Cook Islands Sun Magazine

enjoycookislands

There's nothing quite like it! A magazine-style guide for visitors to Raroronga and Aitutaki in the Cook Islands with suggestions on What to See & Do, Where to Eat & Drink, and Where to Shop. To help you better appreciate the Cook Islands experience there are stories about interesting people living in the islands, and on adventure activities, Cook Islands culture and history. Enjoy Cook Islands.

enjoycookislands.com

FREE VISITOR MAGAZINE 2019-2020 EDITION 68

SEE& DO

EAT& DRINK

NEWS& REVIEWS

SHOPPING

LOCAL STORIES

5

MEET THE QUEEN'S

REPRESENTATIVE

21

TROPICAL FASHION VIBES

GUIDE TO EATING & DRINKING

IN RAROTONGA - Page 16-17

best rental experiences.

www.polynesianhire.co.ck

p +682 29227 e reservations@polynesianhire.co.ck / roadside assistance +682 54325


2 CoOK ISLANDS SuN

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THE

LIFE

2 Banana Court, Call: 27534,

www.facebook.com/thegoodlifestore

Perfumes of

Rarotonga

PACIFIC

WEAVE

PACIFIC

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I Sun Advertorial Full Page 2018 flatten.indd 1

11/06/2018 10:37:23 a.m.


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

Welcome from the Prime Minister

and Minister for Tourism

Kia Orana,

To all our visitors and

those planning a holiday

in the Cook Islands, I’d

like to extend to you a

very warm greeting and

welcome.

As your hosts, we want

your stay with us to be as

memorable and enjoyable as

possible. We are your home

away from home and your

time with us will be more than

comfortable – it will take your

breath away!

There is much for you to

explore and discover, whether

you are a first time visitor or a

returning holidaymaker.

You can do that at your own

pace and as your desire allows.

There is a natural freedom

here that will put you at ease

and you will soon learn that

Cook Islanders are keen to

join you in the fun – out on

the lagoon, trekking in the

mountains, or dining out at our

many restaurants and cafés.

Our world is your world to

www.enjoycookislands.com |

enjoycookislands

experience – in our culture and

traditions, as well as a wide

range of recreational activities.

Above all, we want you to stay

safe in this environment we

call our ‘little paradise’. Take

care wherever you may be,

whether on our roads or out

in the water. And allow us to

share with you all the reasons

why you must come back and

see us again!

Kia Manuia,

Honorable Henry Puna

Prime Minister and Minister for

Tourism The Cook Islands

PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Alastair Blount

TELEPHONE: +682 20 222

EMAIL: info@enjoycookislands.com

DESIGN & PRINT: Ovato - New Zealand

DISTRIBUTION RAROTONGA: 20 222

DISTRIBUTION AITUTAKI: 31 009

POSTAL: PO Box 30 Avarua, The Cook Islands

Every effort has been made to ensure that information and content in this publication

is accurate; no responsibility is accepted for inadvertent errors or omissions.

Copyright © 2019 Cook Islands Sun Ltd. All rights reserved.

In this issue

INTERVIEWS

5 Meet the Queen’s Representative in the Cook Islands

10 Cook Islands biggest private employer CITC supports sustainability

27 Lifestyle sea change is a real possibility in the Cook Islands

28 Cook Islands’ hard working commercial traveller, Robert Skews

AWARDS

11 A1 Meitaki Awards recognising excellence in service

ISLAND LIFE

8 Making the most of WiFi hotspots in the Cook Islands

21 Tropical fashion presented by id.CK

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

9 A great night out at a spectacular island show

19 Antipodes, fine dining at its best in Rarotonga

22 Charlie’s, a great 'chilled-out' local eatery

SEE & DO

6 Learn about the Black Pearl industry of Manihiki

12 Helpful hints for first time visitors to Rarotonga

15 Getting married in Rarotonga?

23 Eco tourism on a bicycle

25 Kura Happ amazing entertainer and reef tour guide

AITUTAKI

29 Life experiences for Tamanu Beach’s general manager

COMMUNITY

31 Rare investiture of an ariki (chief) on

Rarotonga

32 Cook Islands introduces eco certification

for the tourism industry

FRONT COVER IMAGE: KURA HAPP (Image by Jaia Arai)

See the article on Page 25: "Kura Happ is the real deal!

Amazing entertainer and reef tour guide"

9

11

WELCOME

21

8

32

3


4 ISLAND LIFE CoOK ISLANDS SuN

No 1 in the Cook Islands

THERE HAS BEEN NO

EVENT AS ENGAGING

FOR THE NATIONS OF

THE PACIFIC IN 2019

THAN THE XVI PACIFIC

GAMES, WHICH TOOK

PLACE IN SAMOA IN

JUNE. THIS YEAR WAS

THE SIXTEENTH PACIFIC

GAMES TO BE HELD.

Twenty-four nations

competed. It was

literally a mini Olympic

Games ‘Celebrating the best in

the Pacific’. The Cook Islands

came 12th in the medal tally,

but who’s counting in such

a fun-filled event that

united the nations of the

Pacific.

Fexco Pacific was a silver

sponsor of the 2019

Pacific Games where it

featured its own brand of

currency exchange service

No1Currency.

The retail network of

No1Currency across the

Pacific, including Rarotonga,

enthusiastically promoted

awareness and support in the

run up to the Games in all of

its locations.

Steve Peregrino the Group

Manager for Marketing

and Business Development

of Fexco Pacific said:

“No1Currency was honoured

Federal Pacific House, Avarua

to be a major sponsor of the

2019 Pacific Games. It was

our privilege to collaborate

with the organisers and the

community to bring forth

the best in our athletes in the

pursuit of excellence.

Jetsave Travel agents Shona and Janice

“We recognise the best in

the Pacific and celebrate

everything that is Number1 in

the Pacific!”

Fexco Pacific is a private

company owned by Fexco and

Federal Pacific focussing on

three core products - money

transfer, money exchange

and business payments/TT's.

Fexco Pacific has operations

in 12 Pacific region countries

including New Zealand and

the Cook Islands. It is also

the largest Agent for Western

Union in the Pacific.

In Rarotonga the company’s

operations are based in

Federal Pacific House,

which is located on the

main road in the Cook

Islands’ main business

centre, Avarua, together

with Jetsave Travel – one of

the most respected travel

companies in the Pacific.

General manager of all

the businesses in Federal

Pacific House is Julie Bateman.

How would you

describe Jetsave Travel

and the services it

provides?

Jetsave opened its doors in

1998. It has been operating

successfully since then and

has grown considerably. New

services have been introduced

in the form of Western

Union Money Transfers and

Foreign Currency. Jetsave is

fully accredited and IATA

registered. We stand behind

all our products, and part

of our mission statement is

to provide ‘the very best we

can’ with all types of travel

arrangements, ticketing etc.

How do you help

visitors to the Cook

Islands?

People just walk in and chat

with our agents about what

to see and do. This year we

launched our new website

wwww.jetsave.co.ck. It is

modern and very user friendly,

and features sections including

the ‘Hottest Deals Available’,

‘Flights to Rarotonga’, ‘Things

to do in Rarotonga,’ and

‘Events in Rarotonga’. It’s a one

stop-travel shop for all things

Cook Islands!

What are some of the

Cook Islands' trips

Jetsave recommend?

We offer all international

and domestic airfares and

accommodation for couples,

groups, family reunions,

religious journeys, sports

trips, and more. Other

services we provide include

Outer Island packages

(airfares and accommodation,

transportation, and in some

No 1 Currency team in Rarotonga

cases – meals), Rarotonga

activities, tours and shows.

Our agents are never too busy

to have some one walk in and

chat with them regarding the

services we offer.

You are part of the

FEXCO group, who are

they?

Under the umbrella of the

FEXCO group we are part

of Fexco Pacific. This is a

money transfer and foreign

exchange service provider

throughout the Pacific region.

Fexco is an Ireland-based

financial services and financial

technology company focusing

on bureau de change and

payment card services. Fexco

employs more than 2,300

staff spread between offices

in 29 countries worldwide.

The Currency Exchange

Corporation is part of the

Fexco group of companies.

No.1 Currency Exchange

is an integral part of

Jetsave Cook Islands,

what services do they

provide?

Foreign cash exchange,

Western Union money transfer

services, International Business

Payments. These are the main

focuses of No1 Currency.

Jetsave Travel is located

on the main road in

Avarua, what do walkin

visitors ask for most

often?

They want to know about

the range of Rarotonga

activities, island night shows,

and specialty tours that are

available, and also outer

island packages to places

such as Aitutaki, Atiu and

Mangaia; but visitors also ask

general questions regarding the

Cooks.

Pay for

3 days get

o2 free !

n selected models

Opposite the Airport

www.rarotongarentals.co.ck

enquires@rarotongarentals.co.ck

Phone: 22326

“Best deals on the Island”

Your friendly one-stop shop

for the Cook Islands

Specialists for all local tours and activities

and inter-island packages.

Foreign exchange and money transfers

INTERNATIONAL & DOMESTIC

AIRFARES & ACCOMMODATION

Located Main Road, Avarua

jetsave@cooks.co.ck

www.jetsave.co.ck

CALL 27 707

Image by David Kirkland

THE BEST RATES IN TOWN

Main Road, Downtown Avarua

T: 29 907 E: jetsave@cooks.co.ck

Jetsave

Travel

FEDERAL PACIFIC HOUSE

Western Union No.1 Currency


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ISLAND LIFE

5

Meet the head Marsters

THE COOK ISLANDS’

MONARCHICAL

PRESENCE FOR THE

NEXT THREE YEARS

WAS GREATLY

ENHANCED WHEN H.E.

SIR TOM MARSTERS

KBE WAS POPULARLY

REAPPOINTED AS THE

COUNTRY’S QUEENS

REPRESENTATIVE (QR)

IN JULY. MARSTERS WAS

FIRST APPOINTED IN

2013; THIS WILL BE HIS

THIRD TERM AS QR.

The Queen's

Representative is the

formal title given to

the representative of Queen

Elizabeth II, as Queen of New

Zealand, in the Cook Islands.

His Excellency Sir Tom

Marsters KBE is a humble

man of humble beginnings

from the remote outer island

of Palmerston. Following

years in the Cook Islands

public service, he achieved

remarkable success in his

political career rising to the

position of Deputy Leader of

the Cook Islands Party and

Deputy Prime Minister of the

Cook Islands.

Sir Tom Marsters was knighted

a Bachelor Commander of

the British Empire (KBE)

on 16 November 2018 at

Buckingham Palace. The

honour was bestowed upon

him for his service to the

public and to the communities

of the Cook Islands.

He has been married to

Lady Tuaine (nee Wichman)

Marsters for over 40 years, and

they have three sons, Tom,

Clee and Giovanni, a daughter,

Eirangi, and a number of

grandchildren.

2019 was also a

milestone year for Sir

Tom for another reason,

he opened Marsters

House (aka Palmerston

House) on 8th July;

a project he had been

working on for many

years on behalf of

the tiny population

of Palmerston island

(est.60).

The grand opening date of 8

July 2019 was chosen because

that was the date English

adventurer and trader William

Marsters landed on Palmerston

with his families and workers

in 1863. Marsters House is the

last of the island hostels to be

erected around Constitution

Avenue in Avarua.

“On the eighth of July, 1863,

William Marsters landed on

Palmerston with his three sets

of families, and workers. He

Entrance to Government House, Titikaveka

Sir Tom and Lady Tuaine Marsters at the Marsters House building site

had with him some workers

from Tahiti. He had travelled

extensively in the Pacific,

obviously he was in Tahiti for a

while, and also Samoa.”

Sir Tom was the chairman

of the board of trustees

responsible for raising funds

and building the project, a

dream for the many families

of William Marsters that had

procreated on the island since

1863.

Tom Marsters son Giovanni,

a builder, facilitated the

construction of Marsters

William Marsters and families in Palmerston in the

late19th century

House, his older brother

Tom, also a builder, was also

involved.

Much symbolic thinking went

into the design of Marsters

House, which included

taking some of the features

of William Marsters iconic

tin house in Palmerston that

still stands today. Sir Tom

said there was also discussion

early on to actually build a

small castle to reflect William

Marsters English background:

“not that he lived in a castle

but because he came from a

place where there were lots

of castles”. The designers

eventually settled on adding

in a rampart-style feature to

dress up three sides of the

building. Another feature was

the inclusion of five pillars

representing William Marsters

five original families.

