for
The food was quick, healthy, and delicious, bringing their own cup, with $3 espresso
which of course meant room for dessert. coffees. More recently, they have
After perusing the chiller cabinet, we partnered with local environmental NGO Te
decided it was only fair to sample a Ipukarea Society to replace plastic straws
chocolate brownie. Still warm from the with paper, biodegradable ones. They plan
oven, this was the perfect way to top off to have replaced all plastic packaging
BITE TIME a cracking meal. There are usually a few with more earth-friendly alternatives by
options for dessert – all homemade – the start of 2018. It’s great to see local
Punanga Nui market
including ginger slices, muffins, pies, and businesses taking the lead in protecting
cakes. My suggestion though is go for the this little paradise and their booming
When you ask the locals where to eat
brownie – a huge sticky chocolaty slab tourism industry.
and everybody says the same place, you
that’s big enough to share.
know you’re in for a treat. That is how
Bite Time • Ph 23577
we stumbled across Bite Time Café in
the centre of Avarua (town) nested in the
middle of the row of little market shacks
next to the reclaimed land at the Punanga
Nui market.

An impressive display of acrobatics by a

passing by humpback whale just metres
from our table really worked up our
appetite. The reef is close enough here so
that you can see the whales from your
table if you’re lucky enough to be there
when one is passing.

We were torn between ordering the

sashimi or their famed fish wrap - both
made with outrageously fresh fish (caught
literally hours before) - so of course we
ordered both! The sashimi, with an oily
sheen (we are told only visible on the
freshest fish) was smothered in a mixture
of olive oil, garlic, ginger and herbs,
making a tropical take on carpaccio our
new favourite dish. The fish wrap is a
healthy alternative for the religious fish-
and-chip-orderer, made with a warm, soft

Tapas at

Great Food!
Great Views!
Great Service!

Lunchtime casual dining with a

selection of flavoursome tapas.
All homemade using fresh local
produce that will tantalise your
taste-buds at very affordable
prices. Black Rock Lager on tap.
Located in a tropical garden at
Black Rock Villas with superb
elevated views over the lagoon
& ocean. Live music on Sundays.

Bookings Advised
Wednesday to Friday 12 - 3pm
Sunday 11 - 3pm

ph. 21233
To kick off the week we have a Sunday a perfect place to either start your day
Night Roast buffet. This is a traditional with breakfast or finish it off with the sand
all you can eat American meal with ham, between your toes and a cocktail in your
lamb, and beef roasts accompanied with hand! Come visit our friendly staff and
fresh made bread rolls and a mix of local watch the sun set across the horizon of the
and traditional vegetables. beautiful Pacific Ocean.

All you can eat seafood is Tuesday nights Oceans Restaurant • Ph 23953
with our Seafood Buffet. This buffet has
everything imaginable on it! We have
freshly caught local cooked and raw fish.

OCEANS We also have local octopus, scallops,

calamari, the iconic Ika Mata (raw fish
RESTAURANT marinated in coconut cream), prawns,
arrays of seafood salads, and more! This
Crown Beach Resort
buffet is a must for any seafood lover,
local or tourist!
Oceans Restaurant & Bar is situated on the
beachside of Crown Beach Resort & Spa in
Thursday nights we host our famous
Arorangi. This is a must visit dining option
traditional Island Night Buffet and Show.
while on holiday in Rarotonga.
Serenading the evening is some of
Rarotonga’s best local artists. Dinner is
Enjoy a meal in our Polynesian designed
an all you can eat buffet that showcases
restaurant or on the beach overlooking the
Rarotonga’s traditional local dishes and
crystal-clear lagoon. We cater 7 days a
locally grown and caught foods. Even
week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
though the food is to die for, make sure
Start your day off with our breakfast
you save room for dessert; for the dessert
buffet while looking out over the beautiful
buffet is almost as big as the dinner buffet!
Pacific Ocean. We feature a full tropical
The desserts are mixes of traditional
breakfast accompanied with cooked
island desserts and classic European
options and an a la carte egg menu.
desserts. After the food we introduce one
Breakfast is open to anyone and is from
of Rarotonga’s best traditional dance
7.30am – 10am.
troupes, Akirata. These young men and
women show off our Islands history and
Stop by for lunch and enjoy some of
culture within their beautiful dancing and
the Cook Islands favourite dishes such
mesmerizing handmade costumes.
as the mouth-watering Ika Mata and
On Friday nights we serve some of the
fresh Sashimi. Our lunch menu caters for
best grilled meats around with our Steak,
everyone! Whether you are looking for
Fish, and Ribs night. You can choose one of
something nice and light or are completely
three meats which is cooked fresh to order
famished, it is guaranteed you will find
and delivered to your table accompanied
something tasty on our menu.
with tarragon potatoes or French fries. To
either tide you over until your meat arrives
Oceans Restaurant is a local favourite
or accompany the mouth-watering dish,
for dinner. We offer our a la carte menu
we have an all you can eat salad buffet.
Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights.
Our chefs prepare fresh local salads for
Our menu is a mix between local and
our patrons that enhance any of the meat
traditional European cuisine where our
dishes you decide to order.
chefs use fresh, local produce in every
dish possible. This menu is also tailored
We host a daily Happy Hour from 4pm
to suit several dietary requirements. The
– 6pm with $2 off all drinks! Throughout
atmosphere at Oceans is friendly and fun
the day we also have $20 beer buckets
with 4 all you can eat themed nights a
and $10 cocktails. Oceans Restaurant is

Casual and friendly
MURI VILLAGE Asian street-style café
Fresh flavours of
Mexico for dinner, plus Vietnamese, Indonesian,
fresh fish, pizza, vegan, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai
and gluten free.
Open for Dinner from 5.30pm Open for dinner from 5.30pm
Closed Thursdays Closed Sunday
See you there amigo!
P. 20693 or 26487 Muri Village OPEN DAYS

Phone: 22232 or 26487
HOUSE Fresh tropical cuisine EATFAMILY
EAT • INChoice
Choice of
of wraps
Unique al fresco dining in town • Choice of Wraps
Pizzas Pizzas
• Woodfired
DINNER salads
LUNCH: TUES – FRI 11.30 AM – 2 PM Choice
Choice of wraps
Pizzas of
& sides
Woodfired Pizzas & Sides
(CLOSED MON AND SAT LUNCH) Extensive choice of vegan and fish dishes
LUNCH Tuesday
to Friday
Tuesday TO Friday
FROM 9 AM – 1.30 PM
11am – 2pm
11am–- MENU
A beautiful heritage colonial house, DINNER
located on the seafront, just 3 minutes
Delicious food to suit all tastes Pizzas &
from the town centre.
Dine by candlelight in the peaceful
Monday& sides
seclusion of a romantic tropical setting. 3pm
4pm ––- 9pm
3pm 9pm
Located Tuesday
Located opposite
opposite the to
the Punanga
EMAIL tamarind@oyster.net.ck Open early morning until late Mon to Sat 11am
(next to the
11am – 2pm
(next to the –
Bond 2pm
Liquor store)
www.tamarindrarotonga.com newplace@oyster.net.ck
PHONE 26487 Ph 22279 or 22299 PH 23336 •• MOB
PH 23336 MOB 53330
Dinner Monday to
Monday to Saturday
3pm –– 9pm
9pm • 33
Trader Jacks is an institution in the Cook
Islands, located right on the water in the
heart of Avarua Harbour.
The Vaka bar is open throughout the day
serving ice cold beers including their
own locally brewed ‘Island Time’ lager
alongside a huge range of reasonably
priced and tasty cocktails, mocktails,
spirits and wines.
Sitting right beside the ocean, with to move back to the Vaka bar. They were
The restaurant is open for lunch and
delicious drinks in hand, life couldn’t incredible and read the crowd perfectly
dinner, but make sure you book for this
get much sweeter, and then the whales allowing us to dance off our huge meal.
busy dining destination.
started to jump! Breaching right out of the
water only 50 metres past the reef, it was By the end of the evening we were
“Many of our friends had told us that
like they were putting on a show just for contemplating moving in and living
Trader Jacks was a ‘must do’ experience
the Trader Jacks’ guests. permanently at Trader Jacks. The staff
but we had no idea what to expect when
were open, warm and professional, the
we walked in on a lazy Friday afternoon.
After a good sampling of the drinks atmosphere was relaxed and the view
We were greeted at the bar by a polite
selection, it was time to move up to our over the ocean, stunning. In our two week
and friendly young man who produced
table on the deck for dinner. The manager holiday, Traders became our local. We can
the very comprehensive drinks menu.
escorted us to our seat overlooking the easily see why it has developed into such
We were too early for dinner, but it was
beach and guided us through the huge an icon in Rarotonga; truly a jewel in the
a stunning afternoon and we were ready
range of specials and Traders’ favourite Cook Islands.”
for a drink. We were informed that if we
dishes. Our waitress had worked at Trader
were hungry or just needed a snack to tide
Jacks for over ten years; she was friendly, Open Monday to Saturday from 11am –
us through, the pizza shack was open all
knowledgeable and great for a laugh. We late. Restaurant serves lunch 11.30am
day. Our barman pointed out some of the
took her up on her recommendation for – 2pm & dinner from 6pm. Pizzas run all
most popular cocktails including one that
the seafood platter for two but started day and into the night.
they served directly from the beer taps!
with a mozzarella and basil flat bread. The Ph 26464
My husband had to try the local draught
pizza dough is rolled to order with basil www.traderjackscookislands.com
produced only five minutes away; an easy
pesto, garlic butter and mozzarella cheese.
drinking, light lager, perfect to cool and
We were so impressed that it lasted about
refresh on a spring afternoon. I opted to
thirty seconds and we considered ordering
work my way through some of the cocktail
selection, the first cocktail served in a
coconut – the perfect way to start the
Then came the platter, it was massive and
holiday in a tropical paradise.
included a great range of fresh seafood.
We were served ‘Ika Mata’ (a local raw fish
and coconut delicacy), oysters, prawns,
smoked marlin, grilled mai mai, crumbed
calamari, tuna sashimi and sushi, soft shell
crab and topped with a stunning crayfish
tail. This was truly ‘food heaven’. It was
such an amazing dish. There was no way
to fit in dessert so we ordered a delicious
sticky toffee pudding to take away.

Now it was time for a nightcap but the

band had started to play so we decided

in a

t ai

support the
Casual Beach Side Cafe
Authentic Thai food,

in this
tasty Mexican, burgers,
fish and chips, coffee

home-made desserts
+ we’re fully licensed.
Opening Hours
Sunday to Thursday
they make it possible
8.30am - 2.30pm
for you to read this
Ph 20020
for free.
us on your
map at the
halfway mark
down South at
2013 & 2016

La Chaine des Rotisseurs
Cook Islands and JCR
“Young Chefs of the World” – Frankfurt, Germany, September 8th 2017

he Chaine des According to the Bailli Délégué (President) Cook Island Tourism part-sponsored the
of the Cook Islands Chaine chapter, Phillip event and we thank them very much,
Rotisseurs Cook Nordt, the Cook Islands is purposely as without their assistance we could
Islands organized increasing its profile as a sought-after not have competed. The Cook Island
the JCR “Young Chef of the destination for travelers who enjoy competitor made his country proud and
culinary experiences on their vacations. received a standing ovation for his great
Nation” competition for efforts.
young chefs in Rarotonga. 21 nations were competing at the IB Hotel
The finalist and winner was Competition Salon in Frankfurt. Countries “Ultimately, we are trying to bring the
like the USA, Canada, France, Germany, young chefs of the world competition to
22-year-old Puka Puka- Norway, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, the Cook Islands sometime in the future.
born Ngmatua (Tua) Ngaro Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, That would certainly put the Cook Islands
Tariau from OTB On The Malaysia and now the Cook Islands.” on the culinary world map!

Beach Restaurant at Manuia Only places 1-3 are awarded and the “Overall we want to encourage visitors to
Beach Resort. winner takes home a price package come here for the food – another good
of around $ 30, 000.00, including a reason to enjoy the Cook Islands!”
This is the first time in history a Cook Scholarship at the prestigious “Le Cordon
Islander took part in the most prestigious, Bleu” in Paris. Every competitor was With 25,000 members worldwide, the
and internationally recognized as the gifted pure silver equipment and jewellery Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is represented
most difficult competition in the world. The from Wempe Jeweler Frankfurt and Mr. in over 80 countries bringing together
winning finalists from around the world Wuesthoff from Trident personally handed enthusiasts who share the same values of
compete with little more than their knife the newest Trident chefs knife to every quality, fine dining, the encouragement of
set. Other basic cooking equipment will be competitor. the culinary arts, and ‘the pleasures of the
provided by the host country. table’.
The winners emerged as first place being
Competitors are given a secret magic box Malaysia, second place Netherlands
with ingredients to write a menu, prepare, and third place Australia. While the Cook
cook and serve a fine dining 3-course Islands were not placed in the top three,
menu for 4 persons. Once the first course just qualifying for this event is an honour
is served, each following course must be and a great once in a lifetime achievement.
served within 15 minutes. The competitor can only enter the
international competition once.

CAFES & Bamboo Jacks, Taputaputea
Ph 28830

RESTAURANTS Kai Pizza, Punanga Nui

Ph 23336 or 53330
Please support these advertisers for making The New Place, Avarua
Ph 22279 or 22299
it free for you to take your copy home.
Nautilus Resort, Muri Village
Bite Time/ Body Fuel, Punanga Nui Ph 25125
Ph 23577/ 23575
The Rickshaw, Muri Village
La Casita, Muri Village Ph 22232
Ph 20693
Club Raro, Tupapa
OTB, Arorangi Ph 22415
Ph 22461
Little Polynesian, Titikaveka
Shipwreck Hut @ Aro’a Beachside Inn Ph 24280
Ph 22166
Silver Sands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel
Trader Jacks, Avarua Ph 2300
Ph 26464
Check out our
Oceans @ Crown Beach
Ph 23953 CAFES & ‘all-day’ breakfast menu
Tumunu, Arorangi RESTAURANTS and join us for awesome
coffee, friendly service
Deli Licious, Muri Village
Ph 20858
Aitutaki Village @ O’otu Beach
Ph 31526 and great home style
Pacific Resort, Muri Village Rumours Café @ Aitutaki Escape
Ph 20427 Ph 31906
Flambe @ Crown Beach Boatshed @ Popoara
Ph 23953 Ph 31479 Try our custard square
The Yellow Hibiscus @ Palm Grove Koru Café and cheesecake
Ph 20002 Ph 31110
– local favourites!
The Mooring Fish Café, Avana Tamanu Beach Restaurant
Ph 25553 Open Sunday – Friday 8.00am – 3pm
Ph 31810
Located on the main road at Muri Village.
Tuoro Café @ Black Rock Villas Pacific Resort Aitutaki Wifi available.
Ph 21233
P. 20858
Ph 31720

Saltwater Café, Turoa

Ph 20020

Aqua Restaurant @ Muri Beach Resort

Ph 22779

Kikau Hut, Arorangi

Ph 26860

Tamarind House, Tupapa

Ph 26487

Phillip Nordt

The short-nosed Marlin or

SPIA as it is locally called, is
better eating than its larger
cousin the Marlin, but only
insiders know that this fish
has intricate big flavours
when properly prepared. The © Marlin Queen

texture of the meat is also

more tender and it should Spicy Spia
2/ Fish Taco
1 tsp Cajun spice mix, `1 teaspoon ground
coriander, pinch of Cinnamon
be cooked to medium. SPIA
is often smoked and used in 1 x Habanero chilli, deseeded and sliced
into julienne (matchsticks) 1 x Pablamo
fish pies, but today we are 4 x 75 g Spia fillets
chilli roasted, 1 x red pepper roasted,
looking for a much more 4 x large, soft corn taco shells, toasted and
deskinned, both pounded into a paste
elegant way to serve this folded
6 Kaffir Limes or other limes, juice and zest
interesting Fish. Because of of 1 lime, julienne of lime leaf
4 x green onions
its robust flavours and firm 1 x coriander pulled
2 Red Peppers, slice julienne
texture, I will apply Italian 2 x tomato, de-seeded, sliced in strips
4 green Onions, sliced julienne
and Mexican preparation 1 x chilli de-seeded julienne thinly sliced
1 red onion sliced julienne
methods and we will 1 x local lime juice
Cos Lettuce, sliced Julienne
showcase 3 outstanding 1 x iceberg lettuce chiffonade sliced
Arugula pulled
dishes. 4 x tbsp guacamole
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (RITO)

4 x tbsp sour cream
Salt Pepper to taste
Season and grill the fish fillets and set
Heat non-stick pan to high heat, mix spice
3 Ways mix and lightly coat the Spia slices, pan
(serves 4 people)
sear each slice ½ minute on each side until Start assembling with toasted tacos, add
dark brown, set aside to cool, then slice Lettuce in bottom, top with tomato, onions,
Ceviche of
1/ Blackened Spia,
into 1 cm and place in a bowl.

