ESCAPE MAGAZINE ISSUE 27

escapemagazine

A magazine about the Cook Islands

ISSUE 27

FREE

The Atoll

of Pukapuka

Master Artist

Island Art

Te Maeva Nui

Adventures at Sea

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Cook Islands Escape Magazine

www.escapemagazine.travel


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.

LM/SD 2023017

“Once they found the fish the

boys snorkelled for hours.”

For more information please

call our reservations centre

(Mon-Sat) on 22888 or email

bookings@airraro.com

www.airraro.com


Aitutaki

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

as

beautiful

you explore

lagoon.

Aitutaki’s

Cruising, swimming, snorkelling,

beautiful lagoon.

AIR RAROTONGA’S

DAYTOUR INCLUDES:

AIR RAROTONGA’S

- Aitutaki island tour

THE VAKA CRUISE

DAYTOUR INCLUDES:

• Aitutaki island tour

- Island hopping

THE VAKA CRUISE

- Delicious barbequed lunch

served on-board

• Island hopping

• Delicious barbequed lunch

- Complimentary

served on-boardtowels and

snorkelling equipment

• Complimentary towels and

snorkelling equipment

- Bathroom facilities

- Round trip airfares from

Rarotonga

• Bathroom facilities

• Round trip airfares from

Rarotonga

All inclusive costs:

FROM $493 $459 PER PERSON

Adults $493 (incl. VAT)

Child $246.50 (2-11 yrs)

Infants FREE (under 2 years)


CONTENTS

Up front

6 Introduction

8 Contributors to this issue

Features

Issue 27

July 2018

40 The Atoll of Pukapuka

Amelia Borofsky talks about the island and the people of

Pukapuka, one of the Northern Cook Islands.

46 Beachcomber - from Ruin to Renewal

Rachel Smith looks at the history and renewal of the

Beachcomber, from when it was built to present days.

50 A Rarotongan Art Tour

A quick tour of some of the local art galleries on

Rarotonga.

52 A Master Artist

Local writer Glenda Tuaine talks to Mike Tavioni about his

life and times and his aspirations for artists of the future.

62 Te Maeva Nui 2018 - The Path of the Moon

A look at the upcoming annual cultural celebrations that

are Te Maeva Nui which are part of the of Cook Islands

Constitution celebrations. This year the theme is about

the path of the night or the moon and how it influences

life in the Cook Islands.

66 Fresh Fruit on Rarotonga

A brief look at some of the fresh fruit to be found in and

around Rarotonga, and some of their uses.

68 Te Ipukarea Society - Caretakers of the Cooks

Read about TIS and their efforts to promote a more

environmentally friendly and sustainable society in the

Cook Islands.

70 An Interview with Marc Cameron

- A Collector of Stories

Tim Meyer sits down in Rarotonga to talk to Marc

Cameron, author of the latest Tom Clancy novel about

his love for The Cook Islands.

Tour of the Cook Islands

10 An introduction to the Cook Islands

22 Rarotonga

80 Aitutaki

86 Atiu

88 Our South Pacific Home

– Southern & Northern Group Islands

Regulars

52 74

12 Art Scene

Our writer Joan Gragg talks about her early childhood

memories of building a family home.

16 Book Worms

A review of topical authors and their books.

18 What’s in Store?

Taking a look in shop windows.

20 Raro Rhythm

Read about Kathy Brown a Cook Islander who has played

internationally during her career and is now back home,

sharing her talent.

28 Island Cuisine

We visit local restaurants.

36 Phillip Nordt on Food

Learn how to prepare and serve the opah or moonfish as it

is also called.

56 Great Places to Stay

A guide to some of Rarotonga’s best accommodation.

92 ‘The Bond’ Entertainment Guide

The inside story on the best clubs, island shows and

nightlife.

96 What’s On?

A calendar of events and holidays.

97 Seven Events that you shouldn’t miss

Upcoming great events to see and do.

74 Camping on a Cargo Ship

Thomas Koteka gives us yet another intriguing insight to

days gone by, and his adventures.

Front Cover: Young fishermen in Pukapuka Photo: Amelia Borofsky

4 • ESCAPE


EDITOR'S Note

publisher

RD Pacific Publishing Limited

editors

Margaret and Steve Woulfe

design

Christina Thiele | Ultimo Group

Auckland, New Zealand

printed in New Zealand

Webstar a division of Blue Star Group

(New Zealand) Ltd, Auckland.

advertising director

Margaret Woulfe

regular contributors

Glenda Tuaine

Joan Gragg

Rachel Smith

Tim Meyer

Amelia Borofsky

Rachel Reeves

advertising sales Rarotonga

Steve Woulfe

Phone: (682) 23449 or 57298

Email: advertise@escapecookislands.com

distribution Rarotonga

Phone: (682) 57512

Email: advertise@escapecookislands.com

distribution Aitutaki

Annie Bishop

Phone: (682) 31009

Email: bishopcruz@aitutaki.net.ck

Escape is published bi-annually by

RD Pacific Publishing Limited

P.O. Box 3010, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Email: advertise@escapecookislands.com

All contents of ESCAPE magazine are

copyright of RD Pacific Publishing Limited.

Any reproduction of any part of this

magazine without prior written permission

is strictly prohibited.

Kia Orana and welcome to the Pacific Paradise of the

Cook Islands and issue 27 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

Cook Islands. Others of you will be reading this,

sitting in an Air New Zealand Koru lounge in Auckland

or even the Qantas or Strata lounges while waiting to

go away on holiday or having picked up a copy from a Flight Centre Expo are planning

already where to go and stay while over here. Hopefully this gives you a small taste of

what the Cook Islands have to offer. When you are thinking of that next trip away, this is

the place to visit.

Now we have three airlines flying to Rarotonga – Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin it is

easier and more affordable than ever to come over for a week or two or more. With daily

flights from New Zealand to Rarotonga and easy connections to Air Rarotonga, all the

Cook Islands are in easy reach.

In the next 12 months there are lots of events and experiences to be had in the Cooks.

From traditional dancing and singing (Te Maeva Nui) to running in the Round Rarotonga

Road Race in September - if you dare! Go to the rugby sevens or the netball in

November or just go swimming in the blue waters or practise for running around Aitutaki

next year in the Aitutaki marathon, there are activities for all the family. For more

information on Whats on see pages 92 to 98 or call any of the Cook Island Tourism

offices listed on page 98.

We have accommodation from high end resorts and hotels to backpackers for the

budget conscious to self-catering holiday homes, there is something here for every

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

restaurants and cafes in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

We hope that everyone finds something to enjoy in this issue and welcome any

feedback you may have either via email or on our Facebook page – Cook Islands Escape

Magazine. Don’t forget if you are on Facebook to please like our page and follow our

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

discount for name dropping.

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.

And last but not least to Raui Manapori and his wife Mahina and daughter Frances for

their hospitality and kindness on our trip to Aitutaki in March, meitaki atupaka.

Kia Manuia

Margaret & Steve

6 • ESCAPE


THE WORLDS BEST KEPT SECRET

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.

WWW.PACIFICRESORT.COM

RAROTONGA · COOK ISLANDS


STAY CONNECTED

WITH BLUESKY

WHILE IN THE

COOK ISLANDS

MOBILE

WiFi HOTSPOT

For fast internet connections on

the go, Check out our Hotspots.

There are over 300 Bluesky

WiFi HOTSPOTS

in Rarotonga and

Aitutaki giving you

easy internet access

to your family, friends

and Social Media.

Grab a $49 Bluesky VISITOR

SIM card. Available from any

of our Bluesky Outlets and our

Airport Kiosk. Our VISITOR SIM

card is preloaded

with 3GB of data,

30mins of calling and

300 TXT to anywhere

in the world*.

INTERNATIONAL

CALLING

Get talking with INTERNATIONAL

CAPPED CALLING. Our one-hour

capped calling rates are some of

the best under the

Pacific sun. For up

to an hour pay $5.00

to call New Zealand

and $10.00 to call

Australia, Fiji, UK, USA

and Canada.

Visit us at any of our

Bluesky Outlets in

Rarotonga and Aitutaki

CONTRIBUTORS

Glenda Tuaine

Glenda has lived in Rarotonga since 2005 when she returned to be

the Marketing Director for Cook Islands Tourism after working in the

New Zealand Arts industry as a Festival Director, Producer, Writer,

sometime Radio and TV Presenter and all round arts advocate.

Now 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.

Tim Meyer

Tim has lived in the Cook Islands for a number of years, working in

diving and resort management in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Manihiki.

He is an ocean enthusiast, father, husband, gardener and over all

a man marvelled by the wonders of the South Pacific. In his spare

time, Tim enjoys island life with his wife and two children who are

both born in Rarotonga. He also writes for the personal family blog

azurecoconut.blogspot.com where he shares the adventures of a French/German family

exploring the world in an unconventional way.

Dr. Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky

Dr. Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky grew up in Pukapuka and

Hawai’i and calls Oceania home. A global traveler, she has visited 42

countries, but Pukapuka remains her favorite. She wears hats as a

community psychologist, storyteller, mother, and surfer. Her wanting

to give back to the Pacific led her to founding

www.seaofislandsconsulting.com. She has written for the Atlantic,

New Zealand Geographic, and Cook Islands News. She sends a huge Atawai Wolo to all her

family and friends who influence her writing and heart.

Rachel Smith

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

combines freelance, fiction and policy writing with family life.

http://rachelmsmithnz.wix.com/rachel-smith

Joan E Gragg

Joan was born in Rarotonga and has lived most of her life in

Rarotonga with brief interludes in New Zealand and Australia. In

2010 she graduated with a Masters of Art and Design from AUT.

She paints in watercolour and oils and enjoys making sculptures

using local materials. Her happy childhood is the subject of much of

her writing.

Learn our language & culture. Download

the Hika Kia Orana app today from the

App Store & Google Play store.

Also

Jess Cramp, Ewan Smith, Rachel Reeves, Thomas Koteka, Nick Henry, Margaret Woulfe

and Steve Woulfe.

8 • ESCAPE


Oceans Beachfront Restaurant.

Our magnifcent Island Night Buffet and Dance Show is every Thursday night at our beautiful

Flambe Restaurant is a perfect location to experience excellen t s e r v i c e a nd f oo d in Rarotonga.

With its newly built outside dining area & weekly Fire Dances,

Flambe is a must to experience!

Crown Beach Resort & Spa

is known for their outstanding Weddings & Events.

36 individual villas situated on 5 acres of tropical gardens

www.crownbeach.com | info@crownbeach.com | +682 23953

Oceans

Restaurant

is located directly on the

beach where our guests

can eat breakfast,

lunch & dinner

beside the ocean.

Located on the

Western side

of Rarotonga,

where our

sunsets are

magnifient!

Book in at our onsite spa for massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps / scrubs, & more!

Contact us today for available packages and prices.

Enjoy

one

of our

luxurious

beachfront,

garden, or

private pool suite villas.

All sumptuously decorated,

with spacious king bedrooms. Our

beautiful adults only resort offers you the peace

and quiet you need to refresh and reconnect with loved ones.


The Cook Islands

15 tiny islands in paradise, that

a small nation calls home.

London

Berlin

Vancouver

Rome

Beijing

Seoul

Tokyo

Los Angeles

Hong Kong

Honalulu

Northern Group

Capetown

Perth

Sydney

Auckland

Cook Islands

Southern Group

Where would someone say, “may you live long,” upon

meeting you for the first time, but in the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands greeting Kia Orana, means exactly that, “may

you live long.” It is a unique first gesture of friendship from a

special Polynesian people, renown for their hospitality and

warmth.

It is as if God chose his 15 most precious gems, and then sprinkled

them over 2.25 million sq km of the Pacific to become the Cook

Islands – an ei (necklace) of islands awaiting to embrace all

visitors.

All the islands combined make up a land area of just 240 sq

km. Each of the ‘gems’ is unlike the other and all have their

own special features. From the majestic peaks of Rarotonga to

the low-lying untouched coral atolls of the northern islands of

Manihiki, Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Pukapuka, Nassau and Suwarrow.

The latter, inhabited only by a caretaker and his family, is a

popular anchorage for yachts from all over the world.

The Southern Cooks is made up of the capital Rarotonga, Aitutaki,

Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, Manuae, Palmerston and Takutea.

Takutea is an uninhabited bird sanctuary and managed by the

Atiu Island Council. Manuae is the remaining uninhabited island.

Cook Islanders have their own Maori language and each of the

populated islands a distinct dialect. It has a population of around

13,000. The Cooks has been self-governing in free association

with New Zealand since 1965. By virtue of that unique relationship,

all Cook Islanders hold New Zealand passports. The country

is governed by 25-member Parliament elected by universal

suffrage. The Cook Islands Parliamentary system is modelled on

the Westminster system of Britain. The Queens Representative

is Head of State. A House of Ariki (traditional paramount chiefs)

counsels and advises government, as does the Koutu Nui, a body

of traditional chiefs.

This is a delightful Pacific country where the ‘metropolis’ of

Rarotonga offers a wide range of activities, accommodation and

cuisine and visitors can choose to be as busy as they wish. A short

inter-island flight away are the less developed southern group

islands each offering something different.

Travelling to the isolated northern islands by inter-island flight or

boat, one savours a South Pacific rarely seen by outsiders. Due to

distance and infrequency of transport there are fewer visitors to

the northern group islands.

But wherever you turn you see bright tropical colours and

movement, whether it is the sway of palms and sea in the trade

winds, or dancers entertaining at one of the many nightspots

found on Rarotonga and Aitutaki. While you may nearly always

hear the ocean, you will always feel the warmth of the people and

their tropical paradise. The Cook Islands truly is a slice of heaven.

10 • ESCAPE


MANUREVA AQUAFEST

Aitutaki 2018

THE

VAKA

CRUISE

Cruising Aitutaki’s 2018 magnificent EVENT FORMAT:

lagoon aboard our unique

Polynesian-style craft

MONDAY 20 AUGUST: Aitutaki & Motu Tavake

This is the cruise you can’t miss …

A five day international watersports festival; Manureva Aquafest

Six hours on Aitutaki’s beautiful lagoon. Island hopping, • Official snorkelling, Opening Ceremony and a delicious barbequed

lunch served on-board with bar service. • Boat Towels transfer to and Motu snorkelling

Tavake

equipment are complimentary.

• Orientation

Bathroom

and

facilities.

Day 1 kiteboarding races start!

is a special experience filled with exhilarating, action packed

watersports, blended with the traditions and culture of the Cook

Islands.

Each year, Manureva Aquafest brings together competitors and

supporters from around the South Pacific and beyond to enjoy

The Vaka Cruise departs Monday to Saturday at 10am from O’otu and returns at 4pm.

the unique conditions of Aitutaki’s stunning lagoon – pristine

aqua blue water, warm and flat, perfect for freestyle, racing and

big air kitesurfing, as well as stand up paddleboard (SUP) races,

swimming and apnea breath challenge.

This year’s event with a purpose highlights women and youth

in sport and the environment. The stunning Miss Cook Islands,

Alanna Smith, will be competing, judging the kid’s kite building

competition at one of Aitutaki’s schools and providing a powerful

environmental message through her work with Te Ipukarea Society.

We expect the week to look like this…

SUNDAY 19 AUGUST: Aitutaki

• Welcome briefing for participants and supporters

• Final registrations and distributing Manureva Packs (reusable

water bottle & straw, event shirt & hat + lots of other cool swag)

• Traditional blessings and Turou (welcome call)

TUESDAY 21 AUGUST: Motu Tavake

• Day 2 of kiteboarding races and potential downwinder

WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST: Motu Tavake

• Day 3 of kiteboarding Big Air, Expression session

• Night BBQ and party on the beach at: (TBC)

THURSDAY 23 AUGUST: Aitutaki

• Join the fun with our local school “Kite Kids” programme

at Araura College.

FRIDAY 24 AUGUST: Aitutaki

• Aquafest Day at Aitutaki Village, Ootu Beach – swimming,

paddleboarding and apnea breath challenge

• Closing Ceremony, Prize Giving.

(pending wind

conditions)

THE

VAKA

CRUISE

Cruising Aitutaki’s magnificent

lagoon aboard our unique

Polynesian-style craft

Take a Romantic

Dinner

Cruise

on Aitutaki’s Lagoon

This is the cruise you can’t miss …

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.

Six hours on Aitutaki’s beautiful lagoon. Island hopping, snorkelling, and a delicious barbequed

lunch served on-board with bar service. Towels and snorkelling

equipment are complimentary. Bathroom facilities.

The Vaka Cruise departs Monday to Saturday at 10am from O’otu and returns at 4pm.

www.airraro.com

ESCAPE • 11


art

scene

our new

Painting and story:

Joan Gragg

When we first moved in 1950 to

Tutakimoa section 47B. the

boundary pegs gave us three

quarters of an acre of land six feet below

sea level in the village of Tutakimoa.

We were very excited about building our

own house because we had rented a house

in Ruatonga ever since our parents had

come to live in Rarotonga from Palmerston

Island in 1943. They had married in

Rarotonga in March 1941 but moved to

Palmerston where our mother was the

school teacher. Our oldest sister was born

in Palmerston and our father had to be

a doctor when our mother had problems

giving birth. Dr. Ellison coached him over

the radio. He was assisted by the island

midwife.

By 1950 there were seven kids in our

family. Five girls and twin boys.

Our father drew plans for the house that

reminded him of his childhood home in

England but functioned in the opposite

way. Instead of keeping in warmth it

invited cool breezes to freely blow through

the house. It was two storied. The upstairs

for the kids. The down stairs had a kitchen,

sitting room, our parents bedroom, a

spare room for a guest and an inside

bathroom. Outside stood the pit toilet for

emergencies and for housing the garden

tools. The steep pitch of the roof did not

have to let the snow slip off the roof but

allowed torrential rain to flow easily so it

could not gather and pool on the roof and

cause leaks. It also provided protection

from strong winds.

On our section were three huge mango

trees, six enormous kapock trees, an

avocado tree, a lime tree, three breadfruit

trees, tall mature coconut trees, wild

pistata trees, pawpaw trees and a

Brazilian cherry tree, and rampant growing

au trees. All towered above the tarapi

which is a tall serrated leaf grass that

grabs and scratches your skin as you walk

past. Under all the lush growth were tons

of coral stones. You could tell that this area

had once been at the bottom of a lagoon.

We loved it for so many reasons. not least

of which was it was ours to enjoy for sixty

years.

Building materials were not readily

available, especially cement so in the

tradition of the London Missionary Society

churches built in the eighteen hundreds,

we made our own umu ngaika, lime pit.

A pit was dug in the yard by a bulldozer

and the trees in the way of our new house

were cut and put into the pit for fire wood.

Kapok, pistata, and coconut. Truck loads of

coral rocks from the beaches were brought

in and baskets full of rocks from our

section were gathered by us children and

piled on to the fire wood. Our papas from

the village helped to gather coral from

the beach, which they carried in sacks on

their bicycles to the umu ngaika. When

the firewood was covered in a huge mound

of coral stones, kerosine was poured in

gaps around the umu, then dried kikau

(a coconut frond) was lit and poked into

12 • ESCAPE


the gaps where the kerosine was poured.

We watched with anticipation expecting

a dramatic explosion because of the fire

accelerant addition, which we were never

allowed to use around fires. Instead the

wood slowly ignited and wisps of smoke

appeared and very slowly flames broke

the surface of the mound and built into

a flaming volcano that burst some coral

rocks and spat them out at us. When it

flamed fiercely, water was squirted over

the inferno to slow the wood from burning

too quickly. The burning wood had to be

carefully monitored so it did not burn out

of control. The umu burned for many days,

to us as kids it seemed it burned for many

months.

In the morning, on the way to school we

called in to see how the umu was doing

and planned what we could do to make

use of this burning crackling inferno. We

were not allowed to get too close but fires

were part of our lives and we planned to

cook something that we could eat. it was

not very successful because the long sticks

we had to use to get to the heat burned

through before any food had time to cook.

Our friends helped us gather red

matakoviriviri seeds in empty corn beef

cans and toast them over the fire on long

sticks. When cooked the seeds split and we

were rewarded with a nut the size of a very

small pea. Often we lost the Matakoviriviri

when the stick burned and the can fell into

the fire with all the matakoviriviri that had

taken hours to gather.

After the umu was burned out a pit of

white wet hot lime was left. It looked like

white icing you could eat with a spoon.

Around the edges of the cooled pit where

the lime was dry it was powdery and would

stick to you when you walked in it. It stuck

on your feet and crawled up to your knees

after a few steps. In a minute you could be

looking like a Momoke ( A legendary albino

fairy from the underworld ) all covered in

white lime. You soon learned it is not fun

to be covered in lime. It eats into your skin

and makes you itchy and really stings

when it gets into a cut.

We used the lime to plaster our house. The

walls were made with gravel and cement

that was poured into boxing. Steel rods

in the boxing every few feet anchored

the walls to the floor and when the walls

were the right height and dry they were

plastered with lime. We had a very cool

house. Lime keeps the walls cool probably

because it absorbs moisture. In one area it

was always damp.

A special feature about our house was it

had rounded corners. Where a wall ended

at a doorway or a wall butted into another

or the wall met the floor there were

rounded curves and no sharp right angles.

Our roofing iron came from a building that

the Union Steamship Company was pulling

down. It was thick and heavy and had

years of shelter left in it. After the roof was

erected Mariana and our Dad and Carry

Marsters painted it with silver roof paint.

Mariana learned to paint and balance on

two by one scaffolding on the steep roof.

The rest of us left that chore to her.

When we first moved to the house we had

a ladder to climb up stairs. As time went by

the ladder became less steep until finally a

proper staircase was built.

For a few years there was no cladding on

the sitting room ceiling so we could peep

through the floor boards from upstairs and

see who our parents visitors were. In those

days people often came to visit after they

had eaten dinner. We ate early and went

to bed early. As we grew older our routine

changed and like the umu ngaika our lives

evolved into a new existence.

We all worked hard at making our house a

home.

Tivaevae

Collectables.com

TRADITIONAL PACIFIC

FABRIC ART FOR YOUR HOME

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ONLINE!

For quality tivaevae bedcovers,

duvets, cushion covers, gifts etc.

Look for our sign west of the airport -

opposite the Weather Station in Nikao.

Rarotonga

Anne 24688

New Zealand

Kathrine

021 0247 7893

The Must Stop Shop!

www.tivaevaecollectables.com

email: info@tivaevaecollectables.com

Playing

Cards

of the

Cook Islands

Novel, unique and appealingly

attractive, this deck of cards features

54 art works by Joan Gragg. Joan’s art

is influenced by everyday life in the

Cook Islands. An ideal gift or souvenir!

Available from: Beachcomber Pearl Market

Bounty Bookshop • Island Craft • The Gift Shop

The little Red Gallery • Perfumes of Rarotonga

See Joan’s artwork at The Furniture Centre

ESCAPE • 13


ADVERTORIAL

Ariki Adventures

he Tans will fade, but the memories

“Twill last forever” It’s easy to think

that Rarotonga is a sleepy little paradise

where you can chillax and take some wellearned

time out from your hectic lifestyle.

However for the more adventurous spirit,

Rarotonga is fast becoming an adventure

destination.

Ariki Holidays is a locally owned and

operated family business that has quickly

made its presence felt in only three and a

half years. Owners Kave & Julie Tamaariki

have created a unique business guided by

their vision, “A world where everyone shares

an Ariki experience” Their values are simple,

Innovation, Passion, Power, Strength &

Honour.

Jules says “We want to create a holiday

experience here that we expect when we

travel. We love meeting and staying with

locals because we get to experience the

real magic of the people and the country”.

The Ariki Holidays group comprises

three distinct elements offering the Ariki

experience.

Ariki Bungalows offers three fully selfcontained

units offering real “value for

money” in Muri. Set on Tamaariki family

land over-looking Motutapu Islet, each unit

accommodates two people and is perfect

for couples or friends wanting the personal

one-on-one personal approach with locals.

Facilities include a recreation area called

the “Arenui” (meeting house) where guests

can relax, have a drink at the bar or watch

a movie. Once a week Jules offers an umu

kai or BBQ meal to get to know each other

and their 9.4 Guest Rating from Trip Advisor

is testament to their personal approach.

They also offer Yoga & Wellness Retreats and

Kiteboarding Clinics as part of a package

deal.

Ariki Adventures is their outdoor activity

company based on Kave’s passion for marine

activities and his love of the environment.

“After 28 years in the air force I wanted

to return home and create life-changing

experiences for tourists and locals alike. Our

marine environment in Rarotonga is stunning

and I wanted to build adventures that show

case our environment and our culture”.

The range of activities offered include Night

Paddling, Kiteboarding School, Yoga and

SUP Yoga classes, SUPFit classes, Standup

Paddleboard and Glass Bottom Kayak

tours. The introduction of Sea Scooter Safari

adventures are now their most popular tours.

Imagine snorkelling through a coral canyon

in the lagoon surrounded by tropical fish, or

swimming in the electric blues of the open

ocean with reef sharks, moray eels and more,

or swimming with our majestic Green and

Hawksbill turtles. The Sea Scooters allow the

professional Ariki Crew to guide you to where

you never thought you could go before.