“Basically, Marsters House is a

stop over place for Palmerston

people going to and through

Rarotonga. For example they

come every other year to the

Constitution celebrations in

July and August. At other

times of the year we

will rent it out to

visiting sporting groups

and cultural groups

to generate income to

maintain the place.

There are en suites, and

also dormitory style

large rooms; and we have

a mezzanine on top.”

Sir Tom said he was

appreciative of the support

of food, labour and funds

his committee received from

the various Marsters families

and from friends towards the

construction of the building:

“This project brought

everybody together. And, we

were even getting contributions

from the other islands, they’d

just ring up and say: "There's a

box of whatever coming...

“People rallied behind us. I

think maybe that's because we

are the smallest of the islands,

and also because we were the

last to build here”.

One thing all the Marsters

have in common is intense

pride in their English ancestor

William Marsters, who settled

on Palmerston with his wife

and mistresses in the 19th

century, which began the

dynasty that today includes

countless descendants living

in the Cook Islands, New

Zealand and Australia.

William Marsters was in his

twenties when he arrived in

the South Pacific in search

of adventure and fortune.

According to chronicles he

first settled on the islands

of Penrhyn, then Manuae,

before establishing his

family and business on the

island of Palmerston where

he mainly traded in copra

and bêche-de-mer (sea

cucumber) with the notable

Scottish trader from Tahiti,

John Brander.

The most celebrated

Marsters today is the

Queens Representative

for the Cook Islands, Sir

Tom Marsters KBE. He

is certainly considered the

leader of the Marsters clan,

or the head Marsters!

“I'm very proud to be a

Marsters”.

Amongst his achievements,

Sir Tom Marsters is also

an accomplished sportsman

having represented the Cook

Islands in boxing, rugby and

golf. He has also shone in

tennis, lawn bowls, martial

arts, and cricket.

Whilst he was in his twenties

at the Grimsby Institute

in Lincolnshire for two

years studying international

fisheries, Tom Marsters had

the unique experience of

playing against two of England

cricket greats.

“During my time in Grimsby

I enjoyed playing second grade

cricket as a batsman and a

bowler.

“The one match that stands

out in my mind was a charity

match between Yorkshire

and Lincolnshire in Grimsby.

On the other team we had

the likes of Geoff Boycott

(then Yorkshire and England

batsman) and Ray Illingworth

(then Yorkshire, Leicestershire

and England batsman spinner

and batsman). Illingworth was

the Yorkshire captain for the

match.

“I hit 32 runs off the ‘great’

Ray Illingworth! After the

match I took the ball with me!

The symbol for the Cook Islands Queens Representative

I actually kept it on my desk

for years until it disappeared. I

don't know how I lost it!

“But every time the question

was asked: what's that cricket

ball doing on your desk? I told

them the story of the Cook

Islander and the top England

cricketer!”

Sir Tom recalls just after the

Grimsby match that he was

in the shower when the ‘great

man’ Illingworth tapped him

on the shoulder, and asked:

"Where are you from, young

fellow? I hear you come from a

long way off.”

“I said: ‘Yeah, Cook Islands,’ to

which he responded: "Where's

that?"

Sir Tom knowing Illingworth

had visited New Zealand to

play test cricket explained that

the Cook Islands (then) was

part of New Zealand.

"We're New Zealand citizens,

but we're about 1700 miles

Sir Tom Marsters KBE outside Buckingham

Palace

away, north east of New

Zealand in the middle of the

South Pacific Ocean."

Illingworth was impressed,

adding: "You've kept the ball,

and I can guess why."

I replied: "Yeah, because I'm

going to tell all my friends and

anyone who ask me about the

cricket ball that I hit 32 with it

off a former MCC captain!"

Illingworth laughed and said:

"Good on you son!"

Tom Marsters was born on

Palmerston and brought up

by his paternal grandmother

in Avatiu and Nikao on

Rarotonga from the age of

four.

Later he attended Avele

Agricultural College in Samoa

to study general agriculture,

before moving on to the

Grimsby Institute in England

to study the fishing industry.

Sir Tom’s background in

agriculture and fisheries

naturally led him into a long

career in the Cook Islands

Public Service before he

entered politics.

“I was involved with the new

era of politics when Albert

Henry came back from New

Zealand in 1964. I was still

in my teens then, but my

grandmother actually said that

I should work with this guy.

This person will transform the

Cook Islands.

“So in 1964, I became part

of his team; probably the

youngest executive on his

team. After the 1965 elections,

I became the secretary of the

party for the next 30-odd

years. So I've been with the

“I'm very proud to be

a Marsters”

political system since the

beginning”.

On becoming the Queen’s

Representative, Marsters

presents his typical modesty.

“I wasn't expecting it. The

prime minister alluded to the

point that government was

thinking of honouring me,

but I told him there were

others who in my mind were

more deserving of the honor

than myself, and I still

stand by my words”.

Marsters resigned as

Deputy Prime Minister to

take up the role Queen’s

Representative role in 2013.

His knighthood came five

years later in 2018, which

was bestowed upon him for

‘service to the public and the

community.’

“Well, I suppose I've served

the public all my life!” said

Sir Tom.

Today, HE Sir Tom

Marsters KBE is the

Queen’s Representative:

“My role is to protect the

constitution of the country,

and to protect the interests of

the Her Majesty The Queen.

“I just have my secretary, who

is a senior lawyer, but we have

the backing of constitutional

lawyers overseas. So any issue

that affects the Crown, that

affects the Constitution, I am

well supported.

“I also call upon the Governor-

Generals in the region; we

have a good rapport, and a very

good relationship with all of

Her Majesties representatives

in the region”.

In conclusion, we asked Sir

Tom about how he felt about

the rapid growth of tourism in

the Cook Islands, and if he had

any concerns.

“I have no real concern, to

be honest. To me, tourism

is our lifeline. I believe that

provided we keep all the

necessary amenities in place,

our infrastructure in place,

especially with the sewerage

and waste management, and

water…all of those things;

provided we keep all of that

in check, then I think there

is room for expansion, there

is room for growth and

prosperity”.


6 BLACK PEARLS CoOK ISLANDS SuN

Pearls direct from the farm

FARM DIRECT PEARLS’ TEMU AND LESLEY OKOTAI

HAVE A LONG ESTABLISHED CONNECTION TO

THE SOURCE OF COOK ISLANDS BLACK PEARL

INDUSTRY, THE ISLAND OF MANIHIKI, WHERE THEY

OPERATE THEIR OWN PEARL FARM.

SITUATED IN HARBOUR HOUSE ON THE MAIN ROAD

AT AVATIU HARBOUR, THE FARM DIRECT PEARLS

SHOWROOM EXHIBITS AN ATTRACTIVE RANGE OF

BLACK PEARLS AND JEWELLERY. WE ASKED TEMU

AND LESLEY OKOTAI, A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT

THEIR LIVES AND THEIR LIVELIHOOD.

started their own separate

farms, almost at the same time.

The rest is history: the 1980s

and 1990s became a boom

period in pearl farming in

the Manihiki, Penrhyn, and

Rakahanga lagoons. By the

mid 1990s there were nearly

300 pearl farms operating in

these lagoons, and export value

for black pearls was close to

$20m.

Unfortunately in 1997 Cyclone

Martin destroyed much of the

Manihiki pearl infrastructure.

This was followed by a drastic

downturn in world prices for

pearls, and combined with

a few spells of unfavourable

lagoon conditions, saw many

leave the industry.

Today only the few with wellmanaged

and substantial farms

are able to continue farming,

and only in the Manihiki

lagoon.

Temu and Lesley

met as students in

Christchurch in the

1970s. After graduating they

returned to Rarotonga where

Temu worked as marketing

manager for what is now Cook

Islands Tourism, and later he

took over the management,

and Lesley taught at local

primary schools.

Temu then sought out jobs

in the private sector in New

Zealand and Papua New

Guinea while Lesley taught

at an International school

before returning to Rarotonga

eleven years later with their

two children to ensure they

would connect with their Cook

Islands’ heritage.

Temu was Chief of Staff for

former Prime Minister Sir

Geoffrey Henry for nearly

eight years, whilst Lesley

continued to teach.

Describe the Farm

Direct Pearls business

operation

We became involved with

black pearls through Temu's

Manihiki connection with

his father and brother

operating a pearl farm, but

with no business or marketing

experience.

Almost twenty years ago

we decided to start a retail

outlet to sell the pearls, and

to sell pearl jewellery in an

old colonial house owned by

CITC. When CITC built the

Building Centre on that site we

moved to the shop next door

so that our overseas customers

could still find us!

We have expanded our range

of black pearl jewellery

considerably since those

humble beginnings. Today

we cater for all tastes and for

all budgets: from inexpensive

lower grade pearls with simple

settings, to sophisticated,

elegant designs with top

quality pearls set with 14 and

18 carat yellow and white gold.

How do you

differentiate the quality

of Cook Islands black

pearls?

Top quality pearls are high

in lustre with clean surfaces;

that is no imperfections visible

on the surface in contrast to

lower grade pearls that may

Farm Direct Pearl’s Temu and Lesley Okotai

have blemishes visible on the

surface and may also have a

dull surface or matt look which

means they lack lustre.

We always advise our

customers to read the

Certificate of Authenticity

before making a purchase. The

Certificate of Authenticity

informs them of the grade of

the pear: Perfect, A, B, C, D,

quality, size and shape, so they

can compare prices and see

how each attribute affects the

pricing of each jewellery item.

Cook Islands black pearls are

defined as such because they

grow in the black-lipped oyster

shell. In a harvest we find a

wide range of exquisite colours:

for example peacock green,

gold, silver, bronze, green,

and aubergine. Some have a

beautiful rainbow of colours.

Those with good lustre will

reflect the colours we are

wearing.

The name ‘black pearls’ is a

misnomer because few are

black in colour. Some people

have the misconception that

the darker they are the better.

Colour is very much personal

taste relating to such things as

colours we like to wear, hair

colour and skin tone.

Tell us about the

development of the

black pearl industry in

the Cook Islands?

The farming of the blacklipped

mother of pearl

oyster started in the Cook

Islands in the Manihiki

lagoon in the mid 1960s.

Peter Cummings, who was

involved in the harvesting of

the Golden lipped shells in

Broome, Australia, observed

the Japanese start to seed

the golden-lipped oyster for

pearls; he came to the Cook

Islands and started a farm in

Manihiki.

Cummings successfully

produced beautiful black pearls

in the Manihiki lagoon, but

because of disagreements with

the island Council, he closed

the farm and left the island. It

was not until the mid 1980s

when pearl farming resumed in

the Manihiki lagoon, when the

late Papa Tekake Williams and

Yves Chen Pan from Tahiti

What is the process

of pearl cultivation on

Manihiki?

The Manihiki lagoon

has always been an ideal

environment for the blacklipped

mother of pearl oyster.

Before pearl farming started

in the lagoon the shell has

been a lucrative export, which

was harvested regularly on a

3 -4 years intervals. Another

advantage of pearl farming in

the Manihiki lagoon is the

ideal growing condition for

spat collection for the oyster.

Much of what we learnt in

pearl farming in the Cook

islands we learnt from Tahiti

and Japanese technicians who

worked in Manihiki.

Today we have both foreign

and local technicians

working in the

Manihiki lagoon,

and many foreign

workers are employed

by farmers to work on

their farms.

What is most often

received feedback you

get from buyers of

Cook Islands black

pearls?

People who have

bought Cook Island

black pearls from us

tell us how much they

love them, and that

they receive lots of

compliments about

their Cook Islands

black pearl jewellery.

Aerial view of the Manihiki lagoon

Lesley & Temu Okotai

Harbour House, Avatiu, ph 20 635

email: temu@mblackpearl.co.ck

On display in the Farm Direct showroom


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

BLACK PEARLS

7

Cooks’ Delight

Engraved Pearls

for Pandora

Cook Islands

Engraved Pearls

Carved Shell

Jewellery

Free Name

Engraving

Korori Ceviche (pearl shell meat) served with local herbs is a delicacy

in Manihiki, in the Northern Group Island. Variations of the dish are

a popular appetiser on menus in glitzy restaurants around the world

that have access to Mother of Pearl shell meat.

(Photographer: David Kirkland).

OPENING HOURS

OPENING HOURS

Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm

Monday-Friday, Tokerau Jim’s shop at 9am-2pm Arorangi

Tokerau - main Jim’s road shop opposite at Matavera

- main Crown road Beach on eastern-side Resort

next before to Muri Tik e-tours Beach

Saturday morning, 8am-12pm

Tokerau Jim’s shop at Punanga Nui Market

in Avarua, with pearl carving demonstrations

and free name engraving.

www.tokeraujim.com

Tokerau Jim at the Market

On a Saturday

morning you

might find

yourself wandering around

Punanga Nui Market

in Avarua. Outside his

busy market hut you will

encounter a modest ‘one of

a kind’ pearl carver, who

also happens to be one of

the world’s best, Tokerau

Jim.