Grate 1 Lime, slice the leaf thinly, then juice

add fish, top with lime juice guacamole &
sour cream garnish with Coriander & chilli
habanero & pablamo chilli, local
peppers, fresh green onions, bush basil, the lime and the other 3 limes

coconut oil, kaffir lime zest juice and Add the Lime juice to the Fish slices and
leaves, salad of herbs, cos lettuce, 1 x marinate for 2-3 minutes
rocket/arugula Make a Salad of the other ingredients and
dress with Olive Oil then toss in the fish
300 g fresh Spia or Marlin, sliced into 1 cm
thick slices Use 4 large Cos leaves for presentation
and serve the ceviche in the Cos leaves

Char-grilled Pre-heat large frying pan, add ½ the coconut
3/ Spia Oil, then add onions and garlic and whole
roasted Upo (local squash), Phillips fresh chillies, sweat until transparent, drain the
Island style Tomato Sauce tomatoes and add to onions, sauté and cook
down, seasoning while doing
Add the remaining coconut oil season to
4 x 200 g fresh Spia Fish or Marlin
taste and cook for another 15 minutes,
1 x Peeled Upo, cut into 3 cm thick slices stirring occasionally
1 kg ripe but firm local tomatoes Season the Upo slices well and fry from both
1 White Onion cut into Brunoise, fine dice sides until nicely browned and slight soft and

1 Garlic Bulb, separate cloves, crush and cooked.

finely slice Season fish well with coarse black Pepper

2 x Birds Eye Chilli and sea salt and char-grill to medium rare,
when set aside warm this fish will continue
100 ml Extra virgin Coconut Oil
cooking until medium
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Take 4 warm plates, place the Upo in the
1 Bunch fresh Bush Basil Maire
centre of the plate and set the Spia fish on
top, season again, then lace with tomato
– Phillips fresh Island style Tomato Sauce
Sauce and Garnish with the Bush Basil.
De-skin and de-seed Tomatoes, cut into
Enjoy & Bon Appetit with today’s
fine dice set aside

with us?
Why come fishing
Our record fish
and high catch rate
speaks for itself!

• Half & Full Day Charters • Three boats available

• Shared or Private charters • Top quality Shimano gear

P. +(682) 55202 or +(682) 20683

E. fishing@marlinqueen.co.ck | www.marlinqueen.co.ck
Rarotonga’s best known & most trusted local crew

Manih ik i
M a gi c Story & photos:
Tim Meyer

T he endless azure horizon, the Manihiki is the pearl

of the Northern Group of the
omnipresent sound of waves Cook Islands. Located 1,000 km
north of Rarotonga and roughly
crashing onto the reef, a light 1,350 km south of the equator,
breeze gently moving the coconut the hidden gem of this country is
world famous for its Black Pearls. The lustre that the Manihiki
palm fronds and the sun dipping pearl farmers are producing is second to none on this blue
everything in vibrant, tropical planet. With the earth being made up of two thirds water and
one third land, Manihiki takes the term blue planet to a whole
colours. On a normal quiet Sunday other level. The tiny little atoll in the middle of the Pacific is only
half a meter above sea level and is a mere spec of sand in the
afternoon on Manihiki, a black tip vastness of the Pacific Ocean. Toddlers learn how to fish before
reef shark is patrolling the shallow they can properly walk! Manihiki is as close to paradise as you
can get to on this planet.
reefs as I am writing this story,
sitting in the shade of my favourite The main sources of income for the people in Manihiki are Black
Pearl farming and government positions. With very few visitors
Tauhunu Tree – behind the Manihiki finding their way this far north due to limited access, tourism is

Cyclone Centre. not part of the economic development of this beautiful island.

I found myself on Manihiki This once in a lifetime opportunity gave up the mood for a very early dive. Our
through my involvement in me the chance to appreciate the hard first job is to harvest oysters off the lines.
the Lagoon Clean-Up Project work, time and patience that is behind the So, we have to get into the water in total
generously funded by the New stunning Black Pearl of Manihiki. darkness, an eerie feeling. The light breeze
Zealand Government and operated and tiredness give me a chill, the tiny
by Pacific Divers. The project assisted A day in the life of waves slap gently against our aluminium
with the removal of abandoned farming hull and the sound resonates into the
material in order to help protect this
a pearl farmer darkness. Tamuela stops all conversation
Pearl farming is a year-round affair and
pristine lagoon. For the last five months, and says a prayer in Maori asking for
during the harvest that lasts between one
I was fortunate to work alongside protection while being in the water. The
to three weeks, days start before sunrise
some of the best and most experienced boys gear up with mask, snorkel and
and end after sunset.
pearl farmers that have operated in gloves and disappear into the deep. All of
this incredible lagoon, namely Trainee a sudden, I feel very alone while putting
Today, Tamuela Karaponga's team
Samson, Pepe Makira, James Brown, Jack on my own gear knowing that there is
from Samuela Pearl Service consists of
Pokipoki, Joe Hiro, John Mehau and one of nothing between me and the lagoon floor
his brother Kaina Karaponga, Koa Arii,
the most experienced divers of the atoll but 18 meters of indifferent ocean water.
Alex Samson and myself. We leave the
Rino Mareko. A second-generation farmer Nga Karaponga looks at me and says:”
wharf at 5.45am to arrive on the farm
Tamuela Karaponga and his mother Nga Look, the horizon, it will be getting lighter
before sunrise. The 10 minutes boat ride
Karaponga from Manihiki Pearl Tech have soon.” I take her word as encouragement
in itself was worth waking up at dawn
invited me to spend a day out harvesting and glide off the boat into the 28°C water
on a Saturday. The sun is still down, the
with them and their crew to show me the that swaddles me like a warm blanket. My
water is calm, and the warm breeze sets
beautiful and technical side of farming. heart starts jumping as soon as I open my

...and glide off the
boat into the 28°C
water that swaddles
me like a warm
blanket. My heart
starts jumping as soon
as I open my eyes
underwater. There
are biofluorescent
plankton all around us.

chaplet holds oysters in strings of 10 every

meter for a full line length of 220m, which
means in theory 220 chaplets and 2,200
oysters per line. First, we tie an anchor
float to the line to make it rise closer to the
surface and to hold the boat in place. We
then untie the chaplets and bring them up
to the boat. The chaplets are tied to the
lines with a clove hitch tied as a slipknot
that is strong but can easily be undone. I
need both hands to handle a chaplet. The
eyes underwater. There are biofluorescent pros and strong locals untie with one hand,
pearl that will be coated by the mantle
plankton all around us. As we stroke to swim to the next, untie and bring two
tissue of the black lip oyster (Pinctada
swim towards the lines, the water lights chaplets up to the surface. Kaina and Koa
margaritifera) with nacre thus creating
up green right in front of our eyes. Looking are incredibly skilled divers and manage
the beautiful black pearl. The process
past this beautiful spectacle, I see Koa an average of four chaplets per dive. All of
from catching the spat to collecting the
and Kaina diving down to the oysters and that on one single breath of air.
actual pearl takes four to five years. In
the harvest begins. this extensive period of time, many things
On the boat the shells are taken off
can happen to destroy the harvest: severe
There are three different types of lines to the chaplets and stored in grey plastic
weather, diseases, El Niño. The pearl
be found in the lagoon. baskets, at three chaplets per basket.
farmers need to constantly check their
A - The spat collectors or Haru Haru lines A full shipment of 100 chaplets will be
lines, clean the shells and truly look after
that are catching the spawn from the transported to the seeding house. This
them like their own children. Only the best
oysters in the water to produce new shells. process needs to flow and time is of the
caretakers harvest the true unspoiled
B - Double chaplets that are used to grow essence since the shells are put under
beauty of a round pearl with rousing
the oyster to seeding size. enormous stress by being out of the water.
C - The chaplets. Once the boat arrives at the seeding
These lines hold the actual nucleated house a team of four workers is starting to
There are two men free diving and one
oyster, which have been seeded with prepare the shells for the technician. The
on the boat pulling up the heavy loads of
a nucleus. The nucleus is a fresh water baskets are being hung from a wooden
shells. A main line is full of chaplets. Each
platform with stainless steel hooks to

very adequate considering how much
endurance and perseverance the locals
need to live this lifestyle in harmony with
their surroundings, and considering how
long it takes to produce the beautiful
Black Pearl. The mood is good, it was a
successful day. It is now time for a BBQ.
The puru, coconut husks are collected for
firewood. Nothing beats the smoky flavour
of fish grilled over coconut husks. We sit
there watching the flames kiss our fish, a
cold drink in our hand, chatting away while
overlooking the endless lagoon of Manihiki.
We know that out there, the re-seeded
oysters that we have put down earlier that
day are resting on the line, producing one
of the most beautiful gems nature has
created. Sam looks at me with a proud
smile as I thank him for showing me his
world. The team sits together around the
fire, talking about the next harvest, how it
will be more plentiful, more beautiful than
the last.
The layers of nacre in the Cook Islands Black Pearl
creates iridescent colours in various shades of black,
purple, green, silver, gold and white.

float in the lagoon water. This prevents new similar sized nucleus to prompt the
the shells from overheating which would oyster to continue covering the now new
eventually cause their demise. Part of the pearl with its natural black nacre from the
team starts cleaning them from organic mantel tissue. An interesting side note on
growth such as barnacles, sponges and the nucleus used in pearl farming is that
other living organisms. This process they are actual fresh water pearls. They
facilitates the handling of the oyster and come from the Mississippi region and can
is an important step towards a healthy only be produced there. The industry has
growth. The oysters mouth is then opened tried all sorts of other material but has not
with a wooden pin and placed onto a yet found a substitute. A black oyster can
wooden tray ready for the quick operation go through up to four breeding cycles of
to extract the stunning Black Pearl. 12 months so each time the pearl gets a
little bigger to a diameter of up to 14 mm.
The technician's table resembles a This explains why the big round pearls are
dentist’s workbench, with all the tiny more expensive than the rest. Though it is
long handled stainless-steel tools that worth the wait as they are a result of true
are needed to harvest the pearl from the dedication and love from the farmer as it
oyster’s pearl sack called gonad. The takes a period of seven years or more to
oyster is placed onto the shell stand and produce one single 14 mm Black Pearl!
opened with a wooden wedge shell opener.
A small insertion is made and then the We are heading back to Sam's seeding
technician removes the black pearl with house located in the village of Tukao. The
the pearl ring. Using the nuclei inserter, boys explain to me that Tukao translates
he then replaces the black pearl with a into ‘stand and grow’. I find this meaning

Black Pearls are worn around the world.
The pearl has become a symbol of wealth, power
and the purest form of beauty.

Creating Beauty which are spread pearls of different sizes jewellery is worthy of a queen! This is one
and colours. The layers of nacre in the of the many gifts from Cook Islands people
But there is more, there is always more.
Cook Islands Black Pearl creates iridescent to the world!
Manihikians are very resourceful, probably
colours in various shades of black, purple,
because they cannot just pick up the
green, silver, gold and white. The particular When you want to get yourself a little
phone and call “the guy”. Here in the far
necklace she is working on is an order souvenir from the Cook Islands you’ll find
north people have to help themselves and
from the Cook Islands government as an a number of fine jewellery shops in down
this is exactly what the community does at
official gift to the people of Samoa. The town Avarua, around the harbour area
all times. In this aspect, it was just a matter
Prime Minister will present this necklace to and Saturdays at the Punanga Nui market.
of time before the local pearl farmers
Samoa’s First Lady on the upcoming state The Cook Islands Pearl Association is the
started adding value to their product by
visit. umbrella organization for Black Pearls
producing stunning jewellery.
in the Cook Islands and when you buy a
This necklace is the apex of Manihiki pearl from one of their retailers it will be
Black Pearls are worn around the world.
craftsmanship and shows in one piece how issued with a certificate of authenticity to
The pearl has become a symbol of wealth,
remarkable its peoples’ skills are. It reflects verify that you are buying a real gem of
power and the purest form of beauty.
on a strong tradition of resourcefulness, the north from Manihiki. Take a little piece
For us voyagers and visitors to these
sustainability and culture that is rooted of this paradise home and let it guide you
beautiful islands they are a means of
in the past and ready for a bright future. through the cold winter days, looking at
taking a little piece of paradise home with
Nga’s grandchildren are seeking an the black pearl, dreaming of the long white
us as a reminder that this lush tropical life
education overseas but they are very sandy beaches of your favourite tropical
really exists. It is out there that the dream
eager to learn. They are closely observing getaway. Aere ra – see you next time.
continues. My black pearl reminds me of
their grandmother’s craft. In my opinion,
Manihiki’s beauty and I lose myself looking
Nga has created a true piece of art: the
at its lustre and sheer perfection.
traditional rito necklace with its white For more information on Manihiki and
cream colour is the perfect canvas for the how to get there:
The next morning, I meet Mama Nga
black keshi pearls she is using on the outer
in her family home, surrounded by her Cookislands.travel
rim, leading the view to the centre piece,
grandchildren. She is sitting under the Airrarotonga.com
a cluster with 14 black pearls. This piece of
sunroof, overlooking the lagoon. In front of Azurecoconut.blogspot.com
her, she has a large white velvet cloth on

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The Ways
of Weaving Story: Rachel Smith

he tools for weaving kikau (coconut It was at her other fruit stall, near her home Raranga is a “…system of firmly placing
palm leaves) are simple – a knife, on the back road in Arorangi, that Ruta a series of parallel threads (the warp) and
kikau and skilled hands. And it first made the decision to take up weaving then passing loose threads (the weft) over
needs to be beautiful kikau, as weaver and turn her back on plastic bags – a then under the stretched threads at right
Ruta Pirangi describes it: leaves that are a simple moment when a truck drove past angles... This gives the product strength
good size, a fresh green and without any and all her plastic bags went flying. As she and shape.”
damage from wind or insects. watched them go Ruta decided that she
Predominantly women’s work, raranga was
would make her own from kikau instead.
Ruta can be found weaving most days at traditionally used in all aspects of life – just
her stall in Kavera. Coconut trees grow “I start making my own bowls to put fruit one of the important roles of the coconut
nearby and there is comfort to be found in to sell – I don’t want to waste my money tree, or the tree of life. Kikau weaving was
working in the shade of her beach hut, on plastic,” Ruta says. “I try to do something used in house construction, house contents
open to the cool sea breeze. for me.” such as sitting mats and wall screens,
“I’ve had my market stall for 10 years now,” Raranga, or weaving, means to braid, weave containers for food preparation including
she says, selling fruit from her garden in or plait, with most kikau weaving having the fishing baskets, kete (baskets or bags),
beautifully woven bowls. The stall is easy same basic steps as its base. Jean Tekura sunhats, sun visors, and bracelets and balls
to spot, decorated in her weaving as well Mason describes this best in her chapter on as toys for children.
as plastic and glass bottles that Ruta weaving, ‘Warps & Wefts of Life – Raranga Drive past any event on the island and
cleans up from the beach and repurposes. in the Social Context of the Cook Islands,’ in you will see kikau weaving decorations
Cook Islands Art and Architecture (2015). on display. It was, and still is, a feature
decorative element at special events
including baptism, marriage, haircutting,
funerals, investitures of traditional
leadership and other ceremonies.

As with any skilled work Ruta makes it

look easy. Ruta says she never paid much
attention to women weaving while growing
up in Rarotonga – she never sat down
beside them to learn how to do it herself.