Guest reviews currently rank Ariki Adventures

as #2 of 38 outdoor activities in Rarotonga.

Ariki’s Shack is Jules & Kave’s Café and is also

the adventures Booking Office. Located in

Muri, it is the funkiest little Shack on the rock.

They are the first to introduce Cold Brewed

coffee and tea on the island and have a

quality range of cold and hot drinks as well as

fresh bagels on offer.

From the serene to the adrenaline, Ariki

Adventures has something on offer for you. In

Rarotonga, Ariki is “where adventure awaits”.

14 • ESCAPE


Island Escape

Over forty years ago, an Air New Zealand DC10 arrived in Rarotonga

carrying a youthful Australian family on the adventure of a lifetime.

Disenchanted with the duties of a suburban housewife

and never seeing a husband that worked 12-16 hour

shifts as an electrical engineer, my mother rebelled and

escaped to the little known islands of the South Pacific with

a friend and mentor.

Having previously visited Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands,

the duo arrived in Rarotonga. The effect was immediate

and my mother realised that she had found our new home.

Shortly thereafter, and to the chagrin of friends and

neighbours, my family abandoned the suburbs of

Melbourne for an unknown future on an unknown Island.

Since that time, my family has built a company specialising

in Cook Islands Pearls.

Relocating to the northern group Island of Penrhyn for

5 years in 1976, my parents collected natural pearls for

European and Asian markets.

As fate would have it, during the 1980’s a new industry

was born on the Island of Manihiki, Black Pearls. Our family

company evolved to include these stunning newcomers

and became the first local company to specialise in

Black Pearl Jewellery.

On the occasion of our 42nd anniversary, I warmly

welcome you to our Cook Islands Black Pearl Jewellery

stores on Rarotonga and Aitutaki to experience a part

of our on-going family adventure.

I also take this opportunity to bid you Kia Orana and

welcome to my adopted home.

My name is Ben Bergman, Pearl Jewellery Designer

and Managing Director of Bergman & Sons,

Black Pearl Jewellers of the Cook Islands.

Kia Manuia.

One Family

One Gem

One Adventure

Cooks Corner RAROTONGA

Pacific Resort AITUTAKI

p +682 21 902 e luke@bergmanandsons.com

w www.bergmanandsons.com ESCAPE • 15


ook

worms

escarpment of Gallipoli, industrialised

killing fields of Western Europe and also in

Egypt and Palestine. One-hundred-andseven

lost their lives to disease or enemy

action, 73 were wounded and a further

three were prisoners. Until now little of

note has been written of their military

service 1914—1918, its origins and, indeed,

their personal stories.

So it is that we can follow the story of

soldiers from the Pacific Island through the

politics and practicalities of recruitment

through to their return home after

hostilities. They played their part in the

big Western Front battles of the Somme

and Passchendaele, and also in Egypt and

Palestine and participating in the multiple

engagements of Gaza.

Soldiers from the

Pacific

Howard Weddell

The book review is from Dr Andrew

Macdonald. Dr Andrew Macdonald is a

New Zealand-born author and military

historian living in London. He holds a

PhD (University of London) in First World

War military history. His PhD is in the

assessment of military effectiveness

in the First World War. He is the author

of three books covering the Somme

and Passchendaele battles. He is twice

published by HarperCollins.

The history of World War One is known to

many, however the participation of roughly

1000 men from the Cook Islands, Fiji,

Niue, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa and

Norfolk Island who joined the New Zealand

Army from their tranquil homelands until

recently has faded into forgotten history.

These Islanders served — whether as

individuals or part of a Pacific Islandsrecruited

unit — on the inhospitable

Howard Weddell’s first and muchanticipated

book, Soldiers from the

Pacific: The Story of Pacific Island Soldiers

in the New Zealand Expeditionary

Force in World War One, handsomely

addresses all of these matters. In timing

this tome fits nicely with the centenary

commemorations of the First World War;

in practice the research and writing began

more than a decade ago as a labour of

love that has consumed much of Howard’s

time on weekends and in evenings.

Through its pages the reader will spy

the author’s eye for fine detail, a bent to

examine his subject area fully, a careful

and even-handed approach to analysis,

as well as empathy for the men and their

ordeals. At least some of this will be linked

to Howard’s own career as a now-retired

officer in the New Zealand Army. He has

overcome a dearth of eyewitness accounts

from communities that pass history orally

from one generation to the next, but

nonetheless succeeded in producing a

compelling digest.

Anyone who has visited Rarotonga must

surely have observed that country’s

links to the First World War. Zip around

its coastal ring road on a scooter and

there is plenty of evidence to be seen,

most commonly in the form of returned

servicemen’s headstones and other

memorials. The timeless stories of these

men — some hailed as heroes, others

as so-called characters and more still

anonymous to the pages history — and

others who served alongside them, are

outlined in detail.

Such battles are only one part of a much

bigger story. Howard has spent a good

amount of attention to addressing the

subjects of disease, death, discipline

and diet throughout, along with many

other fascinating points that have been

unearthed over 12 years of research

studying military personnel files, war

diaries and other official documents. Few

historians go to this length; fewer still

manage to make it interesting reading.

What we have in Howard’s book is a topto-bottom

account of Pacific soldiers in

the NZEF, adding a fresh dimension to

the existing pool of literature about that

formation. It has the added bonus of

being the first of a kind for Pacific Island

communities and also the great and greatgreat

grandchildren of those who sailed off

for a great adventure. It is not at all going

too far to describe this book as ground

breaking and a long-overdue addition to

the historiography of the First World War.

This book can be purchased via:

www.soldiersfromthepacific.com

16 • ESCAPE


Cook Islands Art

& Architecture

Rod Dixon, Linda Crowl

and Marjorie Crocombe

Already acclaimed as a Cook Islands

taonga or treasure, this richly illustrated

485 page book provides visitors with a

colourful and comprehensive account of

the traditional and contemporary arts and

heritage of the Cook Islands.

The book’s 21 essays have been written

by Cook Islands artists, choreographers,

performers and academics, encompassing

local dance, drumming, fashion, painting,

quilting, carving, weaving, tapa making,

theatre, as well as architectural practice.

A central argument of the book is the

contrast between the specialized and

individualistic nature of western art

production and the ‘grass roots’ collectivist

nature of Cook Islands art works. While

Cook Islands visual and performance

art is often inspired by a single ta‘unga

or expert, its final form depends on

improvisation and elaboration by a

large group of artists and performers

working collectively. This is best seen in

the production of tivaivai, in dance and

dramatic performance and in choral

music where an individual idea is taken

up and elaborated by an ensemble of

artists or performers. Even the most

contemporary Cook Islands artists,

working in modern media, including

photography and painting, are often

-consciously or unconsciously - drawn

back to collaborations with their local

communities, ensuing a strong ‘grass

roots’ involvement in what - in other

countries – has contrarily become an elite

pursuit.

Published in early 2016, Cook Islands Art

and Architecture is notable not only for

its extensive illustrations and analyses of

Cook Islands drumming, dance, carving,

crafts, painting and architecture but also

for its own striking design reflecting the

colours and motifs of these most colourful

and creative islands.

Available from the University of the South

Pacific (Cook Islands), or order online at

http://au.blurb.com/b/6956145-cookislands-art-and-architecture

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

in Tahiti and being hassled by a shark.

Believing his life to be in danger he prayed

for help – and was rescued by dolphins.

Well that’s enough detail… do buy the

book, its a little treasure.

Available from Jillian Sobieska: Tel 21079,

or Bounty Bookshop

ESCAPE • 17


what's

in store

New Design from Bergman & Sons, Cook Islands Black Pearl and

Diamond Earrings in 18ct Yellow Gold Cage settings. Call into Bergmans

at Cooks Corner and see their advert on the back page.

Cook Island Moana Dolls ($45 each) are among the many

items available from Tivaevae Collectables near the weather

station on the Main Road. See their advert on page 13.

These great drink coolers and nip glasses are available in a variety of

designs at Treasure Chest. Take one or two home to keep reminding you of

your special time in the Cook Islands. Call into any of their four shops and

see their advert on page 26.

Here at The Little Red Gallery we

have a large range of prints, local and

Pacific artworks and gifts that reflect the beauty

and uniqueness of the Pacific – the people, the place,

the flavour that is The Cook Islands.

See their advert on page 51.

Show the destinations you visit with

one of our Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS

Souvenir metal number plates. Great

as a gift for your guests to promote

our tourist location! Or simply hang

in your home! Only $30.00each.

Available at Perfumes of Rarotonga

Located in Cooks Corner Avarua or

our Factory outlet in Panama next

to the airport. See their advert

opposite page.

18 • ESCAPE


Perfumes of

Rarotonga

Handmade

Island Perfumes and Gifts

Browse the wide range of locally made goods at Island

Craft including fragrant coconut liquid soap with

frangipani essence and Matau or ceremonial hooks.

Call into their shop in downtown Avarua and see their

advert on page 43.

For the best range of fishing tackle,

hire tackle and fishing charters in

Rarotonga call and see the Marlin

Queen team in the orange/yellow

hut on the Main Road at Avarua

Wharf. See their advert on page 37.

Cook Islands black pearls, south sea

gold and south sea white pearls,

fashioned into beautiful pearl strands

at Moana Gems Pearl & Art Gallery.

Call into their Pearl & Art gallery in

uptown Avarua and see their advert

on page 39.

Tamanu oil is pressed from tropical tree nuts of the Calophyllum family.

It has been traditionally used as a local medicine to help soothe the

skin and promote healing throughout the Pacific, great for

skin irritations such as eczema, psoriasis and

chickenpox. Available at CITC Pharmacy as a pure

oil or combined with other healing oils

from $12.90. See their advert on

page 67.

Cook’s

fudge

f a C t o r y

Great

Cultural

Experience!

Factory

Outlet

Mauke Miracle Oil,

120 ml:

hand cooked oil with

skin healing

qualities.

Cooks CoRneR,

avaRua Phone: 24238

www.perfumes.co.ck

www.facebook.com/PerfumesRaro

PACIFIC

WEAVE

Visit our factory:

Handmade local

products for your skin &

hair, island perfumes,

gifts and

souvenirs.

Rito Hat, Cook Islands

handmade

Woven Crafts

from around

the

Pacific and

Cook Islands

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


aro

rhythm

Kathy

Brown

A life of music

Story: Glenda Tuaine

The Cook Islands contemporary

music scene I think is like one of our

beautiful Tivaevae, bright, brilliant,

uniquely stylish and decorated with

original character. One such character is

the effervescent and talented musician

Kathy Brown. I sat down with Kathy to

talk about her current music projects and

the pathways that lead her to being the

musician she is today.

“I started at a very young age - at 12

years - as a pianist for the SDA Church and

was being taught music by a wonderful

Australian woman who has since passed

Michelle Porter” and so the story unravels

as to how Kathy one of our long standing

performers on the local music circuit

became trumpet player, pianist, guitarist,

session muso, part of the well known Cook

Islands trio Sweet Sour and Cream, solo

artist Katarina and of course Kathy Brown

for her diners at the various restaurants

she now plays in. But let’s get back to the

trumpet playing! Her father encouraged

her as a young girl to play trumpet in the

SDA brass band “And you had no choice

but I read music and if I had to pick it up I

could still blast out a tune.” She then goes

on to tell me that she would often be told

that it was not an instrument for a lady

but her Dad supported her to be multi

talented. Kathy fills me in that her family

was very musical and as he tried to get all

of her siblings involved Kathy was the one

music stuck to. “I enjoyed it. I was so keen

to get into my music I was playing and

performing, then conducting and teaching

choir, my passion just kept growing!"

Talking to Kathy you can just tell she is

in all senses a professional muso. Her

love of what she does is very matter of

fact. When she relays some of the stories

of her music career it is obvious she is a

talented entertainer and a music business

woman. Music is her passion that became

her career as she jokingly tells me how

in her younger days she chucked in her

day job doing secretarial services for a

Government department to pursue playing

more gigs at night. “Music was a hobby at

first. I had no idea it would turn into a full

time career” Kathy explains.

From 1985 to 91 Kathy was in New Zealand

working in studios as a back-up singer

and session musician for Cook Islands

artists who were recording at the Te Ono

Studios in South Auckland which were

owned by Tereapii Pita. Working alongside

Cook Islands music legends such as Apiti

Nicholas, George Brown, Apii McKinley and

Henry Story, she provided back-up vocals

and keyboard in the studio and performed

with a variety of Cook Islands artists

around Auckland. This was where Kathy

learnt her versatility and the ins and outs

of live entertainment.

In 1991 Kathy returned to Rarotonga on the

request of her grandparents who simply

wanted her to return to be with them

as she had a house back in Rarotonga.

Her music career broadens again and

she becomes a part of Sweet Sour and

Cream with members George Upu and

Tina Herman. The trio quickly becomes

one of the Cook Islands most popular trios

playing at all the hotspots of Rarotonga

and rocking Stair Case, Trader Jacks and

the then Hidies Bar at Cooks Corner.

With their fan base growing and albums

being recorded by the trio their popularity

stretches to audiences not only here in

the Cook Islands but overseas. They begin

touring in New Zealand and Australia but

not without a little controversy too! Back

on home shores a court case suddenly

makes headlines in Rarotonga over the

ownership of their name which saw a rival

Sweet Sour and Cream claim the rights

to the name. After a month long battle in

the courts Kathy, George and Tina won

the case and continued on recording

group albums with the support of Vaimutu

Records owned by Noo Vaevae Pare which

we know now as Heimana Music. But the

realities of life and new directions see the

trio disband when George and Tina both

move overseas and Kathy now embarks

on her career as a solo artist. Under the

performance name of Katarina she is

supported by Raro Records owner Nia

20 • ESCAPE


Heather and goes on to produce three solo

albums under her own recording label Ariki

Records.

“I chose to play in restaurants when Tina

and George left, first at the Edgewater

for 6 years followed by the Rarotongan

Hotel , then Pacific Resort but really I

have played just about every resort and

club on the Island!” Kathy’s style fits in

to those venues so very easily because

she is a performer who loves to play

slow easy listening music and has an

extensive repertoire. That is why she is

one Cook Islands Musician that is never

short of work, playing just about every

night of the week and as if she isn’t busy

enough Kathy is about to embark on

a new journey investing in a hut at the

Punanga Nui market in Avarua which will

become the ‘Kathy Brown School of Music

and Performance’ where she will pass

on her skills and knowledge to the next

generation of performers. “After all these

years of performing I want to help develop

the young ones. I can teach guitar, ukulele,

piano, vocal training so I am really excited

to get this underway”

When I ask Kathy if she has plans for

another album she lets me know that her

plans for a gospel album are underway

with a possible release for the end of the

year she laughs “I have gone full circle and

come back to my roots, back to the church

giving thanks to the Lord for the great

talent he blessed me with so a Gospel

Album is my composition in my Reo (Cook

Islands Maori language)”.

Talking with Kathy I know that her Gospel

Album will be an inspired piece of work

and once her school is up she will be a

formidable teacher. I am excited that

Kathy will be developing a resource centre

for our young people to tap in to their own

aspiring musical talents. Kathy is helping

to create the new bright patterns of the

Musical Tivaevae of Cook Islands music.

When you are in Rarotonga you can

see Kathy performing at the following

places:

• Monday - Moana Restaurant

• Thursday & Sunday – The Muri Night

market

• Wednesday & Friday nights and

Sunday lunch at the Islander Hotel

• Kathy’s albums are available from

Raro Records in Avarua Township and

Heimana Music in Auckland

Cook Islands Retailers

Moana Gems

The Pearl Lounge

Paka’s Pearls

Goldmine

Far from the clamour of our everyday urban

world, in the vast blueness of the Pacific,

lies the pristine necklace of the Northern

Cook Islands. The remote home of Avaiki

pearls. From their clear depths, the profusion

of green, blue, aubergine and silvery hues

in Avaiki pearls capture the rich colours

of the lagoon.

For discerning jewellers and jewellery buyers

who demand beauty, rarity and integrity,

Avaiki pearls have a special appeal. Only the

highest grades of pearls sustainably harvested

from the lagoon become Avaiki pearls.

Their consistently deeper nacre creates higher

lustre and resilience - a rare beauty to stand

the test of time.

www.avaikipearls.com

ESCAPE • 21


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 –

a pacific

Paradise

Story: Rachel Reeves

Once you’ve visited an outer island,

your perspective changes; you

notice the modern conveniences

available on Rarotonga, the trucks and

supermarkets and nightclubs, but still

you appreciate the pace of life. Still you

notice that there aren’t any stoplights and

the same musician greets every flight.

You notice that people wave at oncoming

traffic. You notice there are only two bus

routes: clockwise and anti-clockwise.

You notice that on Rarotonga, time slows

down.

Photo: Kirby Morejohn

When there’s nothing on either television

channel, when you don’t have easy access

to Wi-Fi, you learn to be outside, smell

the flowers, taste the fruit, appreciate the

sun and stars, and commit to memory

the natural beauty that’s been seducing

travelers for centuries.

The first visitors to Rarotonga were the

Māori people who came, depending on

who you believe, from either Avaiki – the

mythological centre of Polynesia – or East

Asia or South America. Some continued

on to settle New Zealand – you can read

about their canoes

on plaques at Avana,

the site of their departure – but others

were hooked. They had travelled over

thousands of kilometres, searching for

islands, navigating not with GPS but by

reading the stars, swells, and skies. They

were migratory people, comfortable at

sea, but on Rarotonga they built homes

of coconut trunks and fronds, planted

crops, and created a society in which

everyone had enough to eat. Rarotonga’s

inhabitants split into three villages –

Takitumu, Te Au O Tonga, and Puaikura,

22 • ESCAPE


each with its own governing chief.

Centuries later the Europeans arrived,

and were also entranced by the island’s

breathtaking beauty. A book written in

1842 documenting early missionary work

describes Rarotonga this way: “its hills

and valleys are rich in the fruits of the

earth: mighty trees overshadow the land,

and grow down to the very borders of the

sea; not in a dense unwholesome forest,

shutting out the light of the sun; but

scattered here and there among the green

hills, and affording a delicious shade;

some are covered with beautiful flowers

and some with light foliage, waving like

plumes in the wind.”

Nearly 200 years later, Rarotonga’s

splendour continues to make this kind

of impact. Despite the luxury resorts

and 24-hour petrol stations that

have since sprung from its soil, the

island is still the kind of beautiful that

makes your heart swell. You can’t

watch an Arorangi sunset or climb one

of Rarotonga’s mountains without

feeling awestruck by the beautiful

world we live in. You can’t drive a

motorbike around the island, with the

wind in your face and the salt on your

skin, past coconut palms, banana and

papaya trees, and remain undecided about

whether you love this place.

Rarotonga might be just 32 kilometres

around, but she is versatile, with creeks

and swimming holes and waterfalls some

locals don’t even know about. Take a walk

or ride a scooter along the back road

or into the mountains; hear the air get

quieter and the birds get louder. Watch the

bush get thicker. You won’t get lost if you

remember to use the sound of the waves

as your compass.

From the air

The best way to see all of Rarotonga is

from the air. If you miss the view when the

plane lands, and if you’re willing to shell

out the money, Air Rarotonga does private

aerial tours in a small Cessna. A cheaper

option is to hike one of the island’s many

peaks. Most require a tour guide, but a

hike to The Needle, and across the middle

of the island, is manageable and clearly

marked. You’ll need good fitness and good

shoes. Locals are friendly; ask anyone

how to get to the start of the “cross-island

walk” in Avatiu and they’ll point you in the

right direction.

Be captivated and charmed

by Cook Island’s only

Semi-Submersible

Avatiu Harbour

5 min walk (west) from Punanga Nui Market

Ph +682 55901 or +682 55903

Tours leave 9am, 11am, 2pm and 4pm

(sea conditions dependent)

Bookings essential for 9am and 4pm tours

Please arrive 10 minutes prior ESCAPE to departure • 23 time


The ascent is steep, but the view from

the top makes the trudge worthwhile.

From The Needle, one of Rarotonga’s

tallest mountains, you can see every

shore, ringed by a translucent lagoon,

the white foam of waves crashing on the

reef, and the yawning blue Pacific. It’s the

kind of view that makes you feel tiny and

insignificant, but also like you rule the

world.

Descending down the other side of

The Needle will lead you to Wigmore’s

Waterfall, one of the locals’ favourite

swimming spots.

For a more informative cross-island

experience, book a tour with Pa, a

traditional healer who grew up climbing

mountains and studying the medicinal

properties of plants. Pa takes tourists

across the island six days a week.

From the water

To behold Rarotonga from the sea is to

channel the joy its settlers must have

felt. They would have been at once weary

from the long voyage and awestruck by

the dramatic mountains and white-sand

beaches of their new home.

There are dozens of ways to experience

this view.

You can spend the day on a fishing

charter, casting for deep-sea fish under

the tropical sun, or you can take a ride on

a glass-bottom boat. Both Captain Tamas

Lagoon Cruizes and Koka Lagoon Cruises

make daily trips to Koromiri, a motu (islet)

off Muri Beach. Each tour features a local

string band and a barbecued lunch of

freshly caught fish. At low tide, the Muri

lagoon is shallow enough to walk to the

motu with a picnic lunch and a towel.

Dive shops hire out snorkeling gear, and

the best place to see marine life is in an

area protected by a ra’ui – a traditional

ban on fishing and collecting seafood,

imposed and lifted by chiefs. Signs mark

the ra’ui; most snorkelers prefer the ra’ui

at Fruits of Rarotonga in Tikioki and at

The Rarotongan Resort & Spa in Arorangi.

If you’re a certified SCUBA diver – or if

you want to get certified – visit one of the

three dive shops on the island.

You can rent kayaks, take yoga classes

on stand-up paddleboards or sign up

for a kitesurfing lesson. You can swim to

The Boiler – what’s left of the SS Maitai,

shipwrecked in 1916 – and then jump off it

into the sea.

If you prefer to stay on the shore, engage

with the sea by watching an outrigger

canoe race, held weekly during the sport’s

season. In November teams arrive from

all over the world to compete in Vaka Eiva,

an international paddling competition

and Rarotonga’s largest sporting event.

Between the months of July and October,

be on the lookout for whales. You can learn

more about them at the Whale & Wildlife

Centre in Atupa.

And if you’re a surfer, you know the drill:

respect the locals. It’s their wave.

On land

There’s always something to do on

Rarotonga. There’s sport to watch – on

Saturdays, village clubhouses host rugby,

rugby league, netball, cricket, lawn

bowling, and soccer matches, depending

on the season. They also throw socials

afterward, with cheap drinks and low entry

fees.

There’s a nine-hole golf course in Nikao,

with a bar and eatery inside its clubhouse,

and two miniature golf courses in Arorangi.

There’s also a driving range in Vaimaanga.

You can play paintball and laser tag; take

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,

24 • ESCAPE


LOWEST PRICES GUARANTEED!

FREE PICK UP & DROP OFF FROM YOUR ACCOMMODATION

SMALL CARS

from as low as

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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 Prison.

The Punanga Nui marketplace on a Saturday morning is an

essential itinerary item. For locals, it’s a social outing; everyone

goes. From 6 a.m., you can visit the open-air market to get your

fresh nu (coconut water) and local fruits and vegetables. You can

also buy cooked food, both international – the crepes and waffles

are popular – and local delicacies. There’s something for every

eater, from smoothies to stir-fry to sausage rolls. The Punanga Nui

market is also a one-stop souvenir shop. You can buy everything

from island music to large handmade quilts to coconut oil to

hand-painted pareu (sarongs). Mamas sell hats and bags woven

out of coconut fibre. Pearl farmers sell their black pearls, cultivated

and harvested on the island of Manihiki, 1100 kilometres north of

Rarotonga.

If you miss the Punanga Nui market, there are souvenir shops

around the island, most of them in Avarua, where you can pick

up something for friends and family members who had the great

misfortune of not joining you in paradise.

CAR & BIKE RENTAL

MADE EASY!!!

SCOOTERS

from as low as

$12.50 a day

A special way to immerse in the island culture is to attend a

Sunday service at the Cook Islands Christian Church. The Cook

Islands, like much of Polynesia, readily embraced Christianity;

though the missionaries ruled in authoritarian ways, 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

*All prices are PER DAY

3 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS

HEAD OFFICE: (Arorangi): +682 22632 Open 7 days

TOWN OFFICE: +682 24632 Open 6 days (Mon – Sat)

MURI OFFICE: +682 21632 Open 7 days

PLUS A WIDE RANGE OF PEOPLE MOVERS ESCAPE & LARGE • 25 CARS

AT DISCOUNTED PRICES. JUST ASK OUR STAFF!!


Come in to view our extensive

range of sarongs, island clothing,

footwear and t-shirts. Rarotonga’s

largest selection of souvenirs,

crafts and gift ideas.

Mana Court, Avarua | Ph: 22325

Rarotongan Resort | Ph: 27325

Edgewater Resort | Ph: 28325

Pacific Village Muri | Ph: 21325

Hats

Salt &

Pepper

shakers

26 • ESCAPE

treasure@oyster.net.ck

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 excellent resources for

those seeking more information about

Rarotonga and its history. The latter hires

out books, or you can 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 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.

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.