Tokerau demonstrates

his pearl carving on

Saturdays, and also offers

free name engraving on his

surprisingly affordable

pieces of artistry,

including a wide range of

carved pearl necklaces.

Tokerau Jim designed

and carved pearl

jewellery is a perfect

special gift for family

and friends, especially

engraved with the name

of the recipient.

Tokerau Jim’s main retail

shop is located opposite

the Crown Beach Resort

in Arorangi, open

Monday to Friday.

There’s more than gold in Goldmine!

Goldmine is the Cook Islands

largest jewellery and gift

store, and it’s been located

on the main road of Avarua

in Rarotonga for more than

twenty-five years.

Goldmine manager Ngari Tutaka-

George has been there since it opened

in 1994, so what Ngari doesn’t know

about the jewellery and gift business is

hard to imagine.

Specialising in black pearl jewellery,

Goldmine also stock gold and

silver chains and charms; wedding,

engagement and dress rings; unique

Polynesian style rings in gold and

silver; opal, coral, amber and jade;

Lladro and carvings.

Ngari is pictured left presenting a

cherry amber pendant set in sterling

silver, the cost: $1400.00. Whilst the

amber jewellery might be expensive,

Goldmine offers a variety of jewellery

and gifts for all budgets and tastes.

COOK ISLANDS

Top Jewellery & Gift Store

BEST PRICES • QUALITY • SELECTION • SERVICE

BLACK PEARL JEWELLERY

– Avaiki Black Pearls –

Karen Walker Jewellery

Polynesian Style Rings In Gold & 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

Phone 24 823 | Fax 24824 | email goldmine@oyster.net.ck

www.rarotongablackpearls.com


8 ISLAND LIFE CoOK ISLANDS SuN

What services do

Bluesky offer to visitors

to the Cook Islands?

Bluesky keeps our visitors

connected while on

holiday. We have over

300 Bluezone WiFi hotspots

in the Cook Islands, giving

you easy Internet access to

your family, friends and social

media. Visitors can also enable

roaming on their devices.

We have over 270 roaming

partners. Check if your

network roams in the Cook

Islands on www.bluesky.co.ck.

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

only $5 to call New Zealand

and $10 to call Australia, Fiji,

UK, USA and Canada. Grab

yourself a Visitor SimCard

today. For only $49 it is preloaded

with 3GB Data, 30min

calling time and 300 texts.

Where are the Bluesky

retail offices, and what

are the opening hours.

Bluesky services the whole of

the Cook Islands. We have

outlets on all islands except

Takutea, Manuae, Suwarrow

and Nassau. We have three

Bluesky outlets on Rarotonga

open everyday. Main office in

Parekura opens from 8am -

6pm; CITC Avarua complex

office opens from 8am - 4pm;

Muri outlet opens from 10am

- 6pm. We also have an outlet

located outside international

arrivals area, which only opens

during international flights.

Where and how can

visitors find Bluesky

hotspots?

Bluezone WiFi Hotspots are

located throughout Rarotonga,

Aitutaki, the rest of the outer

islands at a variety of places

with bluesky

such as our airport, restaurants

& cafes, resorts, bars, shops,

markets and most public

meeting areas. A full list is

available on www.bluesky.co.ck

What tips do Bluesky

offer visitors to

maximise their SIM

cards/WiFi?

Assuming the visitor is

purchasing a Bluesky Visitor

SIM card:

• First tip would be to make

good use of the free SMS

txts and calling minutes to

contact friends and family

back home instead of relying

on data operated apps (e.g.

Messenger/WhatsApp/

Viber). Better yet, book

WiFi Tips

• If you have access to a

Bluezone hotspot at your

accommodation then save

on mobile data and upload

your photos/videos using

WiFi instead.

• Can't find your nearest

Bluezone hotspot? Visit

www.bluesky.co.ck and

find our map with over 100

hotspots located around

Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

There's sure to be one next

all your tours and make

reservations using your

minutes while on holiday.

• Save Data by switching off

all auto-updates, restrict

background data downloads

on your device.

• Use Data for live updates

or ‘in the moment’ posts via

your social media channels.

Upload your pics later using

WiFi.

• Switch off your data if

you're not using it - also

saves your battery life.

• Data add-on bundles are

not available on Visitor SIM

Card, so if you're needing

more data BUY another

Visitor SIM card just in

case.

• Download the MyBluesky

app on arrival to monitor

your data/mins/txts usage.

• Need to upload your photos

from your computer? Tether

data from your phone to

your computer and get

those important captures up

online in no time!

• Avoid using data when

visiting sites that may have

low data range/signal. Take

your photos and upload

them later once you're in

good range.

door or around the corner

from you.

• Make sure to log off your

WiFi after each browsing

session to conserve MBs

• Out of range? Visit any

of Rarotonga's cafes/

restaurant with our

Bluezone hotspots instead

and enjoy the comfort

there, along with good

food and atmosphere, and

a refreshing beverage!

Shipwrecked on a tropical island

ENGLISH BORN NEW

ZEALANDER’S STEVE

AND GERALDINE

MARSON ARE LIVING

A DREAM OF OWNING

‘THE PERFECT BEACH

BAR ON A TROPICAL

ISLAND’; AND IT’S APTLY

NAMED THE SHIPWRECK

HUT BEACH BAR.

Located at the Aro’a

Beachside Inn on

Rarotonga’s sunset

coast, you couldn’t pick a

better location with guaranteed

mind-blowing sunset views

every evening (weather

permitting).

Meeting and marrying in

Cheshire, both Steve and

Geraldine are from sales

backgrounds: Steve in

engineering, electronics,

computer and IT, and

Geraldine in pharmaceuticals.

“We met at night school

because we were working for

German or Swiss German

companies, so we both went to

night school to learn

German!” said Steve.

“We just clicked and

started going out in

January '86. We got

engaged about March

and got married in

July.”

They now have

two boys Will and

Dan, who are in

their mid-twenties:

Will is completing

his Masters; he's a

geomorphologist, and

Dan is a musician

in a band. “He’s a very good

guitarist and sings well too!”

“The boys were born in

Cheshire. We moved to Kent

when Dan was about six weeks

old, as I got a job there with

a company as European Sales

Manager for FACIT.”

Geraldine gave up work to look

after the children then later

studied to become a science

teacher.

“She is actually a scientist.

Her speciality was biology,

microbiology. And she's got a

degree in microbiology. So she

now got a secondary degree,

which is a teaching degree.”

The next big thing for Steve

was when they made him

managing director in the UK

for FACIT.

“I was now seriously into the

Geraldine and Steve Marson in their Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar, with staff

Anna, Stephanie and Priest in the background

IT and barcoding with this

company. They took me on

to introduce barcoding to the

whole group. It was really

pioneering stuff at the time!

“The business was sold, so

then I set up my own business

in Kent called Lynk Data

Systems. I did that for ten years

then I sold it, which made me

enough to retire on at the age

of 47!

Steve performing with Anania Brown

“We moved to New Zealand in

2008! Geraldine got a teaching

job. I was there three months

before I got so bored I joined

a company as general manager

doing very similar things I was

doing in the UK. That business

eventually got sold, so I took

time off and then found this

place.”

We are lucky to have

such a wonderful,

fun team!

Steve said he and Geraldine

had stayed at Aro’a Beachside

Inn in 2012, then came back in

2014 to find out it was for sale

and bought it.

Stephanie Vaiimene, the

general manager, has been

at Aro’a Beachside Inn since

Steve and Geraldine bought it.

Every Tuesday Stephanie does

a popular guest appearance

singing with the band at the

Bar. “We are lucky to have

such a wonderful, fun team!”

We asked Steve if the

Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar had

anything to do with them

buying the place.

“Every man wants

to have his own bar,

sure!” said Steve.

“I remember, at the

age of 17, we were

sitting on a beach

in Italy next to this

beach bar and I

thought, that would

be cool, to have a

little beach bar.”

Since arriving on

the island Steve has

developed his own

singing and guitar

skills to the point

where he performs

at the Shipwreck BBQ on

Saturdays. He also sings in

a guest spot on Tuesday and

Thursday nights when live

music is featured from 6.30pm

to 8.30pm. Famously, the

popular Rockin’ Jandals play

on Tuesdays with Rarotonga

guitar great Anania Brown,

and local DJ legend Ian

Wheeldon.

“What got me into singing

was when Geraldine and I

were on a skiing holiday in

France. They had this dressup

karaoke night. I went as

Batman, Geraldine went as Cat

Woman. I thought: I'll give

this a go and sang an Elton

John song. Then surprisingly

I had a request: Can Batman

please sing Daydream Believer?

Which I did, and I still sing

it today at the Shipwreck Hut

Beach Bar!”

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CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ISLAND LIFE

9

A great night out in

Rarotonga!

“This Spectacular Over Water Night Show

and Buffet Dinner is an authentic

cultural delight!”

LONG ACKNOWLEDGED AS THE

LEADING PROVIDER OF CULTURAL

ENTERTAINMENT IN THE COOK ISLANDS, TE

VARA NUI VILLAGE WON THE ‘PEOPLE’S CHOICE

AWARD’ AT THE MOST RECENT COOK ISLANDS

TOURISM AWARDS; THAT WAS NO SURPRISE AS

THE IMPRESSIVE OVERWATER CULTURAL SHOW IS

WORLD-CLASS.

From the moment you

step into Te Vara

Nui Village you will

engage with local Maori

people who will share their

stories and their heritage; and

Rarotonga’s finest dancers and

musicians will entertain you

as they perform by flaming

torchlight on floating and

fixed stages within a waterfall

garden. And, let’s not forget

the delectable island-western

fusion buffet dinner, which in

itself is spectacular.

Located in the heart of the

Muri, a night out at Te Vara

Nui’s Spectacular Over Water

Night Show and Buffet Dinner

is an authentic cultural delight!

As they say at Te Vara Nui

Village, quite simply: “This

special place of tribute to

our distinctive culture and

its breathtaking setting will

remain in your memory long

after you return home."

The Te Vara Nui Spectacular

Overwater Extravaganza

happens in Muri every Tuesday,

Thursday and Saturday evening

from 7.30pm. Call 24 006.

WINNER OF AIR NZ TOURISM AWARDS - SUPREME AWARD, TOURS & ATTRACTION 2017 & PEOPLE'S CHOICE 2018 !

Muri Beach

Phone 24006


10 ISLAND LIFE

CoOK ISLANDS SuN

The last straw

TOURISM IS BOOMING AND FOR THE COOK

ISLANDS THAT MEANS ADDITIONAL STRESS ON

OUR PRISTINE ENVIRONMENT AND ECOSYSTEMS,

SO WE HAD A CHAT WITH COOK ISLANDS’ LARGEST

CORPORATION AND THE BIGGEST EMPLOYER

OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT, CITC (COOK ISLANDS

TRADING CORPORATION), TO FIND OUT WHAT

THEY ARE DOING TO HELP RELIEF THE PRESSURE

ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND TO SUSTAIN THE COOK

ISLANDS FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

CITC is

everywhere

in Rarotonga;

they import, distribute,

wholesale and retail a

vast range of products

from building materials,

food and beverages,

to pharmaceuticals,

clothing, electrical

goods and furniture.

Most of CITC’s revenue

is derived from tourism,

or tourism-related

businesses.

Gaye Whitta is

the energetic chief

executive officer of the

corporation, which

includes a department

store - CITC Avarua, CITC

Pharmacy, the CITC Building

Centre, CITC Liquor, CITC

Supermarket, Foodland,

and three convenience stores

around Rarotonga: Oasis

Energy, Kavera Central and

KAPS Matavera; in addition

to CITC Duty Free at the

airport.

Notably CITC are proud

of their ‘Environment

Sustainability Policy’ and their

staunch commitment to the

future of the Cook Islands.

We asked Gaye what the

connection was between being

the biggest corporation in

Rarotonga and conceiving an

environmental sustainability

policy.

Gaye explained there were not

enough government guidelines

or importation legislation

at the moment, suggesting

CITC could do ‘pretty well

want it wanted’ as there’s really

nothing to stop them.

Panorama of CITC Avarua

Gaye Whiita, General Manager of CITC

“There's no law that bans

polystyrene; there's no law that

bans phosphate soap powders,

there is nothing there! As a

company, we had to look at the

sustainability of the country

because that's our income,”

said Gaye.