“I don’t know how I learnt – I just do it. I get

this skill from myself,” she says. “And there
is a good feeling when you make it - I love

Weaving is in her blood though. Her mother

was born in Rakahanga, with family
connections to both there and nearby
Manihiki. Her grandmother used to weave
from rito (coconut fibre), a speciality of
the Northern Pa Enua (outer islands). Ruta
is teaching her three daughters and her
granddaughter to weave, wanting to share

with them the skills that she worked so a bowl. For her decorative work it is quite
hard to develop. different - she simply starts weaving and
sees what it becomes.
Unlike kikau weaving, other types of Cook
Islands weaving take days or weeks of “It is good to weave something different,”
preparation. Rito is made from the new leaf she says, constantly challenging herself
of the coconut tree. Strands of fibre from with new designs and ideas, all finished
the midrib of the coconut leaf, are scraped, off with a signature look. Her beautiful
boiled, scraped again and then draped to decorative work is well-known across the
dry for 2-3 days. Dyed or left in its natural island, mixing woven fresh leaves with
shade, the fine fibre of rito allows for more dried pieces that are designed to last for
delicate and detailed weaving, as seen in many years and spray painted to add
the beautiful decorative hats that are worn colour.
for church. Paired with black pearls or shell
Ruta has big plans for her stall in Kavera,
it is made into jewellery such as necklaces
plans to share her love of weaving with
and earrings.
visitors and locals on the island. Next year
Pandanus weaving utilises the leaf of she intends to host an event to showcase
the Rau ‘Ara (pandanus) plant. The leaf her weaving, set up a museum of weaving
is cut, plaited and dried for three weeks, which will include a mix of rito, kikau and
before being flattened out and rolled into pandanus pieces, as well as establishing
a ball. Typically less fine that rito weaving, her beachside hut as a wedding venue

pandanus is used for floor mats, fans and that will of course be decorated with her
hats. stunning woven kikau designs.
e 23
0 0 0 to b o o k
Now a full time weaver, Ruta can put her At the heart of it all is something quite
hand to any type of weaving. She travels simple though – a return to making and
to find the resources she needs – rito using woven kikau as part of everyday
from her family in Manihiki and pandanus life, before the import of cheap plastic
w om
from Mitiaro. Her fine rito work is used in products became common place. As an
costumes, such as those she designed for environmentally sustainable product it
Aitutaki’s drum dance and action song doesn’t get any better – coconut trees are
performances in Te Maeva Nui this year. plentiful, there are no costs involved, and
She and the Aitutaki dancers made the the end result is both beautiful, practical
costumes together, Ruta teaching the and completely biodegradable.
young women how to work with rito in the
“Everyone used to be able to weave, now
not so much,” she says. “It is something
At Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute’s easy for people on the island to make – to
community classes Ruta teaches those stop bringing in plastic.”
who are new to weaving to make raurau
(plates) and rangokere (food carrying
baskets). While raurau weaving uses 2-4 Reference • Cook Islands Art and
small sections of coconut leaf and is a Architecture. Editors – Rod Dixon, Linda
relatively simple task to hands that are Crowl, Marjorie Tuainekore Crocombe,
new to weaving, rangokere is more of a USP Press, 2015
challenge. Rangokere is woven with the
main rib of the coconut leaf kept intact,
the rib split open only as the last step in
creating the basket. The design is strong
and able to hold large amounts of heavy


Ruta knows exactly what the finished

product will be when she is weaving

something simple, such as a rangokere or




Inspired by
Cook Islands

A Pharmacist in
Story: Shannon Saunders MPS

On a holiday in Rarotonga I learned that CITC Pharmacy started in

1974, the year Rarotonga International
in 2008 I called into CITC Airport was opened. Initially the pharmacy
Pharmacy in Avarua to see had been a joint venture between Cook
the pharmacist, who I knew Islands Trading Corporation Limited (CITC),
a well-established merchant, and a retail
from pharmacy circles in pharmacy in NZ. That had enabled CITC
New Zealand. Despite it to establish a modern dispensary with
raining most of my holiday, access to the full range of pharmaceuticals
available through the Pharmacy Guild of
there was something about NZ. Subsequently the pharmacy became
this place that sparked my 100% owned by CITC.
interest. Imagine what it
I also learned that CITC Pharmacy was the
would be like to work here! only retail pharmacy in the Cook Islands
I couldn’t believe my luck that employed a NZ-registered pharmacist,
when a few months later I a standard that had been maintained since
opening. This is one of many attributes
saw the job advertised. that has contributed to CITC being a highly
respected company. I felt comfortable that
AVARUA notwithstanding the laid-back lifestyle of
P. (682)
50 • 29292
Rarotonga, I would be in an environment Our pharmacy provides a full range
that was conducive to maintaining of professional pharmacy services
professional standards. I was stoked to not available at other pharmacies on
accept the position of CITC Pharmacy Rarotonga, including the dispensing
Manager offered to me six months later. of controlled drugs, consultations for
Pharmacist-only medication such as
That was eight years ago. Since then, emergency contraceptive pill, Sildenafil
both Rarotonga and CITC Pharmacy have and antibiotic treatment for uncomplicated
exceeded all my expectations. infections including UTI and conjunctivitis.

One quickly makes friends in Rarotonga. We have kept our strong link with New
The friendly, open nature of Cook Islanders Zealand suppliers. This provides us with
translates easily into relationships, brands familiar to visitors such as L’Oréal,
 A tour you wont forget!
including professional ones. I have been Manuka Doctor, Aloe Up, Go Health NZ,
 #1 ranked tour in Raro!
invited to functions and met people who Clinicians, QVS, Via, Tommee Tippee,
 Fresh energetic crew treating
I never would have dreamt of meeting, Huggies, Muscle Pharm and R-Line. You
you to a day to remember!
coming from a small rural town in the Bay could mistakenly think you had walked into
of Plenty. a pharmacy in New Zealand.

The increase in visitor numbers over my We also stock island favourites including
eight years has been amazing. We now Te Tika and Rito (from Rarotonga) and the Book
have 150,000 visitors a year, with that famous Monoi Oil (from Tahiti). These are Now!!
number still growing. Visitors add another hugely popular with visitors as souvenirs
dimension to living and working in the Cook and gifts.
Islands. Although predominantly from NZ,
Phone 27769 or 55769
they come from all over the world. They Airfreight services from New Zealand to
often compliment us on the standard of Rarotonga are excellent and make life
our pharmacy; many are surprised to find so much easier now for obtaining non-

such a high standard of presentation and
services. Hearing comments such as “wow,
standard medication as special orders
for customers. Similarly, Air Rarotonga
it’s like a real pharmacy” makes me both provides very good airfreight services from Island Hike
proud and laugh. Rarotonga to the outer islands.

Our staff at CITC Pharmacy are a lot of When I travel overseas for holiday or work
fun. They absorb training enthusiastically purposes, I don’t find it hard to find a locum
and are keen to advance their knowledge. pharmacist to fill in for me. But at no time
They are a pleasure to work with. They love soon will you be seeing the full- time job
the interaction with customers and build advertised.
relationships with our returning visitors that
last year after year.
The South Pacific’s
most acclaimed
Come and experience the earth’s
garden. Join our cross-island trek
(fitness is required) or try the gentle
herbal walk.
Learn about local medicine plants
and native flora & fauna. Lunch and
transport provided. Bring a drink of
your choice. Book now and walk in
safety with one of our professional
experienced guides.
Tours operate Mon – Sat
P. 21079 (bookings essential)

Tatau A Language
of the Pacific
Story: Glenda Tuaine


enjoy looking at people’s has been very careful as to thinking, but one that needless to say does
exist. The assumption being, a tattoo was
tattoos and have done whom he has engaged to not about pride but more about rebellion
since I was a kid when permanently draw on his and in some cases that is true however,
my Uncle Pop showed me body. For him it has been all if you take a look at the history of tattoo
the true purpose emerges. It is an ancient
his Panther that moved about connection. art form that has signified many different
when he clenched his calf things for many different cultures, western
In Rarotonga, the Cook Islands and
muscle. From that memory broadly across the Pacific the tattoo
included. Talking with some of Rarotonga’s
artists, I came to have a much better
to now my attitude towards or tatau conversation is all about understanding of how the language of
Tattoo has always been one understanding the person who will be tattoo is real and viable and how each
tattooed, the significance and story of
of intrigue and interest. I am the markings that will be placed on the
artist translates the individuals’ reasons
for getting a tattoo into a marking of
a blank canvas, meaning body and the relationship you will have purpose and personal meaning. This niche
I have no tattoo’s, my with the art once tattooed. It is a much arts business is in high demand here with
deeper artistic and creative experience
husband on the other hand than the days of old when sitting in a
our artists creating world class work that is
sort after by many tourists. So is a tattoo
has many that represent parlour, picking a picture you liked and the new contemporary souvenir?
and signify people and walking out later with a random or token
image on your body was how you got
moments in his life. Each your tattoo! In recent decades tattoos in
“Demand is huge, I don’t advertise and I
haven’t for years” says Ti Pekepo one of
line, marking, and motif tells western society have often been labelled the Cook Islands leading tattooists who
a story of who he is and he the markings of troublesome people, naive is also a well-respected carver, artist,

tattoo drawing on symbols that re-tell an
individual’s story. Ti was introduced to
Maori and Polynesian patterns on Marae
in New Zealand in his younger days when
the stories and meanings were explained
to him. In the 1980’s he moved back to
Rarotonga and the first book he was
given was ‘The Arts and Crafts of the Cook
Islands’ by Te Rangi Hiroa or as others
may know him Sir Peter Buck, it is with all
these designs and the community around
him that Ti realised these patterns all had
stories and meaning but more importantly
that he was starting to understand.

Stormy Kara who is Ti’s niece and also a

“The story on one’s body should come from a sense well-respected tattooist carver, artist and
sometime Facebook commentator on
of their own place” This profound and eloquent life’s curve balls also relates to the sense
sentence flows from Ti as he continues to design of a hidden language. Stormy owns and
operates Kareha studio. Her experience
a tattoo on his 11.00am appointments’ calf muscle
whose session I have gate crashed.

traditional vaka builder and voyager. profound and eloquent sentence flows
“People shop around. Apparently they find from Ti as he continues to design a
me on Trip Advisor now and through word tattoo on his 11.00am appointments’
of mouth!” Ti is one of the foundations of calf muscle whose session I have gate
the industry here. He was in Rarotonga crashed. “In 2001 we had a conference
when tattooing was in its infancy. In 2015, at the Christchurch Polytech set up by
Ti was asked to do a talk at Te Papa, Rick Manuel. It was during the workshops
the National Museum of New Zealand, I began to notice women wearing Moko
on Tatau. Preparing himself for his Kauae of their ancestors. Other women
presentation he decided to go around the wanted artists to do their ancestors
island visiting the tattooists that he knew Moko Kauae on them, I started talking
of to see their work with the intention of about it saying I didn’t think it was right.”
promoting them while in New Zealand. The reason for Ti’s reaction to that is
In his words he was “blown away” at part of his own story and practise as a
how many tattooists were in business. tattoo artist. A tattoo should be relevant
He discovered 14 artists were thriving in to the person who will wear it and as Ti
Rarotonga at that time with studios having explains “Those women’s ancestors had
3 -4 people working in them, I asked Ti to go through certain testing and duties
about his business and how he approaches to wear that tattoo, just wanting it does
the art of Tatau. not mean you have the right to wear it”.
Ti practises what he preaches, he is well
“The story on one’s body should come researched in the language of Polynesian
from a sense of their own place” This Motifs and will listen to and develop the Raniera


really important we give them the best

advice. I always say to ask questions.”
Says Stormy. “Tattooing is falling back into
the hands of the artists especially in the
Cook Islands, we do a lot of freehand work
so many of us have arts backgrounds. It is
about applying it to the body and making
it fit” Each artist obviously has a passion
and for Stormy memorial work is close to
her heart. “We have a lot of people come
in who would never have a tattoo until
someone they love has passed away. Over
here we are lucky that we have designs
that can mean many things, there is no
limit to tattoo aesthetically and culturally”.

Emerging artist Raniera Ellison began his

“Tattooing is falling back into the hands of the interest in tattoo five years ago and has
artists especially in the Cook Islands, we do a been a dedicated tattoo artist for the past
two, when he started Akairo Creative his
lot of freehand work so many of us have arts own label that he now operates out of
backgrounds. It is about applying it to the body Kareha Studio. Like Ti and Stormy he too
is a carver and artist whose background
and making it fit” in wood and shell carving lead him to
tattoo which he believes is an extension
understanding the language of patterns takes place. Be the job big or small each
and motif she likens to being dyslexic and job requires respect and counsel for the
then finding a language you can read person about to be inked and what they
and understand. Stormy is also very clear may go through. I know having sat in on
that she needs art. It is as much a part of some of my husband’s tattoos where he
her life as breathing is so coming from a had to go to a place in his mind where he
family of athletes she is forever grateful had control and calmness to cope with the
to her mother who realised her daughter’s hours that stretched ahead for the work to
passion lay in pens, paper and drawing not be completed let alone the pain element.
in track and field! Stormy learnt to tattoo Stormy lets me in on some of the funnier
from her Uncle Ti, she then studied in New stories she has of people bolting out of
Zealand and has carved a reputation the chair and having to be calmed down
that like her Uncle sees many people but also of people wanting work done that
seek her out. In this industry reputation really is quite impossible to do in the areas
is the business card. Each artist has their of the body that they want. Her Uncle Ti
own code or process on how they work also pointed out to me that he does not do
and that is what draws people to them. certain jobs because he knows that with
The business of tattooing is incredibly exposure to the sun or the placement of
personal, creatively draining and one that the tattoo on certain areas will mean it will
requires a confidence in oneself to deliver look good for a time but then degrade or
on the dreams of others. It is intense at the lines will blow out.
times and work that requires great skill,
patience and people skills to soothe the “People come here to the Cooks and they Ti
way in the transformative journey that feel inspired and they want a tattoo, it is

With demand for
tattoos increasing and
many more artists
returning or opening
up around Rarotonga
it is fair to say that
the Cook Islands is
a destination that
has a thriving tattoo
industry, They are a
vital part of the rise of
of carving just the medium is different. the demand. “90% of my market would this countries creative
For Raniera it all feeds in to one another. be tourists who are on holiday and feel economy.
“Wood carving helped me understand the urge to get a tattoo. Some of them
patterns more and I think shell carving because it is a souvenir of their trip or
was the first time I was doing one, you
helped me develop the motor skills they have been thinking about it and are
create something you would be proud to
needed to create pieces of work with fine happy, relaxed and think yeah I am going
wear yourself”. Raniera tells me it is about
detail.” He is another artist who has been to do it, but for a good number of them
respect and how marking someone for life
mentored along the way by Ti Pekepo it is for a lot heavier or more significant
is one of the greatest privileges.
acknowledging that Ti was the person who reasons. That is really special, people trust
started him off; letting him breakdown you enough to create those art pieces to
With demand for tattoos increasing and
and clean machines and then moving on represent those memories. Sure, we still do
many more artists returning or opening
to tattooing fruit, obviously better to make lots of turtles and flowers and you know it
up around Rarotonga it is fair to say that
a mistake on an orange than someone’s might be our 1000th flower tattoo, but you
the Cook Islands is a destination that has
arm! From those early days to now he have to humble yourself and remember
a thriving tattoo industry, They are a vital
is building a reputation that sees him, it is often their first tattoo for many and
part of the rise of this countries creative
like the others, work long hours to meet to put as much energy into that as if it
economy. The standards are high, every
artist I spoke to reinforced the levels of
hygiene and care that must be taken
during a tattoo, and strongly advised for
the tattoo hunter to ask questions and
to shop around making sure they have
the artist they want. So am I ready to get
my souvenir? At some stage of my life
yes, however for the moment I still enjoy
looking at other peoples, marvelling at
the detail and how well certain pieces
suit them. As Stormy put it “Tattoos are
a luxury item that you earn for yourself,”
and I agree with that. They are a marker
of something special in your life and I
know our artists are some of the best for
translating that private story into body


Te Mira
Story: Chiavanni Le’Mon & Thomas Wynne
Photos: Ministry of Culture
& Chiavanni Le’Mon

F or the Cook Islands

C horeographers, costume makers and
parents gather in houses and in small
and Cook Islands communities to support and encourage
young dancers, as we have done for
diaspora globally, there centuries, to perform songs that resonate
is nothing that reflects a time past and a time slowly slipping
away as a globalised world fills more and
our culture, our identity more the minds and hearts of our young
and who we are more, ones. If there was anything we can do
as a people to actively work against this
then our penchant for globalisation then Te Mira Ura, or dancer

song and dance. Each of the year is it. Our culture, working
steadily in the hearts and minds of our (Hump-backed Shore-Crab) and the
year young ones gather youth, pushing against the incoming tide “Papaka Toetoe” (Flat Rock-Crab). Kiani’s
of technology.
in Rarotonga for what it performance was choreographed by
Marlina Nicholas and local dancer Jarves
can only be described Eleven year old Kiani Hand is one of those Aperau, with his costume designed
young people. Surrounded by family
as the pinnacle of song and his support team he now stands in
and lovingly made by hand by his
grandmother Vouvou Nane Tauu. And as
and dance, Te Mira Ura, the place as many of his ancestors did one can see his performance is a work
learning the oratory, and the language of art woven by the many strands of his
or the dancer of the of song and dance, and in that ensuring family, young and old, celebrating the
its life and survival. This year, Kiani who
year competition, and attends Titikaveka college represented
stories and culture of our people.

for weeks prior to Te Vaka Takitumu. His traditional chant or Te Mire Ura, or the Dancer of the Year
pe’e training was with his uncle Tokoa
Mira Ura, families gather Tairea with Uncle Tokoa giving Kiani a
competition is the pinnacle event for
developing Cook Islands performing
in front rooms, and beautiful traditional chant that their artists, drummers, singers, and dancers.
ancestors used to cite in days gone by. Held every year in the month of April, it
halls, and prepare their is the most highly anticipated event for
sons and daughters for This traditional chant (pe’e) was about performers, their families and the local
a certain crab, only found in Mauke and wider Cook Islands community. It is
this auspicious event. traditionally called, “Papaka Tuapukupuku” a competition that prides itself on being

family friendly, and with an open-door those still with a dance in their heart and
policy, where all people are welcome to in their bones to show that you are never
come and experience the timeless tradition too old to dance, and in fact talent only
and spectacular of Cook Islands dance. improves with age.