At an island night, you’ll also get to try

local food. Dishes like ika mata (fresh

raw fish in coconut cream), rukau (taro

leaves in coconut cream), taro, and poke

(arrowroot and coconut cream with a

pudding-like texture) are available at some

shops and restaurants, but at an island

night you can have them all, buffet-style.

Hotels and cultural centres offer island

nights for a range of budgets; talk to your

accommodator about your options.

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

to experience the ultimate celebration of

Cook Islands culture. A bit of background:

Rarotonga’s chiefs consented to becoming

a British protectorate in 1888; all of the

Cook Islands were later handed over to

colonisers from New Zealand. In 1965,

the country became self-governing,

and every August, Rarotonga holds a

festival to celebrate. Called Te Maeva Nui,

the weeklong event features a parade

of floats decorated with local foliage

and a spectacular nightly show at the

National Auditorium, in which villages and

islands compete in singing, dancing, and

drumming.

Weddings

Rarotonga is a popular spot for destination

weddings; hundreds of tourists get married

here each year. On-island wedding

planners can design a special ceremony

on the beach, and liaise with hair and

makeup artists, caterers, a celebrant, and

photographers/videographers before you

arrive. All you have to do is bring your

loved ones and prepare mentally for a

wedding you won’t soon forget.

Cook Islanders are notoriously generous

people, some of the most hospitable in the

world. They will make you feel welcome,

as long as you treat them with respect, the

way you would anyone who invites you

into her home. Be mindful of the fragile

island environment also; as the travel

adage goes, take nothing but photos and

leave nothing but footprints.

But above all, enjoy yourself and a place

that makes you feel a little bit more alive.

When you leave, you will join the ranks of

hundreds of thousands of people around

the world who think often of, and talk

often about, Rarotonga, who dream of the

day they’ll return.


Quality

Cook Islands

Pearls

COOK ISLANDS

Top Jewellery & Gift Store

From our very own

Manihiki Island Farm

BEST PRICES • QUALITY • SELECTION • SERVICE

BLACK PEARL JEWELLERY

- 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

www.rarotongablackpearls.com

COOK ISLANDS ROAD RULES

The main island of Rarotonga is circled by 2 roads – the main road along the coast or Ara

Tapu and the back road or Ara Metua. Driving is on the left hand side of the road – the

same as in New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom. If you have a full driving licence

from your home country then you are entitled to drive in the Cook islands for up to 6

months. If you are here longer then you must apply for a Cook Islands driving licence which

can be obtained from the Cook Islands Police headquarters in downtown Avarua.

THE ROAD RULES ARE SIMPLE...

1

Maximum speed at all times for all vehicles is 50 km/h

2 If you do not have a Cook Islands motor cycle licence you must wear a helmet.

3

4

5

6

In villages, passing schools and in town the maximum

speed is 30 km/h

In villages, passing schools and in town the

maximum speed is 30 km/h

Drink driving is an offence – you could face

Court and if convicted a fine or jail sentence

Be aware of dogs or animals running out from

properties wandering mainly on the back road

You are here for a good time, do not ruin it through

speed or drink driving. Call a Taxi 28862, 50908, 72888

or take an organised tour of the Island.

IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 999

NON EMERGENCIES: Police 22499 • Hospital 22664 • Power faults 25257

AITUTAKI: Police 31015 • Hospital 31698 • Fire 31829

ATIU: Police 33120 • Hospital 33664

PEARL FARMER • RETAILER

• WHOLESALER

Lesley & Temu Okotai

Harbour House, Avatiu

P. 20635

farmdirectpearls@gmail.com

ESCAPE27


island

cuisine

FLAMBÉ

RESTAURANT

Crown Beach Resort & Spa

Situated directly at the entrance to the

Crown Beach Resort, Flambé Restaurant

was opened on the 23rd of May 2016.

Since its inception, our team of dedicated

and attentive staff have lovingly taken

the Flambé name and its reputation for

dynamic service and outstanding cuisine

to another level of fine dining in Rarotonga.

The Flambé menu has been inspired by

a Cook Island legend of how fire was

introduced into the World. It now blends

the fusion of Fire and Ice in its menu and

ambient outlook.

The ambience boasts the use of original

local artwork, a locally made champagne

flute chandelier, mood lighting, an outside

dining gazebo and bar, and a coral

waterfall that compliments flame torches

throughout the garden.

Live nightly entertainment on opening

nights, with the addition of a fire dance

display on Fridays.

With a menu that not only uses as much

local produce and fish as possible, but also

offers international dishes that include

ostrich, venison, duck, and much more.

This restaurant’s style of cuisine celebrates

the classical culinary art of Flambé, with

succulent meat cuts and local fish taking

on that characteristic char-grilled delicious

finish.

Desserts at Flambé are a delectable

celebration of the taste buds. The

Signature dessert of the Crepe Suzettes

provides entertainment for the eyes

being prepared especially for guests at

their table, or, that of a hand-made ice

igloo - encapsulating the famous Belgium

chocolate and almond semifreddo.

Our outdoor Bar, boasts restaurant

themed inspired cocktails and a large

beverage selection of varietals, wines,

bubbles, beers, and non-alcoholic

beverages.

Flambé also caters for private events for

the groups wanting something different,

spectacular, and a fine dining experience.

Flambé is also Adults only – a bonus for

the guests wishing to have a peaceful,

intimate, and authentic evening.

Open for dinner only Tuesday to

Saturday. Fire dance show on Saturday

only. Bookings essential P +682 23953

28 • ESCAPE


OPEN 7 NIGHTS · MAR – OCT

WED – MON • REST OF THE YEAR

Club Raro

Avarua

(Town)

Located in Arorangi on the Main Road

(500 metres from the Edgewater toward Avarua)

Matavera

N

Edgewater

W E

Arorangi

Muri

S

The Rarotonga Beach Resort

Titikaveka

· Open from 6pm - best to reserve a table!

· Return transfers available by

arrangement & location

· Live music with Tani & Rose on Mon nights

· Fully licensed

Gordon, Rebecca & The Kikau Team

Phone: 26860 ˙ Mobile: +682 55869

Email: kikauhut@oyster.net.ck

Check out our

‘all-day’ breakfast menu

and join us for awesome

coffee, friendly service

and great home style

cooking.

ape Magazine Ad Oct v1.indd 2

21/10/16 3:37 pm

Try our custard square

and cheesecake

– local favourites!

Open Sunday – Friday 8.00am – 3pm

Located on the main road at Muri Village.

Wifi available.

P. 20858


KORU CAFÉ

Aitutaki

Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times

This family owned and run café, located

on the way to O’otu Beach, first opened

in January 2008 and has a well-deserved

reputation for consistently delicious food

and great service. A local patron described

it as “professional cuisine with creative

flair”. The café is proudly owned and

operated by Steve and Trina Armstrong.

Trina says, “It had been a dream of ours to

one day move to Aitutaki to build a café

and just enjoy life...and well, here we are.

We’re just loving it.” They and their three

children enjoy living near Trina’s parents

who host an accommodation on the island

and have a plantation where they grow

much of the local produce used at the café.

Why Koru Café? Trina explains: “Koru is a

New Zealand Maori word for the design

used as our logo. The koru depicts the

growth of a new fern – the opening of the

frond – and represents new beginnings,

growth, peace and harmony; which is very

symbolic for us, and our move to Aitutaki

for our new start.”

a supply of large crayons, and a few

children’s books are on the table between

comfy couches. Locals often come to the

café for coffee or for one of their delicious

meals. Visitors are delighted by the variety

on the menu and the specials of the day.

Specials include lightly seared fresh caught

tuna, or tapas such as steak with a mild

blue cheese dressing served on a board.

Spicy tomato soup is available in season,

and sometimes a huge bowl of chicken

soup – good for the soul. Crispy Salt and

Pepper Squid is a local favorite along with

other seafood dishes. All day breakfast

items include omelettes made of local free

range eggs, brioche French toast with fruit

compote, cream and real maple syrup, and

rashers of crispy bacon.

Hearty sandwiches are served on

homemade breads all baked onsite,

accompanied by tasty sauces and salsas.

There are gluten free options and several

vegetarian dishes seasoned with fresh

herbs, as well as a huge steak sandwich

for big appetites. Wifi is available and

tourists often can be seen booting up their

laptops or tablets.

Koru Cafe’s original desserts, from coconut

cheesecake to sticky date pudding to

“death by chocolate” brownie with ice

cream, are “to die for.”

Special events include jazz concerts with

open mic, and they are open for dinner

service during the high season as well.

Guests are happy to discover the made to

order take-away meals such as BBQ pack

and “Heat and Eat” meals, or they can

order in advance anything they choose

from the menu. Delivery also available.

Koru Café (www.korucafe.biz) is an ideal

place to bring family and friends for a

gourmet feast with home-style touches by

this island family.

By Linda Kavelin-Popov

www.lindakavelin.com

The café is open seven days a week from

7 AM to 3 PM, and is an ideal place for a

coffee, all day breakfast or a wide range

of lunch dishes and daily specials. A local

said, “They serve the best coffee on the

island. They have an espresso machine

and they know how to use it.” They use

Lavazza Italian coffees, both hot and iced.

Patrons can sit outside at umbrella shaded

picnic tables or inside the restaurant,

surrounded by large screened windows

with soft Pacific breezes blowing through.

Children are given colouring pages, and

30 • ESCAPE


in a

c o n t a i n e r

Please

support the

advertisers

in this

magazine…

they make it possible

for you to read this

for free.

Casual Beach Side Cafe

Authentic Thai food,

tasty Mexican, burgers,

fish and chips, coffee

home-made desserts

+ we’re fully licensed.

Opening Hours

Sunday to Friday

8.30am - 2.30pm

Ph 20020

Find

us on your

map at the

halfway mark

down South at

Titikaveka...

SALTWATER CAFE - RAROTONGA

2013 & 2016

ESCAPE • 31

www.themooringfishcafe.com


If you are a guest of the hotel, eggs are

included as part of the breakfast buffet as

the hotel is owned by the local egg farmer.

Non guests are permitted to use the pool,

as long as they order Food and Beverage

from the Restaurant. The pool is one of

the bigger ones on the island and located

in the centre of the hotel complex which

keeps it nice and sheltered and of course

is child free.

SILVER SANDS

RESTAURANT

Muri Beach Club Hotel

Silversands is perfectly positioned to give

you a choice of dining experiences that are

unrivalled. Whether it is casual poolside

with cocktail in hand, inside the restaurant

with a melody of island tunes sashaying

across the room in a more formal setting,

or being spell bound by the views of the

stunning Muri Lagoon.

SilverSands located at the boutique adult

only Muri Beach Club Hotel has it all!

The food is simply superb and caters to all

tastes including those that are gluten and

lactose intolerant.

Muri Beach Club Hotel is open every day of

the year, including public holidays(without

the surcharge). SilverSands has some of

the friendliest staff you can come across,

and if you are really lucky and order a

Snickers Bar cocktail then it is personalised

by writing your name on the glass which is

really cool!

There are a couple of theme nights like

Polynesian Island Night on the Wednesday

(we make an exception for kids on this

night). This is seriously one of the best

shows with amazing costumes and

accompanied by the fire dance show.

Really good value at only $59per person

for a huge buffet feast with a bit of

everything, plus the show up close and

personal.

Pig and Prawn night is the Friday and a

bit more of a hands on experience. The

fall off the bone Pork Spare Ribs and the

tantalising King Prawns are served on hot

plates accompanied by a much needed

finger bowl.

Sunday ends the week with Reef and Beef

night, the juiciest tender steaks or freshly

caught fish, with a menu of side dishes - I

am getting hungry just thinking about it.

All the theme nights are accompanied

by Live Music which certainly adds to the

ambience.

So in summary, great staff, great location,

great food, no kids – what more could one

ask for!

32 • ESCAPE


Tuoro

Licensed

Muri Village

Fresh flavours of Mexico for

dinner, plus fresh fish, pizza,

vegan and gluten free.

Open for Dinner from 5.30pm

Takeaways available

See you there amigo!

P. 20693 or 26487

TAMARIND

HOUSE

RESTAURANT & BAR

LUNCH: TUES LUNCH

– FRI 11.30 AM – 2 PM

(CLOSED MON AND SAT LUNCH)

THUR & FRI 11:30am - 2pm

DINNER: MON – SAT FROM 5.30 PM

SUNDAY BRUNCH:

DINNER

(APRIL – OCTOBER)

MON FROM - SAT 9 AM from – 1.305.30pm

PM

A beautiful heritage colonial house,

located on the seafront, just 3 minutes

from the town centre.

Dine by by candlelight in in the the peaceful peacful

seclusion of a romantic tropical setting.

THE THE PERFECT VENUE FOR YOUR YOUR

WEDDING OR PRIVATE FUNCTION

EMAIL tamarind@oyster.net.ck

www.tamarindrarotonga.com

PHONE 26487

Casual and friendly

Asian street-style café

Asian Fusion including

vegan & gluten free options

Open for dinner from 5.30pm

Closed Sunday & Tuesday

Takeaways Available

Muri Village

Phone: 22232 or 26487

Fresh Delicious Tropical Cuisine

Unique al fresco dining in town

Extensive choice of vegan and fish dishes

Takeaways Available

Open Monday - Saturday

newplace@oyster.net.ck

Ph 22279 or 22299

Lunchtime casual dining with a

selection of flavoursome tapas

& main dishes. 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

Open for Lunch from 11am

Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun

PH. 21233

Great Food!

Great Views!

Great serVice!

blackrok@oyster.net.ck

ESCAPE • 33

www.blackrockvillas.com


NAUTILUS

RESORT

RESTAURANT

Nautilus Resort Rarotonga, absolute

beachfront overlooking the sparkling Muri

Beach and lagoon and just 20 minutes

by road from Rarotonga’ s international

airport is already adding to its trophy

cabinet by taking out the inaugural

Supreme Award for Restaurant of the Year,

topping a group of Cook Islands eateries

and wowing the public with their culinary

creations by winning the La Chaine

des Rotisseurs and Cook Islands Chefs

Association Restaurant of the Year Awards

dinner.

The laid-back luxury of Nautilus Resort

offers a fresh new dining experience

showcasing signature tastes featuring a

Polynesian inspired restaurant, absolute

pure South Pacific beachfront. The cuisine

is Cook Island - Asian - European fusion,

using local seasonal ingredients and

produce, with of course an emphasis on

organic fresh produce and plenty of fresh

fish and seafood.

High-ceilinged and overlooking an infinity

pool that seems to flow directly into the

lagoon, the restaurant opens at 7.30am

for breakfast, which drifts through to lunch

and an inviting all-day menu and then

slides effortlessly through Nauti Hour (aka

Happy Hour) and into dinner until late.

Nautilus Executive Chef Carlos Rebello

is originally from Brazil, growing up in

the professional kitchens of his mother

and grandmother’s own family Brazilian

restaurant … but drawn to the love of his

surfing and beach life (and a Kiwi wife!) the

last 8 years have been spent working in

Australian and New Zealand restaurants.

When asking Carlos his #1 reason that took

him to work in the Cooks, it was the ability

to harvest the most freshest wild produce

from the sea (especially his favourite fish –

proximity to the freshest Tuna), and being

able to work closely with local villagers

(and assisting local growers) to provide

seasonal indigenous produce such as the

Dragonfruit, local varieties of Taro, and

Maniota (similar to arrowroot) - creating

unique dishes to Nautilus called ‘Smart

Food’. Additionally, he grows organic

produce right here at the resort … he can

explore and teach guests about Cook

Island native fruits, vegetables and herbs

all in the Nautilus’s own ‘edible gardens’.

This philosophy is a resort wide planting

philosophy that sees abundant grown

produce throughout the resort.

A la carte favourites from Carlos are, of

course the traditional Cook Island dish,

with a Nautilus twist on ‘Ika Mata’ – purely

for the use of the absolutely freshest

use of raw game fish Tuna and our local

coconut, and the Nautilus Signature dish

– ‘Polynesian Fish’ using the very best

fish available each day (at the time of

writing the deep sea Red Snapper was

featured), served on a bed of black ink

(squid) risotto, fennel, saffron aioli and

pineapple salsa. For the sweet lovers – the

Nautilus ‘Banana Cigars’ are always a

favourite – using local Rarotongan ‘finger

bananas’ wrapped in a light filo pastry,

with homemade chilli chocolate sauce

and resort made whiskey ice cream. Meat

lovers are in for a treat with a new menu

just launched featuring ‘Duo of Beef’ –

two cuts of beef, succulent filet mignon

matched with a slow cooked short rib,

served with garlic potato puree and local

Rukau (cooked Taro leaves). For Under-12s

there’ll be delicious and nutritious fresh

pasta dishes, meatballs, and of course the

freshest hand caught fish and ‘best’ chips.

To accompany the ‘smart’ food they also

have a casual Beach Bar serving light

meals from 11am to 9pm, where lunch

includes a selection of meat and fish

burgers. And don’t forget the famed Nauti

Mojito, which includes a couple of secret

ingredients and pioneered the sugar-cane

swizzle stick . . . Nauti but nice!

34 • ESCAPE


Located at PUNGANA NUI MARKET

(BESIDE THE PLAYGROUND),

AVARUA

Authentic

Asian Cuisine

A TASTE OF ASIA

Fish N Chips

$13.00

Sashimi & Carpaccio

Ika Mata

Seafood Platters

Fish, Chips & Salad

Gourmet Sandwiches

All day breakfast

And heaps more

A short stroll east of town | Phone - 28830

Now with online menu - www.bamboojacks.net

We also have an air-conditioned private room for

dining & meetings (with conference facilities)

Ika Mata

$10.00

Mon 8am – 4pm

Tues – Fri 8am – 9pm

Sat 8am – 2pm

P. 23 577 Phone orders welcome

Fishermans

Platter

$18.00

Mon – Sat 6:30am – 4pm

P. 23 575

Phone orders welcome

No.1

for seafood!

try our

Pizza Shack

eat in or take out

PH 26464 • info@traderjacks.co.ck

Located

beside the

playground

Punanga

Nui Market,

Avarua

Fresh Sushi

Cabinet food daily

Freshly squeezed

Juice Boosts

Healthy & delicious

Smoothies

Espresso Coffee

& Cake

And heaps more

Best chocolate

brownie in Raro!

ESCAPE • 35


gone

fishing

Story:

Phillip Nordt

OPAH CARPACCIO

1/ flakey salt, fresh lime juice, freshly

grated coconut, green onion, petite

salad of herbs.

The OPAH

Opahs (also commonly known as

moonfish) are large, colourful,

deep-bodied pelagic lampriform

fish. The moonfish is actually a commercial

Fish Species. This fish can get very large and

weigh up to 1,000 or more kilos.

The upper part of the fish looks like tuna

and tastes like a cross between tuna and

salmon, but their pectoral muscles - the

ones that power the fins on the side of the

body - look and taste like beef. Opah can

be eaten raw, but they're also great on the

barbecue or smoked.

Today I am sharing a few secrets on what

to do with fresh moon fish. The meat is soft

and can be carefully bruised, we fillet it

carefully, considering the different parts of

flesh for different uses, wrap them in cling

film or vac pack and put them straight on

ice. I do not like waste and decide for a little

appetiser with left-over bits.

Recipe per servIng

Ingredients

Moon fish 150g, freshly grated coconut

50g, green onions x 2 tablespoons, Herbs:

Coriander, Maire – bush basil, mesclun

salad handful, Asian rice wine dressing,

Method

Centre Plate the small Mesclun & fresh

herb salad and add light Asian dressing.

Cut slices of moonfish around 3-5 cm

diameter and place 2 rounds around the

plate and the petit salad. Sprinkle with

freshly grated coconut, thin slices of green

onions, add lime juice, freshly cracked

pepper and flaky sea-salt (Marlborough….

but anything like Maldon will do).

Salt & Pepper to taste.

Rito extra Virgin Coconut Oil, fresh lime

juice, garnish with fresh Coriander & Bush

Basil.

STEAMED OPAH

2/ over cucumber shavings, palm

sugar, red onions, ginger, mirin & rito

extra virgin local coconut oil.

Ingredients

Moon Fish fillets from the upper part 200g

each x 4

Red Onion quartered and cut into leaves x

4 tablespoons each

Tamari Soy 1 tablespoon

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for frying x 2

tablespoons

Cucumber shavings 4 cups

Palm sugar x 4 cubes

Red Onion wedges, 200g

Fresh Ginger 8 thin slices

Mirin ½ cup

Method

Start by preparing all vegetables, ready to

serve.

Sauté Cucumber shavings with all

ingredients in a deep pan or wok with the

coconut Oil….season with salt/pepper.

Place the slice of Opah on top and cover to

steam for about 5 minutes.

To Serve

Place vegetables on a plate and place

Opah fillet on top, pour on sauce, squeeze

some fresh lemon, garnish with the herbs

and serve.

CHIMI CHURRI OF OPAH

3/ plantain fritters, paw paw salsa,

smoked paprika & lime aioli.

4 Persons

Ingredients

800g Opah fillets (200g of Opah red meat

fillet per person)

Plantain 600g, 2 tablespoons tapioca

flour, 2 eggs, ½ red Onion julienne, Salt/

Pepper to season.

Plantain Fritter: Method: boil plantain,

cool then chop into thin long strips, add all

above ingredients, shape in to patties and

grill on griddle to serve.

Chimi Churri Rub: 1 tablespoon of each:

Fresh ginger, fresh chilli, fresh garlic, spring

Onion, fresh coriander, cracked black

pepper, Flaky Salt, Extra Virgin Coconut

Oil, mix together with Opah Fillets and

marinate up to one hour.

36 • ESCAPE


Paw Paw Salsa: ½ Paw Paw chopped into

brunoise (fine dice), ½ Red Onion chopped

into brunoise, 2 tablespoons Coriander

chopped, 1 fresh Chilli chopped, 2 Lime

squeezed. Mix all ingredients together and

set aside for use.

Smoked Paprika/Lime Aioli: Use 1 cup

freshly house made or best Mayonnaise,

crush 2 Garlic cloves and make into paste

with salt, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

powder, juice of 2 limes, mix together and

set aside for use.

Bluesky Emerging Tourism

Leader Award 2018

– On the Beach (OTB) Restaurant & Bar

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ESCAPE • 37


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38 • ESCAPE


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ESCAPE • 39


The

of

Atoll

Pukapuka

People, Prayer,

and Play

Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a

Borofsky

Photos: Talcual Films

Homecoming Documentary

Most tourists will never make it

to Pukapuka because of the

transport challenges. Cargo boats

go four times a year, but have no

set schedule. The boat is perpetually

scheduled for “tomorrow.” If you do

manage to catch the boat, the fiveday

boat journey involves sea-water

sprays and clothes that remain damp

for days. There is little room for

romanticising the cargo boat journey

to Pukapuka.

Once arriving in Pukapuka, a visitor can stay for the three-days it

takes to offload the cargo or stay indefinitely until the next boat

comes. Air Rarotonga flies occasional charters to Pukapuka, but

government officials often fill the seats. When available, a oneway

ticket costs around eighteen hundred dollars. Air Rarotonga

also offers a “Northern Atolls Expedition” of Pukapuka, Penryhn,

and Manihiki on a private jet, but the stay is usually only a day. To

visit Pukapuka, visitors need: permission from the island chiefs, a

very flexible travel schedule, money, and patience. Pukapuka must

be one of the hardest places in the world to reach. It is no wonder

that tourists rarely make it to this northernmost atoll of the Cook

Islands.

You can, however, easily visit Pukapuka from an armchair. Many

have written riveting accounts of the atoll. More anthropologists

have studied Pukapuka then any other island in the Cook Islands.

My father, Robert Borofsky, wrote an anthropological account

Making History: Pukapukan and Anthropological Constructions of

Knowledge. The Beagleholes wrote The Ethnography of Pukapuka.

Japanese archaeologists carbon dated dog bones found on

Pukapuka back two thousand years. It is a place well studied and

archived.

Adventure novelists have left their mark here too. Johnny Frisbie,

born of a Pukapukan mother and an American father, wrote her

memoir Miss Ulysses of Pukapuka, at age fifteen. Her father,

Robert Dean Frisbie, wrote the novels The Book of Pukapuka, Mr.

Moonlight’s Island, Island of Desire among others. I’m at work

on a book called Wale (Home) about my own experiences here.

With more Pukapukans living in New Zealand and Australia then

in Pukapuka, it is as much an imagined homeland. If you don’t

physically make it to Pukapuka, you can close your eyes, take in

40 • ESCAPE


the wind, and imagine a place that sails

on a different plane. It is a place that

prioritizes play, people, and prayer.

On a typical morning, four-year-old

Tangitane splashes in the aquamarine

lagoon, singing a song to herself while

tickling the stomach of a speckled mud

crab. Her neighbour Anne-Tailor runs

to join her. The older children walk the

sandy road home from school. They strip

off their starched navy and white school

uniforms and jump into the lagoon too.

Kids wrestle one another and try to catch

sardines with their bare hands. The sun

descends over the palm trees casting a

warm mango-coloured glow over this

three square kilometre atoll. A church bell

rings. Mothers and older siblings gather

wet children home for a cold bucket

shower and a warm dinner of fish and

taro.