“When former New Zealand

prime minister Helen Clark

spoke to business leaders here

earlier this year, she pointed

out that you can't rely on

government to do everything.

We know that the government

is always going to be on the

back foot. It always takes too

long for them to make any

change, so what little we can

do, hopefully will make a big

change to the future”.

CITC are the biggest in just

about every business area

they operate, but they are not

without competition.

“In all of our areas we have

strong competition, but we

are usually leading the way in

most of those areas. I think

where people see us as being

the biggest, and a bit of a

monopoly, we're not, we've got

lots of competition within all

areas of our business”.

Certainly, one of the

areas of differentiation

is CITC’s Environment

Sustainability Policy,

part of which states: As

a business leader, we

will take initiatives to

guide our community in

environmental protection.

We will work with

Government and Non-

Government organisations

and community interests

to determine and promote

specific initiatives to

protect and enhance our

environment…

Gaye said the key to

their Environment

Sustainability Policy is training

CITC staff and getting them

aboard with the company’s

programs and initiatives.

“Part of the induction for

new employees includes

environmental training; they

learn about recycling and

waste management, and all

things green. It comes down to

education!”

“Education about caring for

the environment in Rarotonga

really starts in the schools.

That's why we started a

campaign through the primary

schools with a bin project,

donating a new recycling

station.

“The schools and the teachers

wanted to be involved with it.

So whenever we introduced

a bin system, George George

(CITC’s key brands manager)

would go out and talk to

the students about sorting,

and how it can save on the

environment.”

Significantly for CITC the

program was funded from the

proceeds of the sale of plastic

bags in CITC’s retail outlets.

CITC also drive an initiative

involving discarded cardboard

centred at Foodland in

downtown Avarua.

“Anybody can drop off their

cardboard to Foodland. We

compact it and separate it into

colored and non-colored. The

ones that are colored get bailed

and sent overseas at our cost.

A New Zealand company

reuses the cardboard. Local

farmers use the non-coloured

cardboard, which contains no

chemicals, for composting in

taro patches for example”.

CITC are a big importer of

fruits and vegetables; their

preference is to bring in as

much of that produce in

cardboard.

“Where we can, we just buy

local; it’s better because it's

fresher. We do bring in some

produce in polystyrene

containers to reduce

the damage to the

likes of broccoli and

cauliflower. But then

we re-use all of that.

We also encourage

people to reuse the

polystyrene if they are

going back overseas;

if they buy their fish

they can transport it in

polystyrene. That also

applies to chestnuts or

any local produce”.

CITC Pharmacy

under the leadership

of manager Shannon

Saunders, who has since

returned to New Zealand,

has steered the pharmacy

in support of CITC’s

environmental sustainability

policy, particularly in the

quest to reduce the amount of

chemicals entering lagoons and

landfill.

Shannon said CITC Pharmacy

opt for natural product

options in every section of the

pharmacy.

“People today want less

chemicals going into their own

bodies. But as far as chemicals

going into the lagoon, in

particular, the Ministry of

Marine Resources approached

us to ask if we would consider

going Oxybenzone free.

“Straight away we advised all

our suppliers we would not be

importing any products with

Oxybenzone, which included

CITC recycling bins

Leading the way with environmental products

sunscreens and some facial

products as well”.

Oxybenzone is an endocrine

disruptor that interferes with

the ecosystems in lagoons, in

particular the growth of coral.

Shannon said ideally the ban

on Oxybenzone would be

legislated so visitors would be

discouraged from bringing

products into the Cook Islands

containing the chemical,

resulting in confiscation and

possibly a fine.

“Just like when you come into

a country where you're not

allowed to bring in fruit and

vegetables; there would be

a bin offered to drop in the

banned items.

“And, because we're the biggest

importer, what we bring into

the country is sold to a lot

of other stores as well. So

whatever changes we make

filters down through the

small stores. That's one of

the big things for us; what we

do makes a difference to the

whole country,” said Shannon.

It is clear CITC engage in best

environmental practices when

they make purchase choices

for their retail and wholesale

businesses; each year adding

more to the list of

things they can do

to reduce the impact

on the environment,

predominantly from

imported products.

“This year we stopped

importing plastic

straws. So this year

was the last straw!”

beamed Gaye.

“And, in 2020 we will

no longer import single

use plastic bags. We

aim to be plastic bag

free!

“CITC really is

leading the way with this; it is

actually our corporate tagline,”

said Gaye.

“I think for anything to work

in the Cook Islands, you need

to have good direction. And

that's where we come from

as CITC, we've got good

direction and we can use that

direction to help shape the

future of the Cook Islands.

“We will continue to work

with the government (I sit

on the Waste Management

Committee), the local Te

Ipukarea Society, a nongovernment

organisation

dedicated to the health and

well being of the Cook Islands,

Rotary, and others who

approach us with worthwhile

initiatives to help sustain the

environment of the Cook

Islands into the future”.

Supporting Sustainability in the Cook Islands

No

single serve

polystyrene

food

containers

No

Phosphates

No

Oxybenzone

No

Plastic

Straws

Say NO

to Plastic

Bags

Continuing to minimise our impact on the environment


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

A1 MEITAKI AWARDS

11

Tourism operators recognised with

A1 Meitaki Awards

2019 MARKS THE FOURTH YEAR OF A1 MEITAKI

AWARD PRESENTATIONS TO WORTHY TOURISM

OPERATORS IN RAROTONGA AND AITUTAKI. WHAT

IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE AWARDS IS THAT THE ONLY

REWARD THE INDIVIDUAL OR BUSINESS RECEIVES

IS PUBLIC RECOGNITION AND A CERTIFICATE.

RECIPIENTS CAN ONLY BE DESIGNATED BY

VISITORS FILLING IN A NOMINATION FORM, EITHER

AT A COOK ISLANDS TOURISM INFORMATION

OFFICE, OR AT THE AIRPORT DEPARTURE HALL AT

RAROTONGA AIRPORT.

The master of ceremonies

and driving force behind

the A1 Meitaki Awards,

Metua Vaiimene, who is Cook

Islands Tourism’s Director of

Destination Development,

said at this year’s Rarotonga

presentation ceremony:

“We gather to acknowledge the

people in the tourism industry

and the Rarotonga community

who provide authentic

customer service to our visitors.

Through their friendly and

professional engagement with

our visitors, members of the

community continue to ensure

that any of our visitors can

access the wonders of our little

paradise.

“Cook Islands Tourism

encourages Tupuranga Tangata

or ‘development of our people’

as one of the principles of our

Mana Tiaki values under the

Kia Orana Values programme.

Kia Orana, Mana Tiaki, and

Tupuranga Tangata: These

values and principles have

been adopted by the tourism

industry. This means that we

will all celebrate, acknowledge,

and reward those members of

our industry that work with

passion to show our visitors

how we love our home – the

Cook Islands. Tupuranga

Tangata means that we will

reward and recognise the

skills, knowledge, talent and

Koka Lagoon Cruises received the highest number of nominations of any business

or individual. Pictured with the A1 Meitaki certificate is Serena Hunter

passion in our people in the

tourism industry.

Today, we recognise and

acknowledge particular

members of our tourism

industry, some are individuals,

and some are businesses that

have shown this exceptional

customer service to our

visitors. The A1 Meitaki

Awards is one way that we

can give that recognition

to those members of

the industry who show

passion in the way they

look after their guests and

clients”.

The Prime Minister

Henry Puna, who is also

Minister for Tourism,

was unable to make the

presentations at this year’s

awards so he nominated

Kia Orana Ambassador,

Aunty Nane Papa to

present the certificates on

his behalf.

This past year there were

over 500 nominations,

however only the top 35

individuals or businesses

for Rarotonga are

presented with an A1

Meitaki Award certificate.

This year A1 Meitaki

Award recipients were:

Ikurangi Eco Retreat, Cook

Islands Library and Museum

Society, Tumutoa Tours

Ngametua Mamanu, Villis

Burger Joint, Desiree Palomo

from Avana Waterfront

Apartments, Kura Happ,

Muri Beachcomber, Matutu

Brewery, Danny Mataroa,

Chad Hicks of Destination

Cook Islands and formerly of

Hawaiki Villas, Louisa Charlie

formerly of Club Raro, Paul

and Michelle of Castaway

Resort, Captain Tamas

Lagoon Cruises, Café Jireh,

Steph Jansen of Raro Reef Sub,

Sunset Palms Rarotonga, Dr.

Nick Stephany of the Ministry

of Education, Caroline Parel

of Pacific Resort, Little

Polynesian Resort, Kiikii

Motel, Antonia Poa of Captain

Tamas Lagoon Cruises,

Chantal Napa of Chantal’s

Concierge, David Putairi at

the Rarotongan Beach Resort

Hotel, Alone Aumaro formerly

of Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar

and Aroa Beachside Inn,

Lagoon Breeze Villas, Coral

Sands Apartments, Josephine

Jessie formerly of Ikurangi Eco

Retreat, Charlie’s Café and

Beach Hire, Thomas Ngauru

and Cook Islands Badminton.

The award winner that

received the highest number

of nominations over the past

18 months was Koka Lagoon

Cruises.

“I am so proud that five Cook

Islands Tourism staff members

were placed in the top 35 this

year: Marthalina Opuariki,

Tony Fe'ao, Ani Katu,

Lydia Nga, and Nane Papa,”

concluded Metua Vaiimene.

1

2 3 4

5 6 7

CAPTIONS:

1. Coral Sands Apartments: L-R

Vanissa, Brent and Eve Hayden,

and Eren

2. Musician Kura Happ with Aunty

Nane

3. Matutu Brewery’s Eric Newnham

with Aunty Nane

4. Steph Jansen from Reef Sub with

Aunty Nane

5. Castaway Resort’s Paul Ash with

Aunty Nane

6. Tumutoa Tours’ Ngametua

Mamanu

7. Debra Graham from Café Jireh

with Aunty Nane

AITUTAKI:

There was also an A1

Meitaki Award presentation

in Aitutaki, the 2019

recipients were: Arerua ‘Ali’

Maao-The Vaka Cruise,

Vaikoa Units, Aitutaki

Village, Etu Moana

Resort, Aitutaki Lagoon

Resort, Bubbles Below,

Elaine Savage-Aitutaki

Village, Teumere Koteka-

Heather-Aitutaki Escape,

Paul Turepu-The Vaka

Cruise, Andrew Rave-The

Vaka Cruise, The Vaka

Cruise, and Pacific Resort,

Aitutaki.

COOK ISLANDS HOLIDAY VILLAS

Cook Islands Tourism Awards 2018-2019

“Cook Islands News Business Sustainability Award 2018-2019”

TURANGI LAGOON VILLAS TUORO HOLIDAY VILLAS MURI LAGOON VILLA BLUE LAGOON VILLA BLUE LAGOON 5 BDRM VILLA

Our Turangi Lagoon Villa is a 4 bedroom, Our Tuoro Holiday Villa is a 4 bedroom, Our Muri Lagoon Villa is a 2 bedroom, Our Blue Lagoon Villa is a 1 bedroom, Our Blue Lagoon 5 BDRM villa

2 bathroom complex that can fit a 2 bathroom complex that fits a 1 bathroom complex that can fit a 1 bathroom complex that can fit a located behind our 1 bedroom villa.

maximum of 8 people. There are two maximum of 8 people. There are four

maximum of 4 people.

maximum of 3 people.

Can accommodate 10 people in our

villas situated on one property on the villas situated on one property on the This villa is situated right on the This villa is located 20 metres from fully self-contained villa and is a 40

sea side in the village of Turangi. back road in the village of Arorangi. beach in the village of Muri.

beach front

metre walk from beachfront.

HONEYMOON AND WEDDING PACKAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

EMAIL: STAY@COOKISLANDSHOLIDAYVILLAS.COM

PHONE: +68252321

WEBSITE: WWW.COOKISLANDSHOLIDAYVILLAS.COM


12 ISLAND LIFE

CoOK ISLANDS SuN

Helpful hints for first time

visitors to Rarotonga

Belinda and Andrew Griffin, formerly of Rumours Luxury Villas & Spa

Belinda & Andrew Griffin are a couple of joyful

Australian adventurers who until recently ran

Rumours Luxury Villas and Rumours Waterfall

Spa in Muri. Over the past five years they became

experienced in offering their guests suggestions on

how to make the most of holidaying in Rarotonga.

These are some of the helpful hints they offered

their guests.