Hosted by the Ministry of Cultural The junior and intermediate sections

Development in the National Auditorium have a similar program where dancers
known as the ‘Are Karioi’, the event draws are required to perform two items. The
thousands of people and supporters who action or slow beat and the fast beat. The
come to witness and support the best of slow beat for both the male section and
the best. But not only is this a chance to the female section is timed, dancers are
see the best of our dance performers, as required to dance within two and a half
with everything we do in the Cook Islands, minutes. The females are to perform an
it is a time to catch up with family and action song, followed by a slow drum
friends and share the love of our culture beat, composed by the Ministry of Cultural
and our pride in those that take the stage. Development. The male dancers are to
perform a traditional chant (pe’e) giving
For the dancers, the event is the them the opportunity to display their
culmination of years of hard work, warrior-like characteristics followed by the
passionate commitment and unswerving same slow drum beat.
dedication to bring their best to the
national stage. Hours upon hours are The second section is the fast drum
spent in composing, costume designing, beat section, where dancers take to the
teaching, rehearsing and organising the stage for thirty-two seconds and must
talented dancers. Dancers can compete in only dance fast, they are judged on their
five different sections, the Junior section, endurance, fitness and their ability to keep
dancers aged from 10 years old and up to in time with the beat.
the age of 14 years old. The intermediate
section, dancers are required to be aged In 2017 Kiani and Nekola Christian from the
14 years old up to 17 years old. The Senior Island of Aitutaki were champions on the
section is for dancers aged 17 years old night, with each winning in all categories
plus. The last two categories are for and taking home the Prizes: Best Slow
dancers in the Golden Oldies category Beat, Best Fast Beat, Best Costume and
and the Papa’a or tourist section, which First placing overall for male and female
always brings the house down with roars dancers. Nekola proudly represented her
of laughter and support for our non-Cook home island, Aitutaki (Araura Enua) where
Islanders game to give it a go. she attends Aitutaki College.

The Junior and Intermediate sections focus So, if you are looking to experience the
heavily on developing the dancers while Cook Islands culture at its finest, to see
the Senior section is where our expert Cook Islands dance, culture, and costumes
dancers compete to show what time at their utmost best, then ensure to book
and effort can produce on centre stage, your next holiday during the dates below
demonstrating what is always the best so that you too can attend Te Mira Ura and
of the best, dancers in the Cook Islands. enjoy this captivating event.
And last but not least, and in honour of so
many of our past performers, past singers Te Mira Ura finals in 2018 will be from
and dancers, the Golden Oldies allows 27th April to 10th May

great places
to stay

Aroa Beachside Inn

elax by the pool with a tropical cocktail, soak up the sun, rejuvenate your soul, and
luxuriate in the warmth of a romantic evening under the stars, with exotic foods and
fine wine. Whatever your Cook Islands holiday dream consists of, you can be sure
there is a style of accommodation to suit your taste and attentive staff to make all those
dreams come true. From deluxe beach resorts to simple budget facilities, you can choose
your own standard or quality and plan according to your budget. Here on these pages,
we bring you some of the nicest places to stay on Rarotonga.

happy holidays!
Look for
this symbol…
The Cook Islands Tourism Accreditation Scheme is designed
to set minimum standards. It will assist you in your choice of
where to stay, what to see and what to do.

Wherever you see this logo you can be sure that the accommodation establishment,
restaurant, retailer, tour or activity operator has met minimum requirements to assure you
of good service, good facilities, safe practices and of course friendly Cook Islands hospitality.

We highly recommend that visitors use their services.

For a full list of all accredited businesses please refer to our website:

Idyllically set on the shores of a sheltered
lagoon this intimate beachfront resort
enjoys stunning sunsets.

35 spacious self-catering studios

and suites are situated either on the
beachfront overlooking the lagoon or
Beachfront and garden bungalows | Onsite restaurant and bar beside either of the two swimming pools
Personal wedding co-ordinator | Rarotonga’s quiet southern coast amid lush tropical gardens. The resort
features an open-air restaurant open for
breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.
PO Box 23, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
email: beach@palmgrove.co.ck Phone: (682) 28028
phone: +682 20002 Email: welcome@thesunsetresort.com
www.palmgrove.net www.thesunsetresort.com

many safe swimming, snorkelling
and kayaking areas. LOCATIONS
THAT ARE UNSAFE in certain
conditions and these should be Vaimaanga
avoided for your safety. Avaavaroa

CALL 999


CHANGE QUICKLY and a passage that
appears safe can become dangerous with just
a small change of the tide.


24 self-catering air conditioned villas set
amongst tropical gardens and across the
road from its own stunning beach and
reserve. Ideal for couples and families.

Reconnect with life at our Romantic Island Hideaway. Enjoy child-free

P. +682 22020
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Situated in the heart of popular Muri Beach,

our 22 tastefully furnished spacious units & villas
are air-conditioned & self-catering.
Complimentary kayaks, SUP’s, snorkelling gear,
transfers. Friendly staff ensure you of a
memorable ‘Rarotongan’ experience.

Please support the advertisers

in this magazine ...
they make it possible for you to read this for free.
w Your
Own Story: Rachel Smith
Photos taken at Avarua Pre School

t’s not your typical class at school. For starters, this one is
outdoors in the sunshine. There are muddy hands, much
laughter, a bush knife or two, and some snacking on snake

Today Brian Tairea, Extension Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture,

is working with Year 9 Horticulture students from Nukutere College,
alongside their teacher Toakarawa Kabuta. Together they are
developing a vegetable garden - planting seedlings of cucumber,
corn, watermelon and tomato that the students have grown
from seed. A bush knife is the standard multi-use tool, perfect for
digging holes for seedlings and chopping up banana tree leaf and
stem to use as mulch.

“Horticulture’s a very important industry in our country,” Brian tells

the students. “You can be a teacher, doctor or lawyer but you still
need to eat.”

The students are clearly enjoying themselves. It is the practicality

of the work that they are drawn too, with most having planted at at the Global Forum for Regional Advisory Service’s (GFRAS) 8th
home with grandparents or parents, and those who haven’t are Annual Meeting held in Australia in September.
keen to take their newfound knowledge back home with them.
Hosted by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), PIRAS
“We have been getting comments that our young ones aren’t provides an informal network for extension officers across the
really interested in horticulture,” says Brian. “But with guidance Pacific – a chance to share their successes and their challenges.
and making the subject more interesting, that mode of thought is Brian says that youth development has been their recent focus,
changing. It’s encouraging that there are now a few more under with work ranging from farming for those with hearing disabilities,
30-year olds going full-time and making this into a business.” to providing life changing opportunities through women’s groups
on Papua New Guinea and for youth in Vanuatu.
For most, farming is part-time work to provide a secondary
income and typically the work of older males. In recent years, What captures the students’ attention the most though, is Brian’s
those students who were interested in horticulture were criticised talk of recent innovations discussed at GFRAS, which he attended
by their parents for it being a low-income source of employment. as the representative of PIRAS. He regales them with talk of new
Brian says this attitude is noticeably shifting with parents and technology used at grassroots level such as drone operated
grandparents now happy that their child is considering the area fertilizer distribution and a RIPPA™ (Robot for Intelligent Perception
as a career. It is a change in perception – an understanding that and Precision Application) solar weeder.
farming is more than manual labour and recognition of the exciting
opportunities it can offer in both science and engineering. “As the next generation you can stick to traditional methods or you
can create your own style of farming,” he says. “It’s something for
Nowhere was this more obvious than on Brian’s recent travels to you to think about.”
Fiji as part of Pacific Islands Regional Advisory Service (PIRAS), and

“I like what I do,” Brian says. “And I like the and discussing methods of prevention, in
challenge – in the Tupapa area close to the future classes. When a student asks how
coast, soils are very low in nutrients. So, they can control the insects without using
introducing composting, mulching working insecticides, Brian tells them he will provide
with nature is on-going. some organic alternatives for them to use.

Organic farming is an area that the Some plant pests are more difficult to
Ministry of Agriculture has recognised as control though – the many chickens and
one of increasing importance. Working mynah birds who love to feast on tender
with farmers to promote alternatives seedlings and nearly ripe vegetables such
to standard pesticides and insecticides, as tomatoes, corn and watermelon. Brian
Brian’s role as Extension Officer means he Brian is also the Ministry of Agriculture’s has a solution for that too - placing rocks
is rarely found indoors at his desk. One representative on Natura Kuki Airani, a around the base of seedlings, fencing
day may see him at a school, the next newly established group formed to assist gardens or even hanging old CD’s around
out and about in the community working with organic certification in the Cook the garden as a visual deterrent.
with women’s groups, village growers’ Islands. As of September, ten farmers
associations and helping individuals had been certified organic by the group, As break time begins, a few students hang
on their farms. Tomorrow he is helping meaning they had met the Pacific Organics around to finish up tasks. There is talk of
a farmer prune his oranges, while last Standard set by POETCom (Pacific Organic what subjects they will take next year,
month he was assisting in the setup of & Ethical Trade Community) through SPC. with some thinking to continue their study
composting systems. More farmers are in the process of working of horticulture. They know there is much
towards certification, all of which means more to learn with exciting opportunities
“I have the best job on the island – I visit that Organic Pasifika branded produce will available for tertiary study.
farms and schools and other countries,” he soon be available in Rarotonga.
says, a role which provides a connection “I want to get more young farmers
between the local community and research Partnerships between the Ministry involved,” says Brian. And it seems that he
at a national, regional and global level. of Agriculture and fellow Health and is.
Education Ministries, means that Brian is
Born in New Zealand, Brian moved to often visiting schools. Vegetable gardens
Rarotonga when he was 8 years old, with have been setup at many schools around
connections to Mauke through his father. the island, with preschool and primary
Living with his grandparents, planting school students all learning the basics of
was a standard daily task. After school planting. The rewards are obvious in the
he would be out on their Ngatangiia armfuls of bok choy and other produce
plantation working with his grandfather that students then take home to their
Paara Maoate, until dark. Brian was taught family.
the old school way including ploughing
land with a horse and plough, growing Nukutere College’s new hydroponic setup
similar plants to those of today. was funded by the Ministry of Health as
part of their Non-Communicable Disease
With this early immersion in planting and (NCD) programme, which also looks to
growing produce, it seems only natural promote home gardening as a physical
that he was drawn to horticulture as a activity and for healthy nutrition. The
career. His long history of working for the hydroponics will be run by the Year 9 and
Ministry of Agriculture in Research and as 10 students, another tool for growing that
an Extension Officer, was interspersed with they can add to their skills.
gaining a Bachelor of Tropical Agriculture
through University of the South Pacific In the Nukutere garden, newly planted
and a stint teaching at Tereora College. seedlings have been tucked into the
While Brian enjoyed his time teaching it garden beds with banana leaf blankets
also reinforced his desire to work with and tomato plants secured to stakes.
the whole community - to influence Students will be assessing plants for signs
horticulture in the Cook Islands on a larger of insect damage, identifying insects

aru m aru
A tua:
Under the
of God
Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky

S he sails as an iconic symbol of the

Cook Islands. Her mast stretches to
the heavens. Her double ochre hulls swing
the ocean as a point of connection. Tongan
and Fijian writer Epeli Hauo’fa wrote,
“Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding,
the directions of the wind. They learned the
star compass and how to read the sky like
a sextant. These Polynesian navigators,
forward like frigate bird wings. Her lofty Oceania is hospitable and generous… known as wayfinders, led the way to
traditional sails balloon in the wind. Her Oceania is us. We are the sea. We are the unknown lands.
deck holds a star map etched into her ocean.” Travel across the seas is a birth
deep earth stained wood. Her solar panels right. Kiribati writer Teresia Teaiwa wrote, Many do not know that Tahitian navigator
soak up the sun. Voyagers call her “our “we sweat and cry salt water, so we know Tupaia helped Captain James Cook
beloved mama," a traditional sailing canoe, that the ocean is in our blood.” Every major navigate the Pacific Ocean. Tupaia’s
or vaka, known as Marumaru Atua. You Polynesian language has the same word grandfather and father had passed on the
can see her silhouette on the side of Te for ocean, moana. The vaka pulls the knowledge of the major islands of Western
Ara Museum in Muri and her poster on the islands together across the moana. Polynesia and the knowledge to sail to Fiji,
wall outside of BCI bank in Avarua. If you Samoa, and Tonga. Tupaia had knowledge
have the opportunity to sail on her, she For thousands of years, vakas (canoes) and of 130 islands within a 2,000-mile radius of
will forever etch herself into your memory. traditional navigation techniques allowed his home island of Ra’iatea. Navigators like
Marumaru Atua stands proud. Polynesians to explore uninhabited islands. Tupaia marked these oceans long before
Navigators learned the art through oral European explorers came.
Her story begins long ago when tradition from master to apprentice. They
Polynesians first sailed across the Pacific learned the way the tides move and the With colonization and modernization,
Ocean as if on a modern motorway. For swells of the sea. They learned to smell the science of navigation and the use
thousands of years, navigators looked to land before they could see it. They learned of traditional sailing vakas was lost. The

“Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding, Oceania is
hospitable and generous…Oceania is us. We are the
sea. We are the ocean.”
knowledge all but died out. The revival 17,000 strong came to see the traditional
did not return until 1973. Within the social
milieu of a cultural renaissance, a group
Polynesian voyaging vaka. For the first
time in hundreds of years, they saw their
Be captivated and charmed
of academics in Hawai’i wanted to test
different theories of Polynesian migration.
brothers and sisters sailing into their
harbor using traditional methods. Hōkūle‘a
by Cook Island’s only
They set up the Polynesian Voyaging
Society and built a double-hull canoe
became the iconic symbol of a cultural
renaissance, birthing a resurgent interest
based on ancient drawings. Although in these timeless vessels.
these canoes had not been seen for more Avatiu Harbour
than 600 years, a committed group In 1992, the Hōkūle‘a sailed to Rarotonga
came together and built Hōkūle‘a, star of as part of the 6th Pacific Arts Festival.
5 min walk (west) from Punanga Nui Market
gladness. No living Hawaiian, however, Former Prime Minister and Sailor Sir Tom Ph +682 55901 or +682 55903
knew how to navigate across the open Davis became inspired and brought a
seas. group together to build a distinctly Cook
Islands vaka. With a group of committed
Plus “Mau” Pialug came from Micronesia people, he established the Cook Islands
to teach the Hawaiians. He spent Voyaging Society Inc. as a non-profit
considerable time with Nainoa Thompson organisation. On the 12th of March 1992,
who became the first master navigator Cook Islanders carried the 72ft voyaging
outside of Pialug’s native Stawal. vaka Te Au o Tonga out of the mists of
Concerned that the practice would die out Takuvaine valley and down to Avarua
with Western acculturation, he travelled to Harbour. Current Cook Islands Voyaging
Hawai’i to share his knowledge. He taught Society President Ian Karika remembers
Thompson non-instrument wayfinding the day vividly, “we literally carried her
as his Pacific ancestors had practiced for on our shoulders.” He laughs, himself not
thousands of years. This knowledge has believing the memory. Te Au o Tonga went
now spread across the currents of the sea. on to sail to Tahiti, Hawai’i, Samoa, Tonga,
New Caledonia, and Aotearoa all using
In 1976, Hōkūle‘a made her maiden voyage traditional non-instrument navigation. Te
to Tahiti. This historic and celebratory Au o Tonga now berths in Aitutaki.
voyage returned a sense of pride to the
Pacific. Her journey showed that Hawaiians Hōkūle‘a is the mother of Te Au O Tonga,
had not drifted to these islands, but and Te Au O Tonga is the mother of
sailed intentionally with great knowledge Marumaru Atua. After seeing and sailing
and skill. In arriving at Pape’ete Harbour, on Te Au O Tonga, the Okeanos Foundation
over half the island’s people, more than asked the people of the Cook Islands if
Tours leave 9am, 11am, 2pm and 4pm
(sea conditions dependent)
Bookings essential for 9am and 4pm tours
Please arrive 10 minutes prior to departure
ESCAPE • 65 time
“The trip changed me. I’ve had two major turning
points in my life. The first was motherhood.
The second my voyage on Marumaru Atua.”

they could replicate seven ocean voyaging strength. “We battled the elements,” she
vaka based on her design. Salthouse said, “The trip changed me. I’ve had two
Boatbuilders in Auckland built seven vaka, major turning points in my life. The first
with the help of Cook Islands traditional was motherhood. The second my voyage
boat building experts. The first vaka built on Marumaru Atua.” Voyager Sam Timoko
was Marumaru Atua so named so that describes the same. “The MUA voyage to damage to the hull. The Cook Islands
wherever she sailed she and her voyagers Australia allowed me to connect to my Voyaging Society writes “It is difficult to
felt safe under the protection of the ancestors.” see our once proud mama vaka in such
heavens. bad shape…we need a massive repair
Marumaru Atua has a long legacy. She job and refit to get her seaworthy again
Marumaru Atua sailed from 2010-2012, one represents both the past and the future. to continue our voyaging legacy.” So
of seven vaka on the Te Mana o Te Moana The Cook Islands Voyaging Society is far, eleven thousand has been raised
(The Spirit of the Ocean) voyage across the active in giving talks in the schools about from various individual donors and other
Pacific ending in July 2012 at the Festival the vaka, hosting visiting groups for sails, voyaging societies. Around two hundred
of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands. and voyaging throughout the Pacific thousand is needed. The Cook Islands
Since her return, Okeanos gifted the vaka returning the vaka to her rightful place in Voyaging Society is asking everyone to
to the people of the Cook Islands under history. With a small grant, the Voyaging donate five dollars through their Give a
the custodianship of the Cook Islands Society aims to take struggling youth Little campaign (https://givealittle.co.nz/
Voyaging Society. For the past five years, and train them as the next generation of cause/helpmarumaruatua) so that the
Marumaru Atua has continued to voyage in voyagers. Partnerships with environmental proud vaka can sail again. She awaits the
the Cook Islands and throughout Oceania. groups also allows the vaka to provide next generation of Cook Islanders and
The Cook Islands Voyaging Society invites marine education on a zero-emissions visitors to sail her to new horizons. Master
visitors and school groups to come on the vessel. The vaka belongs to all Cook navigator Nainoa Thompson of Hōkūle‘a
vaka for Saturday sails and experience the Islanders who come to see her as a said, “The stakes are very high, sailing into
power of the moana and the ancestors national cultural treasure. For a small the future to protect the earth without
that sailed before. “Each person that fee, visitors can sail on her for day-long our vaka is not an option, it’s a deep
touches the vaka brings their mana (power) Saturday sails and learn her stories. responsibility to ancestors and children not
to her,” said voyager Alex Olah. born. I would be afraid to face the future
Her future changed on Saturday the 2nd without the vaka.” Her past is strong. Her
Voyagers describe the vaka transforming of September when a fire broke out on future rests on Cook Islanders and visitors
them. On a sail to the uninhabited island board. Volunteer firefighters spotted the uniting together to return the proud
of Suwarrow, voyager Erena Young blaze and it took several hours for them Marumaru Atua to the moana.
shared that she learned about her own to put it out. She sustained significant

work on another ultramarine handbag,
but she needs more plastic Anchor powder
milk bags. Sabine is the only person in the
Cook Islands recycling plastic garbage into
woven creations.