On Pukapuka, children play from dawn to

dusk. With a population of four hundred

and fifty and no cars, children feel safe

to freely romp through nature. For toys,

Tangitane has two hundred children, the

lagoon, and the mud crabs. In Pukapuka,

the village, the natural surroundings, and

older children raise one another.

Nature looks after the elderly too. Mama

Maoake and Mama Langi sit on the shore

of the lagoon “taking in the wind.” Every

evening, they take in the wind, catch up on

the village gossip, and watch the children

play. Mama Maoake is in her seventies or

eighties. She doesn’t know her age, and

who cares really. Having spent her entire

life on the sister atolls of Nassau and

Pukapuka, she speaks little English. Some

days she weaves, some days she peels

taro, some days she plays cards with the

other mamas until three in the morning.

Most evenings, she sits with Mama Langi

taking in the wind, angi angi te matangi,

while the children splash nearby.

Pukapuka sits only ten degrees below the

equator. The atoll is at nature’s mercy

too. Summer brings a scorching heat and

truly “only mad-dogs and Englishmen

On Pukapuka, children play from dawn to dusk.

With a population of four hundred and fifty

and no cars, children feel safe to freely romp

through nature.

go out in the noonday sun.” The intensity

of the heat means taking in the wind is

an art form. Taking in the wind means

searching for the windiest spot, feeling

the light air dance on your skin, chattering

with a friend, and letting your thoughts

meander across the achingly sapphire

sky. Modernised young couples often

ride around on a motor-scooter along the

sandy roads to catch the wind. Finding

and taking in the wind is a full-time job.

The heat and natural environment forces

time to move differently in Pukapuka.

People often sleep during the day, and

work hard at night when the air cools.

It makes sense to fish on the reef when

the sun goes down and the fish sleep.

It makes sense to weave a mat with a

group of women when the moon is full.

It makes sense to catch coconut crabs

when they wander out of their holes at

night. The question, “what time are you

going fishing?” is usually answered with

“it depends. I’m waiting on the tide.” If

the tide is optimal at two in the morning,

well that is the right time. Many of the

men wear watches but few of them work.

The men follow the time of the tide. “We

are vampires,” laughs one teenager who

has watched a few too many episodes of

Twilight. Life comes alive at night when the

cool wind blows.

Rather than functioning as a capitalist

society, Pukapuka functions as a

Polynesian commune. Pukapuka, along

with Mangaia and Mitiaro, have no

land court. Traditional leaders make

the decisions about land, practice, and

protocol. In Pukapuka, most of the land

is owned communally by the villages.

Pio Lavalua, a chief of Ngake and

current Executive Officer has a salt and

pepper beard and enjoys philosophical

meanderings. He philosophises like a Yoda

of the atoll. “Polynesians are the original

socialists,” he laughs while we take in the

wind. Everyone has land, food, and most

of the land is made up of communally

owned food reserves.

ESCAPE • 41


The atoll is shaped like a three-bladed

fan with a giant lagoon connecting three

motus or islets. Only half of one of the

islets is inhabited full-time, the rest of

the islets function as ecological food

reserves. For six months of the year, the

Kau Wo Wolo, the traditional chiefs close

them. During this time nature replenishes

itself. Sometime between March-April, the

village holds day-long meetings and after

careful discussion, collectively decides

to open the food reserves. Everyone

agrees on what days the ladies can go

to the uwi (the collective taro swamps),

how many uto (sprouted coconuts) will

get distributed to each family, and on the

harvesting of which crabs and birds. This is

consensus democracy at work.

Motu Ko owned by Ngake village has

the sandy airport and plenty of coconut

crabs. Motu Kotawa owned by Yato

village has numerous seabirds that nest

in the Pukama trees. Motu Uta owned by

Loto village is easily accessible and filled

with uto (sprouted coconuts). For the six

months the motu opens, families spend

the weekends in the bush clearing and

collecting resources. The men fish. The

women go to the taro swamps. Children

catch kaipea, tiny land crabs that taste

sweet and earthy. Fish, taro, and coconuts

sustain the population of four hundred

and fifty. The elegant motu system is

indigenous food security.

Not all food in Pukapuka, however,

comes from the land and sea. The cargo

boat Lady Moana usually makes it from

Rarotonga to Pukapuka around four

times a year. The sailing cargo boat KWAI

makes it from Hawaii to Pukapuka twice

a year. New appliances get offloaded (A

washing machine! A new truck!), and boxes

upon boxes of “boat food.” Author Johnny

Frisbie who grew up on the atoll writes, “it

was like being on another island when the

trading schooner came to Pukapuka.”

Men line up passing bags of rice, cartons

of frozen chicken, gas bottles, and boxes

of diapers down the beach. Children

delight in the treats of canned corned

beef, cabin bread, and mone mone

(sweets). The villages and individual

families order 50kg bags of flour, sugar,

and rice to supplement their fish and taro.

The three shops on the island order extra

food to last between boat trips. Twisties,

Tim-Tams, cans of Sprite, and packets of

twisty tobacco line their shelves. Nothing

gets offloaded on Sunday. As the boat

leaves, life returns to its usual natural

rhythm.

Sunday in Pukapuka belongs to the

Sabbath. Children wake early and wash

themselves behind their ears. They put on

their finest threads, brush their hair with

comb and coconut oil, and slip their hardy

feet into ornamental shoes. The first brass

church bell rings at six. Children line up in

their best clothes to attend the Protestant

or Catholic Church, and on Saturdays the

Seventh Day Adventist. A cappella hymns

echo into the CICC church rafters, painted

in bright hues of sunshine, flamingo, and

sky. “The music literally makes me cry

with its spiritual beauty,” says Gemma

Cubero del Barrio while filming. On white

Sunday, the congregation is a sea of

white long dresses and bleached button

down collared shirts. Everyone takes a

communion of nu, coconut water, and uto,

the sprouted coconut. The coconut tree is

the tree of life and so it makes sense to

use this as communion. Singing, prayer,

and rest defines Sundays.

After prayer, comes play. “If Pukapuka is

about one thing,” says ‘Yoda’ Pio Lavalua,

“it is about having fun.” Almost every

afternoon after work, the villages play

sports. For three months at Christmas the

villages hold a very serious competition.

Men play traditional games like tika tika,

throwing sticks to see whose stick lands

the farthest. Women play lele ipu, racing

with a coconut shell on your head. Men

and women compete in coconut husking,

seeing who can husk one hundred

coconuts the fastest. Traditional to

Pukapuka, the young men hold an all-day

wrestling competition complete with its

own special chants for the winning village.

There is also cricket, tennis, and volleyball.

The village that wins the Christmas games

makes up pautautau, songs of ridicule

and holds bragging rights for the year. The

losing team fishes for the winning team.

Play is serious sport in Pukapuka.

For the last few years, Talcual Films

has worked on a documentary called

Homecoming: A Film About Pukapuka. The

documentary promises to capture the

strength of this community and record for

the first time the music that pervades life

on the atoll. All the photos for this story

come from the crew. More information

is available online. As producer Gemma

Cubero del Barrio says, “its truly a magical

spiritual place.”

Pukapuka prioritizes people, prayer, and

play. It teaches how to live closer to nature

and to rely on one another. It teaches how

to sing songs to the mud crabs and to

stop, sit, and take in the wind. While hard

to physically reach, Pukapuka touches

on a romantic imagination of ancient

Polynesia. You can’t help but feel closer

to God and the infinity of nature on this

three square kilometre atoll surrounded by

unlimited shades of ultramarine.

42 • ESCAPE


T R A V E L

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ESCAPE • 43

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44 • ESCAPE

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P H O N E 2 1 9 3 9


Beachcomber

Story: Rachel Smith

– from ruin to renewal

It was 1983 when David Bowie climbed

out a window at the Beachcomber.

Today the scene from the movie ‘Merry

Christmas Mr Lawrence’ is memorialised in

the Vinyl Revival corner of The Café, where

you can sip a coffee, play some vinyl and

check out the very window.

The Beachcomber, now home to

Beachcomber Pearl Market, Bergman

Gallery, The Print Room and The Café,

has a history packed with stories, people,

pearls and art.

Located just east of town in Taputapuatea,

the original building was constructed by

the people of Te Au o Tonga as a Sunday

School for the London Missionary Society

(LMS) back in 1845. At the time it was the

second limestone construction in the

country, used for reading, writing and

scripture classes in Cook Islands Maori,

and as a gathering point for the local

community.

“Lots of local characters remember this

building,” say Ben Bergman, owner of

Beachcomber and Director of Bergman

Gallery. Notably, Sir Thomas Davis,

a former leader of the Cook Islands,

attended Side School when it was located

at the site.

When LMS operations ended in 1965, the

Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) took

ownership of all their church activities,

and in 1967 with a growing congregation

the church investigated increasing the

capacity of the school. Some of the roof

was removed to look at the viability of

adding a second story, then along came

Cyclone Dolly which effectively removed

the rest of the roof.

A complete re-build was proposed, an

idea that was opposed by Makea Nui

Teremoana Ariki on whose land the school

was built. Instead an alternate location for

a larger construction, the Sinai Hall, was

found across the road.

The former Sunday School went on

to house the Cook Islands Legislative

Assembly, the precursor to the Cook

Islands Parliament, before being left empty

and falling into a ruin.

A ruin to what stands today is a large jump

in imagination. It was a process that began

with Joan and David Gragg, who had

experience in renovating similar structures

and had long seen the potential in the site.

“In 1990 we asked Makea Teremoana

Ariki for a lease on the land and building,”

says Joan, with an eye to relocating their

business Beachcomber Ltd. “She agreed to

give us a lease providing we did not tear

the coral walls down. The walls were to us

the focus of our rebuild plan.”

“The structure was sprouting trees from

the top of the walls and trees grew in

the coral floor. Coral stones were piled in

what was the main part of the building

where hurricane waves had dumped them

over the years. David appreciated the

aesthetics of the remains of the building

and decided that he should preserve

every part of the building that spoke of its

history.”

The new Beachcomber opened its doors

in 1992 as a pearl gallery, complete with

the original coral walls and mismatched

window sill height. An art and craft gallery

was added later that year, followed by a

glass studio and a stable to house their

Clydesdale horse. Today, the stable and

the glass studio are long gone, and while

Beachcomber has gone through many

transformations the focus on art and

pearls remains the same.

The Bergman family purchased the site

back in 2001 and under their ownership a

courtyard space was added and a café,

and perhaps most significantly in 2009 a

46 • ESCAPE


purpose built exhibition space.

Beachcomber Contemporary Art

showcased community and Pacific art for

15 years under Director Ben Bergman. It

naturally evolved into Bergman Gallery

in 2016, and has since exhibited shows of

some of the Pacific’s top artists.

“We started with a very strong base of

Cook Islands community artists,” says

Ben. The exhibition history is a line-up of

respected artists including Joan Gragg,

Mahiriki Tangaroa, Kay George, Ian George,

Mike Tavioni, Eruera Nia, Tim Buchanan,

Apii Rongo, Tabatha Forbes & Loretta

Reynolds in addition to the five artists

now represented by the gallery - Reuben

Paterson, Andy Leleisi'uao, Tungane

Broadbent, Sylvia Marsters and Benjamin

Work.

“We now have a dedicated project space

and dedicated print space,” says Ben,

with The Print Room a new addition to

the Beachcomber. The Print Room offers

numbered and open prints of many of the

artists who have exhibited work at the

gallery.

Right next door is the Beachcomber Pearl

Market, which mixes pearls and interior

design pieces with local art, such as

textiles and painted furniture by artist Kay

George.

“We really want to involve people in

making their own jewellery,” says Ben. “You

can come in and sort through loose pearls

– and choose the pearl you love.”

Pearls are sourced from the pristine

environment of Manihiki. For the customer

it is as simple as choosing a pearl and one

of the selection of available settings, with

the completed piece ready the following

day.

The courtyard at Beachcomber doubles

as an exhibition space, such as last year’s

Vaka Eiva paddle art exhibition coordinated

by artist Ani O’Neill, and is the

home of The Café.

With all the Beachcomber has to offer, the

focus for Ben Bergman has always been to

showcase the very best of Modern Pacific

Art, both to a local and international

audience.

“International shows allow us to broaden

our reach - to show we are capable of

producing conceptual art statements,”

says Ben. “And to show off the destination

– to make people aware of the Cook

Islands.”

Contact: Facebook – Bergman Gallery

www.bergmangallery.co.ck | +682 55012

ESCAPE COOK ISLANDS

2019 Calendar

August

sunday monday tuesday wednesday thursday friday saturday

JULY ‘19 SEPTEMBER ‘19

Cook Islands Calendar

2019

Ministry of Culture, Cook Islands

1 2 3

The Escape Magazine 2019 Calendar

features the very best of Cook Islands images

captured by our photographers during the

past year. Each calendar is individually shrinkwrapped

and has a stiffening board plus envelope

for ease of mailing. From most stores and

souvenir outlets on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Constitution Day

Constitution Day

Observed

4 5 6 7 8 9 10

11 12 13 14 15 16 17

18 19 20 21 22 23 24

25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Envelope

included

Magazine of the

Cook Islands

ESCAPE • 47


ADVERTORIAL

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Weave

Pacific Weave store offers

a unique opportunity

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enjoyable hour learning

weaving skills and creating

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Islands souvenir. You will be

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Cook Islands artisan weaver

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Nanave Taime hails from the islands of

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In addition, visitors to Pacific Weave store

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48 • ESCAPE


M O D E R N P A C I F I C A R T

LOCATED AT BEACHCOMBER PEARL MARKET

exhibition schedule: bergmangallery.co.ck

bergmangallery

A N D Y L E L E I S I ’ U A O : H A R M O N I C I S L A N D S ” 2 0 1 8 > > >

L I M T E D E D I T I O N P R I N T S

COOK ISLANDS AND PACIFC ARTISTS

including:

Tabatha Forbes

Mahiriki Tangaroa

Kay George

Ian George

Sylvia Marsters

Nanette Lela'ulu

Mark Cross

Apii Rongo

Joan Gragg

Miriama Arnold

Matthew Payne

Reuben Paterson

Michel Tuffery

& others....

Located at Beachcomber Pearl Market

theprintroomCK

ESCAPE • 49


A Rarotongan

Avarua

Any art tour should start with the

Beachcomber in Taputapuatea, on the

eastern side of Avarua. The Bergman family

purchased the Beachcomber complex back

in 2001, exhibiting work by Cook Islands

artists at the Beachcomber Art Gallery

and constructing a purpose built exhibition

space in 2009.

Art tour

“Bergman Gallery came about as an end

result of 15 years of the Beachcomber Art

Story: Rachel Smith

It is difficult not to be inspired by the Cook Islands,

whether you are a visitor or have lived here for

generations. Creativity has always been an important part

of daily life, in weaving and tivaivai, in the making of 'ei

and 'ei katu, in tattooing and carving, and in dancing and

drumming. The list is endless. Today creativity in the Cook

Islands takes on many forms with talented Cook Islands

artists renowned for their expertise across the Pacific.

Gallery,” says Ben Bergman, Director. “I

realised the conceptual depth of modern

Pacific art works – that we could do shows

like those in Auckland.”

With a focus on Cook Islands and New

Zealand artists, Bergman Gallery represents

Reuben Paterson, Andy Leleisi'uao, Tungane

Broadbent, Sylvia Marsters and Benjamin

Work, as well as continuing to show other

Pacific artists in its 4-5 shows per year.

The gallery also takes part in international

exhibitions, earlier this year attending the

Auckland Art Fair

2018 with Andy

Leleisi'uao and

Sylvia Marsters

and hosting

PŪTAHI ONO

KUKI AIRANI in

Rarotonga.

Upcoming shows

at Bergman

Gallery for 2018

include:

July 21 - August

26: Kay George

with a collection of

textiles including

silk and cotton pareus, table runners,

painted furniture and wall hangings.

Sept 3 - October 6: Matt Payne’s

landscapes from the Cook Islands

Further art work can be found in the

Beachcomber Pearl Market, and at The Print

Room which offers prints from a wide range

of Pacific artists.

Contact: Facebook – Bergman Gallery

www.bergmangallery.co.ck | +682 55012

Opposite the market on the main road in

Avarua is a small red gallery, aptly named

The Little Red Gallery.

Purchased by Lee and Boaz Raela in 2015

when they returned with their family to live

in the Cook Islands, the gallery is led by Lee,

who is an artist herself.

“We wanted to have more local art - and

they’re all really quite different,” says Lee,

with a mix of Cook Islands and Pacific art

available.

Lee has filled the gallery with a range of

art work by Cook Islands artists – her own

paintings and prints, as well as prints by

Joan Gragg, Tim Buchanan, Fe’ena Syme-

Buchanan, David Teata, Miriama Arnold,

Spike Tuara and, New Zealand based artist,

Valerie Beale.

Contact: Facebook –

thelittleredgalleryrarotonga | +682 74981

Panama

It’s not all tattoos at KareHa Pacific Ink -

Polynesian Art Studio. Inside you will find

simple but striking black and white prints

by Stormy Kara as well as original paintings

by Shane Andrew.

Contact: Facebook – Pacific Ink Tattoos

+682 56636

50 • ESCAPE


Pacific Weave features art and crafts

from around the Pacific including selected

work by Cook Islands artists. Here you can

find paintings by Tim Buchanan, Loretta

Reynolds, Remiah Mani and Kay George, on

a mix of mediums from glass and wood to

canvas and fabric.

Contact: Facebook – Pacific Weave

www.islandperfumes.com/pacificweave

+682 27575

Arorangi

Look out for the bright art gallery sign

pointing inland at Akaoa No2 Road in the

village of Akaoa in Arorangi. Known around

the island simply as Ani’s Gallery, Ani

Exham-Dun’s paintings all feature her take

on island designs. Ani describes her work as

drawing on a tapestry of tattooing, weaving

of mats and basketware, rock drawings,

carvings made of wood and stone, and

tivaivai.

Acrylic on ply, metal, hardwood or canvas,

her paintings come in a wide range of

sizes including wooden postcards that

are stamped and ready to go, as well as

hanging icons and fabric wall hangings.

Contact: Ani79777@gmail.com

Muri

TE ARA – the Cook Islands Museum of

Cultural Enterprise mixes history and art

with supporting cultural enterprise. Opening

early last year, Te Ara’s gallery space and

gift shop presents work by a wide selection

of Cook Islands artists.

“Everything is made locally at Te Ara,” says

co-founder Stan Wolfgramm.

This begins with photography by Carly

Ave, stunning original paintings by Mahiriki

Tangaroa and a selection of Ani Dun’s work,

as well as prints and wall hangings from

Maria File and wood block prints by David

Teata.

For something a little different Uruā

Collection’s fabric work utilises a Japanese

printing technique, and there is pottery and

printed pareu from The Creative Centre and

woven rito pieces by Tarani Crafts & Pearls.

Contact: Facebook – TE ARA - Cook Islands

Museum of Cultural Enterprise

www.tearacimce.com | +682 27641

Maria’s Art Gallery, located just behind

Ariki Adventures, is home to the art work of

Maria File. Creativity, in particular painting,

comes naturally to Maria who was first

drawn to painting from watching her

mother-in-law.

“I paint what I feel and what I see,” says

Maria, whose work includes original

paintings on wood and canvas as well as a

wide selection of prints and cards. “It just

comes – it just pours out.”

in 2002 and can be found on most days

painting out the back of her gallery. Tribal

designs in both black and white, and colour,

are painted freehand and are a feature of

Maria’s work, as well as island scenes and

bright botanicals.

The gallery also includes jewellery, pareus,

cushion covers, soap and bags on behalf of

other artists.

Contact: Facebook – Maria File Art Gallery

Rarotonga | +682 53896

Punanga Nui Market, open on a Saturday

morning, is another great spot to check

out local creativity. Many of the artists

whose work is included in galleries across

Rarotonga, will also show their work at

Punanga Nui.

The Little Red Gallery

Local & Pacif ic

ART

Originals | Prints | Gifts

Phone: (682) 74981

www.thelittleredgalleryrarotonga.com

Facebook: The Little Red Gallery

LOCATED OPPOSITE PUNANGANUI MARKET

With a background in painting and teaching

art, Maria returned to the Cook Islands

ESCAPE • 51


A

Master

Artist

Story: Glenda Tuaine

As I stand and look at the two Mike

Tavioni paintings titled ‘Pig Twilight

Bath’ and ‘Pig Twilight Wash’ I know

I am up for a great story on how these art

works have come to be. Sure enough Mike

Tavioni does not disappoint. In that deep

rumbling voice he tells me, “So I just put the

paint in the pig pen and chased the pigs

around. I thought they would naturally walk

all over them but you had to nudge them

a bit. In the end one of them pooed on one

of the canvas’s so I scraped some off that

one.” He laughs and then tells me that was

the painting out of the trio that sold in the

gallery in Ponsonby, Auckland. We both

agree that it probably sold because they

knew it had poo on it.

Mike Tavioni is a Cook Islands Master of

Art, a rebel of sorts with a connection to

artistic expression that is as vital to him

as breathing is to keeping alive. He is a

Painter, Sculptor, Master Carver, Screen and

Block printer, Designer, Canoe Maker, Poet,

Writer, Teacher, Storyteller and a Critic of

Life and even after that list I am sure I have

probably missed out some other titles that

could aptly be bestowed on him.

An interview with Mike is a snapshot into

the life of a resourceful creative mind. I

ask him when creativity started for him. “I

remember in the early days we had a cook

house, poorly constructed; and when I was

about five or six I became fascinated with

fire. I used to hold the burning stick from

the fire and do all sorts of things from

that. I would sneak round the back and

draw Cowboys and Indians because the

movies at the time were all about Indians

and Cowboys. I would draw it with the stick,

charcoal you know, sometimes still burning”

he reminisces. “From a young kid as soon

you can hold a knife you are supposed to

go and cut the coconuts for the pigs so

when you have done that your parents

don’t see you. I would go out carving trees

as well as drawing! I would try to carve

names of whatever I imagined on the trees.”

If you haven’t gathered by now Mike

naturally likes to push boundaries and

as we delve further into this interview his

cleverness to understand and seize an

opportunity out of what others may find a

crisis or problem, is a character trait Mike

has had since he was a young boy. “At

school I would draw on my books and in

Grade 4 and 5 I had a very good teacher

who punished me all the time for drawing.

She would tell me go in the corner on the

floor with newsprint and pastels. So the

punishment was really great! I would go

and draw all kinds of things without her

knowing that I was loving it. She pushed

me away from arithmetic and punished

me with this!” he laughs and tells me how

he would commit the crime as often as he

could so he would be sent to the corner to

draw.

Growing up Mike naturally pursues art

and as a teenager he is carving, drawing

and decides to branch into clothing design

enlisting his sisters sewing talents to create

his very first shirt that he patterned with

printers ink and a nib. As he tells some of

the stories of his life he provides insight into

what was influencing the minds of youth

in 1960’s Rarotonga. America definitely

holding the interest of a young Mike who

at one stage became fascinated with

the American eagle, carving pearl shell

pendants of the symbol for himself and his

friends using the one file that he owned.

But it is with words that Mike finds an inner

emotional expression and release. “At

first I started playing with poetry but my

mother loved singing Tahitian songs and

in the songs there is poetry so I grew up

with her singing these songs”. As a high

school student Mike secures a scholarship

and finds himself at a school in Kaikohe,

Northland, New Zealand. "I actually began

to write poems there because I was so

homesick.”

At 16 Mike is influenced by the 18th Century

English Romantic Poet William Wordsworth.

52 • ESCAPE


He is quick to inform me English is his worst

subject as Mike is a fluent Maori speaker

and writes his poetry in the language he

is fluent in, which even when translated

to English captures poetic eloquence that

really does have echoes of Wordsworth

like qualities. Recently Mike completed

his Masters in Art and Design from AUT;

no mean feat for a man who sees English

as his worst subject. His former Professor

asked him to create a poem or proverb for

the University. He created one which he

translates from Maori for me:

Now it is only silence

You turn around

I am still standing here

Your Chord of union to the Divine

Awaiting patiently

For your return

Mike explains this is aimed at Cook

Islanders who have left not to return. He is

concerned at the increasing depopulation

issues that the Cook Islands outer islands

face. Mike has observed this first hand and

from the period 1996 to 2010 looked at the

quarterly population statistics to note the

trends. Mike is a keen observer of what

impacts our country and our communities,

he observes and provides what he terms

‘critic’ on our societal trends and directions.

He is not afraid to voice his views be that

through art or through direct conversation.

“We were losing an average of over 700

people per year from 1996 for over 10

years, who did not come back including

births and deaths in that total. Now it is

2018 and in 1996 there were 2,000 people

in Atiu now there is what? 300? Maybe it is

less. It is the same with all the islands over

here. The illusion is the island, Rarotonga

is over populated but on average 2,000

tourists are here every day as well as 2

to 3,000 foreign workers. The illusion is

Rarotonga probably only has about 7,000

people here including foreign workers.”

Muteki ua i teia nei

Uri mai koe

Te tu uatu nei au i konei

To Tāura Atua

E tatari marie uatu nei

I toou okianga mai

Mike Tavioni creates art to develop

conversations, ideas and directions

and with his multiple artistic abilities he

facilitates conversation on key topics

affecting the Cooks. But in order to be an

artist you have to be brave, it is not the

career many deem as acceptable. You see

when we return to the life story of this artist

I learn that Mike as a young school leaver

wrote to his father to advise him he was

going to be an artist.