Relax

Interact with the locals

wherever you can; they

really are friendly. A good

introduction we recommend

to our guests is to head off to

Charlie’s for lunch or dinner

(or both), and enjoy their local

family hospitality and good

vibes.

Explore Rarotonga’s coast (and

inland) at your own pace; be

that on the buses; or rented

vehicle; there is so much to see

and do!

Experience lagoon life in

so many ways: snorkeling,

kayaking, SUP paddleboards

(day & night), kitesurfing, or

have fun just cruising to the

motu (little islands) in the

lagoon at Muri for a swim and

a BBQ lunch.

Enjoy an island night show,, or

try the ‘Progressive Dinner’ for

an insight into the lives of the

locals. But the BEST way to

start your holiday is booking in

with the multi-award winning

Rumours Waterfall Spa!

If you get the opportunity,

spend a full day in Aitutaki on

an Air Rarotonga package; the

lagoon there is considered the

worlds best!

Some places to sip on

a cocktail and watch

lly-proven,

the sunset

ines

Buy a fresh coconut off a

roadside vendor – top it up

Islands with Oils rum & pineapple juice

s medicinal (for a piña practices. colada), walk to the

beach, slip your shoes off and

is of the skin.

sip on your very own South

Pharmacy Pacific in cocktail! Avarua.

Alternatively, there are

fabulous beach bars dotted

around the island – some of

our favorites: the Sunset Bar at

OTB Restaurant…they make

a great Coconut Mojito; head

up the hill at Black Rock to

Antipodes for the best sunset

view and their rum punch

cocktails; the cocktails at the

Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar are

served in jam-jars; Wilsons

Beach Bar at Castaway Resort

is humming at sunset!

Need a designated driver?

Book a ‘Cocktail Hop’ with

Tik-e Tours - lots of fun on

their electric tuk tuks!

Nice places to enjoy a

coffee and relax

We are so spoilt for choice;

with some excellent baristas

on the island… some of our

favorites: Neil Dearlove at

his own coffee roasting house

in Matavera - located near

the KAPS store for that

early morning fix (closes at

11am). Muri township has it

covered: Ariki Café serves up

spectacular cold brew coffee…

LBV and Deli-Lious Café

serve constantly good coffee.

Beluga in Arorangi, where you

will find ‘Clarke Kent’ behind

the coffee machine serving

up a meal in a cup! Beluga

also supports local artisans by

stocking a range of gifts.

The Café located at

Beachcomber in town;

dependably great coffee served

barefoot with a smile - drop

in and spin some cool Retro

tunes on the turntable while

you enjoy your brew.

Getting your scooter license?

There’s a great tiny coffee

outlet called Salt located right

next door to the Police Station

in town.

Or, need a pick me up at

the end of the day? Nautilus

Restaurant in Muri does a

great Espresso Martini.

Things to do in the

township of Avarua

Take a relaxing walk along

the waterfront, great views

including the SS Maitai

shipwreck…clearly visible

off-shore; visit Avarua’s

white washed CICC (Cook

Islands Christian Church),

which was built in 1853;

across the road from CICC

is the Cook Islands Library

and Museum Society

building, special for local

history lovers. Close by is

the historic Beachcomber

building, a favourite drop

in spot: encompasses an art

gallery, a lovely retails shop,

and The Café for breakfast

or lunch.

On Saturday mornings

wander around the Punanga

Nui Market: be early to

grab your freshly baked

goods, almond croissants

and yummy sausage rolls

from VMV.

Eat out at a couple of our

favorites: Trade Jacks - rub

shoulders with the locals,

grab a cold beer, and relish

one of the best pizzas on

the island whilst sitting

waterside; then catch a

movie at The Empire

Theatre across the road.

Enjoy a quiet lunch by the

pool at The Lazy Trout

COOK ISLANDS BIOACTIVE OILS

M A DE IN THE CO O K ISL A NDS

Café, or takeaway Sushi and

smoothies from Body Fuel in

the market area and sit on the

rocks overlooking the ocean.

Some recommended

top photo spots

Sunsets! Sooo many spots on

the west coast: head to almost

any beach or beach bar!

During the day take a snap at

the ‘leaning’ palms beachside

at the defunct Sheraton

Hotel; the back roads and

planted fields of Rarotonga

are photogenic; venture into

the lagoon and take a shot

back towards the island and

its ‘gob smacking’ landscapes.

There are some beautiful

homes and old forgotten

houses that dot the island.

Many of your best images

will be on tour: from lagoon

cruises, to inland adventures,

and trekking. Sunrise at Muri

Lagoon is special for the keen

photographer!

Nice place to eat and

relax on a Sunday

afternoon

Order a spectacular Gourmet

Picnic Basket, Platter or BBQ

pack from Jenny and Grant at

Island Platters; given 24 hours

notice they will deliver and

you can do your own thing!

Nice places include Hidden

Spirit Café at the Maire Nui

Tropical Gardens; Sunday

lunches at Tuoro Restaurant

at Black Rock (you must

book) are always good value

accompanied by the sweet

turns of Kura Happ - top

Access & Benefit Sharing

A key ingredient in the TeTika® Skincare

range, Bioactive Cook Islands Oils are the

result of intense research into the traditional

Cook Islands medicinal practices.

These remarkable oils have a rejuvenating

effect on the epidermis of the skin.

See the full range of the TeTika® Skincare

products at CITC Pharmacy in Avarua.

AVAILABLE AT

PHARMACY

Inspired by traditional, scientifically-proven,

Cook Islands regenerative medicines

www.tetika.co.ck

Inspired by traditional, scientifically-proven,

Cook Islands regenerative medicines

A key ingredient in the TeTika ® Skincare range, Bioactive Cook Islands Oils

are the result of intense research into the traditional Cook Islands medicinal practices.

These remarkable oils have a rejuvenating effect on the epidermis of the skin.

See the full range of the TeTika ® Skincare products at CITC Pharmacy in Avarua.

www.citc.co.ck • www.tetika.com.au

THE Multi Award Winning

★★★★★

WATERFALL SPA

INDOOR WATERFALLS

VICHY SHOWER

COUPLES ROMANCE MASSAGES & VARIOUS OTHER MASSAGES

HALF DAY ESCAPES

FACIALS & BODY SCRUBS

PEDICURES & MANICURES

FULLY TRAINED THERAPISTS

MAIN ROAD, MURI BEACH, RAROTONGA

+682 22 551 info@rumours-rarotonga.com

www.rumours-rarotonga.com

tip… search her out as a ‘must

see’ act whilst on Rarotonga.

Antipodes at Black Rock

opens at 5pm on a Sunday -

head up the hill and enjoy a

spectacular sunset drinks, live

music, and dinner (booking

essential).

Some of the top

snorkelling spots on

the island

Most of Rarotonga’s lagoon

beaches offer ideal snorkeling.

Three spots we recommend

are: the Fruits of Rarotonga in

Tikioki; in front of the Dive

Centre in Aro’a Beach; and at

Black Rock in Nikao. They

all have wonderful marine

reserves. If you love snorkeling

be sure to book a sea-scooter

tour with Ariki Adventures -

very James Bond!

Things we love about

Rarotonga

Do you mean besides the

super stunning environment;

palm tree laden landscape,

and pristine unpopulated

beaches? Buying the business

of running Rumours Luxury

Villas and Spa nearly five

COOK ISLANDS BIOACTIVE OILS

M A DE IN THE CO O K ISL A NDS

AVAILABLE AT

PHARMACY

years ago has given us the

opportunity to share our love

for this island with the outside

world. What do we love most?

The people, the people, the

people; did we mention... the

people?

The colours, the culture,

the smiles, the laughter, the

local community and their

passion and vision for their

environment and future -

be prepared to fall in love -

we did!

Belinda & Andrew Griffin


Romance

CoOK ISLANDS SuN

on the Beach

ISLAND LIFE

13

SET AMONGST FIVE ACRES OF TROPICAL

BEACHSIDE GARDENS, THE ADULTS-ONLY

CROWN BEACH RESORT & SPA IN ARORANGI

IS A POPULAR CHOICE FOR TRAVELLERS

INTERESTED IN UNDERSTATED LUXURY, A

HIGH STANDARD SERVICE, AND SUNSETS!

The resort’s ‘Romantic

Dinner on the Beach’

is one of the more

exceptional indulgences offered

on Rarotonga. A beachfront

gazebo is the setting for a

perfect dinner in the tropics,

never to be forgotten. Set up

with white linen, silverware,

glassware, flowers, candles,

fairy lights and flaming tiki

torches, the three-course

gourmet dinner is selected

from an exclusive menu

designed especially for the

occasion.

With the magnificent sunset as

the backdrop, this distinctive

Rarotonga dining experience is

extraordinarily memorable for

guests and for dining visitors to

the Crown Beach Resort.

General Manager of the

Crown Beach Resort, Sierra

Glade, said:

It is a beautiful setting

that allows for privacy and

intimacy to celebrate special

occasions, or simply to spoil

your loved one. You can even

surprise your loved one with a

Romantic Dinner on the Beach

as our team is fully equipped to

help you plan surprise dinners,

or even proposals, to make a

lasting memory. The package

includes a delicious 3-course

dinner from a special menu, a

bottle of bubbles, special setup

with chosen theme colour, and

your own personal headwaiter.

“Due to the success of the

‘Romantic Dinner on the

Beach’, we now offer a

‘Romantic Breakfast on the

Beach’ including a bottle

of bubbles, which many

honeymoon couples are raving

over! Newlyweds are some

of those who experience

this beautiful and intimate

breakfast on their first

morning as husband and

wife!”

‘ROMANCE ON THE BEACH’

MORNINGS 7.30am - 10.00am

EVENINGS 5.30pm - 9.00pm

For bookings or enquiries

T: +682 23 953

E: info@crownbeach.com

W: www.crownbeach.com

Fb: Crown Beach Resort & Spa

Bring home Rito

Visitors to the Cook

Islands enjoy

taking home gifts

for friends and relatives,

but struggle with what to

buy that is authentically

Rarotongan. The

skincare products made

with cold-pressed virgin

coconut oils by Rito Cook

Islands are ideal. Visit

Rito at their workshop in

Tikioki near Muri, or pop

in to their retail hut at

Punanga Nui Market on

any Saturday.

Couples in particular enjoy the lagoon-side location and it’s intimacy at the Crown Beach Resort

Left: Rito Coffee & Sugar Body Scrub, coconut, macadamia oils and scented with vanilla.

Right: Rito Tangerine, Coffee, Coconut & Peppermint Soaps with a flower Ei Katu.

Naturally active skincare made o n t h e

Spa Ariki

Relax, Refresh, Renew...

island of Rarotonga

MASSAGE | FACIAL | MANICURE | PEDICURE

EXFOLIATION | WAXING | HAIRSTYLING & MORE

Open Monday – Saturday 10am - 6pm

Phone 23953 Email spa@crownbeach.com

Visit us 150m on the Muri side of the Fruits of Raro

Phone +682 20 134 or email info@ritocookislands.com

100%

Electric

Tik- e tours

pampering in paradise ...

relaxing massages, therapies

& beauty treatments

Open Mon to Sun

8.30am to 5.30pm

Late night Thursday to 9.00pm

ph: 25435 ext 7031

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR

Edgewater Resort & Spa

Cocktail happy hour

hopping

Personalised island tours

Wedding limo service

Airport transfers

The most fun you’ll have

on 3 wheels

Show your support and be

environmentally friendly


14 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ISLAND NIGHT SHOWS ON RAROTONGA

They are colourful, energetic and entertaining and, combined with a buffet-style feast, they

are good value for money. Enquire about the different Island Nights on offer; some are

smaller, intimate shows, others larger, spectacular shows with bigger audiences. Always

book to avoid disappointment. Note: details are correct at time of publication, but may

change seasonally. Always check with venue.

VENUE & SHOW DETAILS

* Family & group rates available; enquire with venue

DAY DINNER / SHOW BOOKINGS COST

MONDAY

Highland Paradise Cultural Centre 7.00pm/8.00pm 21 924

$110 adult / $65 child (6-11 yrs).

Includes transfers.

TUESDAY

Te Vara Nui Village 7.30pm/8.30pm 24 006

$109 adult ($119 with transfer) / $49

child (6-11)

The Islander Hotel 7.00pm/8.30pm 21 003

$49 adult / $20 child (5-12). Show only

$15pp

The Edgewater Resort & Spa 7.00pm/8.30pm 25 435

$65 adult / $25 child (7-12). Includes

transfers. Show only $15pp.