As the owner of The Big Fish Dive Centre

in Ara Tapu, Sabine understands the
importance of minimizing garbage and

Waste Not:
keeping our oceans clean. She serves
on the board of the local environmental
NGO Te Ipukarea Society and helps head
their waste management programme. In

The Recyclable Art of Sabine Janneck this role, she has gone into schools and
shared her technique for turning garbage
Story: Amelia Borofsky into woven art. It is a Cook Islands way
of looking after our environment. She

alk past the wall with the the garbage for weaving is both time also promotes the Mana Tiaki (authority
image of a grumpy scarlet consuming and obsessive. Once she of a caretaker or guardian) campaign,
stone fish, past the oxygen cleans, cuts, and color coordinates the which urges visitors to look after our
tanks, and past the snorkeling equipment plastic strips she can weave using Cook environment by donating to Te Ipukarea
to discover Sabine Janneck’s colorful Islands weaving techniques. “I enjoy every Society, using re-useable bags, and
recyclable creations. Rainbow colored aspect of the process,” she says. avoiding plastic water bottles. Posters
iridescent cushions accent a plain couch promoting the campaign grace her
and a handbag in different shades of The weaving process she learned from desk. For Sabine, it is as much about the
ocean blue hangs next to a poster of one of the local mamas in 2014. She environmental message, as the finished
tropical fish. These colorful creations wondered to herself if strips of dried product.
decorate the back wall of The Big Fish Dive pandanus leaves could create beautiful
Centre in Ara Tapu, Rarotonga. It takes woven creations, why couldn’t strips of Sabine Janneck’s works of recyclable
careful investigation to realize that these plastic? She experimented with different woven art can be found at The Big
works of art all come from plastic garbage. designs and made lots of mistakes. Fish Dive Centre or on her Facebook
“They call me the garbage lady,” Sabine Eventually, she created templates for her Page Cook Islands Recycling Creations
laughs, “garbage is my baby.” People drop coin purses, handbags, laptop covers, Living Environment (C.I.R.C.L.E.). If you’re
off garbage to Sabine regularly. Right now, and even a hat for her beloved dog Mr. wondering what to do with your plastic
she is awaiting a critical mass of brown- Patch. “It takes forever,” says Sabine, “I can rubbish at the end of your holiday, drop it
green-white Nescafe packets to weave her not even calculate the hours and hours off to Sabine.
next handbag. and hours.” After sorting, cleaning, and
stripping the plastic garbage she must
To the right of Sabine’s desk lies a side colour coordinate, weave, and stitch her
room overflowing with the garbage gifts creations together. She doesn’t like parting
that strangers bring. This “garbage room,” with them, but she does sell select items
has yellow yum-yum noodle wrappers, to those that appreciate the labour of love
orange surf washing powder bags, and and environmental message. Each item
Nescafe packets piled up high in different has a story. The coin purses each have a
plastic bags. “Washing, cleaning, and Cook Islands lucky penny hidden inside.
stripping the plastic takes the most time,” Each item bears her “signature,” a bright
says Sabine. Watching her work, the silver triangle weave on a corner of the
process of colour sorting and prepping finished piece. Currently, she is hard at

with a place beyond the boundaries of a
resort. Those tourists who gave the Cook
Islands high praise upon departure were of
all ages and demographics, but shared an
interest in adventure and experience.
The next step for the Tourism team was
to think carefully about a brand that
would communicate the Cook Islands’
unique strengths, appeal to adventurous
travellers, and gain traction within the
digital space.

Staff realised the brand needed to catch

up. No longer were brochures and leaflets

Love a Little
their most effective marketing tools;
they needed to shift focus. They needed
images and video content for social media
campaigns. They needed memorable,

With the help of a consultant, the team

developed a new logo – hot pink, playful,
hibiscus flower, sunshine – and a resonant
tagline – Love A Little Paradise. Both
now feature on the Cook Islands Tourism
Story: Rachel Reeves
website and social media profiles.

The tagline has become an oft-used
n 2015, the team at Cook Islands advantages, or what those in the industry
Tourism Corporation took stock of call its unique selling proposition. To do so,
its situation. The bureau’s brand was the Tourism team looked inward.
more than a decade old. Its satellite “In times past we’ve gone out and “The words were chosen
offices overseas were disseminating mixed contracted expert companies to tell us
messages about the Cook Islands. Tourism what we are,” says Karla Eggelton, Cook
very carefully and each
bureaus in other Pacific Islands were more Islands Tourism’s director of sales and of the key words has
effectively leveraging the power of the marketing. “This time it was different. We
internet. thought, this brand is going to be what our meaning,” Eggelton says
people want. We know the Cook Islands.
of Love A Little Paradise.
All members of the team knew they were We are Cook Islanders. Who better to
selling a desirable product. They knew consult?”
“The first thing that we needed to focus on
what anyone who’s been here knows: that
was awareness. A lot of people don’t know
the Cook Islands exudes charm, freedom, Following a series of community meetings
the Cook Islands, so our tagline needed
adventure, and stunning natural beauty. and in-house discussions, Tourism staff
to answer the question what are you?
The problem was communicating the outlined the Cook Islands’ assets as a
Paradise is an important word because
spirit of the place to markets inundated destination. Beyond the obvious ones like
as soon as you start saying that, it helps
with advertisements for other Pacific beaches and sunshine, they noted the
people to understand the Cook Islands is
destinations. place is small, relatively undeveloped, and
a nice, warm, sunny destination. A second
accessible to international travellers; they
advantage we have is accessibility. It’s
And so began a comprehensive and also noted locals are remarkably friendly.
easy to get around Rarotonga. In other
expensive rebrand, which a year later is Then, using three years’ worth of data
destinations, you get a resort holiday
still in progress but already yielding real collected from departure cards filled out
– you go to a hotel and eat three times
results. at the airport, the Tourism team identified
a day in the same resort and go to the
its target consumer: the “soft explorer,” or
beach and do your activities in the same
Cook Islands Tourism’s first step was the kind of traveller who wants to engage
resort. Here, Rarotonga is your resort.
to identify their product’s comparative

We want you to go out and experience
everything the island has to offer,
because here you have the freedom and
accessibility to be able to do that. And the
reason we’re so accessible and have this
sense of freedom is because we’re little.
So rather than little having a negative
connotation, we own little. There is no
other destination like ours; because of our
size we can offer so much.”

The rebrand’s most visible success was

the Katu Kanga project, a series of short
videos featuring two cheeky Avarua School
students, stunning filmography, and
engaging humour.

“We wanted to trial some video content

that was fun, that was useful, that was
energetic,” Eggelton says. “We didn’t want
to portray the Cook Islands as sleepy or
soporific. We’re more than the destination
where you come in white linen and sip
cocktails on the beach.”

Conceived and created by a top-notch

filmographer who had recently moved
to Rarotonga, the series went viral and
received ample international media
attention. Within weeks, the first Katu
Kanga video garnered 100,000 views. The
internet sensation made Cook Islanders
feel proud and viewers all over the world
feel like booking flights.

Cook Islands Tourism has plans to this year

produce videos with subtitles in German,
Spanish, Italian, and French.
A year after its rebranding exercise
began, Cook Islands Tourism offices
in eight overseas markets – New
Zealand, Australia, North America, the
UK, Italy, Germany, China, and Japan –
disseminated updated marketing material.
Tourism managers are projecting growth in
visitation as a result of the rebrand.
“We just stayed true to our destination,”
Eggelton says of the rebranding journey.
“If you stay true to your destination, you
really can’t go wrong.”

A s he watched the show, William
Numanga felt pride well up
in his throat. He sat in a packed
amphitheatre at the Polynesian
Cultural Center, a place where he
and many other Cook Islanders
had worked to pay off their tuition
at the school next door, Brigham
Young University—Hawai’i. They had
taken tickets and guided tours and
danced on stages in the Tahitian
village or the Hawaiian village, but
until the summer of 2017 had no
village or show of their own. Their
country’s only presence has been
a flag between the carpark and the

F or Numanga, who relocated to O’ahu’s North Shore to take

at job at BYU in 2011, the familiar dances and drums felt
comforting. Exciting, too. He saw an opportunity.

The PCC is a live museum and cultural village—lush gardens and

waterfalls, shops and restaurants, demonstration huts connected
by a system of waterways, an amphitheatre spread over 42 acres.
Visitors go there to eat a Polynesian feast and learn how to play

Polynesian games and perform Polynesian dances. They go on
canoe tours through the waterways that weave through seven
villages representing the cultures of Sāmoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Hawai’i,
Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga, and Rapa Nui. They visit the restaurants,

shops, and cafes hawking Polynesian crafts, clothing, jewellery,
and treats, and then they watch a 90-minute show featuring more
than 100 dancers. The PCC, established by the Mormon church in

takes centre
1963, consistently ranks among Hawai’i’s top tourist attractions.

Numanga was not the first to consider the marketing potential of a

partnership with the PCC. In the 80s, Jon Jonassen—the first Cook

Islander to be employed by the PCC—put together a proposal to
build a Cook Islands village at the center, a project estimated to
cost $2 million. It was a big investment. The plan stagnated.

Story: Rachel Reeves In April of 2016, the Cook Islands’ Deputy Prime Minister Teariki
Heather stopped in Honolulu on his way home from Guam.

Numanga organised for Heather to tour
the PCC and meet with the institution’s
president, Alfred Grace, and BYU-Hawaii
president John Tanner.

Grace was frank: There weren’t enough

Cook Islands students to justify the cost
of building a village. But he suggested a
compromise—an exhibition of Cook Islands
culture during the Hawaiian summer, which
is peak season for the PCC, an institution
that gets hundreds of thousands of visitors
a year. The special item might draw
tourists, and those tourists, mostly North
Americans—many of whom have never
heard of the Cook Islands—might book
tickets to paradise.

“He said look, why don’t we look at a

short-term presence and then we can see

what it would be like, the costs etcetera, of Cultural Development, saw it as an

and whether it will generate interest in the investment that would pay dividends, and
Center,” Numanga recalls. maybe even lead to a permanent presence
for the country at Hawai’i’s top attraction.
In weeks following the meeting, the
PCC and the Cook Islands government “PCC does not recognise the Cook Islands
collaborated to work out the details. as part of the Polynesian region and
Anthony Turua, secretary at the Ministry always groups the Cook Islands as part of

For six weeks, the team
performed three shows
a day, sometimes more,
at the PCC’s Hawaiian
and Tahitian villages,
and several evenings
a week in the center’s
main marketplace.
Tahiti or French Polynesia,” he says now, weavers and shopkeepers selling rito hats,
explaining why government saw this as fans, TAV dresses, pearls, Te Tika products, Every show was packed.
a worthwhile opportunity. “We need to and noni juice. They had in their luggage Numanga saw people
showcase our cultural identity and a clear large volumes of brochures produced by
separation from French Polynesia. This Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. who watched one show
is our only opportunity to recognise and
showcase our cultural identity [so we can] For six weeks, the team performed three
and came back for a
establish a village base at the PCC in later shows a day, sometimes more, at the second and third in the
years.” PCC’s Hawaiian and Tahitian villages,
and several evenings a week in the
same day.
A month after Heather’s meeting, dates center’s main marketplace. Every show
the number one travel destination in the
were set. The PCC appointed William was packed. Numanga saw people who
world. Shopping centres around the island
Mahoni, who is married to Cook Islander watched one show and came back for a
wanted them, but there wasn’t time.
Tania Sadaraka and works at the PCC, to second and third in the same day.
liaise with the Cook Islands government.
“That’s one of the things we talked about
He helped to draft a Memorandum of Local entertainer Danny Mataroa emceed
if we do another exhibition—bringing
Understanding. Under it, the Cook Islands and told tourists about the islands each
in more dancers,” Numanga says. “Our
government agreed to sponsor travel and performance came from, about the flat
dancers were doing six days a week, three
accommodation for a team of dancers atolls and stunning lagoons of the north
shows a day, and it’s hot in the summer.
and drummers. The PCC agreed to provide and the dramatic mountainscapes of
The advantage of having more people is
the venue, a nightly meal, and marketing the south. At every show Danny talked
that they can rotate. PCC is also wanting
support. about the direct flight from Los Angeles to
to push for more road shows in Waikiki
Mahoni recalls apprehension from both
sides. There were weaving demonstrations
Adds Numanga: “Nobody really knew what and drumming classes and traditional
to expect.” medicine-making demonstrations and
booths selling products.
In the Cook Islands, the Ministry of Culture
and dance troupe leader Tiko Tapurau Though the MOU only required them to
worked together to select members of the perform at the PCC, the group agreed to
team from a pool of talented performers, do overtime in other venues. They danced
including former winners of Dancer of the for thousands of people at a night market
Year and a former Miss Cook Islands. in Honolulu and for a crowd of about 600
In June, eight dancers and five drummers at the Royal Hawaiian shopping center in
arrived in Honolulu, along with leaders and Waikiki—a beach Forbes Magazine called

and other parts of O’ahu; if we can have
a steady presence in Waikiki we can draw
crowds to the PCC to see more.”

Teuira Napa, a member of the team who

now works at PCC and is working toward
a degree in Pacific Islands Studies at
BYU, remembers being exhausted. When
she complained of being tired, her father
Piltz, also a BYU alum, would remind her
she was part of a team making history,
trailblazing for other Cook Islands
students, marking a special moment for so
many Cook Islands students before her.

As far as reactions from viewers, Teuira

says: “People loved us… I can not express
how many compliments we received after
performing not only from the guests but
from the community and staff of the
cultural center. They were blown away by
our energy and our passion.”