Mike explains the reaction. “My father said

don’t come back to my home I disown

you. How can you step on my head? What

about your family? How are you going to

feed yourself son?” Mike explains his father

stipulated he could try and study law,

be a teacher but he had to be somebody

worthwhile or he could study agriculture.

Mike not wanting to dishonour his family

applied to take agriculture which meant

ESCAPE • 53


he returned to Rarotonga and worked in

the Agriculture department for one year.

However during that time Mike applied to

go to join the New Zealand army and was

turned down a few days before the recruits

were about to depart. This was because

of his bond to the New Zealand Island

Territories Department and the requirement

that he had to go to study at Massey

University.

Mike reflects “Good thing I didn’t go my

best friend died. A lot of people I was with

before they left have all died from Agent

Orange. Those that didn’t go were lucky.

It was a blessing not being accepted, we

were all watching too many war movies all

thinking we were warriors, anyway I ended

up working for Government.”

At Massey Mike wrote more poems

because he was lonely. “That place was

too cold and I couldn’t take it so I wrote

more poems. One I titled ‘Windy Palm’

meaning Palmerston North.” On returning

to Rarotonga he works for the Agriculture

Department for 20 years and spends

large amounts of time in the outer islands

developing Coconut nurseries, Copra

Dryers and planting new crops. It is during

this time that Mike learns more as a carver

and begins his journey with Canoe building.

“I was sent to Mitiaro to build 6 Copra

dryers and invent some things like that to

dry bananas and assist them with planting.

In Mitiaro and all our islands people do

community work. Everything in Polynesia is

communal and cooperative. So the women,

kids and the people take the coconut,

plant it and sing. It was like a festival we

planted about 10,000 Coconuts back then.

We designed Copra dryers using 24 gallon

drums and for the first time they managed

to increase their copra production.” Mike

enjoys telling me how he used to send

his assistant to do the monotonous work

while he would sit with his grand uncle and

watch him carving. “I would watch him

carve kumete, one takes a few weeks to

finish and when he had enough he would

sit down and sleep so I had to go back to

work.” He laughs and says that during that

time the Mitiaro community were making

canoes and he was intrigued how they were

made. For every Outer Islands he went to

he kept observing the carving and canoe

making skills.

Finally after 20 years Mike tells his father

he is leaving Agriculture to be an Artist

and although there were tears from his

father Mike embarks on his true calling. He

teaches himself to screen and block print,

selling Pareus in Rarotonga and exporting

to Samoa and Tahiti. In 1999 he is invited to

Hawaii to the Canoe festival and attends

for a decade building canoes every year

alongside his wife and equally talented

Carver Awhitia. Mike proudly advises me

that the first year he attended he was not

sure what to expect. “They knew me from

someone who recommended me. I finished

the canoe in four days the others didn’t

finish theirs we only had a week! I didn’t

really have any tools the first year. It was

me and Hector Busby from NZ and some

Tahitians and Hawaiians that was all. We

were given a tree each to make canoes.

I had some friends that looked after me.

I said I want some metal to make adze.

I had a friend who worked in sugar cane

fields and he had some broken plates from

tractors that they used for slashing the

sugar cane. I drew what I needed and he cut

it out for me”

It is this resourcefulness that surrounds

Mike Tavioni and leads him to his latest

project which is one of his biggest. He is

creating an Arts centre, a school where

traditional arts and skills can be learnt

and combined with contemporary arts.

Mike being a resourceful man is funding

and building this off his own back which

is testament to his independent spirit and

drive. The vision is to have mainly Cook

Island artists work exhibited in the gallery

which he hopes will feature largely painted

works. Behind the gallery is where the Arts

school will be located. This will be a school

that teaches traditional arts, language and

cultural practices. Mike believes strongly

that a good traditional base will provide the

foundations for new artists to emerge and

as he discusses the Art centre concept and

vision with me you can see he is determined

to make sure this project comes to life.

I too believe that a centre such as this is

incredibly important to the Cook Islands

future development of a creative industry.

Mike is committed to providing a space

where traditional and contemporary

artisans can combine talents. Where

discussion and interests can merge to form

artistic products and the stories of our

people can be recorded, listened too, acted

out or even just imagined. Mike Tavioni is

a Cook Islands Master Artist well worth

knowing more about so if you are travelling

on the Back Rd of Atupa, Avatiu, keep an

eye out for Mike Tavioni’s studio and work in

progress Art Centre then stop and hopefully

you will be lucky enough to spend some

time with Mike.

For more information on Mike Tavioni visit

www.miketavioni.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/michael.tavioni

or email – miketavioni@gmail.com

54 • ESCAPE


I S L A N D S T Y L E J E W E L L E R Y A N D G I F T W A R E

L O C A T E D D O W N T O W N A V A R U A N E X T T O T O U R I S M O F F I C E - P H O N E 2 1 9 0 1

ESCAPE • 55


great places

to stay

Sunhaven Beach Bungalows

relax 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:

www.tourismindustry.co.ck


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

tranquillity in a perfect beachside setting.

P: (682) 28465 E: sunhaven@beachbungalows.co.ck www.mysunhaven.com

P. +682 22020

reservations@lagoonbreezevillas.com

lagoonbreezevillas.com

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.


ADVERTORIAL

of July 2017 and in March 2018 Jetsave Cook

Islands and Federal Pacific Cook Islands

became the very proud tenants of a new 2

storey office building in downtown Avarua -

FEDERAL PACIFIC HOUSE.

The name Federal Pacific House comes

from one of our major financial arms being

Federal Pacific Group. Each financial branch

in the islands (i.e. Samoa. East Timor, Tonga,

Fiji and more) are housed in a Federal

Pacific House.

Jetsave Travel

(Jetsave Cook Islands Ltd)

Moving People and Money for the better

in the Cook Islands for 20 years

The new premises reflect a wonderfully

fresh, comfortable and modern ambience,

not only for the staff working within these

premises, but also for our customers. Our

customers have been extremely patient

with the renovations and have taken all the

inconvenience in their stride and at times

with much humour.

Jetsave Cook Islands Limited -

Jetsave Travel, first opened its

doors in December 1998. At the time

the Managing Director was Melynnda

Morrissette, who hailed from the USA. She

had lived in the Cook Islands for over ten

years at that stage.

Melynnda who was a very experienced

travel agent, grew the business for the first

10 years. Sadly she passed away in 2008.

Her position was then filled by the current

General Manager, Julie Bateman. Julie had

worked for Melynnda and Jetsave for a

number of years as Melynnda’s personal

assistant and also as assistant manager.

After a few years in business and seeing

how successful the business was operating

Jetsave travel introduced a financial services

division which included becoming a network

agent for Western Union Money Transfers.

Today Jetsave Cook Islands Limited is a one

stop shop for all travel needs.

It now comprises not just the travel side

of the business but also a foreign cash

exchange service and a money transfer

service via Fexco Western Union.

Prior to the era of electronic ticketing, the

travel industry in those days was very

complicated, particularly with issuing

tickets. Everything was done by hand,

mostly in triplicate. Cumbersome as it

seemed at times, it certainly gave an

interesting background to the industry.

Today a complicated itinerary can be done

in a few minutes as opposed to what could

be hours spent on the phone coordinating

flights, hotels and other associated

services.

As time marched on, we employed

additional staff to cope with the growth of

the business. We then started to feel more

than a little "crowded" in our premises -

originally designed for 4 staff - the office

was now accommodating 9 staff. Crammed

to say the least!

A decision was made in 2017 to upgrade

and rebuild the current office space. Our

landlord agreed that perhaps it was time to

upgrade/replace the current building as it

was no longer economically viable to patch

and repair. Building commenced at the end

We are still the same people, offering the

same services, in the same location and

our services still include:

1. The issuance of overseas airline tickets

for travel anywhere in the world

2. Domestic airline tickets to all the

accessible outer islands

3. Hotel accommodation, both inbound

and outbound

4. Overseas and Outer island packages

5. Foreign Money Exchange - best rates

and minimal fees

6. Domestic money transfers between

islands

7. Business payments to anywhere in the

world

8. Tours and activities for our visitors

9. Cruises

10. An afterhours emergency number to

provide 24/7 assistance in our travel

division

Jetsave is located downtown Avarua just a

few doors up from Bank South Pacific.

You can phone us on (+682) 27707 or

email: jetsave@cooks.co.ck

Kia manuia

And we look forward to hearing from you!

58 • ESCAPE


YOUR PRIVATE PIECE

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Idyllically set on the shores of a sheltered

lagoon this intimate beachfront resort

enjoys stunning sunsets.

Beachfront and garden bungalows | Onsite restaurant and bar

Personal wedding co-ordinator | Rarotonga’s quiet southern coast

PO Box 23, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

email: beach@palmgrove.co.ck

phone: +682 20002

www.palmgrove.net

35 spacious self-catering studios

and suites are situated either on the

beachfront overlooking the lagoon or

beside either of the two swimming pools

amid lush tropical gardens. The resort

features an open-air restaurant open for

breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

Phone: (682) 28028

Email: welcome@thesunsetresort.com

www.thesunsetresort.com


COOK ISLANDS MĀORI:

LANGUAGE AND PROVERBS

Cook Islands Māori delights with

poetry, metaphor, nature, and

hidden layers of meaning. One word

has many different meanings and layers of

meaning depending on the culture, context,

and intonation.

People appreciate you trying out the basics

while in the islands. Greet people with Kia

Orana, which serves as hello and literally

means may you live long and healthy.

You can say meitaki for thank you, which

means all good as in everyone’s feeling

good. Most locals appreciate the effort of

visitors or manu‘iri (literally translated as

Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky

a descending or landed bird) to learn the

language.

The three official languages of the Cook

Islands are: Cook Islands Māori, Pukapukan,

and English. The islands of Manihiki,

Rakahanga, Penrhyn, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke,

Aitutaki, and Mangaia each have their own

dialect distinct from Rarotonga. Pukapuka

has an entirely unique language as does

Palmerston. Palmerston speaks their

own unique archaic form of Midlands 19th

Century English mixed with ship language

and Cook Islands Māori. Palmerston

residents still say “ahoy” for “hello.”

Cook Islands Māori was first written down in

the 1830’s when missionaries codified it into

the bible. Before then, it was only an oral

language and still oratory and storytelling

remain important. Like the bible, Cook

Islands Māori is rich with proverbs.

One of the best ways to understand a

language is through its proverbs. Proverbs

get at the hidden meanings of the language

and teach us about ourselves. They contain

metaphors, morals, and wisdom. Kia

Manūia! Good luck and cheers!

Meitaki Ma‘ata to Rutera Taripo, Te Reo

Māori Coordinator at the Ministry of

Culture, and Dr. Sally Ake Nicholas for their

assistance.

Selected Cook Islands

Maori Proverbs

‘Auraka e kai mata i te vī

Don’t eat mangoes while they are green.

Don’t do anything in haste. Be patient.

Muri Beach Club Hotel

www.muribeachc

lubhotel.com Phone (682) 23000 info@muribeachclubhotel.com

60 • ESCAPE

The

Spa


Eia’a e ‘akatangi vave i te pū, ‘e kāre i

māoa ake te varāoa.

Don't blow the horn till the bread is baked.

Don't boast about something until it is

actually done.

‘E tumurangi matangi kāre ra i ua.

A storm cloud but no rain.

Said of a person who says that they will

give, but then forgets about it.

Karikao pao ngatā.

A hard to crack seashell.

Said of a person that is very stubborn.

Pa’s Cross

Island Hike

The South Pacific’s

most acclaimed

guide!

Te ma’ata ‘i ta’au ka ‘ōronga ko te ma’ata

rāi ia i ta’au ka rauka.

The more you give the more you receive.

Wealth is measured not by how much you

have, but by how much you give. Give freely

and you shall receive. Do not be selfish.

‘A’aere mārie ‘e aku pōtiki kia kite koe ‘i

ngā ‘inapōtea.

Go quietly my sons, so that you see many

moonlights.

Go slowly, quietly, and carefully so that you

may live long. Do not live in haste.

O’ore ‘a meika para ‘ua.

Skin it like a banana.

It can be done easily and is easily

overcome.’

Ko tei koe te vaarua ra koia uaorai te ka

topa ki roto.

The person who digs a pit will fall into it.

If a person finds fault for another, that

person themselves has that fault.

‘Ākara kā veu te punā vai.

Be careful or the clear pool might become

dirty.

Be careful that your cleverness does not

turn into foolishness.

Kāre ‘a mangō e tuku i tāna kai e mate

‘uātu.

The shark does not give up its food.

Said of a person who shows great tenacity.

Tā te tangata e rūrū ra, tana rāi ia e

kokoti.

What a person sows, they will reap.

If a person does bad things, they will reap

bad things. If they do good things, they will

reap good things.

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)

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ESCAPE • 61


Te Maeva Nui 2018

THE PATH OF THE MOON

Bare feet clatter back stage. Girls

adjust their ‘Au (hibiscus bark) skirts.

Tangerine-coloured feather headdresses

frame their lengthy raven hair. A sixteenyear-old

passes around scintillating

Russian Red lipstick for all to share. Aunties

with their glue guns attach last minute

seashells to skirts. Boys shine their bodies

up with coconut oil. A stagehand ushers

groups past the scarlet curtain and onto

the brightly lit stage.

The stage lights up for Te Maeva Nui, the annual cultural

celebration of the Cook Islands. Every August, the whole country

commemorates independence with parades, markets, craft fairs,

flowers, food, song, drumming, and dance. Alive and buzzing with

excitement, it is the time to see authentic Cook Islands culture

from all fifteen islands.

Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule‘a Borofsky

Photos: © Ministry of Culture

The Cook Islands gained full independence on August 4th 1965,

becoming a state in free association with New Zealand. To honour

the occasion, the government launched a week-long ‘Constitution

Celebration.’ In the seventies and eighties, the event took on a

more political tone with songs and dances composed for the

political party in power. In the nineties, the Ministry of Cultural

Development set themes for the event, asking performers to

research their own island communities for inspiration. The Head

of the Ministry, along with a committee, carefully researches and

chooses a theme that celebrates the strengths of Cook Islands

culture. The themes become a repository of Cook Islands culture.

For 2018, the theme ‘Te au Arāpō o Tōku Matakeinanga/The

Traditional Calendars of My Ancestors’ promises to ignite the

imagination. The theme is about arāpō, which translates as

the path of the night or the moon. The traditional Polynesian

calendar relies on the moon rather than the sun to mark time.

Taripo, who helped choose the theme, says, “It will challenge

everyone to do their research. They will need to talk to the elders

of the community and find out the traditional calendars of their

island.” The process of researching the theme creates the cultural

connection and each island will have their own way of representing

this in their performances.

The night sky of the Northern Group looks different than the

night sky of the Southern Group. Taripo continues, “Each island

has a different moon. The moon phase tells us when to fish and

what to fish. It tells us when to plant and what to plant. It tells

when to make love if we want a son, a daughter, or twins. There

are even particular moon phases for having a red-haired child. If

you follow the stages of the moon, you’ll be able to accomplish

what you need to do.” The path of the moon opens up a variety of

interpretations.

Most of the islands, particularly Rarotonga, have moved away

from a traditional calendar. Fishermen and planters still abide by

it, but many have forgotten. The Ministry of Cultural Development

sees this as an opportunity for everyone to research, talk to elders,

and learn about their own islands through uncovering the multiple

meanings of the traditional calendar. “In the old days,” says Taripo,

62 • ESCAPE


“the connection with the wind, the rain, the

ocean, and the spirituality of our people

guided life. This theme takes us back to

the skills and spirituality of our ancestors,

from fishing to planting, to genealogy,

mythology, and traveling on the vakas,

canoes.” Seventeen-year-old dancer for

Vaka Takitumu, Chémanya Mackenzie-

Hoff, says, “I am so excited about this

year’s theme! With the moon we have a lot

to showcase.”

Preparations for the August festival start

as early as November. Committees meet.

Everyone discusses and debates the

theme. The team chooses the composers,

choreographers, and lead costume

designers. Pukapuka/Nassau, Manihiki/

Rakahanga, Tongareva, Palmerston,

Mitiaro, Atiu, Mauke, Mangaia, and Aitutaki

will each send a team to Rarotonga to

compete for 2018. Rarotonga has at least

four teams competing: Oire Nikao, Vaka

Puaikura, Vaka Takitumu, and Tupapa

Maraerenga. With all the outer islands in

attendance, Te Maeva Nui 2018 promises

a week-long show-stopping whirlwind of

cultural celebration.

Robert Ioaba, Events Coordinator for the

Ministry of Cultural Development, says

“The most exciting thing about this year’s

Te Maeva Nui is the reuniting with our

people from the outer islands. It has been

two years since they came and they can’t

wait.” Fifty to sixty people from each island

will come to represent their unique style

of drumming, dancing, and singing about

their traditional ancestral calendar.

It takes looking behind the scenes to truly

appreciate the year-long labour that is Te

Maeva Nui. Sisters Lexi Mackenzie-Hoff,

Czaria Mackenzie-Hoff, and Chémanya

Mackenzie-Hoff dance for Vaka Takitumu.

They talked about all the hard work it

takes to bring this show to the stage.

Lexi explains the lengthy process of

making the costumes: “First around

February we go into the bush with the

kids, aunties, and all the dancers. We find

the ‘Au tree and cut the young branches.

We put them on the back of the truck and

go back to the hall to strip the bark. Then

we put the bark into rolls and let it sit in

the seawater for two weeks. After that

we have to clean all the gunk off, dry it

out in the sun, dye them, and then weave

it all into a skirt.” The ‘Au skirt forms the

basis of all the costumes. The three sisters

share a sense of pride in making their own

costumes from bark to stage.

In the last few weeks before Te Maeva Nui,

many stay up all night. “Usually the week

leading up to the celebration we don’t

sleep at all,” laughs Czaria. A designated

mama cooks the meals every night and

makes sure the performers never go

hungry. Drummers, dancers, children,

committees, and families spread out on

the mattresses on the floor.

For phone enquires call Monday—Friday from 8—4pm

+682 29227

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Office Locations on Rarotonga — St Joseph Road | Downtown | Muri | Aroa | Edgewater | Rarotonga International Airport ESCAPE Flights Only • 63


prized. “I started as a kid banging sticks on

the Anchor Powdered Milk Tins. Drumming

is in our blood,” says Ioaba. The deep,

soulful sounds of the drumming echoes

inside the National Auditorium and all the

way up to the moon.

Leading up to Te Maeva Nui, the air feels

electric with the stress of perfection. “I like

all the stress,” says Czaria. “We want to

beat the other groups,” explains Chè, “but

mostly we want to beat our performance

from the year before.” When it comes time

for the dress rehearsal at the National

Auditorium, the groups only walk through

their routines to hide their secret showstoppers.

“Its all very secretive leading up

to the competition,” says Lexi. Te Maeva Nui

is a celebration, and also a competition.

Finally, the day comes. Friday, July

27th opens with an official ceremony

with dignitaries and the float parade

down Avarua main road. Saturday July

28th highlights the national costume

competition, where the costume designers

compete with original designs in the wetgreen

and dry categories. Events Officer

Janette Browne says, “Team leaders

have wanted to see the costume area

compensated better.” The prize money for

the best costumes has increased creating

more incentive and wilder costumes.

Judges walk backstage to inspect the

costumes carefully. Browne says, “Judges

have to come back stage and see for

themselves. They either find pieces falling

off where the glue gun didn’t work, or

exquisite craftsmanship.” Chémanya

Mackenzie-Hoff says, “I love it when the

judges come backstage and they just say

‘wow.’”

The festivities really get underway from

Monday July 30th, through Saturday

August 4th, when Constitution Park

comes alive with Island Trade Days. Every

morning, stalls fill with arts, crafts, and

food unique to each island. Penrhyn

brings their stunning ghost white rito hats.

Pukapuka sells their long kikau brooms.

Manihiki showcases their best pearls.

“Manihiki has the best uto, sprouted

pancakes,” says Czaria who looks forward

to their stall every year. If you’re lucky,

you’ll find a canary yellow pupu shell

necklace at the Mangaia stall. Browne

says, “it's a great time for the outer islands

to showcase their baskets, hats, mats,

brooms, earrings, bracelets, ei’s, seafood,

and more.” You’ll find the diversity and

quality of the crafts higher, and the prices

lower because you’re buying directly from

the sellers. Island Trade Days provides a

rich array of traditional foods, crafts, and

souvenirs.

After shopping, evenings find everyone at

the 2,000-seat National Auditorium for

the cultural performances. Performers

compete in at least four different

categories. The electrifying Ura Pau, drum

dance, brings the house down with its

fast beats. The Kapa Rima, action song,

has a slower beat with hand movements

that tell a story. In the Pe‘e, chant, a male

chants a well-known legend or a new

story based on the theme and everyone

engages in a theatrical performance. The

Ute, a traditional singing four-beat song,

brings older singers to the stage. Sunday

August 5th closes out the performances

with the Imene Tuki, traditional hymns

sung in high pitched voices by the women,

backed by low base notes from the men.

Singers often get up and dance impromptu

with huge smiles, swaying hips, and hands

outstretched to the heavens. The Imene

Tuki heard at Te Maeva Nui far surpasses

anything you will hear at church on

Sundays.

Ioaba loves the drumming the best. The

drumming competition, Tangi Ka’ara, takes

place on August 4th. Like the dancers,

the drummers make their own drums of

different wood with mahogany the most

Ioaba highlights the unique style of

drumming from each island. “Each island

has its own unique style and beats,” he

says, “I can hear the sound and right away

I know which island the team came from.

In the Northern Group, the drum portrays

a story. Pukapuka’s drumming is the

most unique. It is the most sophisticated

drumming. Most of the drumming you hear

is a complete beat whereas Pukapukan

drumming is only half the beat. I tell each

island stay with your style.” The message

for each island to stick with its own style

is a common message from the Ministry of

Cultural Development. Te Maeva Nui helps

preserve the rich diversity of each island’s

unique cultural performance.

The very last day of Te Maeva Nui

is Monday August 6th with the 53rd

Constitution Celebrations ceremony, prize

giving ceremony and closing speeches. The

Prime Minister gives a speech reflecting

upon the year for the country. The

judges announce the winners. Everyone

returns back to their home islands filled

with stories and dreams for next year’s

celebrations.

The trio of sister dancers Czaria, Lexi, and

Chè urges everyone to come. “It is literally

a one of a kind event,” says Czaria who

now dances for a Tahitian troupe in Paris.

Lexi chimes in, “I can’t believe a lot of

visitors don't even know about it. I would

come to Rarotonga just for Te Maeva Nui.”

“This is really the only time you can see the

whole variety of Cook Islands drumming

and dancing,” says Chè. When asked if

the dancing sisters had any last words

to share, Czaria yells from another room,

“You’ve got to go! Take your kids! Te Maeva

Nui 2018 is a must!” Follow the path of

the moon and you’ll find yourself at the

National Auditorium of Rarotonga from

Sunday 29th July to Monday 6th August

2018 celebrating Cook Islands culture.

64 • ESCAPE


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of the surrounding islands, the stunning

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The Cook Islands are about as close to

paradise as you can get with crystal

clear blue waters, golden sandy beaches,

tranquil lagoons and stunning scenery. For

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For the very best in R&R, enjoying the

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Te Manava Luxury Villa and Spa in

Rarotonga sits on the shores of Muri

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The Spa, with an internationally trained

team, will give you the 5-star treatment

and ensure you feel completely relaxed,

renewed and rejuvenated.

There’s a smorgasbord of spa and beauty

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The Te Tika products used are organic and

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In addition to this, Pacific Resort Rarotonga

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ESCAPE • 65


FRESH FRUIT

ON RAROTONGA

Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky

Nothing says tropical holiday like

waking up to a breakfast of ripe

paw-paw squeezed with fresh

lime juice and grated coconut. Driving

around the islands you’ll see the bounty

of tropical fruits. Fallen roadside fruit is up

for grabs but ask before picking the fruit

from someone’s tree. Locals will often share

when politely asked.

The best place to find local fresh fruit is at

the Punanga Nui Market on a Saturday.

During the week, roadside stalls also offer

up a variety of fruits from local backyards

and small scale farms. Arorangi and

Titikaveka, the agricultural hubs of the

island, have the highest number of roadside

stalls. Wigmore’s Superstore in Vaimaanga

also stocks a good variety of seasonal local

fruit at reasonable prices.

Summer (December-March) delivers the

greatest variety of fruit, but paw-paw and

banana fruit year round. Climate change

has disrupted some of the fruiting with

mangoes surprisingly appearing a few

years ago in July. For the greatest variety

of tropical fruit, visit the Cook Islands in

the summer months. Here is your guide to

Rarotonga’s favourite fruits including their

local name, season, health benefits, and

how to eat them. Dig in and enjoy!

red

flesh.

Simply

cut in half,

scoop out the seeds

and reserve to make a peppery dressing,

drizzle with lime and enjoy.