WEDNESDAY

Highland Paradise Cultural Centre 7.00pm/8.00pm 21 924

$110 adult / $65 child (6-11 yrs).

Includes transfers.

Muri Beach Club Hotel 7.00pm/8.00pm 23 000 $59 adult/$35 child (5-11)

THURSDAY

Te Vara Nui Village 7.30pm/8.30pm 24 006

$109 adult ($119 with transfer) / $49

child (6-11)

Crown Beach Resort 6.30pm/8.30pm 23 953

$55 adult / $30 child (3-12). Show only

$15pp

FRIDAY

Highland Paradise Cultural Centre 7.00pm/8.00pm 21 924

$110 adult / $65 child (6-11 yrs).

Includes transfers.

SATURDAY

Te Vara Nui Village 7.30pm/8.30pm 24 006

$109 adult ($119 with transfer) / $49

child (6-11)

The Edgewater Resort & Spa 7.00pm/8.30pm 25 435

$65 adult / $25 child (7-12). Includes

transfers. Show only $15pp.

The Islander Hotel 7.00pm/8.30pm 21 003

$49 adult / $20 child (5-12). Show only

$15pp

PERFORMERS

Crown Beach Resort:

Akirata Dance Troupe & Fire Dance

The Edgewater Resort & Spa:

Ta’akoka Dance Troupe

Highland Paradise Cultural Centre:

Home of the Tinomona Tribe;

E Matike Dance Troupe

Muri Beach Club Hotel:

Akirata Dance Troupe

The Islander Hotel:

Akirata Dance Troupe

Te Vara Nui Village:

Spectacular Overwater Extravaganza.

The Legend of Tongaiti.

Kikau Hut is a charmer

THE CIRCULAR SPACE OF KIKAU

HUT’S INTERIOR DINING AREA IS

COMPLIMENTED BY ALFRESCO

OPTIONS IN THIS AUTHENTIC

RAROTONGA-STYLE RESTAURANT. ITS

CHARM EMANATES FROM ITS RELAXED

ATMOSPHERE, GENUINE SERVICE, AND

YUMMY FOOD.

Husband and wife

Gordon Brown and

Rebecca Churchill

bought the business in 2015.

English-born New Zealander

Gordon is a civil engineer

by profession; Rebecca is a

kiwi accountant who owns

a consulting and marketing

agency in New Zealand.

Rebecca said when she first

visited Rarotonga in 2001

she fell in love with the place

and vowed to live here one

day. When she met Gordon,

they visited together and

soon shared the same vision,

returning every year, always

keeping a watch out for a

business to buy.

“Whilst on holiday, my aunty

and uncle dined at Kikau

Hut. They chatted with the

owners who mentioned they

Kikau Hut Restaurant

were looking

to sell,” said

Rebecca.

“We knew

the restaurant

and decided to

buy the place,

even though

I had just set

up my new business. Gordon

was really passionate about the

business, and it was agreed I

would come up regularly.

“We were getting close to

Raro; we had got married

here. We started to build a real

connection and an extended

family within Rarotonga,

so buying Kikau Hut really

changed our lives!”

Rebecca said they also have a

close connection to the Kikau

Hut staff: “some we inherited

Head chef Mata Marsters with Kikau Hut co-owner

Rebecca Churchill

like Nina and Lou, others have

come in since. We knew how

fantastic Mata Marsters was in

charge of the kitchen.”

Mata recently created a new

menu with emphasis on local

produce, including fresh ocean

fish daily fulfilling Kikau’s

‘Catch to Plate’ promise.

We asked Mata what his

favorite dish was to cook,

and he gently murmured

‘Mata’s Scollops’. According to

Kikau’s entrée menu the dish

is made with ‘scallops, rukau

and tomatoes poached in

Chef ’s own masala sauce,

dusted with parmesan

cheese, lightly grilled and

served with sliced melba

toast.’

Kikau Hut Restaurant

features a menu of

European food with island

flavours, home made

desserts, and live music

every Monday. T: 26860;

E: info@kikauhut.com;

www.kikauhut.com.

Matutu – the taste of the Cook Islands.

Started in 2006

100% locally

owned

Made using

sustainable

practices

No added

preservatives

Amazing beers

All natural

ingredients

Handcrafted by

E. Newnham

& J. Puati

No sugar

added

Tours Daily at 12pm and 1pm. Tours only $15. Pick up/drop off fee is $5 per person.

Free beer tasting on tour.

Visit us in Tikioki, Titikaveka. Telephone: 26288. Email: matutubrewery@gmail.com


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

15

WE ASKED TERINA TEIRI-KARAI THE WEDDING

& EVENTS MANAGER FOR MURI BEACH CLUB

HOTEL A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT GETTING

MARRIED IN RAROTONGA.

GETTING MARRIED IN

OUR ‘LITTLE PARADISE’

Choosing a ‘Destination

Wedding’ means no

stress, just having

to show up, and enjoy the best

moment of your life. Embrace

the culture of the Cook Islands,

immerse yourself in the beauty of

the land and lagoon, engage the

hospitality of the people, and let

this be the backdrop of your ideal

wedding, your dream wedding,

here in Rarotonga!”

What are the advantages

of getting married in

Rarotonga?

For New Zealanders it’s

perfect! We are only a few

hours away and we operate in

New Zealand Dollars. For

others from around the world

Raro is still the perfect place

for a Destination Wedding: it’s

a tropical paradise where you,

your family and friends can

combine a memorable wedding

with either a tranquil holiday,

or an action packed one! Also,

filing for the paperwork is

so much easier as you only

need to be on the island at

least 3 working days prior to

your set date, and you only

need a couple of documents;

once the ceremony is over you

are legally married, which is

internationally recognised.

What are the legal

formalities for getting

married in Rarotonga?

As long as we have a copy

of your passports, birth

certificates (in English), and

if necessary divorce papers or

death certificates, we can apply

for the marriage licence. The

Registrar requires at least 3 full

working days prior to the date

set for the wedding for us to

apply for the marriage licence;

it can be done within that time

but we need to pay a waiver

fee, which is an additional

$75. The couple also both

need to be present, as they are

required to sign the paperwork

in front of the registry staff.

Unfortunately, at the moment,

we are legally not allowed to

marry same sex couples on

the island. Other things that

need to be considered are the

celebrant and location of the

wedding, as these details are

vital for the marriage licence.

What wedding support

services are available?

There are so many service

providers on the island who

offer the most professional of

services including florists that

have such a beautiful eye for

Teiri-Karai from the Muri Beach Club Hotel

detail with the arrangements

of the local flowers that

suit the occasion, and the

budget. There are excellent

photographers to capture the

moment; and the hair and

makeup artists that find the

natural beauty of a person

without making you look, or

feel overwhelmed. There are

an abundance of transport

providers if you wanted a

scooter for two, a tuk-tuk for

six, a van for 12, or a bus for

30. This is the great benefit of

such a small island community

that they truly care and you

feel the warmth and embrace

the spirit of everyone trying

to make sure your wedding

day it your dream come true.

The best thing is that wedding

organisers like me are here

to support you, help you, and

organise everything for you.

What factors determine

the overall cost of a

wedding in Rarotonga?

Airfares and accommodation

are the main factors, however

once you add into the equation

the wedding package, any

additional services not

already provided for such as

photography, hair and makeup,

a little entertainment, then

these add to the cost. For

example, Muri Beach Club

Hotel have tried to help

make things a little more

economical by providing

an ‘All Inclusive Package’,

which is for 30 friends and

family for $6999 (NZD)

that includes the ceremony

and paperwork taken care

of, reception venue, lead

in buffet for 30 guests,

standard drinks package

for 3 hours, single tier cake,

and of course for you - a 30

minutes couples massage.

As an extra incentive we

can top this off with 5

nights in a beachfront room

if you have friends and

family stay with us for a

total of 15 nights.

Describe MBCH and

its packages offered

for weddings groups and

honeymoons

We are an adults only boutique

hotel set on the white sandy

beach of the Muri lagoon. On

the shoreline of the lagoon,

with the ocean and little islet

providing the backdrop for the

perfect wedding ceremony,

you can get married with the

sand between your toes. With

a choice of your reception

venue we set up with your

vision in mind. From two

guests to 120 guests we are

here to make memories for

your wedding day. The ‘Club

Classic Package’, which is

your ceremony covered for

$1199 you can have this for

an intimate ceremony for two

or add on to this package

additional services for a larger

group. If you want a no fuss

wedding and have up to 30

friends and family, we offer

the ‘All Inclusive Package’,

which as the name suggests.

If by chance you are already

married and have been within

six months we offer our ‘Just

‘Just Married’ scooter

Married Muri Magic Package’,

whereby if you stay with us

for 7 nights you can take

advantage of this awesome

deal which includes, a picnic

lunch day, breakfast in bed

day, and of course a pampering

for 30 minutes in our spa with

a blissful ‘couples massage’.

We have a comprehensive

wedding booklet that has

more information about our

services that I’m happy to mail

to you. Nothing is too big or

too small, we can control just

about anything except for the

weather!

How to contact Terina?

If you would like to know

more about getting married

in Rarotonga, or especially

at Muri Beach Club Hotel,

contact Terina either via

email on operations@

muribeachclubhotel.com,

or call +682 23000 or +682

76293. More information at

www.muribeachclubhotel.com

or Facebook pages: Weddings

at Muri Beach Club Hotel and

Muri Beach Club Hotel.

The

Spa

Phone 23000 to book

w w w . m u r i b e a c h c l u b h o

t e l

. c o m


RD

ARA T APU

ARA TAPU

25 9

1

21 20

22

13 14

3

8

7

24

17

10

29

AKAOA N

RD

NIKAO

ARORANGI

12

5 6

32

2

AVARUA

4

11

TUPAPA

MATAVERA

NGATAnGIIA

16

CoOK ISLANDS SuN GUIDE TO

Eating&Drink

IN RAROTO

19

18

RUTAKI

VAIMAANGA

23 26

MURI

TITIKAVEKA

30 28 27

15

16

31

There is a eclectic variety of dining and drinking experiences on Raroton

waterfront, beachfront, and in other picturesque settings.

You’ll find a wonderful selection of cafés, restaurants, eateries and bars

all around the island.

Alberto’s Restaurant

Located between the Edgewater and Sunset resorts

on the main road in Arorangi. Alberto’s is well known

for their steak dishes but also offer seafood, chicken,

pork, pasta and a fresh salad bar. Small private

functions catered for. Open Monday to Saturday.

The bar opens at 5.30pm with dining between 6.00

– 9.00pm.

T: 23 597 or 55 725

E: dine@albertosrestaurant.co.ck

1

Antipodes Restaurant

Enjoy breath-taking clifftop panoramic views out over

the lagoon and ocean, while sampling Mediterranean

Inspired Cuisine. Located in a romantic quintessential

Mediterranean Villa - with huge outside dinning

terraces.

T: 28 873 or 73 900

E: events@antipodesrarotonga.com

www.antipodesrarotonga.com

Aqua Café

Located at Muri Beach Resort, the Aqua restaurant

and cocktail bar is alfresco poolside dining

‘Polynesian style’ bounded by tropical gardens. Daily

specials use fresh local ingredients, with fish of the

day straight off the boat. Open from 3pm daily for

cocktails and dinner.

T: 22 779

E: relax@muribeachresort.com

www.muribeachresort.com

Bond Liquor Store

The No.1 cellars in Rarotonga; check out our huge

range. Over 600 wines, all popular spirits, liqueurs,

beers, RTD’s, mixers, ice, etc. Open Monday to

Thursday 9.00am-5.00pm, Friday and Saturday

9.00am-7.00pm. Located on the main road Avarua,

opposite the Punanga Nui Market.

17 15 32

T: 21 007

E: trish@thebond.co.ck

Fb: The Bond Store

Flambé Restaurant

Flambé offers unique cuisine combining the legends

of the Cook Islands with contemporary style. The

exclusive fine dining restaurant offers customers full

air-conditioning or outside tropical courtyard bar &

dining area. Open 6pm Friday and Saturday. 16+ years.

Live Fire Show on Friday.

T: 23 953

E: restaurant@crownbeach.com

www.crownbeach.com

13

Kikau Hut Restaurant

A fusion of European and Pacific flavours, the Kikau

Hut, located in Arorangi, offers a top-rated friendly

and casual dining experience. Open from 6pm seven

days a week with live music on Mondays and a free

transfer service available by prior arrangement.

T: 26 860

E: info@kikauhut.com

www.kikauhut.com

Fb: Kikau.Hut

Laguna Restaurant & Bar

Innovative Pacific Cuisine with vistas of the pool

and blue lagoon at Muri. Cocktails. Wine. Cold Beer.