Numanga vouches. “People were so

interested,” he says. “They had two main
questions: Where is the Cook Islands, and
how do we get there? The biggest selling
point was the culture itself. They never
asked about the beaches, lagoons, hotels “We were hoping that it would turn out need to go back to that. The culture is the
– they were intrigued by the culture. It okay and benefit us,” Mahoni says. “It entertainment. You don’t have to dilute
was—it is—so alive and vibrant.” absolutely did. The group actually set it or sugarcoat it or add jokes. You just
a standard which, really, to be honest, have to stick to the basics, and people will
On the day of their final performance, the was incredible. We were very impressed come.”
team danced on three canoes through the with their level of performance. Quite
waterways of the PCC, stopping at each impressed.” Piltz Napa, who travelled with the team
Polynesian village as if to announce their He says PCC tour guides have said on behalf of the government, said that
arrival at long last. unanimously that the Cook Islands show while it may take some time, he is “very
was the most popular attraction for the six confident” that one day there will be a
The crowning event was a free show for weeks the group was there. Cook Islands village at the Polynesian
the community on the team’s final night, Cultural Center.
staged in the PCC’s amphitheatre, which “Everyone, even the PCC staff, were saying
seats about 3000 people. The show, when you go to the other villages it’s
which included a 20-minute fashion more entertainment but the Cook Islands The Polynesian Cultural Center and
show sponsored by local label TAV, was a stuck to the basic culture,” Numanga the Cook Islands government are in
gesture of gratitude to the PCC. says. “It wasn’t the jokes or the making discussions presently about putting on
fun of tourists, that kind of thing. It was another exhibition during the summer of
Mahoni says the exhibition exceeded the the culture itself. Simple. PCC staff were 2018. To learn more about the PCC, visit
expectations of the PCC. saying the Cooks is bringing us back to Polynesia.com.
what we used to be 40 years ago and we

Uk u leles

Story: Amelia Borofsky

D riving on the main road through deserves to be played. Its island melodies
provide joy, a salve, and a memory.
Arorangi the flame trees light up the
sky with bright vermilion. From Avarua town, The Prison Arts and Crafts Shop is part of
take a left onto the back road and follow the prison’s larger rehabilitation programme.
Prisoners learn plumbing, building, electrical
the signs to Prison Services. Why look for the wiring, catering, cooking, agricultural,
only prison in the country while on holiday? husbandry, entrepreneurship, reading, writing,
Because it boasts the finest ukuleles. and other skills that can help them contribute
to the community after they finish their
Walking into the front office, an array of ukuleles brightens sentences. Visitors with an interest in learning
the newly renovated arts and crafts shop. Made of iron-wood, more about the social issues in these islands
mahogany, or native hibiscus, prisoners produce these works of can sit under the mango tree and talk
art as part of their rehabilitation programme. They craft each one stories with the prison guards. The prison
by hand and then paint brightly colored sunsets, palm trees, or uses a Maori model of family. Wardens see
traditional motifs to adorn the musical instrument. themselves as brothers and fathers to
the thirty-odd people serving time there.
The Prison Arts and Crafts Shop sells two kinds of ukulele. The They want to help prisoners integrate
larger Tahitian version sells for $100 to $150 and is entirely made into society when they leave and often
out of wood with eight strings. The smaller Cook Islands version continue to support former inmates
sells for $50 to $100 and is made out of a coconut shell and on the outside. Buying a ukulele
wood with four strings. Both play beautifully. For the quality from the prison means you help
and craftsmanship, no other place on Rarotonga sells a more the prisoners earn a small income,
affordable ukulele. support the prison rehabilitation
programmes, and learn a little
The ukulele first came to Polynesia from the Portuguese and about social issues facing the
Spanish immigrants that landed on these shores. The Portuguese Cook Islands.
and Spanish guitar transformed into the four-stringed ukulele.
The word ukulele actually means jumping (lele—Hawaiian; rere- Arorangi Prison Arts and
Rarotongan) flea (uku—Hawaiian; kutu--Rarotongan), so named Crafts Shop: Ph 29457
for the plucking strum method and movement of the player’s Open 8.30am – 3pm
fingers. Today, fingers all over the world pluck at the lightweight Monday – Friday
well-travelled instrument. Relatively easy to learn, the ukulele

A Pasta Dinner held at Tamanu Beach Resort for all runners and supporters will
commence at 5.30pm. There will be a full race briefing and the opportunity for
final race registrations to be completed.

All 3 distances will start at 0600am from Ootu Point. Complimentary busses will be
available to pick up participants in the morning to get you to the start line by 0500.
Busses will run from 0430am. Pick up locations and times to be advised at race
briefing. Race Numbers and final check in will be conducted from the Race Control
Marquee prior to the race. At the finishing of the race, there will be complementary
coconut juice, water, light snacks and tropical fruit for all runners & supporters.
Feel free to join us at the Boatshed Bar and Grill for “Finish line” drinks from 5pm

What better way to recover from the previous days running than a day out on the
stunning Aitutaki Lagoon. For many years our people have sat and soaked in the
waters of Aitutaki Lagoon as a way of easing the aches and pains in our muscles
and joints. The Official Prize Giving Ceremony and Dinner will begin at 6pm. At the
Aitutaki Game Fishing Club.

Another first for Aitutaki, with our Runway Fun Run. Run will start at 1700 (after the
planes have left) heading south to the end of the runway and back. Afterwards those
inclined are invited back to the Aitutaki Golf Club for a couple of cold ones.

If you’re still bemused…. “May the 4th be with you” gives rise to the 4th of May
being International Star Wars Day so what better way to celebrate than with a
Space Themed Hash House Harries Run. Run starts 5pm from the Aitutaki
Game Fishing Club. International Hash House Harriers Rules apply.

Turama Pacific Travel Group
Destination Management Cook Islands (DMCK)
Telephone: + 682 – 23026
Mobile: + 682 – 74685
Email: events@dmck.co.ck
Website: www.dmck.com
an old potter who unfortunately left Tim
quite disheartened and uninspired with the
Arts. Despite this there was still a drive to
pursue this talent and slowly he developed
his portfolio of work. Life was to give him
another turn.

Before the days of mobile phones ...Tim

was calling his girlfriend from a phone
booth and in his excitement left his
Story: Nick Henry

Tim Buchanan
portfolio of work in the booth never to be
found again. This led to a job interview
and a 9-year career in banking.... but still
the desire to express his imagination in art

Artist in residence – form burned strong.

Tamanu Beach Resort Aitutaki A man of many talents Tim enjoyed

playing guitar on the Blues Tuesdays a

he Tamanu Beach Resort as a To put in the finishing touches the “piece concept he launched when managing the
part of their recent bungalow de resistance" so to speak we have sought famous watering hole, the Banana Court
refurbishment program has help from our family - Tim Buchanan. in Avarua. Tuesdays would rock with these
commissioned Cook Islands (Aitutaki) Renowned Cook Islands artist Tim jam sessions with "unexpected" local
Artist Tim Buchanan to complete a set of Buchanan grew up in the village of Ureia, personalities including tall John McFadzien,
artworks for the new look bungalows. just down the road from the Tamanu Beach Tere Davis, Alastair from treasury and
resort. Tim Buchanan was an artist before Rahui Vaka on drums - when he wasn't
Owners Michael & Kuraono Henry have he started school sketching away on sweeping the floors.
insisted on a distinct Aitutaki feel and whatever paper and pencils he could find.
character in the bungalows with a blend Passion. As a young boy Tim did most of Even the famous BC could not escape the
of sunset and lagoon colours throughout. his artwork schooling via correspondence brush of Buchanan. With the Vaka bar
Maintaining this Aitutaki flavour all workers in an old "shed" that doubled as the rugby inland side being painted green with brown
contracted on the year-long project are clubhouse on the weekends. timber furniture representing the land
from Aitutaki and they built using locally and the lagoon blue walls and sand white
milled Tamanu timber bench tops and local As a teenager Tim continued to pursue furniture on the seaside representing the
timber furniture and fittings. this passion at Wairarapa College in coast of Rarotonga. The Blues Night that
Wellington, New Zealand. His teacher was Tim started was also the launch-pad for

Tamanu Beach

Rahui Vaka now known as "Brother Love" and his famous track
"Ruketekete e Mama e".

Life after the BC... Tim was working at the Ministry of Cultural
development back in 1994 and he was tasked to encourage
local artists and try and secure sponsorship from the private
sector. During this exercise he approached several prominent
local businessmen seeking their support. When he met with Brian
Baudinet - Brian said "yeah sure I will support a local artist how
about you - I saw a piece you did some years back and I thought
it was pretty good"

Tim says, "Brian supported me for 2 years to get me started... I

worked long hours and researched various traditional methods
in an effort to form a distinct Cook Island style. My sources were
our carving, tapa and our tivaevae designs. I get my inspirations
from nature and then abstract their natural form - as our taunga
did 100’s of years ago”.

Tim has created artwork for the Tamanu Beach resort in the
past - with a series of 3D images depicting a unique look at our
Ariki of Aitutaki. Tim’s work is also featured in the Tamanu Beach
Restaurant in a large canvas of Vaka sails telling the story of
the young Henry family of Aitutaki. It was especially fitting that

Island Night
Tim be asked to return home to complete a brand-new series of
imagery for our bungalows.

Tim has been back home now for the past 2 months working on
the concept of a set of dramatically new "abstract" images of
Aitutaki Island. Like most artists Tim prefers not to display his
work until it is complete - a set of 15 pieces of Art. RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL

Ph. 31 810
For those of you who wish to purchase his art please contact
Tim on Ph +682 77363

H . CO• 77
a little slice of

ia Orana!
Aitutaki is 220 kilometers north and an easy 45-minute flight from Rarotonga,
the capital of the Cook Islands. Considered one of the most magnificent
lagoons in the world with small uninhabited islands on its surrounding reef, it is
unquestionably the most picturesque of the Cooks southern group islands.

... a visit to the Cook
Islands is not complete
without visiting Aitutaki. It
is a place of unsurpassed
natural beauty and simple
tranquility, providing a
rejuvenating tonic to sooth
away the pressures of the
outside world.

Many visitors to the Cook Islands take the considering a visit - stay over a night or of its crystal clear turquoise waters and
opportunity to discover Aitutaki’s beauty two, or preferably longer; you will not be sparkling white beaches confirms that it
by taking a day trip from Rarotonga, disappointed. is “one of the places to visit while you are
which usually includes a cruise on the still on this earth”.
lagoon. However, the luxury of a little And certainly, a visit to the Cook Islands is
extra time fully reveals the stunning not complete without visiting Aitutaki. It is From the air this island paradise has to
palette of a tropical retreat unsurpassed a place of unsurpassed natural beauty and be one of the most beautiful sights in the
anywhere in the world; and a welcoming simple tranquility, providing a rejuvenating South Pacific. Aitutaki is made up of a
and friendly local populace who live life tonic to sooth away the pressures of the triangular-shaped reef encompassing an
at an easy, relaxed pace. So, if you’re outside world. The breathtaking allure aqua lagoon in which three volcanic and


... Aitutaki Escape. Journey to the very heart of Polynesia.

ph. (682) 31906 mob. (682) 55755

www.aitutakiescape.com ESCAPE • 79
twelve small coral islands nestle. A small island is known locally as
a motu.

The best thing about Aitutaki is undoubtedly its lagoon. They have
taxis here, but rather than those normally found on land, these
are small fast boats equipped with outboard motors. They can
take you to your own private island where you can spend the day
snorkeling, sunbathing or having a picnic, and then pick you up
after several restful, sun-filled hours.

There are also numerous lagoon tours, which last almost an

entire day. Lunch, refreshments, snorkeling gear, and towels are
always provided and nearly all tour operators can pick you up
from the airport, or your hotel. Possibly the most well-known is Air
Rarotonga’s day tour onboard Titi-ai-Tonga, a large double hulled
vessel that cruises languidly in the lagoon. Sit down meals are
served by friendly staff, and after snorkeling in the lagoon visitors
are taken to One Foot Island (Tapuaetai).

The highlight of Aitutaki is her lagoon and Bishops Cruises is perhaps the lagoon’s most experienced and
a visit is not complete without joining us they offer a choice of cruises to various islands. And you can opt
for a fun filled day cruising this spectacular for a smaller boat with a more intimate and personal tour if you
wish. After a wonderful morning of snorkeling and feeding the
fish, lunch is usually served at One Foot Island which boasts what
Explore the incredible marine life while could be the world’s smallest Post Office. Don’t forget to take your
snorkeling and swimming. We offer a range of passport with you; because you can have it stamped here, making
a great souvenir of your visit.
tours and lagoon taxi services, hotel transfers,
snorkeling gear, beach towels and BBQ lunch This vast lagoon was once a stopover for the TEAL (Tasman Empire
on the famous One Foot Island. Airways Limited) Short Solent flying boats traveling the renowned
‘Coral Route’ through the South Pacific. TEAL is the former name
We are also ‘Island Wedding’ specialists. of Air New Zealand and TEAL themery can be found in a small
lodge on Motu Akaiami. The lodge has been built on the exact
spot where the original terminal stood and remains of the original
Tel: +682 31009 base and jetty are still visible today. Here the well-to-do of the
Email: bishopcruz@aitutaki.net.ck fifties, including movie stars John Wayne, Cary Grant and the like,
stopped for a few hours or even overnight, while planes were re-
Visit our website to discover more... fuelled, serviced, or waiting for weather to clear. Passengers would

The runway has recently been completely rebuilt.
Charmingly small, quaint even, Aitutaki airport is the
busiest it’s been since the war days.
swim in the clear warm waters in the bay, Charmingly small, quaint even, Aitutaki
shower outdoors under the palms and eat airport is the busiest it’s been since the war
lunches of crisply cut sandwiches and local days.
pawpaw, before re-embarking.
Back further in time; the first European
Aitutaki has an interesting aviation discovery was by Captain Bligh sailing on
history. It was 1942 when the construction the Bounty in 1789. He sighted the island walls, stained glass windows and ornate
juggernaut that would soon become just 17 days prior to the infamous mutiny. ceiling decorations, she is a constant
known as the Seabees came ashore and Bligh returned later to Aitutaki and is said inspiration to locals and a reminder that
began constructing what many feared to have introduced the pawpaw which, like Aitutaki was the first of the nation’s islands
would be the last line of defence for allied other varieties of tropical fruit, grows in to embrace Christianity.
forces fighting the Japanese. The airport abundance all over the island.
at Aitutaki was constructed as part of Delving further into the islands past is local
operation Bobcat. With their slogan” we 50 years later the first missionary, the archaeologist Ngaakitai Pureariki. On a
build – we fight”, the Seabees soon had Reverend John Williams of The London four-acre site in one of Aitutaki’s bush-clad
the island air-base operational; just in Missionary Society, introduced Christianity valleys Nga’a is uncovering remnants of
time to see them move from this part of to Aitutaki and the Cook Islands Christian his peoples’ ancient past on a site strewn
the Pacific, as they pursued the Japanese Church, down by the wharf at Arutanga, with large obelisk-like stones. Carbon
further to the north and west. The runway became the very first Church built in the dating of samples reveal that the Marae at
has recently been completely rebuilt. Cook Islands. A grand old lady with coral Paengariki was established around 1000


scooters to
ca rs , ch oose
su your
a vehicle to
individ ua l needs Our well-maintained and modern fleet includes
rge 4 door cars & hatchbacks, soft tops
from our la
fle et … and automatic scooters

Phone: (682) 31739 | Email: rentals@popoara.co.ck


Scuba diving is excellent
in clear, warm waters
and there is a choice of
accredited operators
who will show you
a great time and a
memorable underwater

A.D. Warriors met here before and after Aitutaki mainland is by hired car or motor game and sport fishing beyond the reef
battle; sacred feasts and coming-of-age scooter. A winding road criss-crossing and there is always the call of the elusive
ceremonies were celebrated and human the island and lots of small tracks, lead bone-fish within the lagoon. On the
sacrifice took place. This is a fascinating to interesting, unexpected places and waterfront near the wharf at Arutanga, is
place to visit for the Aitutaki Cultural Tour a number of local villages. A short drive the Aitutaki Game Fishing Club which has
at Punarei. up Maunga Pu provides a fantastic 360 a bar inside a shipping container; this is
degrees’ lookout of the entire vista – a good place to make contacts for deep
Visitors will find a wide range of whichever way you turn. Several guided sea fishing enthusiasts. Scuba diving is
accommodation options available on tours are available on the main island, excellent in clear, warm waters and there
the main island; from award-winning visiting ancient sites, burial grounds and is a choice of accredited operators who will
resorts to less expensive clean and major points of interest. Most serve light show you a great time and a memorable
comfortable motels and backpacker refreshments or lunch. underwater experience.
operations. The best way to see the
Island nights with cultural shows Hot sun, white sands, swaying coconut
are on throughout the week. palms, a stunning turquoise lagoon and
Experiences not be missed romantic sunsets - Aitutaki is blessed with
are the island nights at Pacific them all; and friendly, laughing people
Resort Aitutaki, Aitutaki Village that make you feel very welcome – all the
and Tamanu Beach. Some of the time.
best meals using local produce are to be
savoured at Tamanu Beach and Aitutaki
Escape on the western side of the island
and at O’otu Beach you will find The
Boatshed, Koru Café and the Blue
Lagoon Restaurant and Bar. All are
great places to visit whether you want
lunch or dinner or just a drink and
to relax and to take in the Islands

Fishing aficionados will be in heaven

on Aitutaki, as several operators offer

l a s s b o t t o m b o a t i n A it ut a k
the only g i

Relax with a cold drink while you enjoy the cool breezes and ocean view.
Enjoy a simple all-day menu, or a-la-carte dinner menu featuring local seafood.
We are the restaurant of Popoara Ocean Breeze Villas.

P. 31479 | Email: boatshed@popoara.co.ck

www.popoaraoceanbreeze.com Ph (682) 31322 or 56170 or 70281

... an island with just
over 500 people and
acres and acres of
untouched rainforest
and coastal bush.

day we went, we were guided by Marshall

Humphreys. Married to Atiuan Jeanne,
Marshall is proud of Atiu conservation
Be different, come to Atiu, and how the locals “always leave a bit for
the next day, like when they go fishing
our little Garden of Paradise and catch just enough to eat.” He’s also

Enua Manu
impressed with the way the island works
as a community.

Reasonable fitness and covered shoes are

here are few places left in the world Most overseas visitors to Atiu lament on needed for the trek through tropical forest
like Atiu, an island with just over departure that they wish they’d organised that resembles a fantastically overgrown
500 people and acres and acres of a longer stay on this unspoiled island gem, garden. Regarded by environmentalists
untouched rainforest and coastal bush. full of captivating history, scenery and as a national treasure, Anatakitaki Cave is
There are no western bars (apart from the friendly people. home to the Kopeka bird, a swallow unique
small one at Atiu Villas), bright neon lights to Atiu, which like a bat, navigates its way
or busy roads. For travellers searching for The Anatakitaki Cave walk is the perfect in the pitch black caverns using sonar.
an island paradise, Atiu is it. offering for visitors who want an The towering limestone caverns contain
unforgettable nature experience. On the cauliflower coral, proving that the caves

t i
A lasu Atiu is an exciting eco island adventure you shouldn’t miss. Make this a prime destination or
stop off on your way to, or from Aitutaki for a little extra airfare. Stay in comfort at Atiu Villas,
the island’s most experienced hosts. Amenities and services include a licensed restaurant
and bar, swimming pool, tennis court, tour packages, rentals and free Wi-Fi.