Meika/Bananas

SEASON: Year-Round

Introduced from Australasia

The Cook Islands has 68 varieties of

bananas. You’ll find the major varieties year

round. Bananas in Rarotonga taste sweeter

than those found in New Zealand, which

usually come from Ecuador. The small lady

finger bananas taste sweet and starchy

while the larger green variety taste sweet

and watery. In the Cook Islands, bananas

are used in a variety of dishes particularly

the popular banana poke, a rich dessert

made by combining banana, starch, sugar,

and coconut cream and baking it in the

oven into a kind of pudding. Punanga Nui

Market on Saturdays sells banana poke

in small tubs as well as different banana

varieties.

tried various methods including using

butterflies to curb their growth. Choose the

passion fruit that is yellow or purple (not

green). It can be eaten wrinkled or straight

from the vine.

Vī/Mango

SEASON: Summer (November-February)

Introduced from South Asia

Running down your fingers and

staining your face, the succulent

fruit never disappoints. Mangoes

have over one thousand different

varieties and the most common

variety in the Cook Islands is the

Alphonso. Generally, mangoes are

ready to devour when the peel turns

orange-yellow or reddish. The desirability

of the mango means that they don’t come

cheap, even in summer.

Climate change has impacted the growth

rate of mangoes. A recent climate change

report on the increasing temperatures in

the Cook Islands entitled itself, “Mangoes

in July.” Last year, mangoes appeared in

July—a truly freak occurrence. For a few

years the mangoes did not fruit at all. It is

said that a large amount of mangoes in

a bunch signals an upcoming cyclone. In

recent years, the mango season has an

element of unpredictability.

Dragon Fruit/Pitaya

SEASON: Summer (November-February)

Introduced from Mexico

Also known as apple cactus or prickly pear,

the dragon fruit comes from a cactus plant.

The Cook Islands has three kinds: red skin

with red flesh, yellow skin with white flesh,

Nītā/Paw-Paw/Papaya

SEASON: Year Round

Introduced from Mexico

The sweet soft fruit of the paw-paw has

a host of claimed health benefits. Rich in

antioxidants, carotenes, flavonoids, vitamin

C, vitamin B, fibre, and magnesium. Pawpaw

especially aids in digestion because of

the presence of papain, a digestive enzyme.

The Cook Islands has two main varieties.

The larger variety is yellow with orange

flesh and the smaller variety is orange with

Pārapōtini /Passion Fruit

SEASON: Summer (November-February)

Introduced from South America

A curling high-climbing vine, Rarotonga

boasts two main varieties of passion fruit.

The yellow variety is large and tangy while

the purple variety is small and sweet. Both

rich in Vitamin C. The red

variety is an invasive

species in the islands

and the Department

of Agriculture has

66 • ESCAPE


AVAILABLE AT

and red skin with white flesh. It grows well

in sandy soil and is especially prevalent on

the island of Mangaia.

Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, vitamin

C, carotene, calcium, and several B vitamins.

Billed as a “super food,” some claim it

strengthens the immune system enabling

bruises and wounds to heal faster.

Dragon fruit is easy to find at the market

with its hot pink jacket and pluming flame.

Cutting open a red dragon fruit the brilliant

magenta flesh awes. To get at the fruit,

peel back the hot pink or pineapple yellow

leathery jacket. The taste is mildly sweet

and floral, a mixture of rosebuds and kiwi

fruit with a crunchy texture.

Kātara‘apa/Sour sop

SEASON: Summer (November-February)

Introduced from South America

At the market, you may come across a

green spiky fruit four times bigger then a

mango.

Peel back the green spiky skin and eat the

modules of white sweet-sour flesh spitting

out the smooth black seeds. You’ll be

delighted by an acidic creamy pineapple

banana flavour. This is kātara‘apa also

known as sour sop. Rich in vitamin C, it has

controversial claims over its role in treating

cancer. While not yet medically proven,

Māori medicine believes in boiling the

leaves and drinking the tea to aid in cancer

treatment.

Raparapa/Starfruit

Season: Summer (November-April)

Introduced from Southeast Asia

The star fruit has five distinctive ridges

running down its oval-shaped body. When

cut in cross section it resembles a star. Rich

in vitamin C, the texture resembles that

of a grape. The waxy translucent yellow

skin is eaten with the small seeds easily

eaten or spat out. Choose the yellow-

orange star fruit not yet browning for

the sweetest flavour. For a tarter flavour,

choose a yellow-green star fruit. In the high

of summer, trees will droop with the heavy

laden fruit and you may find this juicy treat

on the ground.

Kuru Papa‘ā/Jackfruit

SEASON: Summer (November-February)

Introduced from India

The jackfruit is a large green oblong fruit.

Composed of hundreds to thousands of

individual flowers it is the fleshy petals

that are eaten. One jack fruit can weigh as

much as 35 kg! To eat the jackfruit, cut it

open and eat the individual fruits or petals

in sections. It has a combination flavour

between apple, pineapple, mango, and

banana. A good source of dietary fibre, it is

also rich in vitamin C.

Tuāva/Guava

SEASON: Summer (November-February)

Introduced from Mexico

Renown for their health benefits, guavas

are the original superfood. Their yellowgreen

skin opens to a flamingo pink flesh.

You can eat the whole guava skin and

seeds the way you would eat an apple.

The skin contains the most vitamin C with

a guava having four times more vitamin C

than an orange. Filled with antioxidants,

folic acid, magnesium, trace copper, dietary

fibre, potassium and with a low glycemic

index, guavas have a lot of health benefits.

In Chinese medicine, guavas have been

used to treat diabetes for centuries.

I‘i/Polynesian Chestnut

SEASON: Fall (February-April)

Imported from Fiji/Melanesia

The local chestnuts of the Cook Islands are

a delicacy. The Polynesian chestnut differs

from the European chestnut and is the

seed of a fruit. The smooth orange-brown

skin covers a fibrous shell, which holds an

inedible pulpy fruit and within it the kernel.

The Polynesian chestnut kidney-shaped

seed is toxic raw. When boiled for hours it

turns into an edible creamy, nutty delicacy.

Sold in ziplock bags you can pick them up

at roadside stands.

AVARUA

SHOPPING

CENTRE

P. (682) 29292

PHARMACY

Inspired by

traditional

Cook Islands

medicine

ESCAPE • 67


TE IPUKAREA SOCIETY

- CARETAKERS OF THE COOKS

Story: Rachel Smith Photos: Te Ipukarea Society

Under the lid is a wriggling mass of

worms, millipedes and cockroaches

– exactly what you would expect

from a well maintained worm farm. Alanna

Smith, Project Officer at Te Ipukarea Society

(TIS), digs around with a spoon and pulls out

some worms. These are not any old worms

but a specific type of compost worm known

as ‘red wrigglers’ which can be found

around muddy pig pens.

Alanna and fellow Project Officer, Liam

Kokaua, have set up similar worm farms

at schools across the Cook Islands over

the past year. Funded by the Global

Environment Fund Small Grants Programme

(GEF SGP), worm farms were purchased for

each school and education provided on how

to care for their worms as well as benefits

such as using organic waste to produce

compost and worm wee for gardens.

The worm farms are typical of the projects

that TIS undertake. A non-government

environmental organisation, they work

to recognise and support the natural

environment of the Cook Islands – the

ocean, the land, the mountains and the

lagoon, and the many varieties of flora and

fauna whose home is spread across the 15

islands.

Kelvin Passfield, Technical Director, has

been a member of TIS since it began

back in 1996, initiated as a members

based volunteer organisation by a group

of concerned citizens. Managed by a

voluntary committee it has only been

in recent times that TIS has been able

to attract sufficient funds to be able to

pay four employees, including part-time

Finance Manager Mary McDonald.

The small team has a big job to do,

working across the Cook Islands to share

information and create public awareness,

collaborating with other organisations

both locally and globally, and undertaking

carefully selected field projects. All their

work is based around their five key focus

areas: Biodiversity, Youth, Climate Change,

Eco Sustainable Development and Waste

Management.

What this means is that while one day

they may be setting up worm farms,

the next day could be spent scrambling

about mountains counting birds, making

a UNESCO funded documentary on

traditional fishing of flying fish in Mitiaro,

working with government departments to

establish the Cook Islands Marine Park now

known as Marae Moana or journeying up

to the Northern Group islands to eradicate

invasive rats which predate on native birds.

“It’s different every day,” says Alanna, who

alongside Liam joined the TIS team at the

beginning of 2015.

TIS relies on funding from a range of

sources, including BirdLife International with

whom TIS is a recognised partner, and the

Arcadia Foundation. BirdLife International

has an obvious focus on conservation

of bird life, and supports many of the

biodiversity projects in the Cook Islands.

This work takes TIS from one end of

the country to the other - from rugged

mountains to remote atolls and everywhere

in between. Last year Liam visited Mangaia,

for a project on the Tanga’eo, Mangaian

Kingfisher, which is endemic to the island of

Mangaia.

“I talked with the community about the

current status of the bird and its habitat,”

says Liam. “We want to ensure the next

generation of Mangaians are proud of their

bird.”

This year has a different bird life focus

with the team set to head off for three

weeks on another GEF SGP funded project

to Suwarrow, a national park established

back in 1975. Here they will undertake a rat

re-eradication programme, a follow up to

the first programme in 2012, and also a sea

bird survey.

“Suwarrow Atoll has a regionally significant

seabird population,” says Liam, who will

have the challenging task of counting

hundreds of moving sea birds, with

assistance provided from experts at BirdLife

International. “I’m really looking forward to

that.”

Aside from these donor funded projects, TIS

has an additional wish-list of areas to work

68 • ESCAPE


on within their five focus areas. And this is

where Mana Tiaki comes in.

Mana Tiaki, their “protect a little paradise”

campaign, is essentially a visitor payback

scheme that allows visitors and locals

to act as guardians or caretakers of the

Cook Islands and give a little back to

help maintain the island paradise. Mana

Tiaki donation boxes can be found across

Rarotonga in the international departure

lounge at the airport and at cafes, bars and

shops.

“All funds go towards one of our five focal

areas,” says Kelvin, with the unrestricted

income allowing TIS the flexibility to

undertake work outside of specifically

funded programmes. “This allows us to

support the likes of some of the work

we do with schools and the Takitumu

Conservation Area (TCA).”

to ban the importation of polystyrene

takeaway containers in the Cook Islands.

It is a balance between local and global

environmental challenges – between waste

reduction issues on a small island to the far

reaching effects of climate change. Recent

work has taken Kelvin across the Pacific to

Tokelau and Niue, who along with the Cook

Islands are part of a community based

adaptation climate change project funded

by Australia through the GEF SGP Global

Grants.

Closer to home and Chris Benson is

completing the very first TIS internship

thanks to a generous donation from a

visiting UK bird-loving couple. “It’s been

great,” says Chris, who has worked as part

of the TIS team between completing Year 13

at Tereora College and beginning his studies

at university. “We’re not limited in what we

do here – it’s been interesting and fun.”

“We are committed to providing a

continuing internship,” says Kelvin, which

has been aptly named the Dame Margaret

Karika Memorial Internship, the Society’s

long-term patron who sadly passed away

in 2017.

On a steamy Friday afternoon Alanna and

Liam are doing the rounds of a couple of

schools, checking up on how their worm

farms are going. At Imanuela Akatemia

Christian School, what was once the best

worm farm in Rarotonga is needing a

touch of TLC. Working with senior students,

Alanna and Liam empty out a backlog of

food scraps and add in soil and some new

worms. It is also an opportunity for a chat

about saying no to plastic straws and

polystyrene containers, and supporting

biodegradable products which are now

available and in use around Rarotonga. The

restored worm farm is wheeled back into its

spot under the verandah with instructions

on how to keep their worms happy.

“It will be back to the number one worm

farm in the Cook Islands in no time,”

says Liam. www.tiscookislands.org

TIS provide support to the TCA, a

landowners conservation group known for

its work in re-establishing the population

of kakerori, Rarotonga Flycatcher. Such

is the success of the programme that the

population of kakerori has risen from just

29 in 1989 to a current population of over

400. TIS assist with guided tours to the area

as well as participating in bird surveys with

TCA and the Department of Conservation

New Zealand, and in the process learn new

skills such as how to safely catch, band and

release the small bird.

Another key area for TIS has been to

decrease the amount of plastic waste

generated in the Cook Islands by

suggesting alternatives to polystyrene and

single use plastic products.

“We go around talking to vendors at

the market,” says Kelvin, with TIS also

advertising about local options when

it comes to recycling. TIS is, of course,

very supportive of a new policy from

Infrastructure Cook Islands which hopes

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ESCAPE • 69


AN INTERVIEW

WITH

Marc

Cameron

– A COLLECTOR OF

STORIES

Story: Tim Meyer

Photos: Victoria Otte

Escape Magazine sat down with New York

Times Bestselling author Marc Cameron

on one of his favourite beaches in Rarotonga

enjoying a refreshing fruit smoothie from

Charlie’s Café and Beach Hire. His first edition

of Tom Clancy – ‘Power and Empire’ has

sold an incredible 150,000 hard copies in the

United States during the opening week. His

oeuvre has been translated into 5 languages

and he has published over 10 books, novels

and short stories. A true celebrity of the

contemporary writer’s guild who is a regular

visitor to our island paradise and we thank

him for taking the time to have a chat with us.

Escape Magazine was lucky enough to spend

the afternoon with the author discovering

what he draws on for inspiration when

writing, the importance of family and how he

came to fall in love with the paradise that is

the Cook Islands and her people.

The moment of surprise is a big element in your writing, multiple

story lines running alongside each other and intertwining

subplots make for the ultimate page turner. You keep surprising

your readers with new characters and twists all the time. When

were you last surprised and by whom or what?

That is the reason why I travel. When I plan a plot, it is all about

the unknown parts and connections. These unknown spots are the

inspiration for telling a story. And I fill them with observations of

people that I meet and see during my travels. One of my favourite

sayings I overheard recently here in Rarotonga was: “you have

more culture than a month-old mango.” I love those things and

you do not learn about them unless you stay for a while.

When did you first hear about the Cook Islands?

Our 30th wedding anniversary came up and my wife asked me

to take her to a white sandy beach. You know, we live in Alaska

and everybody is trying to get away for Christmas. It is cold and

snowy, so many Alaskans are trying to escape the winter for a

while and go somewhere warm and tropical. I researched the

South Pacific, got stuck on French Polynesia and Bora Bora. But

soon discovered that the Cook Islands was more what we were

looking for. We wanted to get away around Christmas time.

Through Trip Advisor we found Royale Takitumu, Booked, loved it

and never stayed anywhere else. This is our third trip in four years

to the Cook Islands.

When did you decide to combine your love for the Cook Islands

and your writing?

The moment we got here. You know I had started writing very

early, short stories and also Westerns, stories about real cowboys

and lots of guns (laughs). About 15 years ago I started writing

professionally and by the time we first came here I was recently

retired from my job in law enforcement, had published 5 books in

70 • ESCAPE


the Jericho Quinn Series and was ready

for a new adventure. I write wherever I

go and here I find the perfect mix to be

productive: it is safe, relaxed, quiet, not

too many distractions just like Hawaii

70 years ago must have been like. I love

meeting and observing people so writing in

a small beach resort gives me exactly that

environment because it is very transient,

guests come and go all the time and I can

sit there at my deck and just filter through

everything that is happening around me.

I am a collector of stories and find many

great stories here in the Cook Islands.

What do you like most about the Cook

Islands?

The people; the people; the people. I really

love the cultural surprises. You see, this

is an old, longstanding tradition but for

me it is all new and fairly recent because

we (him and his wife Victoria) have just

discovered it. So, talking to locals, hearing

their stories is fascinating and very

inspiring. Over the years we have made

some real connections here in the Cook

Islands and now it feels like coming home

to visit good old friends.

And your family, have they ever visited

the Cook Islands?

Yes! This year was special for us because

we brought the whole family down

and spent a couple of weeks with the

grandchildren at Lagoon Breeze Villas.

Our adult kids were kind of worried that

they would not find enough entertainment

for the kids here. But our grandchildren

loved it. How much more than a nice

sandy beach, some shells, some sticks

and coconuts do you need? The kids had

a great time and we have created some

beautiful memories as a family.

When you don’t write, what do you enjoy

doing?

Reading, sailing, motor cycling cross

country on my BMW GS Adventure I do

about 10,000 – 12,000 miles per year.

Driving gives me the head space to really

relax, let the mind travel and explore. There

is great inspiration in boredom for me

(laughs). It is the monotony that lets the

brain travel and explore. It is a great way

of giving yourself the space to think about

the important things in life and work. As a

family we also enjoy hunting and fishing.

To a certain extent we do lead a selfsubsistent

lifestyle where my wife catches

ocean salmon and my son and I go caribou

hunting once a year to fill up our freezers.

If there was one writer that you could

meet, who would it be?

Hemingway, Norman Maclean – they

might not have been the best people or the

nicest guys but I imagine they would be

very interesting to talk to. All they wanted

was to tell a good story. And they have

achieved. Ian Fleming would have been

great to meet as well. You know he wrote

in a place in the Caribbean called Golden

Eye and Royale Takitumu in Rarotonga is

kind of my golden eye. I would love to sit

down with him and compare our ‘golden

eyes’.

Marc has written his first Tom Clancy Novel

– Power and Empire here on Rarotonga

while staying at Royale Takitumu in

Titikaveka.

So, with all this time spent in the Cook

Islands, will there ever be a Cook Islands

inspired plot or character?

In fact, I love it so much that I have created

a Cook Islands character – Lola Teariki,

half Japanese half Cook Islander for my

mystery novel Open Carry. In the book,

Lola is a deputy marshal. My editors are

still holding it back a little while but it will

come out in April 2019.

What do you love most about being a

writer?

The freedom. I can write from anywhere

in the world. The creativity of imagining

stories. It is a childhood dream come true.

Plus, I love the many doors this line of

work is opening. I have two editors and

both are well connected and rooted in the

old New York publishing business. Through

Where do you find the inspiration for your

ideas?

In people, definitely in people. In

conversation and in my former work

experience in law enforcement.

ESCAPE • 71


them I am meeting many fascinating

personalities. This is fun!

Is it difficult killing a character you really

like?

Sure! Robert Frost said: “No tears in the

writer, no tears in the reader.” You have

to be focused on telling a true story. I

am trying to imagine the plot – here are

the bad guys, they have their plan; want

to blow something up to destabilize a

government or the like and they are going

on a straight line towards their goal.

Marc makes a fist and slowly straightens

up his arm mimicking the bad guys making

their approach. He then moves his other

fist across the extended right arm and

continues:

And then there are the good guys, they

come in from the side. The best is when

the lines meet multiple times, to the point

where the reader thinks: “No, everything

is lost!” The bad guys have won but then

there is the twist and the good guys have

one more ace and solve the conflict. On

this line, when somebody has to die it

needs to make sense. Following the plot,

their skill set and age and if the story

demands it they come to the end of their

rope but you would never kill a person

just to kill them or for entertainment. The

progression towards the inevitable needs

to be coherent, the character’s death

needs to be convincing for the reader.

When I write those scenes, it feels like I

am almost hypnotized by the process of

writing and it is then physically exhausting

once the scene is over and the character

has died at the end. It is tough, no kidding.

How much research goes into your text?

A lot. A whole lot. I read research texts

for one hour in the morning and another

one to two hours in the afternoon or at

night. When I write, I write the story first

and make a note to do more research

later. On the second round of editing I fill

in the research blanks. This process is very

important because what I write needs to

be true. So, it has to be well researched.

For example, the next Tom Clancy book

has a lot of satellites in it and there is so

much research needed that at some stage

I have to draw a line and make sure that

I do not lose the reader by overloading

them with facts and science. At the end of

the day, I am here to entertain!

There is the famous Tom Clancy quote:

“The difference between fiction and

reality? Fiction has to make sense”. Can

you tell us how much is real and how

much is fiction?

Through observation I am trying to tell

the truth of how people talk and behave.

It is the concept of verisimilitude showing

people how things are by describing how

things smell, feel etc. That is one of the

reasons I like traveling to the places that

I write about. Some places I have a hard

time traveling to like Cuba especially with

my back ground in Law enforcement and

having some Cuban bad guys in the story,

so I decided that it wasn’t the smartest

thing going to Cuba. Instead, I read many

blogs and researched on YouTube to find

real footage and sources that I use in

my text. Those parts are relatively close

to reality but the connections between

places and people have to be filled with

imagination and are therefore rather

fictitious.

Tom Clancy said: “When I write about a

rock in central park then you need to be

able to go and find that rock.” And I am

following that motto.

How long does it take to write a 582

pages Tom Clancy novel?

I write two books a year. One Tom Clancy

of about 150,000 words and one of my

own at roughly 110,000 words.

If you could give Jack Ryan one word of

advice, what would it be?

You be you.

Is there a character that you would like to

have imagined?

Not so much a single character but writing

itself. I really enjoy Norman Maclean and

he only wrote three books but the way

he wrote them makes me think I would

have liked to write this. You see a lot of

writing these days is like a bag of potato

chips, you start and then can’t stop until

its finished but it is not necessarily good

for you. To recalibrate the brain, I enjoy

reading Maclean and especially – A River

Runs through it and other stories. It is only

a short text but it is good.

72 • ESCAPE


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THU, 20 SEPTEMBER: FUN RUN

Round Rarotonga Road Race 2018 foots off (starts) with dressed up 5km FUN RUN.

The venue will once again be at the yard across from Beachcomber known as Sinai Hall

down town Avarua.

The aim of the race is to get everyone to meet and mingle and have fun before the main

race. So dare to be different turn up as Superman or Robinhood. LETS HAVE FUN!

Everyone is encouraged to dress up for fun, anything goes!

FRI, 21 SEPTEMBER: RARO SAFARI TOURS

FREE DAY, your opportunity to discover more of Rarotonga. Raro Safari Tours

offers an exciting day adventure into the interior of the island and visiting

some of the islands ‘hard to get to’ places. This is a must do tour towards the

beginning of your stay and is a great way to really get a feel for the lay of the

land.

SAT, 22 SEPTEMBER: THE MAIN RACE DAY

The 31km race starts at Sinai Hall (across from Beachcomber in Avarua) at 5:30am and the

10km race will start in Muri at 7:30am. Complimentary busses will be available to pick up

participants in the morning to get you to the race by 5:30am.

Race Numbers and final check in will be conducted from the Corporate Marquees prior to

the race. At the finish line, there will be complementary coconut juice, water,

light snacks and tropical fruit for all runners & supporters after the race.

SAT, 22 SEPTEMBER: NIGHTLIFE 41 ST CELEBRATION

Celebrate 41 years of Round Raro Road Race with fellow race participants on

the GOING TROPPO Nightlife Bus Tour. Cool down the island way with your

responsible sober driver. Cheers to a good run!!! (18 yrs+)

SUN, 23 SEPTEMBER: CAPTAIN TAMA’S LAGOON CRUISE

Discover the Lagoon aboard the glass bottom boats. Snorkel and feed the fish before

heading to a motu (small island) where you will be entertained while the crew

prepare a Fish BBQ lunch. Special price for Road Race participants and Supporters.

SUN, 23 SEPTEMBER: PRIZE GIVING DINNER

Day of rest in the Cook Islands with limited activities available. If you missed out on the

Lagoon Cruise, we recommend you to attend the Sunday Church service where you can enjoy

the distinctive traditional hymns of the Cook Islands. The Official Prize Giving Island Night

Dinner & Show will kick off at 6pm.

MON, 24 SEPTEMBER: HASH HARRIERS BIRTHDAY RUN

The local Hash House Harriers birthday promises a Costumed Run that is not to be missed.

It starts around 5.30pm at the Spaghetti House Restaurant, Edgewater Resort. Come as the

Queen, come as the shoe maker, you name it, you wear it. Wigs and hats supplied by Hash

Harriers on the day.

This event is followed by an Island Feast at approximately $10.00 per person for those that wish

to eat and mingle with the Hash Harrier Team. Cash bar available.

TUES, 25 SEPTEMBER: NUTTERS CROSS ISLAND RUN

The Nutters Cross Island Run is approx. 8.5km that starts at 2:00pm from the Inspiration

of Rarotonga (opposite Vaima Restaurant) and heads over ridges across rugged valleys and

riverbeds down to the Avatiu Coastline.

The remarks from this run have been branded the most difficult in the country. It is not

recommended for the fainthearted. The record still stands unbeaten at 45 minutes, and

promises to be an exciting challenge. If you think you can beat it, give it a go!

WED, 26 SEPTEMBER: ROUND THE ROCK RELAY

The relay will start at 2:00pm for the walkers and 4:00pm for the runners at the Spaghetti

House Restaurant, Edgewater Resort. This is a fun event and all teams are encouraged to

adopt a theme. Registration forms for the relay can be obtained on the day of the 5km FUN RUN,

the day of the main 31km and 10km race, DMCK website at www.dmck.co.ck or from our office

at Turama House in Nikao.


Camping on a

Cargo ShipThe Late

Story: Thomas Koteka

Photos: Apai Mataiapo Keu Framhein,

Don Silk & The Late Bob Boyd

beyond the reef. Whilst this perked us up,

we ignored breakfast.