Located at the Moana Sands Lagoon Resort. Adults

only. Open daily from 8am to close.

T: 29 926

www.facebook.com/LagunaRarotonga/

Mal’s Bar at Edgewater Resort

Named after Mal Meninga, legendary rugby league

player and old friend of the Resort, Mal’s Bar is open

10am to midnight. A nice place to be any time of day,

or just waiting for the sunset. Enjoy the wide variety

of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including

a fine collection of international wines, local and

imported beers and spirits, as well as a range of

juices and exotic tropical cocktails.

10 27 21

T: 25 475 • E: stay@edgewater.co.ck

www.edgewater.co.ck

Ocean’s Restaurant & Bar

Relaxed private dining on the waterfront with vistas

of the beach, lagoon and sunsets, Oceans Restaurant

& Bar offers all-day dining including breakfast,

lunch and dinner seven days a week. Breakfast from

8.00am-10.30am, lunch from 11.30am - 2.30pm, and

dinner from 6.30pm - 9.00pm. Happy hour is daily from

4.30pm - 6.30pm.

T: 23 953

E: restaurant@crownbeach.com

www.crownbeachresort.com

14

OTB Restaurant & Sunset Bar

Beachfront dining at award-winning OTB is enhanced

by the restaurant’s sandy floor, kikau thatched roof,

and contemporary Polynesian inspired menu. Open:

breakfast, lunch & dinner, OTB also features Happy

Hour from 3-6 pm, and live music from Wed-Sun,

and a BBQ & Dessert Buffet with Island Strings on

Sun. Free pick ups for guests who choose the min.

3-course table d’hôte menu at $49.50 & BBQ Sunday.

T: 22 461 • E: manuiaotb@gmail.com

Fb: OTB • www.manuia.co.ck

Progressive Dinner

The Progressive Dinner Tour takes you to the homes

of Cook Islands families to share their tasty local

food, and their stories. This is a relaxed wine and dine

experience visiting three homes for entrée, mains,

and dessert. When enjoying your meals at each

home, you will be delighted by the sounds of local

ukuleles, guitar and voices of the small string band

that will accompany you throughout your local dining

experience. Monday and Thursday from 5.30pm.

T: 20 639 • www.cookislandstours.co.ck

E: reservations@cookislandstours.co.ck

Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar

The Shipwreck Hut is an authentic beach bar situated

right on the sand at Aro’a Beachside Inn. Perfectly

positioned to enjoy the sunset sipping a famous ‘jamjar

cocktail’ or cold beer. Open daily from 5.00pm, the

Shipwreck Hut offers a range of drinks and bar meals,

with live music on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

3 19

T: 22 166 • E: aroa@aroabeach.com

www.aroabeach.com

The Lazy Trout Café

Located in Avarua, The Lazy Trout offers stylish

alfresco all-day breakfast and lunch, surrounded

by our beautiful tropical garden, clear blue pool,

and the stunning views of the mountain. Waffles,

espresso coffees, loose leaf teas, freshly baked

goods, smoothies, and full beverage list. Open daily

from 8 am, it is the perfect place to relax and enjoy

outstanding cuisine and excellent hospitality.

T: 22 025 • E: hotel@wellesley.co.nz

www.facebook.com/TheLazyTroutRarotonga

2

The Lucky Rooster Eatery

The Lucky Rooster Eatery (formerly Café Salsa) is

a popular bistro & meeting place serving all day

breakfast & lunch. Relaxed atmosphere & family

friendly. Freshly cooked food & chilled drinks

including barista coffee, smoothies, beers, wines &

cocktails. Variety of catering platters available on

request. Located downtown Avarua, next to CITC

Shopping Centre & Pharmacy. Mon – Fri 7.30am–

3pm, Sat 7.30am–2pm

T: 22 215

E: contact@theluckyroostereatery.com

Fb & Instagram: theluckyroostereatery

Orders & Bookings: theluckyroostereatery.com

5

The Palms Restaurant & Rumba

Located at Club Raro in Tupapa, dine in our popular

Palms Restaurant or have lunch or evening nibbles

along our waterfront and poolside areas. We offer à la

carte menu with a wonderful combination of local and

international food.

T: 22 415

E: holiday@clubraro.co.ck

www.clubraro.co.ck

11

The Waterline Restaurant & Beach Bar

The ultimate for sunset, romantic beachside, or

ocean view dining; offering a fusion of European,

Asian & Pacific cuisine. Wide range wines, beers &

cocktails. Open: lunch & dinner from Mon-Sat; live

entertainment with Garth Young on Tue, and Bryan

Rodelas Wed & Fri. Waterline is also a popular ‘onestop’

venue for beach weddings & receptions.

T: 22 161/53 167

E: akisiraro@gmail.com

www.waterline-restaurant.com

8


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

17

ing

NGA

ga, many on the

to consider dotted

Café Jireh

Opposite the Airport, we’re world famous for our

coffee and custard squares. Everything is freshly

prepared including a huge variety of cakes, slices,

pies, sausage rolls & sandwiches; plus cooked meals

from bacon & eggs and eggs benedict, to island

pancakes, ‘Caveman’ and ‘Mega Angus’ burgers

(pictured). Open Monday-Friday from 7am-3pm;

Saturday from 8.30am - 1.30pm.

T: 24 776

Fb: CafeJirehRarotonga

25

Charlie’s Rarotonga

Located on Akapuao Beach, Titikaveka, Charlie’s is

open Monday to Friday from 11.00am to 8.30pm,

and on Saturdays from 11.00am to 3.30pm. Live

music Monday to Friday at 6.30pm, and on Saturdays

at 1.30pm. Dinner bookings are essential. Friendly

casual eatery with a laidback vibe!

T: 28 055

E: info@charliesraro.com

www.charliesraro.com

Coconut Crab Café

Located at the Discover Marine & Wildlife Eco Centre,

Arorangi, the Coconut Crab Café offers tasty food

& drinks to eat-in or takeaway including toasted

‘sammies’, Roti, Sliders, Lasagne, cakes, smoothies,

teas, & terrific coffee! Open Monday (9.30am) to

Saturday (10.30am on Saturday) until 4.00pm.

Deli-Licious Café

Located on the main road in Muri, check out our ‘allday’

breakfast menu and join us for awesome coffee,

friendly service and great home-style cooking. Try our

custard square and cheesecake- local favourites. Open

Sunday-Friday 7.30am-3.00pm. Wi-Fi available.

30 24 31

T: 23 344

www.discoverecocentre.com

T: 20 858

Check us out on Facebook

Margaritas Bistro & Bar

Pacific Café style, Margaritas is located on the Main

Road in Avarua. Espresso, cocktails, cold beer. Open

daily (except Saturday). All-day breakfast, sharing

platters, tapas and famous cocktails on happy hour.

T: 29 924

margaritas-rarotonga.business.site

facebook.com/MagaritasRarotonga/

Matutu Brewery

‘The Taste the Cook Islands’: Daily tours of this tiny

brewery just off the main road at Tikioki, Titikaveka,

at 12.00pm & 1.00pm (check roadside board

for changes). Cost $15.00 (+ $5.00 transport, if

required). Free tastings during the one-hour tour;

merchandise for sale onsite.

6 28

T: 26 288

E: matutubrewery@gmail.com

www.matutubeer.com

Nautilus Restaurant

Located at Nautilus Resort in Muri, Nautilus

Restaurant is a stylish Polynesian beachfront

restaurant & chic beach bar that can be enjoyed in

a fine dining a la carte setting inside, or casually

alfresco on the patio overlooking the lagoon & infinity

pool.

T: 25 125

E: res@nautilusresortrarotonga.com

www.nautilusresortrarotonga.com

16

Nonno Emilio – Ristorante Italiano

Just 150m from the Airport, Nonno Emilio Ristorante

Italiano (Italian owned & run) offers a variety of

authentic Italian specialties, including homemade

pastas, Neapolitan pizzas, lasagne and gnocchi.

Italian premium wines, Prosecco, ice-cold beers and

Lavazza coffee will make you relax in the shade of

our Alfresco terrace. Open for breakfast, brunch,

lunch & dinner.

T. 51 262 or 21 121 • www.nonnoemiliorarotonga

E: info@nonnoemiliorarotonga.com

12

Silver Sands Restaurant & Bar

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. On

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings,

the Silver Sands Restaurant & Bar offers à la carte,

on Wednesday - Island Night, on Friday - Pig & Prawn

Night, and on Sunday - Reef & Beef Night. Happy hour

is everyday between 4.00pm-6.00pm.

T: 23 000

E: info@muribeachclubhotel.com

www.muribeachclubhotel.com

18

Spaghetti House Pizzeria & Grill

The Spaghetti House Pizzeria and Grill at The

Edgewater Resort & Spa is conveniently located at

the Resort’s entrance on the main road. Open seven

nights from 5.00pm to 9.30pm, the air-conditioned

Spaghetti House Pizzeria and Grill offers authentic

Italian cuisine with a selection of pizzas, pastas and

other signature Italian dishes. Whether you are out

for an intimate dinner for two, a family gathering or

hosting a group of 20 to 60, the Spaghetti House can

take care of your special requests.

T: 25 441 • www.edgewater.co.ck

The Café

Located in the courtyard of the historic Beachcomber

Pearl Market and Art Gallery in Avarua, The Café

is known for its locally-roasted espresso coffee,

homemade cakes, and all day menu featuring

organic breads, bagels and croissants. Home to the

Rarotonga Vinyl Revival Club, relax and choose your

own music from the extensive record collection.

Open Monday – Friday 9am – 3pm and Saturday

9am – 1pm.

T: 21 283 • E: ianwheeldon@hotmail.com

The Islander Hotel & Hula Bar

The Islander Restaurant & Hula Bar overlook the

pool and the ocean offering cuisine made from fresh

ingredients supplied locally, as well as imports from

New Zealand. Open for breakfast from 8.00am, with

an all-day lunch, and dinner featuring light meals to

hearty options.

20 4 9

T: 21 003

E: info@islanderhotel.co.ck

www.islanderhotel.co.ck

The Yellow Hibiscus Restaurant & Bar

The Yellow Hibiscus is an open-air restaurant

overlooking the garden at Palm Grove. Open daily for

breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is served

8.00-10.00am, light lunch 12.00-2.00pm, and a la

carte dining from 6.00pm Monday to Saturday, with

live music on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Sunday there

is a BBQ with live entertainment.

T: 20 002

E: beach@palmgrove.co.ck

www.palmgrove.net

26

Tumunu Restaurant & Bar

The longest established restaurant in Rarotonga,

Tumunu offers garden surroundings featuring local

artifacts and memorabilia. With its tropical garden

and unique dining room, the Tumunu menu offers

seafood, vegetarian, steaks, chicken and a children’s

menu. The seafood platter for two is a specialty. Open

seven nights from 6.00pm.

T: 20 501

E: jbateman@tumunu.co.ck

www.tumunurarotonga.com

22 23 7

Vaima on the Beach

Located in Vaimaanga, Vaima on the Beach offers

indoor & outdoor dining options in an island setting,

with the cuisine that has a touch of tropical flavours.

Open for brunch/lunch 11am-2pm, and dinner 5-9pm,

seven days a week, Vaima provide transfers to/from

accommodation on request.

Live music Mon, Wed, Sat, Sun.

T: 26 123

E: dine@vaimarestaurant.com

www.vaimarestaurant.com

Wilson’s Restaurant & Beach Bar

Located at Castaway Resort. Breakfast/Lunch 8am-

2pm. Bar open from 12pm. Happy Hour 3pm - 6pm.

Yakitori Skewers, Japanese Menu and Bar Snacks

from 12pm. Dinner from 6pm. Mon - Sun. Themed

Menus each night include: Pasta-A la carte - Mexican

- Pizza/Burgers - Seafood - Curry - BBQ. Live Music:

Wed, Fri, Sat and Sun 6pm-8pm. Cuban Cigars sold

exclusively at Wilson’s.

T: 21 546 • E: relax@castawayvillas.com

www.castawayvillas.com


18 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT CoOK ISLANDS SuN

Edgewater Resort offers delightful

dining options for visitors to

Rarotonga, seven days a week.

LOCATED ON THE

SUNSET COAST AT

ARORANGI, THE

EDGEWATER RESORT

& SPA PRIDES ITSELF

ON WARM HOSPITALITY

AND AFFORDABLE

DINING FOR ALL.