V i l
BOOK ONLINE AT: www.atiuvillas.com
84 • ESCAPE Ph. (682) 33 777 | Email. roger@atiuvillas.com | www.atiu.info
were once beneath the sea, as these coral Along the way, George points out
formations only occur underwater. There medicinal plants and how they are used to
are huge stalactites reaching to the cavern treat various ailments. “I love my history
floor and massive stalagmites sparkling as and everything I know about Atiu was
though they are embedded with millions of taught to me by my grandfathers,” says
diamonds. The magnificence of the caverns George.
is breathtaking.
A fun experience is a visit to one of the
Another tour takes you to Rimarau Burial legendary Atiu tumunu – ‘clubs’, where
Cave that includes visits to age old marae local men gather to drink homebrew and
and “walking the dramatic route taken by chat about island affairs, with clear rules
hundreds as they went to meet their death about conduct. Often there’s a string-
in ancient times.” If beaches, historic sights band for added entertainment. Visitors are
and panoramic scenery also appeal, opt always welcome to stop in, partake of a
for an island tour. It offers contrasting cup of the local brew and meet the locals.
scenery, drives through shady roads and
forest thick with ancient trees to coastal “There’s money in the land,” says Mata
tracks and points of interest including Arai, pointing to her coffee bushes
the coral garden, sinkholes and fabulous laden with ripe berries. Mata is an
little beaches ideal for shell collecting or industrious Atiuan woman who produces
leisurely lolling in the warm, pristine sea. the 100 percent Atiu Island Coffee
using a technique she learnt from her
For travellers searching grandmother as a child. It’s a process
all done by hand. Atiu Island Coffee can
for an island paradise, be purchased from Mata’s home, in Atiu
Atiu is it. stores, or supermarkets on Rarotonga.

George Mateariki, better known as

Birdman George, takes us on his morning fact file:
tour – first stop is to catch a glimpse of
Atiu is a 45 minute flight north-east from
the endangered Kakerori bird. We are
Rarotonga and there are regular scheduled
a bit startled as George begins loudly
flights. Alternatively, why not consider
beeping his car horn as we near the
an Air Rarotonga ‘Two Island Adventure’
nesting ground. He explains that being
which includes two night’s accommodation
inquisitive birds, Kakerori are drawn to
at Tamanu Beach Resort in Aitutaki and
unusual noises. He calls to them, walking
two night’s accommodation at Atiu Villas
through the picturesque bush and making
on amazing Atiu. Local tours are optional
kissing noises. The birds do not disappoint,
and extra. Available from April to October,
replying with their call sounds. To see
flights depart Rarotonga on Mondays,
Kakerori so close is a real treat, as they
Wednesdays and Fridays.
were once on the brink of extinction.
Book through Air Rarotonga
Tel: (682) 22888 | www.airraro.com

h a
P cific

S Home

a sprinkling of island gems on an indigo blue ocean... The Cook Islands

combined make up a land area of just 240 square kilometers. They are
scattered far and wide in the vast expanse of the South Pacific Ocean, covering
a total area of 2.25 million square kilometers. Each of these ‘gems’ is unlike
any other; all having their own special characteristics and every one offering a
warm welcome to visitors.

The Southern Group that has galleries reaching beneath the it is any less beautiful than sister islands
reef. The reef is so close to the foreshore Atiu and Mauke, but simply that it is the
Atiu See our story on page 84. that crashing white breakers are visible least known. In the centre of Mitiaro are
from most of the unsealed coral road two lakes full of itiki, freshwater eels.
that runs around the island. Do visit the Mitiaro itiki are considered a delicacy in
Just a few miles off the coast of Atiu
“divided church” built where the villages of the Cook Islands. Tilapia (bream) are also
lies the uninhabited island of Takutea.
Ngatiarua and Areora meet. Shared by the abundant in the lakes. The lakes are from
Numerous seabirds thrive on this pristine
two villages, it has two separate entrances time to time protected by a traditional
island that has been declared a bird
and sitting areas. There are clean and raui, a prohibition on all fishing to preserve
sanctuary by the Atiu Island Council. Only
comfortable places to stay in Mauke - try stocks. At its widest point, the island is
they can give permission for visitors to
Ri’s Retreat or Tiare Holiday Cottages. 6.4 km across and private gardens in
land there.
They can also organise cave, reef and the village are beautifully kept and neat.
forest tours. Be sure to obtain a garland of Community activities include fishing,
the fragrant maire, a creeper that grows sports, handicrafts and uapou, or village
The garden island of the Cook group,
along the makatea. Mauke is picturesque, singsongs. Pretty and unspoiled, life on
Mauke is 18 kilometres around. It is
unhurried and tranquil – a wonderful tonic Mitiaro is refreshingly uncomplicated.
surrounded by makatea (fossilised coral)
for frayed nerves.
with a volcanic plateau in the centre. Parts
of the foreshore are dotted with isolated
Mitiaro Imagine visiting a fairly large island where
white sandy coves and caves that one
Of the cluster of islands in the southern you and maybe a handful of others are
can swim in. Inland there are fresh water
group called Nga Pu Toru, Mitiaro would be the only tourists. Mangaia is an island
caves and the famous Motuanga Cave
the least visited by tourists. Not because of incredible, serene beauty – from

Right: Mangaia
Previous page: Manuae

its rugged coastline to the lush, green

interior. It is peaceful beyond belief for
those accustomed to the constant rush
and haste of the outside world. This is a
place where one can trek for miles along
the coast or in the interior and not meet
another soul or hear a vehicle. Nor see
any dwellings; just lots of well-tended
plantations of pineapples, vegetables,
taro, kumara and other crops.
Deep-sea fishing excursions are available
Palmerston Manuae
– just ask your host, who can also steer
Made famous by Englishman William Manuae is an uninhabited nature reserve
you in the right direction for guided tours
Marsters, who settled there in 1863 with and an important seabird and turtle
that include caving, reef/lagoon walks,
three wives. He later married and raised breeding ground. Its two islets in a large
bush walks and bird watching. Check
a large family. Marsters’ modern day shallow lagoon make-up this incredibly
out the market on Friday mornings in
descendents are scattered all over the beautiful island, situated about 100 km
the ‘town’ centre and the craftwork
world. About 60 still remain in Palmerston, SE of Aitutaki. Many Aitutakians can claim
by the skilled Mangaian women. The
which has six motu or islets in a big blue traditional land rights to parts of Manuae.
shell necklaces and woven pandanus
lagoon about 11 km across. The family Once inhabited by work gangs of Cook
bags are labour intensive and sold for
exports fish, supplying in particular, parrot Islands men who produced copra, it is
very reasonable prices. Mangaia is
fish to Rarotonga restaurants. Palmerston now only occasionally visited by Aitutaki
the destination for those who love the
hosts the occasional cruise ship and fisherman for its rich fishing grounds
outdoors, appreciate peace and quiet and
yachts frequently call in. The island also outside and within the lagoon. It is possible
want to experience a friendly island that’s
boasts one of the world’s most isolated to view Manuae from the air, on a flight
not in the least “touristy.”
bars, where thirsty yachties can enjoy a from Atiu to Aitutaki.
“cold one” and hear tales being regaled
by the islanders. It is 500 km NW of

Ever wanted to run away?

To get lost on a deserted island?
To hide out with a group of friends and stay as
long as you want?
Why not charter your own plane and explore
the magnificent outer islands of the Cooks.*

Optional extras include: Inflight catering
Experienced tour guide Ground tours & sightseeing

Overnight adventure accommodation in the far north
to luxury resorts on breath-taking Aitutaki

* We also offer charters

to Niue and Tahiti

E scape
Call our
Travel Centre
on 22-888
LM/SD 2022123

and we’ll help

you escape! www.airraro.com
Left: Pukapuka
Next page: Suwarrow

writer Robert Dean Frisbie settled there

in 1924 and immortalised Pukapuka in
the books he wrote about life on the
island. The now uninhabited area where
he lived with his Pukapuka wife and
children is one of the most beautiful – an
untouched white sandy beach with palm
trees reaching out to tease the clear blue

Access to this tiny island of about 80
Pukapukans can only be gained by inter-
island boat. Regarded as the sister island
of Pukapuka, a voyage from Rarotonga
takes about three days. The islanders are
According to legend, almost 500 years ago the adept at surviving an isolated lifestyle
that remains unchanged year after year.
Pukapuka population was almost entirely wiped out Nassau was hooked up to the country’s

during a catastrophic storm that struck the island. telephone system only in 2001 and many
of the people had never used a telephone
Fourteen people survived, from whom Pukapukan’s before. Just 1.2 sq. km in size, where
families live in kikau thatched cottages.
today are said to descend.

The Northern Group again in the early 1960’s. He wrote about The cultured black pearl capital of the
his experiences in his book “An Island to Cook Islands. Quality black pearls become
Oneself.” centrepieces for fine jewellery that are
worn by women and men all over the
Suwarrow is one of the few "untouched"
Pukapuka world. In 1997, the island survived one of
sanctuaries left in the world where
Lying northwest 1150 km from Rarotonga, the worst cyclones in Cook Islands history.
existing endangered species can survive.
Pukapuka is one of the most isolated It claimed 19 lives after a tidal wave swept
The Suwarrow National Park is the
islands of the Cook group. One inter- men, women and children out into the
first National Park in the Cook Islands
island flight from Rarotonga about huge, raging lagoon. Pearl farms dot this
- international environmental groups
every six weeks and irregular shipping remarkable lagoon. Villagers use small
recognise the group of tiny atolls as an
has kept Pukapuka one of the most outboard boats to travel between Tukao
untouched haven and breeding area for
untouched and secluded places in the and Tauhunu – two villages on separate
turtles, sea birds and crabs. Because of
Pacific. Its remoteness has also kept islets – or to their pearl farms set up on
the lack of human intervention, Suwarrow
the traditions and culture of Pukapuka coral outcrops. Some of the pearl farms
is acknowledged as one of the most
largely unchanged for centuries. Islanders are sophisticated operations jutting out
important sea bird breeding areas in the
speak the distinct Pukapukan language of the deep blue lagoon, complete with
Pacific. A caretaker and his family live on
as well as Cook Islands Maori. According small gardens and poultry farms that
Suwarrow during the cyclone off-season,
to legend, almost 500 years ago the help support workers who live in modern
between April and November each year.
Pukapuka population was almost entirely quarters. Manihiki women have made
Yachts often visit the island during these
wiped out during a catastrophic storm history for entering what was once a male
months. Suwarrow was made famous
that struck the island. Fourteen people dominated vocation. A number of women
by New Zealand hermit Tom Neale, who
survived, from whom Pukapukan’s today own and manage their own pearl farms,
lived there during the early 1950’s and
are said to descend. The late American diving, seeding and cleaning the oyster


rental car

Suwarrow was made famous by

New Zealand hermit Tom Neale, who
lived there during the early 1950’s and
again in the early 1960’s. He wrote
about his experiences in his book
“An Island to Oneself.”
Unlimited Kilometres
shells all year around. The women are also renowned for their
finely woven craftwork. Manihiki is astonishingly beautiful and
those who have been fortunate enough to visit the island, have
Airport Pick-up & Drop-off
never been disappointed.
Afterhours Roadside Assistance
Sister island of Manihiki and 42km north-west. Visits to Rakahanga
are only possible by boat from Manihiki or inter-island vessel. LOCATIONS
There are two main islands and seven islets in the Rakahanga
lagoon. The island is picturesque and unspoiled.
Downtown Avarua
Pacific Resort Muri
Penrhyn (or Tongareva) is the most remote of the Cook group, lying
Rarotonga International Airport
1365 km NNE of Rarotonga. It has a remarkable blue water lagoon
measuring 233 sq km. A 77-km coral reef encircles the islets in the
extraordinary lagoon. The villages of Tetautua and Omoka are on
different islets that are barely visible to each other. Penrhyn island
women make the finest rito craftwork in the Cook Islands. Hats, Phone: (682) 22833
bags, fans and mats made in Penrhyn are amongst the best to be
found anywhere in the world.
Email: reservations@aviscookislands.com

Find us
on Facebook

plants Here we try to shed some light on the background and
& animals existence of a culturally significant plant and animal.

Story: Kirby Morejohn

Giant Clam on low tides in shallow waters by wading Station at the pā’ua hatchery, When the

or snorkeling, and enjoyed either on site or pā’ua open their distinctively wavy shells,
back at home with a bit of fresh coconut their brilliantly colored mantles (the clam’s
Tridacna visible tissue), are exposed in shades of
cream. Clam recipes vary from family to
species family and from island to island. Once the blue, green, red, yellow and brown.
meat is eaten, the beautiful white, wavy
shells are often repurposed in the home as Pā’ua are long-lived slow growing, with
soap dishes, door stops and display pieces. some exceeding 100 years in age. These
life history traits make them extremely
Currently, there are four species of giant vulnerable to overharvesting. In fact,
clams that can be found in the Cook all species of giant clams have global
Islands, of which two of them are native trade protections because they have
to the Cooks. The native clams grow to been severely depleted in most oceans.
about the size of a rugby ball, while the Depending on your home country, even
non-native species grow much larger. importing empty giant clam shells can
One of the introduced, non-native clam violate international laws, so when in the
species is Tridacna gigas. It is the world’s Cooks, it is best to take photos but leave
largest clam and can grow to well over a shells where you found them.

H ere in the Cook Islands, pā’ua, as meter in length, weighing over 200 kilos.
giant clams are locally known, are Several T. gigas clams can be seen in the
a prized food source that are targeted by Aitutaki Lagoon and their native relatives
local fishers. They’re generally harvested can even be viewed at the Aitutaki Marine

Pandanus pendulous flowers can be smelled from
great distances.

Pandanus Because pandanus seeds are capable of

species resisting salt water for long periods of
time, they colonized many Pacific islands

P andanus trees are beautiful, resilient

and boast many local uses, traits
similar to other significant trees in
long before humans arrived. However,
because of the plant’s utility and resiliency,
it was of vast importance to Polynesians
Polynesian culture. Locally known as and therefore, preferred varieties were
ara, “pandanus” is both the genus and carried by voyagers en route to new lands.
the English name for a large group of
shrubs and small trees. They are easily In the Cook Islands, the leaves were woven
identifiable by their tubular shaped ‘prop into thatch, mats and clothing. Timber
roots’ that form a pyramid that emerges from the prop roots and trunks were used
from low on the trunk. These characteristic in building construction, and the fruits
stabilizing roots aid in the tree’s growth in occasionally eaten. Although still cherished
loose, sandy soil. Leaves, which are most Today in the Cooks, the most common
by Cook Islands culture, as access to
often green but sometimes with yellowish use of the ara is in ei construction where
modern building materials increases, the
hues, spiral out of the ara’s multiple they are often paired with tiare teina and
use of the pandanus tree has drastically
leafy heads. Often times, fruits that tiare Māori flowers. Their brilliant red,
decreased. The trees however remain very
resemble pineapples in size and shape are orange, yellow and green fruits give off
common, specifically on the outer islands
buried within the spiky foliage. When in a wonderful sweet smell and are worn
and on sandy atolls.
bloom, the pandanus tree’s sweet white proudly by locals and tourists alike.

Guidelines for an enjoyable time at the beach
and in the lagoon…
Coral is a living organism! It takes hundreds of
years to develop a reef like ours and you can harm
the reef just by standing on it; many steps
may kill it.

What you can do to help…

• Make sure your gear fits properly, is comfortable
and adjusted, before you go in the water. If you
need to make adjustments, find a sandy area on
which to stand, or swim to the shore.
• If there is a RAUI (protected marine area) in
place, please respect it and leave everything in
the lagoon that belongs to it.
• Observe animals exhibiting their natural
behavior rather than stimulating them to
• Please do not harass or touch protected species,
such as turtles, giant clams and fragile corals.
• There is no need to feed the fish. To attract
them closer just bang two little stones together.
They will come.
• Please take your rubbish with you when you
leave the beach.

Thank you for looking after our lagoon.