Rarotonga, December 1973, pre

domestic airlines and the Banana

Court was the only place to be

seen on a Friday and Saturday night, the

four of us were fortunate to secure the last

cabin on Silk & Boyds inter island vessel MV

Manuvai for a 5 day round trip cargo run to

Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia. It was to be the

last ship to these islands before Christmas.

With 30 deck passengers under a tarpaulin

stretched over the cargo holds, 4 cabin

passengers, crew and cargo of all sorts,

MV Manuvai sat right on her Plimsoll Line.

A Prayer for a safe passage was offered to

Tangaroa, then she detached her lines and

set course for Atiu.

Our cabin had two sets of bunks, a small

wash basin, standing room only for 3

persons and one porthole which none of us

could open, so it was hot. For the time being

the excitement of the trip preoccupied us

from the smell of diesel fumes, whiff of

stale vomit, the heat, the steady throbbing

of the ships main engine and the constant

motion of the Pacific.

It was 6.30pm when Cook announced Dinner.

A huge pot of boiled mutton flaps and

cabbage accompanied by fresh baked Avarua

bread, tinned butter and hot black tea greeted

us. Cook had forgotten to load sugar and

milk powder but would pick some up on Atiu.

Feeling famished and queasy at the same

time did not stop us from tucking in.

Lucky we had bought with us a plastic bucket,

which we all took turns using on that 1st

long night in our cabin. Me and my fellow

passengers, Simon and the 2 girls were not

very well at all!!!!

Early morning, the 4 of us despairingly

ventured onto the main deck, emptied the

contents of our bucket over the side and then,

we were trounced by the sight and smells of

a beautiful island not more than 150 yards

MV Manuvai was a hive of activity, deck

passengers had packed their gear so

that the tarpaulins could be secured and

hatches opened to unload Atiu cargo.

3 lighters from the shore were already

alongside and with much zeal loaded with

cargo and passengers for the first run

through the narrow passage in the reef. The

Captain said if we wanted to go ashore, get

down to the cargo deck and await further

instructions. These instructions never came

so when the next lighters drew alongside

we just clambered down the ships side

and set ourselves atop the cargo. Nobody

seemed to mind.

Fortunately my Mum had telegraphed my

Auntie Parau on Atiu to look out for us. She

was waiting and immediately put us on the

back of a truck for a tour of Atiu. We even

visited the old Church where my Mum and

Dad got married after they eloped from

Rarotonga. This was followed by lunch at

the Resident Agents verandah in the main

village of Ngatiarua hosted by Auntie Parau

and the family. We were indeed spoilt

for choice - boiled fresh water prawns in

coconut cream, whole fried parrot fish,

rukau, swamp taro, mitiore, eke (octopus),

ika mata, breadfruit, pineapples and

drinking nuts… awesome!!!!.

Afterwards we went for a fresh water swim

in the Anatakitaki caves. The water was cold

which helped battle the heat of the day. We

also visited Aunties plantation where we

were gifted with fresh pineapples, pawpaw,

bananas and Atiu limes - where we were

74 • ESCAPE


Below: Cave swim Atiu

Previous page: Mangaia pineapples

going to stow all this on board was not a

concern at this time.

After our farewells we boarded the last

lighter in the late afternoon. Strange how

the condition of the seas can change,

we were drenched by the time we pulled

alongside and the conditions demanded

all our attention and adroitness climbing

aboard. Where we were going to stow

all that fruit was now of no concern

because they all tumbled into the Pacific

as we clambered aboard, we did rescue 2

pineapples and a bag of Atiu limes. The rest

became the property of the crew from the

lighter as they gathered what they could

while heading back to shore. I sensed that

Simon and the 2 girls were not impressed

as we set sail for Mauke.

6.30pm, Cook just had dinner on the table

when the yelling started! …“e Mahimahi…

e’e rua Mahimahi…..iiiaaaa kuku” !!! For

expediency the Captain reduced revolutions

as the crew hauled in the 2 mahimahi

caught on the 2 hand-lines. They changed

colour a number of times from black to gold

and all the colours in between as they lay

on the deck, sad to see such a crude ending

to these Pacific wanderers. Cook stowed

most of the dinner he had prepared to have

the next day and with delight, changed

the menu to fresh fried mahimahi fillets.

30 minutes ago these amazing creatures

were roaming the Pacific minding their

own business, never-the-less they were

delicious doused with Atiu limes.

trip, he said yes and in the same breath told

us there would be no refunds. That being

established he did allow us to use the foam

mattresses and bedding from our cabin to

sleep on. As 10 passengers had alighted to

Atiu there was ample room for us to set up

camp under the tarpaulin on the deck. The

fresh sea breeze qualified our decision and

that night we slept soundly.

After most of the night hove too in the lee of

Mauke, the early morning greeted us with

the aroma of gardenia’s, frangipani, tiare

maori and the last of the mahimahi fillets

fried for breakfast. The

being

Pacific was dead calm. There was barely

a ripple across the reef, the ocean floor

some 10 fathoms below revealed fish of

many varieties dancing amongst the coral

outcrops and underwater canyons that

disappeared into the dark blue. We enjoyed

our breakfast that morning - Simon and the

girls were very content.

A light rain had started as the hatches

were cleared to unload the Mauke cargo.

Amongst other things there was a a new

pickup truck for the Island administration

which was skillfully delivered through the

Afterwards we went for a fresh water swim in

the Anatakitaki caves. The water was cold which

helped battle the heat of the day.

Atiu had put us all in good spirits and we

had found our sea legs, so during dinner we

admitted that our cabin was not the best

environment for us and given the 1st nights

experience we were dead keen to seek

other arrangements. Cook mentioned the

deck was the best place on account of the

constant fresh sea breeze.

So we asked the Captain if we could

become deck passengers for the rest of the

ESCAPE • 75


Left and opposite page: MV Manuvai

Below: Mauke passage 1970's

It was still calm and drizzling, when we

arrived to Mangaia in the early hours

of the morning. Cook was poorly so the

2nd Engineer prepared breakfast, instant

coffee (he found a tin of coffee in the Cooks

cabin!!!), cabin bread biscuits and fresh

pineapple (which he found in our cabin!!!!) -

the breakfast was delectable!!!

passage on 2 lighters bound together by 6

x 2 timbers and hemp ropes.

Fortunately my Mum had telegraphed

Auntie Helen on Mauke to watch out for us,

and there she was as we stepped ashore.

Auntie Helen was never short of a word and

as we followed her in the rain to her home

at Tepari she kept us informed of all the

gossip on Mauke. She had already prepared

lunch for us, free range chicken curry, bele,

maito, coconut cream, pawpaw and banana

pancakes, tomato and cucumber salad

from her garden, fried taro and candied

coconut drink. As we ate she captivated

us with stories about our genealogy, her

husband, the late Judge MacCarthy, their

feeding sons and daughters and what my

Mum was like while she was growing up on

Mauke. This fascinating lunch ended when

my cousin Framhein arrived with 4 horses

which we road bareback to the centre of

the island to swim in one of Mauke’s many

fresh water caverns.

the bunches of banana’s on the deck and

stored our many bottles of Mauke miracle

coconut oil as the light rain continued, still

we were cozy and dry under the tarpaulin

as we set sail for Mangaia.

Like clockwork dinner was announced at

6.30pm, and goodness me, what a treat!!!

‘Tiopu tomati’ – or bully beef stew with

fresh Mauke tomatoes, onions for contrast

and Watties tinned spaghetti for binding.

The rain had chilled the air and tiopu tomati,

cabin bread biscuits and tinned butter

warmed us up. We also had powdered milk

and sugar. Today was an awesome day,

Simon and the 2 girls were speechless.

Mangaia is my birth Island. I left here when

I was 8 years old, and I had not returned till

now. I recollected many things as I gazed at

the towering makatea cliffs that circled this

very ancient island.

Often Simon had commented that I was

a tad strange fellow with an attitude. This

was confirmed when he was told by the

Captain that Managians were often referred

to as the Irish of the Pacific on account of

their strange behaviour and holier-thanthou

attitude.

Fortunately my Mum had already

telegraphed Auntie Tu to watch out for us

and there she was waiting for us as we

alighted from the barge that had bought

us through the passage. Mangaia was the

1st outer island to get a motorised barge

to transfer cargo to the ships off the reef.

Mauke is my family island on my mother’s

side (she and her siblings were all born

here), so being here was a poignant

experience for me. Simon and the 2 girls

were most overcome with my Mauke

heritage as narrated by Auntie Helen in the

short time we were there.

By 4.30pm we had already said our

goodbyes to the Mauke family, loaded

76 • ESCAPE


This was so as this island was exporting

pineapples by the ship load for the NZ

market. As this was the last island on

this schedule MV Manuvai’s holds would

now be empty and ready to load up with

pineapples to trans ship to Rarotonga -

very enterprising!

Auntie Tu had arranged a truck for us to use

for the day to explore Mangaia, which is the

2nd largest island in the group. She also

has the distinction of being the oldest coral

island on the planet, having gone through

a number of periods where she was raised

from the ocean floor. Evidence of this are

her towering makatea cliffs which circle

the island like a castle keep protecting the

rolling landscape of her interior. She is also

riddled with a network of caves many of

which were used by our ancestors to bury

the dead.

We visited the hospital where I was born

and the house where I spent my first years

on the planet, memories of my childhood

came flooding back. Simon and the 2 girls

thought I was crying, but it was dust in my

eye!

We were just about to have lunch at

Auntie Tu’s when someone rolled up on

a very old Suzuki 90 2 stroke motorbike

and announced that we had to get on

board ship as soon as possible. The last

of the cargo was being loaded and more

importantly, the weather was deteriorating

and the Captain wanted to set sail as soon

as all passengers were aboard.

Auntie Tu said hurry up let’s go or you’ll be

stranded here for a month! She wrapped a

kikau basket of food for us and took us to

the landing. There were only 10 passengers

heading back to Rarotonga, which included

the 4 of us. The last barge was loaded

with pineapples in wooden containers and

we were instructed to climb on top of the

cargo. Nobody on or off the barge was

alarmed that the transom of the barge

The barge hit the side of the MV Manuvai quite hard

on account of a rogue wave. I don’t recall how we

did it, but all 10 of us, in unison, alighted effortlessly

while that rogue wave held the barge at the very

same level as the deck for no more than a split

second! Simon and the 2 girls were so impressed

they cried with joy!

was actually underwater! No worries said

someone, the hull of the barge is sealed

and cannot leak. And with that we set off to

MV Manuvai beyond the reef.

It happened so quickly. The barge tipped

suddenly just outside the reef entrance! As

a result, we and the pineapples slid off deck

into the Pacific!!! As we surfaced amongst

a sea of pineapples, we heard - ”swim to

the reef… swim to the reef”. As the barge

chugged away, the crew yelling ”swim to

the reef!”, I guessed Simon and the 2 girls

were not impressed at this time.

Apart from a few grazes and scratches

gleaned as we crossed the reef we, and the

other passengers were ok and as we made

our way across the shallow lagoon back

to the landing half of Mangaia was making

it’s way to the reef to rescue as many

pineapples as they could!

When the barge returned to the landing

a number of official type Officials began

very heated discussions with the crew.

Nothing came of it and in the end we wet

passengers again boarded the barge (this

time without any cargo) and made our way

back to the MV Manuvai. It was dead quiet

as we went through the passage entrance,

save for someone whistling an Elvis Presley

number. We noticed that the wind was now

stronger and the Pacific a tad nasty.

The barge hit the side of the MV Manuvai

quite hard on account of a rogue wave. I

don’t recall how we did it, but all 10 of us,

in unison, alighted effortlessly while that

rogue wave held the barge at the very

same level as the deck for no more than a

split second! Simon and the 2 girls were so

impressed they cried with joy!

ESCAPE • 77


Left: Avarua late 1960's

Above: Old Avatiu Airport

Below: Don Silk and Bob Boyd

After a thank you

prayer to Tangaroa,

family and friends

helped us disembark.

Now on dry land, we all

continued to feel the

motion of MV Manuvai.

With a puff of black diesel smoke from

the funnel, the holds half full of Mangaian

pineapples, we set course for Rarotonga.

By all accounts it was going to be a very

rough passage! Extra coverings were placed

at the bow end of the cargo deck to help

keep the seaspray from coming in, while the

noise of the hull as it slammed into a wave

was uncomfortably deafening, but we were

warm and snug camped under the tarpaulin

on the deck.

With the Cook still poorly, the usual 6.30pm

dinner announcement was made by the

2nd Engineer. This was ignored by most,

including Simon and the 2 girls. I was

hungry so I carefully made my way to the

dining room to find 2 other passengers

at the table. Boiled salt beef, onions and

cabbage, rice, tomatoes, Mangaian taro

(the best in the Pacific!!!), cabin bread &

tinned butter, steaming hot black tea

or instant coffee, sugar, powdered milk

and pineapple pie! There was plenty for

everyone !!! I thought, Simon and the 2 girls

would be hungry in the morning.

Full bellied I headed back to the camp site

to find them sound asleep. I was impressed

that none of them were seasick. I couldn’t

sleep so joined the other deck passengers

in a game of eucre as MV Manuvai rock and

rolled her way to Rarotonga.

The Pacific had calmed down by 6am.

We could now see the peaks of Ikurangi

and Maungatea on the horizon. Everyone

started preparations for arrival into

Avatiu harbour. Cook, now back on

deck, announced that leftovers were for

breakfast. Simon and the 2 girls thought

about it, otherwise no one was interested.

It was 9.30am as we entered the harbour.

The crew had already hauled and stowed

the tarpaulins and without any fuss we

were securely moored to Avatiu wharf.

After a thank you prayer to Tangaroa,

family and friends helped us disembark.

Now on dry land, we all continued to feel

the motion of MV Manuvai. This would last

a couple of days and was quite normal,

Simon and the 2 girls looked as if they were

drunk.

As the last passenger stepped ashore

MV Manuvai opened her holds and the

unloading of the pineapples began. Piled

high on the wharf was cargo designated

for Manihiki, Penrhyn and Pukapuka, which

was where the MV Manuvai was heading

tomorrow evening, it would be a 10 day

passage.

When I look back, I acknowledge that

these small island traders and their crews

sacrificed and risked all in providing a

reliable service to the outer islands, but

that was the norm in those days. A new

generation continue this service today, and

still with deck passengers under tarpaulins,

a stark contrast to the availability of air

services to nearly all the islands in the

group.

Mum picked us up in the Datsun truck and

we headed to our Takuvaine home for

a long shower and fresh clothes. As we

passed the Avarua markets opposite Rima’s

Cafe, out of the blue, Simon suggested we

head down to Avatiu wharf in the morning

and see if they had space for us on deck

for the Northern Group trip … but that’s

another story.

78 • ESCAPE


RUMOURS

CAFE

Intimate air-conditioned dining Sunday,

Wednesday & Friday.

Pacific Rim cuisine & full bar facilities

(BYO if you wish).

Reservations Essential.

Ph: +682 31 906 Mob: +682 55755

reservations@aitutakiescape.com

www.aitutakiescape.com

Every Tuesdays

Local | Food | Music | Dancing

Island Nights

“Sharing our culture with you”

sharing our culture with you - every Tuesday

Island Nights

LO caL • F OOD • Music • Dancing

Located at Ootu Beach. Open 7 days a week for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Located at Ootu Beach.

ESCAPE • 79


Aitutaki

a little slice

of heaven

Kia 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.

Many visitors to the Cook Islands take the

opportunity to discover Aitutaki’s beauty

by taking a day trip from Rarotonga,

which usually includes a cruise on the

lagoon. However, the luxury of a little

extra time fully reveals the stunning

palette of a tropical retreat unsurpassed

anywhere in the world; and a welcoming

and friendly local populace who live life

at an easy, relaxed pace. So, if you’re

considering a visit - stay over a night or

two, or preferably longer; you will not be

disappointed.

outside world. The breathtaking allure

of its crystal clear turquoise waters and

sparkling white beaches confirms that it is

“one of the places to visit while you are still

on this earth”.

From the air this island paradise has to

be one of the most beautiful sights in the

South Pacific. Aitutaki is made up of a

triangular-shaped reef encompassing an

aqua lagoon in which three volcanic and

twelve small coral islands nestle. A small

island is known locally as a motu.

And certainly, 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

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

80 • ESCAPE


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).

Bishops Cruises is perhaps the lagoon’s most experienced and

they offer a choice of cruises to various islands. And you can

opt for a smaller boat with a more intimate and personal tour if

... 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.

The highlight of Aitutaki is her lagoon and

a visit is not complete without joining us

for a fun filled day cruising this spectacular

wonder.

Explore the incredible marine life while

snorkeling and swimming. We offer a range of

tours and lagoon taxi services, hotel transfers,

snorkeling gear, beach towels and BBQ lunch

on the famous One Foot Island.

We are also ‘Island Wedding’ specialists.

Tel: +682 31009

Email: bishopcruz@aitutaki.net.ck

Visit our website to discover more...

www.bishopscruises.com

ESCAPE • 81


This vast lagoon was

once a stopover for the

TEAL (Tasman Empire

Airways Limited) Short

Solent flying boats

traveling the renowned

‘Coral Route’ through

the South Pacific.

you wish. After a wonderful morning of

snorkeling and feeding the fish, lunch is

usually served at One Foot Island which

boasts what could be the world’s smallest

Post Office. Don’t forget to take your

passport with you; because you can have

it stamped here, making a great souvenir

of your visit.

This vast lagoon was once a stopover for

the TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited)

Short Solent flying boats traveling the

renowned ‘Coral Route’ through the South

Pacific. TEAL is the former name 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 base and jetty are still visible

today. Here the well-to-do of the fifties,

including movie stars John Wayne, Cary

Grant and the like, stopped for a few hours

or even overnight, while planes were refuelled,

serviced, or waiting for weather to

clear. Passengers would swim in the clear

warm waters in the bay, shower outdoors

under the palms and eat lunches of crisply

cut sandwiches and local pawpaw, before

re-embarking.

Aitutaki has an interesting aviation

history. It was 1942 when the construction

juggernaut that would soon become

known as the Seabees came ashore and

began constructing what many feared

would be the last line of defence for allied

forces fighting the Japanese. The airport

at Aitutaki was constructed as part of

operation Bobcat. With their slogan” we

build – we fight”, the Seabees soon had

the island air-base operational; just in

time to see them move from this part of

the Pacific, as they pursued the Japanese

further to the north and west. The runway

has recently been completely rebuilt.

Charmingly small, quaint even, Aitutaki

airport is the busiest it’s been since the war

days.

Back further in time; the first European

discovery was by Captain Bligh sailing on

the Bounty in 1789. He sighted the island

just 17 days prior to the infamous mutiny.

82 • ESCAPE


AITUTAKI • COOK ISLANDS

Tamanu Beach

Tamanu Beach

CASUAL LUXURY

A winding road

criss-crossing the island and lots

of small tracks, lead to interesting,

unexpected places and a number of

local villages.

Bligh returned later to Aitutaki and is said to have introduced

the pawpaw which, like other varieties of tropical fruit, grows in

abundance all over the island.

50 years later the first missionary, the Reverend John Williams of

The London Missionary Society, introduced Christianity to Aitutaki

and the Cook Islands Christian Church, down by the wharf at

Arutanga, became the very first Church built in the Cook Islands.

A grand old lady with coral walls, stained glass windows and

ornate ceiling decorations, she is a constant inspiration to locals

and a reminder that Aitutaki was the first of the nation’s islands to

embrace Christianity.

Delving further into the islands past is local archaeologist

Ngaakitai Pureariki. On a four-acre site in one of Aitutaki’s bushclad

valleys Nga’a is uncovering remnants of his peoples’ ancient

past on a site strewn with large obelisk-like stones. Carbon dating

of samples reveal that the Marae at Paengariki was established

around 1000 A.D. Warriors met here before and after battle; sacred

feasts and coming-of-age ceremonies were celebrated and human

sacrifice took place. This is a fascinating place to visit for the

Aitutaki Cultural Tour at Punarei.

Visitors will find a wide range of accommodation options available

on the main island; from award-winning resorts to less expensive

clean and comfortable motels and backpacker operations. The

best way to see the Aitutaki mainland is by hired car or motor

scooter. A winding road criss-crossing the island and lots of small

tracks, lead to interesting, unexpected places and a number of

Takurua

Island Night

EVERY THURSDAY

RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL

Ph. 31 810

WWW.TAMANUBEACH.COM

ESCAPE • 83


Hot sun, white sands,

swaying coconut palms,

a stunning turquoise

lagoon and romantic

sunsets - Aitutaki is

blessed with them all;

and friendly, laughing

people that make you

feel very welcome

– all the time.

local villages. A short drive up Maunga Pu provides a fantastic

360 degrees’ lookout of the entire vista – whichever way you

turn. Several guided tours are available on the main island, visiting

ancient sites, burial grounds and major points of interest. Most

serve light refreshments or lunch.

Island nights with cultural shows are on throughout the week.

Experiences not be missed are the island nights at Pacific Resort

Aitutaki, Aitutaki Village and Tamanu Beach. Some of the 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 atmosphere.

Fishing aficionados will be in heaven on Aitutaki, as several

operators offer game and sport fishing beyond the reef and there

is always the call of the elusive bone-fish within the lagoon. On

the waterfront near the wharf at Arutanga, is the Aitutaki Game

Fishing Club which has a bar inside a shipping container; this is

a good place to make contacts for deep sea fishing enthusiasts.

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 experience.

Hot sun, white sands, swaying coconut palms, a stunning

turquoise lagoon and romantic sunsets - Aitutaki is blessed with

them all; and friendly, laughing people that make you feel very

welcome – all the time.

84 • ESCAPE


From scooters

to cars, choose an

automatic vehicle to

suit your individual

needs from our

large fleet...

loaded cars, c

a vehicle to suit your

individual needs

from our large

fleet…

Our well-maintained and modern fleet includes

44 door cars & hatchbacks, soft vans tops

and and automatic scooters

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

www.popoaraoceanbreeze.com

…We have all the connections for your Aitutaki Experience…

Ph: +682 31 906 Mob: +682 55755

reservations@aitutakiescape.com

www.aitutakiescape.com

ESCAPE • 85


AtiuEnua Manu

There are few places left in the world

like Atiu, an island with just over

500 people and acres and acres of

untouched rainforest and coastal bush.

There are no western bars (apart from the

small one at Atiu Villas), bright neon lights

or busy roads. For travellers searching for

an island paradise, Atiu is it.

Be different, come to Atiu,

our little Garden of Paradise

Most overseas visitors to Atiu lament on

departure that they wish they’d organised

a longer stay on this unspoiled island gem,

full of captivating history, scenery and

friendly people.

The Anatakitaki Cave walk is the perfect

offering for visitors who want an

unforgettable nature experience. On the

day we went, we were guided by Marshall

Humphreys. Married to Atiuan Jeanne,

Marshall is proud of Atiu conservation

and how the locals “always leave a bit for

the next day, like when they go fishing

and catch just enough to eat.” He’s also

impressed with the way the island works

as a community.

Reasonable fitness and covered shoes are

needed for the trek through tropical forest

that resembles a fantastically overgrown

garden. Regarded by environmentalists

as a national treasure, Anatakitaki Cave is

home to the Kopeka bird, a swallow unique

to Atiu, which like a bat, navigates its way

in the pitch black caverns using sonar.

The towering limestone caverns contain

cauliflower coral, proving that the caves

were once beneath the sea, as these coral

formations only occur underwater. There

are huge stalactites reaching to the cavern

floor and massive stalagmites sparkling as

though they are embedded with millions of

diamonds. The magnificence of the caverns

is breathtaking.

Another tour takes you to Rimarau Burial

Cave that includes visits to age old marae

and “walking the dramatic route taken by

hundreds as they went to meet their death

in ancient times.” If beaches, historic sights

and panoramic scenery also appeal, opt

for an island tour. It offers contrasting

scenery, drives through shady roads and

forest thick with ancient trees to coastal

tracks and points of interest including

the coral garden, sinkholes and fabulous

little beaches ideal for shell collecting or

leisurely lolling in the warm, pristine sea.

George Mateariki, better known as

Birdman George, takes us on his morning

tour – first stop is to catch a glimpse of

the endangered Kakerori bird. We are

a bit startled as George begins loudly

beeping his car horn as we near the

The Anatakitaki Cave

walk is the perfect

offering for visitors who

want an unforgettable

nature experience.

86 • ESCAPE


nesting ground. He explains that being

inquisitive birds, Kakerori are drawn to

unusual noises. He calls to them, walking

through the picturesque bush and making

kissing noises. The birds do not disappoint,

replying with their call sounds. To see

Kakerori so close is a real treat, as they

were once on the brink of extinction.

Along the way, George points out

medicinal plants and how they are used to

treat various ailments. “I love my history

and everything I know about Atiu was

taught to me by my grandfathers,” says

George.

A fun experience is a visit to one of the

legendary Atiu tumunu – ‘clubs’, where

local men gather to drink homebrew and

chat about island affairs, with clear rules

about conduct. Often there’s a stringband

for added entertainment. Visitors are

always welcome to stop in, partake of a

cup of the local brew and meet the locals.

“There’s money in the land,” says Mata

Arai, pointing to her coffee bushes

laden with ripe berries. Mata is an

industrious Atiuan woman who produces

the 100 percent Atiu Island Coffee

using a technique she learnt from her

grandmother as a child. It’s a process

all done by hand. Atiu Island Coffee can

be purchased from Mata’s home, in Atiu

stores, or supermarkets on Rarotonga.

...visits to age old marae and “walking the dramatic

route taken by hundreds as they went to meet their

death in ancient times.”

fact file:

Atiu is a 45 minute flight north-east from

Rarotonga and there are regular scheduled

flights. Alternatively, why not consider

an Air Rarotonga ‘Two Island Adventure’

which includes two night’s accommodation

at Tamanu Beach Resort in Aitutaki and

two night’s accommodation at Atiu Villas

on amazing Atiu. Local tours are optional

and extra. Available from April to October,

flights depart Rarotonga on Mondays,

Wednesdays and Fridays.

Book through Air Rarotonga

Tel: (682) 22888 | www.airraro.com

Atiu

Villas

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.

BOOK ONLINE AT: www.atiuvillas.com

Ph. (682) 33 777 | Email. roger@atiuvillas.com | www.atiu.info

ESCAPE • 87


Our

South Pacific 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

Atiu

See our story on page 86.

Takutea

Just a few miles off the coast of Atiu

lies the uninhabited island of Takutea.

Numerous seabirds thrive on this pristine

island that has been declared a bird

sanctuary by the Atiu Island Council. Only

they can give permission for visitors to

land there.

Mauke

The garden island of the Cook group,

Mauke is 18 kilometres around. It is

surrounded by makatea (fossilised coral)

with a volcanic plateau in the centre. Parts

of the foreshore are dotted with isolated

white sandy coves and caves that one

can swim in. Inland there are fresh water

caves and the famous Motuanga Cave

that has galleries reaching beneath the

reef. The reef is so close to the foreshore

that crashing white breakers are visible

from most of the unsealed coral road

that runs around the island. Do visit the

“divided church” built where the villages of

Ngatiarua and Areora meet. Shared by the

two villages, it has two separate entrances

and sitting areas. There are clean and

comfortable places to stay in Mauke - try

Ri’s Retreat or Tiare Holiday Cottages.

They can also organise cave, reef and

forest tours. Be sure to obtain a garland of

the fragrant maire, a creeper that grows

along the makatea. Mauke is picturesque,

unhurried and tranquil – a wonderful tonic

for frayed nerves.

Mitiaro

Of the cluster of islands in the southern

group called Nga Pu Toru, Mitiaro would be

the least visited by tourists. Not because

it is any less beautiful than sister islands

Atiu and Mauke, but simply that it is the

least known. In the centre of Mitiaro are

two lakes full of itiki, freshwater eels.

Mitiaro itiki are considered a delicacy in

the Cook Islands. Tilapia (bream) are also

abundant in the lakes. The lakes are from

time to time protected by a traditional

raui, a prohibition on all fishing to preserve

stocks. At its widest point, the island is

6.4 km across and private gardens in

the village are beautifully kept and neat.

Community activities include fishing,

sports, handicrafts and uapou, or village

singsongs. Pretty and unspoiled, life on

Mitiaro is refreshingly uncomplicated.

Mangaia

Imagine visiting a fairly large island where

you and maybe a handful of others are

the only tourists. Mangaia is an island

88 • ESCAPE


Below: Mauke

Right: Mitiaro

Previous page: Mangaia

of incredible, serene beauty – from

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

– just ask your host, who can also steer

you in the right direction for guided tours

that include caving, reef/lagoon walks,

bush walks and bird watching. Check

out the market on Friday mornings in

the ‘town’ centre and the craftwork

by the skilled Mangaian women. The

shell necklaces and woven pandanus

bags are labour intensive and sold for

very reasonable prices. Mangaia is

the destination for those who love the

outdoors, appreciate peace and quiet and

want to experience a friendly island that’s

not in the least “touristy.”

Palmerston

Made famous by Englishman William

Marsters, who settled there in 1863 with

three wives. He later married and raised

a large family. Marsters’ modern day

descendents are scattered all over the

world. About 60 still remain in Palmerston,

which has six motu or islets in a big blue

lagoon about 11 km across. The family

exports fish, supplying in particular, parrot

fish to Rarotonga restaurants. Palmerston

hosts the occasional cruise ship and

yachts frequently call in. The island also

boasts one of the world’s most isolated

bars, where thirsty yachties can enjoy a

“cold one” and hear tales being regaled

by the islanders. It is 500 km NW of

Rarotonga.

Manuae

Manuae is an uninhabited nature reserve

and an important seabird and turtle

breeding ground. Its two islets in a large

shallow lagoon make-up this incredibly

beautiful island, situated about 100 km

SE of Aitutaki. Many Aitutakians can claim

traditional land rights to parts of Manuae.

Once inhabited by work gangs of Cook

Islands men who produced copra, it is

now only occasionally visited by Aitutaki

fisherman for its rich fishing grounds

outside and within the lagoon. It is possible

to view Manuae from the air, on a flight

from Atiu to Aitutaki.

The Northern Group

Suwarrow

Suwarrow is one of the few "untouched"

sanctuaries left in the world where

existing endangered species can survive.

The Suwarrow National Park is the

first National Park in the Cook Islands

- international environmental groups

recognise the group of tiny atolls as an

untouched haven and breeding area for

turtles, sea birds and crabs. Because of

the lack of human intervention, Suwarrow

is acknowledged as one of the most

important sea bird breeding areas in the

Pacific. A caretaker and his family live on

Suwarrow during the cyclone off-season,

between April and November each year.

Yachts often visit the island during these

months. 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.”

Pukapuka

Lying northwest 1150 km from Rarotonga,

Pukapuka is one of the most isolated

islands of the Cook group. One interisland

flight from Rarotonga about

every six weeks and irregular shipping

ESCAPE • 89


Left: Penrhyn

Penrhyn (or Tongareva)

is the most remote of

the Cook group,

lying 1365 km NNE of

Rarotonga. It has a

remarkable blue water

lagoon measuring

233 sq km.

has kept Pukapuka one of the most

untouched and secluded places in the

Pacific. Its remoteness has also kept the

traditions and culture of Pukapuka largely

unchanged for centuries. Islanders speak

the distinct Pukapukan language as well

as Cook Islands Maori. According to legend,

almost 500 years ago the Pukapuka

population was almost entirely wiped out

during a catastrophic storm that struck

the island. Fourteen people survived, from

whom Pukapukan’s today are said to

descend. The late American 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 lagoon.

Nassau

Access to this tiny island of about 80

Pukapukans can only be gained by interisland

boat. Regarded as the sister island

of Pukapuka, a voyage from Rarotonga

takes about three days. The islanders are

adept at surviving an isolated lifestyle

that remains unchanged year after year.

Nassau was hooked up to the country’s

telephone system only in 2001 and many

of the people had never used a telephone

before. Just 1.2 sq. km in size, where

families live in kikau thatched cottages.

Manihiki

The cultured black pearl capital of the

Cook Islands. Quality black pearls become

centrepieces for fine jewellery that are

worn by women and men all over the

world. In 1997, the island survived one of

the worst cyclones in Cook Islands history.

It claimed 19 lives after a tidal wave swept

men, women and children out into the

huge, raging lagoon. Pearl farms dot this

remarkable lagoon. Villagers use small

outboard boats to travel between Tukao

and Tauhunu – two villages on separate

islets – or to their pearl farms set up on

coral outcrops. Some of the pearl farms

are sophisticated operations jutting out

of the deep blue lagoon, complete with

small gardens and poultry farms that

help support workers who live in modern

quarters. Manihiki women have made

history for entering what was once a male

dominated vocation. A number of women

own and manage their own pearl farms,

diving, seeding and cleaning the oyster

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 never been

disappointed.

Rakahanga

Sister island of Manihiki and 42km

north-west. Visits to Rakahanga are only

possible by boat from Manihiki or interisland

vessel. There are two main islands

and seven islets in the Rakahanga lagoon.

The island is picturesque and unspoiled.

Penrhyn

Penrhyn (or Tongareva) is the most remote

of the Cook group, lying 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,

bags, fans and mats made in Penrhyn are

amongst the best to be found anywhere in

the world.

90 • ESCAPE


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

entertain.

• 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

ESCAPE

Centre &

• 91

Jim Gariu


entertainment

guide

Take in the sunset with a cocktail near

the water; catch an Island Night

Show with beautiful dancers, and get

down to live local Cook Islands music and

dancing all around town.

Raro’s night life is special – you can have a

great night out whether you’re on your own,

or with friends. 18 or 80 years old, it doesn’t

matter, everyone just gets together. And

you’ll feel welcome wherever you go.

Island Night Shows are a must for every

visitor. There is nothing better than seeing

our beautiful men and women, adorned in

flowers and local costume, dancing to the

wonderful pate (hollowed wooden drums),

ukulele, guitar, and full voiced singers. It is

a joyful, sensual and exuberant experience.

Check out our Island Night Shows Guide on

these pages to find a venue that suits you.

During the week

A number of Rarotonga restaurants feature

live music during the week - refer to our

Night Life Guide for details of what’s on,

when and where.

It’s great to wander into some of our

smaller local bars too - the Game Fishing

Club is right on the water; meet the locals

and play some pool, this bar is just east of

town.

If you’re staying around the Muri or

Titikaveka area, try Silver Sands Restaurant

at Muri Beach Club Hotel, or for a la carte

dining and some local music the Pacific

Resort, also well known for their Island

Night show. For casual ambience, check out

the Asian street-style food at The Rickshaw,

or mouth-watering Mexican dishes at La

NOW AVAILABLE AT THE

BOND AND PREMIUM OUTLETS

RAROTONGA’S

BEST SELECTION

OF INTERNATIONAL BEER BRANDS

92 • ESCAPE


Casita. Take a walk downtown and call into The New Place for

great al fresco dining.

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.

Your No.1 cellars

Check all places out for when they have their happy hours or meal

specials.

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.

Local women enjoy dressing up, and the men prefer comfortable

shorts, shirt/t-shirt and sandals, but dress code is open.

Friday Night

Friday night is party night, as clubs and bars can open until 2am,

unlike every other night, which is 12 midnight. Downtown Avarua is

a great place to start:

Check out our huge range…

Over 600 wines, all popular

brand spirits, liqueurs, beers, RTD’s,

mixers, ice, etc. Wedding and special

occasion catering, party-hire.

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. Luna Bar near The Fudge Factory

has various entertainment depending on the night.

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.

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.

Remember you’re in Raro now, on ‘Island Time’, so relax

and enjoy.

Cook Islands

Agents for:

STEINLAGER, WAIKATO,

LIO

N RED,

LION

ICE, SPEIGHTS,

XXX

X, LITTLE CREAT

EATURE

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VILLA MARIA, TE MATA ESTATE

, OYST

YSTER

BAY, J

ULES TAYLOR,

GIESENS, MC GUIGANS, MUDHOU

HOUSE,

SAINT

CLAIR, YELANDS

ESTATE, THE NED, MT DIFFICULTY

LTY, ROAR

ING MEG,

TAYLORS…

AND 100’S MORE

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

ESCAPE • 93


Keep our roads safe

if you’re drinking:

Taxis: Refer to yellow pages and book

homecoming fare before you go out.

Buses: Clockwise Bus: Evening bus departs

Cook’s Corner clockwise only, every hour

Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 11pm.

Times are subject to change so contact the

i Site 29435 to confirm.

Island Night Shows

– Quick Guide

(Bookings are recommended)

Monday

Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953

Tuesday

Te Vara Nui Village 24006

The Islander Hotel 21003

Blue Lagoon @ Aitutaki Village, Aitutaki 31526

The Edgewater Resort & Spa 25435

Wednesday

The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 25800

Muri Beach Club Hotel 23000

Pacific Resort Aitutaki 31720

Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953

Thursday

Te Vara Nui Village 24006

Crown Beach Resort & Spa 23953

Friday

Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953

Saturday

entertainment

guide

The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 25800

Te Vara Nui Village 24006

The Edgewater Resort & Spa 25435

Remember you’re in

Raro now, on ‘Island Time’,

so relax and enjoy!

Rarotonga

night-life guide

MONDAY

Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Live music

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7

nights a week. Live music with Tani & Rose also

Island Groove

SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel:

Live island music

Pacific Resort Rarotonga: A la carte dining and

live local artist Fred Betham

Edgewater: Tokau Haurua

TUESDAY

Shipwreck Hut @ Aro’a Beachside Inn:

Live music on the beach

Yellow Hibiscus @ Palm Grove:

A la carte with live music from Lincoln

Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and

Over Water Night Show &Dinner. Spectacular

“Dances of Legends” cultural performance &

island/western fusion buffet

Oceans Restaurant @ Crown Beach Resort

& Spa: Seafood night with live music

Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort:

Seafood Night with entertainment

Edgewater: Polynesian Floor show with Taakoka

& Orama Dance group followed by Tara Kauvai

WEDNESDAY

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:

Live entertainment with Kura (transfers available)

SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel:

Polynesian Island Night buffet with Akirata

Dance Troupe

Crown Beach Resort& Spa: Live music

Kikau Hut: Live local music

Islander Restaurant: Kathy Brown on keyboard

from 6pm then Akirata Dance Troupe show from

830pm

Captain Andy’s: Andre Tapena

BlueWater Grill: Tara Kauvai

THURSDAY

Shipwreck Hut @ Aro’a Beachside Inn:

Sunset cocktails with live music

Oceans Restaurant @ Crown Beach Resort

& Spa: Live music followed by Cultural Island

Night Show

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7

nights a week. Live music some nights

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:

Live entertainment (transfers available)

Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and

Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular

“Dances of Legends” cultural performance &

island/western fusion buffet

Islander Restaurant: Tuaine Papatua on guitar

Edgewater: Ru and Boyz

Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort:

Pub Night menu with live entertainment

FRIDAY

Oceans Restaurant @ Crown Beach Resort

& Spa: Steak, Fish & Ribs Night with live

entertainment

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7

nights a week. Live music some nights

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach

Resort: Live entertainment with a DJ and happy

hour(transfers available)

Pacific Resort Rarotonga: Tamariki Manuia A la

carte dining and live local artist Kahiki Tehaamatai

SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel:

Pig & Prawn Night with live music

Trader Jacks: Kura every Friday lunch Friday

night Rere and the boys - rock classics & seafood,

steaks& pizza

Yellow Hibiscus @Palm Grove: Happy hour and a

la carte dining with live music every Friday night

-Tara Kauvai - Mustonen or Tani & Rose alternate.

Islander Restaurant: Kathy Brown on keyboards

Edgewater: Tereapii and Girls

SATURDAY

Shipwreck Hut @Aro’a Beachside Inn:

Great beach BBQ with live music

Trader Jacks: Music with Tok Watch out for

“Brews & BBQ” and special guests monthly at

Trader Jacks.

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining

with Katreena Smith singing local and popular

songs

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:

Live entertainment with Garth on piano (transfers

available)

Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and

Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular

“Dances of Legends” cultural performance &

island/western fusion buffet

Edgewater: Polynesian Floor show with Taakoka

& Orama Dance group followed by Tara Kauvai

Island Night Buffet & Cultural Show

Captain Andy’s: Andre Tapena

BlueWater Grill: Tara Kauvai

94 • ESCAPE


SUNDAY

Club Raro: BBQ night

Oceans Restaurant@Crown Beach Resort

& Spa: Sunset roast with live entertainment

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort:

Live entertainment with local island strings

(transfers available)

SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel:

Reef & Beef night with live music

Yellow Hibiscus @ Palm Grove:

Sunday BBQ with music from Lincoln and Lito

Pacific Resort Rarotonga: A la carte dining and

live local artist Rudi Aquino

Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort:

BBQ with live entertainment

Edgewater: Ru Tauta & Boyze

Aitutaki

night-life guide

MONDAY

Rapae Bay @ Pacific Resort Aitutaki: Romantic

dining overlooking the sea, nightly from 6pm

Flying Boat Beach Bar @ Aitutaki Lagoon

Resort & Spa: Fire dance show with Te Aito

Dance Group no cover charge, a la carte dinner

Tupuna’s Restaurant: Great a-la-carte dining

with the freshest local foods in a relaxed garden

setting. Mon-Sat from 6pm

TUESDAY

Blue Lagoon @ Aitutaki Village: Island buffet

and cultural show on the sandy beach at Ootu

WEDNESDAY

The Boatshed Bar & Grill: Check out this

popular restaurant any day of the week. A-lacarte

menu for lunch & dinner. Great cocktails!

Rapae Bay @ Pacific Resort Aitutaki: Island

night South Pacific cuisine and performances by

local Aitutaki song and dance troupe from 7pm

Aitutaki Game Fishing Club: A good evening to

visit and meet the locals. Where else would

you find a bar in a 20 foot container?

THURSDAY

Tamanu Beach: Takurua, Island Fire & Dance

Show with Te Aito dance troupe and young

children of Aitutaki and a Fire Dance show on the

beach with stringband. Fantastic entertainment

with a great selection of food

FRIDAY

Aitutaki Game Fishing Club: One of the most

popular local bars to visit for a sun-downer

Coconut Crusher Bar: Entertainment and party

the night away with your host Ricky

SATURDAY

Flying Boat Beach Bar @ Aitutaki Lagoon

Resort & Spa: Fire dance show with Te Uki Ou

Dance Group no cover charge, a la carte dinner

SUNDAY

Aitutaki Village: All day barbeque with great

entertainment

Tamanu Beach: Sunset Henry Family Barbeque

Night with great local entertainment from Uncle

Taumuri Williams on keyboard and local island

food

Prices or schedules are subject to change at any time.

Located opposite the

Punanga Nui Market,

right next to the bus stop

ESCAPE • 95


what's

on

throughout 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.

JULY

Fri 6th

‘Ra o te Ui Ariki’ (Ariki Day) – public holiday

Thu 19th

Atiu Gospel Day

Fri 20th

School Term 2 complete – School Holidays

begin

Mon 23rd

Mauke Gospel Day

Tue 25th

Rarotonga Gospel Day

Mon 30th to Sat 4th August

Te Maeva Nui Celebrations 2018

AUGUST

Fri 4th

Constitution Day

Mon 6th

Constitution Day public holiday Observed

Wed 8th

Manihiki Gospel Day

Mon 13th

School Term 3 begins

Wed 15th

Rakahanga Gospel Day

Mon 20th to Fri 24th

Manureva Aquafest in Aitutaki

SEPTEMBER

Sun 2nd

Fathers Day

Thu 20th to Wed 26th

Round Rarotonga Road Race (subject to

confirmation)

OCTOBER

Fri 5th

School Term 3 complete – school holidays

begin

Thu 25th

Aitutaki Gospel Day

Fri 26th

National Gospel Day – public holiday

Mon 15th

School Term 4 begins

NOVEMBER

Thu 1st to Sat 3rd

Cook Islands International Rugby 7’s, come

and see great 7’s rugby in a Rarotongan

setting

Fri 23rd to Fri 30th November

Vaka Eiva 2018 Canoeing Festival

A weeklong festival that attracts a large

number of international paddlers. Vaka

Eiva has been referred to as “the most fun

event on the paddling planet!”

Fri 23rd to Fri 30th November

Mire Tiare Flower Festival

Wed 28th to Tue 4th December

Netball in Paradise

DECEMBER

Mon 3rd to Thu 6th

Motu 2 Motu – in Aitutaki

Thu 6th

Pukapuka Gospel Day – public holiday

Pukapuka

Fri 15th

School Term 4 complete – School Holidays

begin

Tue 25th

Christmas Day

Wed 26th

Boxing Day

JANUARY 2018

Tue 1st

New Year’s Day – public holiday

Wed 2nd

Day after New Year’s day – public holiday

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

96 • ESCAPE


Events That You

Shouldn’t Miss…

729TH JULY – 6TH AUGUST

Te Maeva Nui – Celebrating our

nation’s independence

Every year from June to August about

2,000 people on Rarotonga and on the

outer islands put their lives on hold to

prepare for Te Maeva Nui, the national

culture and dance festival. It is a week-long

cultural marathon held around the date

of August 4th, which is the birthday of the

Cook Islands as an independent nation.

You may have seen cultural dance shows

around the island, or perhaps in your

resort, but you haven’t seen anything that

even closely resembles the vibrancy and

passion of the finals at Te Maeva Nui, held

in the National Stadium. This is the cultural

highlight of the Cook Islands year; the only

people who are ever disappointed are those

who miss it.

20TH – 24TH AUGUST

Manureva Aquafest -

International Kite Surfing

Competition

In August some of the biggest names in kite

surfing will head to the Cook Islands to vie

for the top spot at the international kite

surfing competition on Aitutaki.

The Cook Islands Kite Surfing Association,

in conjunction with the events team at Cook

Islands Tourism, will manage this big event

which has catapulted the Cook Islands on

to the international stage as a desirable

kite surfing destination. 2011’s inaugural

event generated immense support for the

association and this year marks the 8th

such competition on the stunning waters of

Aitutaki Lagoon.

20TH – 26TH SEPTEMBER

Round Rarotonga Road Race

The Round Rarotonga Road Race celebrates

its 40th Anniversary with its annual

weeklong event from the 20 -26 September

2018 held on the beautiful tropical island of

Rarotonga. The event caters for everyone

including families, social, recreational and

competitive runners and is a fantastic

opportunity to combine a holiday with a

once in a lifetime sporting achievement. See

Cook Islands Tourism for more details.

1ST – 3RD NOVEMBER

Cook Islands International

Raro Rugby 7’s

The Cook Islands International Rugby 7’s

Tournament has become one of the most

sought after 7’s competitions in the Pacific.

Although it’s not the Wellington or Hong

Kong sevens, where hundreds of thousands

flock to the games in colourful eye catching

attire, here in paradise, the party and dress

up atmosphere is very much island style!

After all – playing sports and having a good

time is something the people of the Cook

Islands know how to do, and do well.

23RD – 30TH NOVEMBER

Vaka Eiva

Hundreds of paddlers and their supporters

hit Rarotonga’s shores in November each

year for the Matson 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.

There’s an air of festivity on the island

the whole week long, from the opening

ceremony, throughout the week of racing

and social activities. The area around Trader

Jack’s is the hangout of choice for paddlers

and spectators throughout the week, giving

close views of the start and finish of the

ocean races.

23RD – 30TH NOVEMBER

Te Mire Tiare Flower Festival

This happy and colourful festival features

competitions for the best floral decorated

shops, schools and government buildings,

each one on a different day of the weeklong

festivities. Locals also vie for the honour of

making the best head or neck ‘ei (garland),

best pot plant and much more.

The glamorous focal point to the week is

undoubtedly the ‘Miss Tiare’ competition

which sees attractive young ladies

competing for this prestigious title. The first

appearance of the contestants is usually

at the Punanga Nui marketplace on the

ESCAPE • 97


first Saturday of the festival; the weeks

wraps up with a colourful float parade and

crowning of Miss Tiare on the following

Saturday.

29TH NOVEMBER

– 5TH DECEMBER

Netball in Paradise

The tournament is for UNDER 13, UNDER 15,

UNDER 17, OPEN LADIES, SOCIAL LADIES &

OPEN MIXED divisions. Netball in Paradise

2018 will run for seven days, but every

day and every night you can enjoy our

famous Cook Islands hospitality. For more

information contact DMCK at events@

dmck,co,ck.

For more information and to confirm event

dates, visitors are advised to contact the

Visitor Information Centre –

phone (682) 29435

VISITOR

INFORMATION CENTRE

DOWNTOWN AVARUA NEXT TO ANZ BANK

Advice on accommodation, tours, restaurants,

activities, entertainment and travel to our sister islands.

Phone or call in to see us.

OPEN: Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm | Saturday 10am – 1pm

98 • ESCAPE

(682) 29435 headoffice@cookislands.gov.ck

RAROTONGA (HEAD OFFICE)

PO Box 14, Rarotonga

Cook Islands

(682) 29435

headoffice@cookislands.gov.ck

AITUTAKI

PO Box 3

Aitutaki

(682) 31767

tourism.officer@aitutaki.net.ck

misepa.isamaela@cookislands.gov.ck

ATIU

(682) 33435

mareta.atetu@cookislands.gov.ck

NEW ZEALAND

Studio 11, Level 3

91 St George Bay Road

Parnell, Auckland 1052

+64 (9) 366 1106

nzmanager@cookislands.travel

AUSTRALIA

Suite 129, Level 14

5 Martin Place

Sydney, NSW 2000

Australia

+61 282 091 658

NORTH AMERICA

usamanager@cookislands.travel

canadamanager@cookislands.travel

NORTHERN EUROPE

cookislands@global-tourism.de

SOUTHERN EUROPE

southerneurope@cookislands.travel

UNITED KINGDOM

ukmanager@cookislands.travel

CHINA

chinamanager@cookislands.travel

JAPAN

japanmanager@cookislands.travel


GRAB A VISITOR

SIM TODAY

From our Airport Kiosk or from any of our

Bluesky Outlets in the Cook Islands.

only

$

49

3GB

DATA

30

MIN

anywhere in the

world

300

TXT

anywhere in the

world

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.


cook

islands

black

pearls

Cooks Corner, RAROTONGA | Pacific Resort, AITUTAKI

p +682 21 902 e luke@bergmanandsons.com w www.bergmanandsons.com

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