Take nothing but memories – leave nothing
but bubbles…

Photos: The Dive Centre & Jim Gariu


to live local Cook Islands During the week

music and dancing all A number of Rarotonga restaurants feature

around town. live music during the week - refer to our

Night Life Guide for details of what’s on,
when and where.
Raro’s night life is special – you can have a
great night out whether you’re on your own,
It’s great to wander into some of our
or with friends. 18 or 80 years old, it doesn’t
smaller local bars too - the Game Fishing
matter, everyone just gets together. And
Club is right on the water; meet the locals
you’ll feel welcome wherever you go.
and play some pool, this bar is just east of

Island Night Shows are a must for every
visitor. There is nothing better than seeing
If you’re staying around the Muri or
our beautiful men and women, adorned in
Titikaveka area, try Silver Sands Restaurant
Take in the sunset with a flowers and local costume, dancing to the
at Muri Beach Club Hotel, or for a la carte
wonderful pate (hollowed wooden drums),
cocktail near the water; ukulele, guitar, and full voiced singers. It is
dining and some local music the Pacific
Resort, also well known for their Island
catch an Island Night a joyful, sensual and exuberant experience.
Night show. For casual ambience, check out
Check out our Island Night Shows Guide on
Show with beautiful these pages to find a venue that suits you.
the Asian street-style food at The Rickshaw,
or mouth-watering Mexican dishes at
dancers, and get down

an vai
d p lab
rem le a
ium t Th

A taste of Marlborough
ou e Bo
ts nd


o . 1 c e l la r s
La Casita. Take a walk downtown and call into The New Place for
great al fresco dining. For a meal and music down south, don't
forget The Yellow Hibiscus at Palm Grove.
Your N
On the sunset side, you have great choices from Shipwreck Hut at
Aro’a Beachside Inn for casual dining, to OTB at Manuia resort for
beachside dining, to Flambe or Oceans at Crown Beach or Kikau
Hut especially on Mondays for live music.

Remember that it pays to make a reservation if visiting a

restaurant, to avoid disappointment; and if you want music with
your meal, ask who their resident singer is that night.

Check the local paper or ask your resort what’s happening at the
local sports clubs – join in for some good live music, cheap drinks,
and great company.

o u r h u g e r a n ge…
Check out
Local women enjoy dressing up, and the men prefer comfortable
shorts, shirt/t-shirt and sandals, but dress code is open.

Over 600 wines, all popular

Friday Night brand spirits, liqueurs, beers, RTD’s,
Friday night is party night, as clubs and bars can open until 2am,
mixers, ice, etc. Wedding and special
unlike every other night, which is 12 midnight. Downtown Avarua is occasion catering, party-hire.
a great place to start: Free delivery 6 days per week.
First up is a sunset cocktail at Trader Jacks, where there’s always
a nice mix of locals and tourists. After a couple of hours, walk
across the road to Boogies Bar at the BC (Banana Court), known
all over the Pacific. Boogies features local bands from 4pm to
9pm and then its inside for some raw local music and dancing.
Hidies Bar, located in Cooks Corner, has a big open-air dance floor,
great drinks, a true island flavour and is Rarotonga’s iconic local
hangout, with live bands and resident DJ. Open Wednesday, Friday
and Saturday nights, Hidies famed ‘Happy Hour’ runs Friday from

C o o k I s la n d s
Later in the night it’s back to Rehab for some dancing, or perhaps
for some of the latest hip hop, R’n’B, and techno sounds.

Agents for:
The great thing about this town is that the bars are only minutes
away from each other. It’s safe and people are friendly and will
give you directions. Remember to organise a dedicated driver or
taxi if you’re drinking.
An organized Nightlife Tour is another great way to enjoy your
Friday night and you won’t need to do the driving.
Remember you’re in Raro now, on ‘Island Time’, so relax
and enjoy.

In central Avarua, opposite Punanga Nui Marketplace

Open Mon - Thur 9 to 5 | Fri & Sat 9 to 7
Phone: 21007 Email: trish@thebond.co.ck
OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:
Live entertainment (transfers available)
Rarotonga Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and
Keep our roads safe
if you’re drinking:
night-life guide Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular
“Dances of Legends” cultural performance &
island/western fusion buffet
MONDAY Sanctuary, Rarotonga: Tara Kauvai - Mustonen
Taxis: Refer to yellow pages and book Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Live music
homecoming fare before you go out. Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7 FRIDAY
Buses: Clockwise Bus: Evening bus departs nights a week. Live music some nights Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Live Band
Steak / Ribs Night with live entertainment
Cook’s Corner clockwise only, every hour Edgewater Resort & Spa: Tok 6:30-8:30
Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 11pm. Great Classic tunes, jazz, pop, rock Edgewater Resort & Spa: Tok 6:30–8:30
Dining with great local music + Edgewater
Times are subject to change so contact the Resorts “Nitelife Tour”
SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Live
i Site 29435 to confirm. island music Nooroa & Soko on island strings
Garden Bar - Banana Court: Great local &
Pacific Resort: A la carte dining and live local upbeat music with bar snacks available
artist Fred Betham
Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7
Captain Andy’s: Tara Kauvai - Mustonen nights a week. Live music some nights
Island Night Shows OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:
– Quick Guide Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort:
Live entertainment (transfers available)

(Bookings are recommended) Seafood Night with entertainment Pacific Resort: Tamariki Manuia
A la carte dining and live local artist Kahiki
Shipwreck Hut at Aro’a Beachside Inn: Tehaamatai
Live music on the beach
Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953 SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel:
Edgewater Resort& Spa: Ta’akoka Dance Pig & Prawn Night with live music with Rob & Roy
Troupe. Island Night Buffet and Cultural show
Tuesday followed by Tara Kauvai - Mustonen Te Vaka Restaurant @ The Rarotongan Beach
Te Vara Nui Village 24006 Resort & Spa:
Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and Flame-Grilled Steak Night @ $36 pp + The
The Islander Hotel 21003 Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular Rarotongan’s famous Friday Funbus Nitelife Tour
Aitutaki Village, Aitutaki 31526 “Dances of Legends” cultural performance & @ $25 pp.
island/western fusion buffet
The Edgewater Resort & Spa 25435
Trader Jacks: Kura every Friday lunch
Wednesday WEDNESDAY Friday night Rere and the boys - rock classics &
Edgewater Resort & Spa: Local Band seafood, steaks& pizza
The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 25800 A la carte Seafood menu with local
Muri Beach Club Hotel 23000 entertainment Yellow Hibiscus: Music every Friday night -Tara
Kauvai - Mustonen or Tani & Rose alternate.
Pacific Resort Aitutaki 31720
OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:
Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953 Live entertainment (transfers available) Captain Andy’s: Tara Kauvai – Mustonen
alternate Fridays
Thursday SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Live
music with Natua and then Island Night with SATURDAY
Te Vara Nui Village 24006 Akirata Dance Group Shipwreck Hut at Aro’a Beachside Inn: Great
Crown Beach Resort & Spa 23953 beach BBQ with live music
Crown Beach Resort& Spa: Live music
Friday Edgewater Resort & Spa: Island Night Buffet &
Captain Andy’s: Tara Kauvai - Mustonen Cultural Show with Orama Dance Group followed
Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953
by Tara Kauvai - Mustonen
Saturday Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort: Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7
The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 25800 Pub Night menu with live entertainment nights a week. Live music some nights
Te Vara Nui Village 24006
Shipwreck Hut at Aro’a Beachside Inn: Sunset OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:
The Edgewater Resort & Spa 25435 cocktails with live music Live entertainment (transfers available)

Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Live music followed Pacific Resort: Tok 6:30-8:30
by Island Night Show A la carte dining and live local artist Kura Happ

Edgewater Resort & Spa: Ru & Boys Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and
Remember you’re in Raro A la carte menu with great local sounds Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular
“Dances of Legends” cultural performance &
now, on ‘Island Time’, so Garden Bar - Banana Court: Live Entertainment island/western fusion buffet

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7 Trader Jacks: Music with Tok
relax and enjoy! nights a week. Live music some nights Watch out for “Brews & BBQ” and special guests
monthly at Trader Jacks.

The Boatshed Bar & Grill: Check out this
Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort: popular restaurant any day of the week. A-la-
BBQ with live entertainment carte menu for lunch & dinner. Great cocktails!

Club Raro: BBQ night with local string band

night-life guide THURSDAY
Tamanu Beach: Island Fire &Dance
Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Sunset roast starts
at 6pm with live entertainment
MONDAY Show on the beach. Fantastic entertainment
Bounty Brasserie @ Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & with a great selection of food
Spa: Fire dance show, a la carte dinner & crab
Edgewater Resort & Spa: Ru & Boys -local
string band
races FRIDAY
Aitutaki Game Fishing Club: One of the most
Tupuna’s Restaurant: Great a-la-carte popular local bars to visit for a sun-downer
SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Reef &
dining with the freshest local foods in a
Beef night with live music with Henry & Destiny
relaxed garden setting. Mon-Sat from 6pm Coconut Crusher Bar: Entertainment and party

the night away with your host Ricky
Pacific Resort: A la carte dining and live local
artist Rudi Aquino TUESDAY
Aitutaki Village: Island buffet and SUNDAY
Sanctuary Rarotonga: Tara Kauvai - Mustonen cultural show on the sandy beach at Ootu Aitutaki Village: All day barbeque with great
Aitutaki Game Fishing Club: A good evening Tamanu Beach: Sunset Barbeque Night with
to visit and meet the locals. Where else would great local entertainment and island food.
you find a bar in a 20 foot container?

Pacific Resort: Island night South Pacific cuisine

and performances by local Aitutaki song and
dance troupe

Prices or schedules are subject to change at any time.





t hroughout the year we find many reasons to celebrate and have fun, and there’s always plenty
to do and see on Rarotonga and her sister islands. As most Cook Islanders are willing sports
participants, you’ll find a multitude of sports codes and clubs active throughout the islands,
where you are always welcome to visit. As for festivals and celebratory events, it is certain that you will
always find something of interest taking place.


Te Mire Ura Golden Oldies, ex-Pats and
Mon 1st Fri 1st to Sat 2nd
visitor finals @ The Islander Hotel
New Year’s Day – public holiday Opera in Rarotonga @ The Islander Hotel
Mon 30th
Tue 2nd Mon 4th
School term 2 begins
Day after New Year’s Day – public holiday Queen’s Birthday – public holiday
Mon 29th MAY ME Fri 15th
School term 1 begins
Tue 1st Mangaia Gospel Day - public holiday in
FEBRUARY PEPERUARE Pursuit in Paradise – Aitutaki marathon
race starts at 6am
Fri 6th
Te Mire Ura Juniors & Intermediate Grand
Thu 8th Finals @ The National Auditorium ‘Ra o te Ui Ariki’ (Ariki Day) – public holiday
Te Mire Atu – Cook Islands Maori
Composers competition Cook Islands International Triathlon Week Fri 14th
Commences with Trader Jack’s Boiler Swim Bastille Day
Tue 13th
Penrhyn Gospel Day – Public holiday Aitutaki 5km runway Fun Run starts at Thu 19th
Penrhyn 5pm Atiu Gospel Day – public holiday in Atiu
Sat 17th Sat 5th Fri 20th
St. Patricks Day Air New Zealand Rarotonga Triathlon – @ School Term 2 complete – School Holidays
Titikaveka triathlon site race start 1.30pm begin
Fri 30th
Good Friday - Public holiday Sun 6th Sat 21st
Triathlon Awards Dinner Mitiaro Gospel Day – public holiday in
APRIL APERIRA Mon 7th Mitiaro
Hash House Harriers Fun Run and Island Mon 23rd
Sun 2nd
Feast next to Sunset Resort Mauke Gospel Day – public holiday in
Easter Sunday
Tue 8th Mauke
Mon 3rd
Turtles Tour de Raro Cycle race Fri 27th to Sat 4th Aug
Easter Monday – Public holiday
International Red Cross Day Te Maeva Nui celebrations
Fri 6th to Sun 15th
League Masters Mini Fiesta – Rarotonga Thu 10th
and Aitutaki Te Mire Ura Senior Open Grand Finals @ AUGUST 'AUKUTE
The National Auditorium Mon 6th
Fri 13th
School term 1 ends Sun 13th Constitution day observed
Mother’s day Wed 8th
Mon 23rd
St Georges Day Thu 25th Manahiki Gospel Day – public holiday in
Palmerston Gospel Day – public holiday in Manahiki
Wed 25th
Palmerston Mon 13th
ANZAC Day – public holiday
School term 3 begins

All events take place on Rarotonga, unless stated otherwise. Dates and events are provided courtesy of Cook Islands Tourism
Corporation and were correct at time of publication, but subject to change without notice. Visitors are advised to confirm event dates
with the Visitor Information Centre – phone (682) 29435

League masters Mini Fiesta
Rarotonga Fri 6th to Wed 11th
Aitutaki Thu 12th to Sun 15th

The Cook Islands Rugby League Masters

Association was established in 2009 in
Rarotonga, Cook Islands. It has more
recently been affiliated with the New
Zealand Rugby League Masters Association.
The movement focuses on providing
opportunities for league players 35 years
and older to be able to continue the
sport they enjoy. The Cook Islands Rugby
League Masters Association is made up
of Rarotonga based League Clubs as
well as the Aitutaki League Club in the
6 Events That You
Shouldn’t Miss…
dancers joining from the main island of
Rarotonga and also some from the outer
The female dancers get to dance a solo
to their choice of Cook Islands Maori
songs and drumbeat while the male
dancers’ memorise a chant and dance to a
The drumbeats are split in two sections:
International Triathlon

The main sporting event is the triathlon

however the week generally kicks off with
Trader Jacks Boiler Swim – about 800m out
from Trader Jacks and around the remains
of the SS Maitai. There follows on the
Saturday the main event with 2 other main
Outer Islands. The Cook Islands Masters slow beat and fast beat about 1.5 minute
events to held later in the week – the Turtles
'international' team is known as the long. This is a popular event being run by
Tour de Raro cycle race and the Matutu Mile
Turtles, with the motto of Slow and Steady the Ministry of Culture and happens every
Fun Run.
mimicking the movement of the wise end of April to early May
If you after something different and laid
turtle that is a revered icon in Cook Islands back then this event is for you and caters to
Culture. This has served the international APRIL 30TH TO MAY 4TH all ages and levels of competition. For more
touring side with great accolades of details check out: www.rarotri.com
sportsmanship as well as camaraderie Pursuit in Paradise Aitutaki marathon
with fellow players within the Masters
movement. For more information see
This inaugural event will run annually and JULY 27TH TO AUGUST 4TH
we believe it will become an icon event for
marathon junkies and runners from around Te Maeva Nui – Celebrating our nation’s
the world as well as locals. independence
APRIL 27TH TO MAY 10TH We expect around 250 visitors for this Every year from July to August about 2000
event each year. This event will be an people on Rarotonga and on the outer
Te Mira Ura international event spanning over 5 days islands put their lives on hold to prepare
and will be run to international guidelines. for Te Maeva Nui, the national culture and
Te Mire Ura is an annual event held for
Turama Pacific Travel Group is the event dance festival. It is a week-long cultural
individual dancers from the ages of 10
organizer and has engaged the services marathon held around the date of August
years old right up to 60+. The competition
of a professional event team Destination 4th, which is the birthday of the Cook
is between male and female dancers
Management Cook Islands to help in the Islands as an independent nation.
according to their categories. They are
coordination and running of the event.
judged by their performances in the areas
For any question, email You may have seen cultural dance shows
of choreography, stage presentation and
upper and lower body movements in the around the island, or perhaps in your
different age groups. resort, but you haven’t seen anything that
During this time of the year we have

Vaka Eiva

Hundreds of paddlers and their supporters

hit Rarotonga’s shores in November each
year for the Vaka Eiva; an exciting and fun
outrigger canoeing festival, which is now
the largest sporting event in the country.

Held annually since 2004, Vaka Eiva has

established a reputation as a hugely
enjoyable week of racing, culture, and
festivities, and attracts crews from
throughout the world.

For more information and to confirm

even closely resembles the vibrancy and highlight of the Cook Islands year; the event dates, visitors are advised to
passion of the finals at Te Maeva Nui, held only people who are ever disappointed are contact the Visitor Information Centre –
Phone (682) 29435
in the National Stadium. This is the cultural those who miss it.
All dates correct at time of going to print.

PO Box 14, Rarotonga cookislands@global-tourism.de
Cook Islands
headoffice@cookislands.gov.ck southerneurope@cookislands.travel


PO Box 3
(682) 31767 CHINA
DOWNTOWN AVARUA NEXT TO ANZ BANK tourism.officer@aitutaki.net.ck chinamanager@cookislands.travel
ATIU japanmanager@cookislands.travel
(682) 33435

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Parnell, Auckland 1052
+64 (9) 366 1106

Suite 129, Level 14
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Sydney, NSW 2000
Advice on accommodation, tours, restaurants, +61 282 091 658
activities, entertainment and travel to our sister islands.
Phone or call in to see us. NORTH AMERICA
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Bluesky Outlets in the Cook Islands.

3GB 30 300
DATA anywhere in the
anywhere in the

Your minutes & TXT can be used worldwide. 4G data is available in Rarotonga and Aitutaki only and requires a 4G capable device. Visitor SIM lasts for 15 days from activation. Once you have
used up your preloaded data, minutes and TXT you can eCharge top-up at any of our resellers and Bluesky Outlets on casual rates at 20c per MB, 20c per TXT and 99c per minute. Check out
our website for more information on Bluesky 4G mobile data network and for VISITOR SIM details at www.bluesky.co.ck. Effective June 2017.

Cooks Corner, RAROTONGA | Pacific Resort, AITUTAKI

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