The food and beverage

manager Austrian-born

Roland Neururer has

been with Edgewater Resort

for twenty-five years. Starting

as head chef, he soon took over

the F&B role he loves today.

Roland develops all aspects of

the dining and entertainment

to the taste of hotel guests,

visitors and locals, including

planning and catering for

weddings and special events.

“Our food and beverage

philosophy is simple: a

relaxed dining experience for

breakfast, lunch, dinner, or for

any occasion!

“We also have live

entertainment seven days a

week. I don’t think any other

resort has that.”

A central point for Edgewater

Resort is Mal’s Bar.

Overlooking the pool and

lagoon the bar is named after

Australian rugby league legend

Mal Meninga, who opened the

eponymous bar at the height of

his career.

“There are pictures of Mal

around the bar, which is open

from 10am to midnight. Often

visitors come to Mal’s Bar just

to watch the brilliant sunsets.”

The main restaurant is The

Brasserie, which also enjoys

epic views of the lagoon and

ocean.

Sunset dining poolside

Food and beverage manager, Roland Neururer

“Open for breakfast, lunch

and dinner seven days a

week, The Brasserie offers a

relaxed dining atmosphere.

We are in the middle price

range so there's nothing really

expensive,” said Roland.

“Breakfast is from 7.00am to

10.30am, then from 11.30

onwards we have our all day

menu that goes through to

9.30pm. Three nights a week

we offer a buffet dinner. We

always have lots of fresh fish,

which is supplied daily.”

Another eatery at Edgewater is

the Spaghetti House Pizzeria

& Grill located on the main

road at the resort’s entrance.

“Edgewater is big so we

needed a different outlet

with a different style of menu

especially for guests staying

for many days, so we have the

Spaghetti House Pizzeria &

Grill open daily from 5.30pm-

9.00pm. We offer home-style

pizzas, pastas and other

signature Italian dishes - all in

air-conditioned comfort!

“Many people like the air

conditioning but others prefer

to eat outside in the beautiful

garden area. They love to sit

and eat in the open-air and

watch the world go by!

“We do a lot of takeaways too,

not just pizzas, but from the

whole menu!”

Another feature of Edgewater

Resort is their island night and

buffet feast every Tuesday and

Saturday. They are popular so

it always best to book!

The legendary buffet features

iconic Cook Islands cuisine,

and an amazing dessert buffet

that includes Bomb Alaska

ice cream cake: “We are very

famous for our Island Night

food.”

The Islands Night also features

one of Rarotonga’s most

entertaining cultural shows.

“Edgewater Resort is big on

food and beverage. One menu

we run seven days a week,

but then we also have other

different menus available every

day.

“And, our pool is available to

visitors who dine in the resort

for breakfast, lunch or dinner.”

Now that’s that's pretty cool!

Meet the folks at Vaima

SITUATED ON

RAROTONGA’S SOUTH

COAST, VAIMA ON

THE BEACH IS ONE OF

RAROTONGA’S ‘MUST

TRY’ EATERIES.

The smart interior

dining room features

local artworks; outside

there's a marquee and genuine

beachside dining. Pacific

cuisine Raro island-style is on

the menu seven days for lunch

and dinner, and takeaway pizza.

Vaima is owned and operated

by Cameron and Dorothy

Robertson: Cameron is a

Scotsman with a Liverpool

accent; his father left Arran

for England at 15 looking for

work, settling in Liverpool

when Cameron was two.

Dorothy is born and bred in

Scotland.

Living in Merseyside until

21 Cameron moved to the

Highlands to work in the oil

yards at Nigg Bay as a weld

inspector. There he played

semi-pro soccer for Ross

County FC for many years.

In the early 90s he worked

offshore on the Brent Bravo

in the North Sea where he

met his wife and business

partner, Dorothy, who was

working in administration.

Life partners: they married

in Scotland; they remarried

in Las Vegas, and married

again in Rarotonga!

Dorothy had a house and

shop in Ballater, near

Balmoral, from where she

commuted to the rigs: “That’s

when we got together before

moving to Arran where we

ended up having a restaurant

and a hotel,” said Cameron.

“We sold up and came to

Rarotonga in 2001. There was

a wedding in New Zealand

and we visited Raro on the way

back, deciding over a glass of

wine at Trader Jacks

that this was the place

for us! Six months

later we were living

here. We bought

and developed what

is today known as

Castaway Resort.

“We sold it in 2007

then took a year

off renovating our

house.”

In 2008 Dorothy and

Cameron became

involved with

Under the marquee at Vaima

Aquarius, a property near

the airport: “It was a joint

venture with the owner, but we

eventually pulled out.”

In 2010 they bought Vaima

Restaurant in Vaimaanga and

the Nu Bar near the airport.

“Vaima had been around since

1975, but sadly it burned to

the ground in 2014. We were

devastated!”

Cameron Roberston at Vaima on the Beach, with

entertainer Rudy Aquino in the background

They married

in Scotland; they

remarried in Las

Vegas, and married

again in Rarotonga!

Dorothy & Cameron Robertson, New Year at Castaways 2001

Cameron said they were lucky

to still have the Nu Bar at this

time.

“That was a kind of blessing,

as we moved our restaurant

there virtually the next day”.

The landowners rebuilt the

Vaima structure, and Dorothy

and Cameron furnished the

new restaurant’s interior and

kitchen: “We’ve continued to

grow since re-opening in

2015.”

Cameron said his best

friend is his wife Dorothy:

“We are good sounding

boards, we’re good mates,

and we like doing things

together.”

In addition to working

with menus and other

Vaima matters, Dorothy

runs an island fashion

retail outlet across the

road called ‘Inspirations

of Rarotonga’.

Always immaculately

garbed island-style

Dorothy is the

embodiment of her retail

fashion shop, which also offers

custom-made dressmaking.

‘Inspirations of Rarotonga’ also

has lots of parking, ideal for

Vaima on the Beach diners.

“Dorothy is the main

inspiration for Vaima’s menu

and what goes on in the

kitchen. She in the restaurant

every morning, then

back again around

5pm; tastes all the

sauces and generally

checks everything is

clean and in place.”

“I’m more the PR

guy!”

We asked Cameron

about the future:

“Well, we are getting

close to the end of our

working careers and

would like to retire, so

the Vaima is now up

for sale!”

discover

paradise

EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR

Edgewater Resort & Spa


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

19

A stylish town eatery

with hangout appeal

THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF INTERESTING PLACES

TO EAT AND DRINK ON RAROTONGA, BUT THERE

IS ONE POPULAR EATERY THAT JUST ABOUT

EVERYONE ON THE ISLAND WILL HAPPEN UPON!

Located next to the

CITC Pharmacy in

downtown Avarua,

The Lucky Rooster Eatery

(formerly Café Salsa) has

what all food and beverage

businesses crave: location,

location, location. And it is a

great place to hang out!

The eatery’s owners Martina

Uhlig and Armin Schwander

are from Switzerland.

Arriving in Rarotonga three

years ago the longtime

friends and business partners

have developed the original

café into a stylish eatery

and popular meeting place,

recently

including

an outside

catering

component

for events and

weddings.

According

the Martina

and Armin

The Lucky

Rooster Eatery

staff have

given them

an insight

into the local

culture and

communities:

“We have

learned a lot from them, and

they have learned from us.

It is a beautiful exchange in

cultural knowledge,” both

partners agree.

Armin and Martina’s

professional backgrounds are

the similar, but different.

Martina is from Zurich,

Armin from Lucerne. Both

have travelled extensively,

individually and together, and

both have worked in events

and hospitality.

As a teenager at language

college Martina recalls

wanting: “to experience life,

have money, and travel!” She

speaks Swiss German, High

German, English, French,

Italian and Spanish.

Included in the varied places

Martina has worked are

Cape Verde, the Maldives,

the Galapagos Islands, and

Thailand.

Something felt

special, beautiful

and magical here in

the Cook Islands!

Martina completed a

three-year course with the

Swiss School of Tourism &

Hospitality, which led her

to be employed by a catering

and events company that

specialised in “super big

events”.

At one time Martina was

employed by one of the

country’s best-known

companies that published

cookbooks and consulted

for supermarket chains. She

scouted different countries to

check out product trends.

Another skill Martina

acquired was the teaching of

yoga. “I also registered for

a Chinese medicine school,

but wanted to travel before

committing to the course”.

It was at this time Martina

planned to meet up with

Armin in Fiji. Armin was

Armin and Martina, fun owners of The Lucky Rooster Eatery

arriving from Mexico,

Martina from Bali. Three

days before the reunion

Cyclone Winston happened

around Fiji. Travel plans

quickly changed and they

met in Rarotonga instead, a

place they had never heard

of before, but was to change

their life plans forever!

“When I was doing the big

events, Armin was an event

manager in one of the venues.

That's how we met”.

Fresh and healthy homemade food

Armin is from Lucerne. He

speaks German, French and

English. When at school he

started a commercial business

apprenticeship and became

a textile tradesman for huge

corporate company, but he

yearned to see the world so

he moved to Guernsey to

work in a five star resort as

a bartender, which gained

him valuable expertise from

bartending professionals.

After returning to Switzerland

working for a promotion

company, he got a job bar

keeping on a German cruise

ship, “The German version

of the Love Boat – they were

shooting a TV series”.

“When I came off the ship

I worked for the mother

company of the same

company as Martina worked

in. I was doing ‘bar concepts’,

and ended up assistant

general manager”.

After more travel Armin

did a three-year tourism and

hospitality course, similar to

the one Martina completed.

Once qualified he was

headhunted and moved to

South Africa ‘to join a circus’

as side-kick to the owner.

Armin described it as an

ambitious project similar to

Cirque du Soleil. “The world

tour started in Montreal, but

soon the eccentric owner went

bankrupt!”

On return to Switzerland he

worked for a communications

and event company managing

a converted cinema in Zurich,

where he met Martina, who

was working for a company

that held events in the venue.

Armin and Martina have

been close friends and fellow

travellers since!

Both had

separate business

interests that

often kept them

apart, until

they met up in

Rarotonga in

February 2016.

“We had such

a great time

in Raro we

wondered if

we could buy a

business or work

here.”

A few days

before they were

due to fly out

they heard Café Salsa was

for sale, looked it over and

decided to buy.

“Something felt special,

beautiful and magical here

in the Cook Islands!” said

Martina. “We were at the

right time, at the right place,

making the right decision.”

“We saw the potential of

the place and we knew the

lifestyle that comes with it!

Being business partners made

it possible for one of us to

be here, while the other one

travelled!” added Armin.

“Café Salsa was a strong

brand on the island, but

we don’t serve Central or

South American food, so

we decided on a new name

more connected to the area.

One animal that everyone

sees and hears in Rarotonga

are the roosters. They are

everywhere; we have made

our peace with ours,” said

Martina.

“We made them part of our

new brand name: The Lucky

Rooster Eatery. We changed

the ‘café’ part of our name

too, because we are not just

a place for coffee and cake.

We are an eatery that proudly

prepares fresh and healthy

homemade foods daily for our

customers”.

“Rarotonga is the greatest

place on Earth; the vibe and

the energy of this place is

outstanding. It just makes me

happy!” beamed Martina.

Armin added: “The beauty

of the environment, of the

people, the smell of the

ocean, … and I want to

become a good kite surfer.”

Fb & Instagram:

theluckyroostereatery

Homepage:

theluckyroostereatery.com

JOCELYN BALLANTYNE IS THE UNPRETENTIOUS

CHEF AT ANTIPODES, A CLASSY, ‘IN-DEMAND’

RESTAURANT IN RAROTONGA WELL KNOWN FOR

IT’S DELECTABLE MEDITERRANEAN-INSPIRED

CUISINE.

Jocelyn is one of the most was a magnificent private

appealing and original home.

voices in recent years to

enter the Rarotonga restaurant

scene, the kind of chef who can

tempt the palate of ordinary

people who just like to eat well

and enjoy their food.

Antipodes is not the cheapest

eatery in town, but with

Trip Advisor’s number one

restaurant rating in Rarotonga

for value, service and food, one

patron recently described it as a

‘top spot for top-end dining.’

Located within a cliff-top

Mediterranean-style villa

at Black Rock near Avarua,

Antipodes offers matchless

views over the sparkling

South Pacific Ocean.

Occupying one of the

loveliest, airy spaces

of any restaurant on

the island, Antipodes

is open for dinner six

nights a week (except

Tuesdays), and for

lunch on Wednesdays,

Thursdays and Fridays.

Not only is Jocelyn

Ballantyne the executive

chef, she owns the

joint! So, we asked her

to tell us a little about

herself and the concept behind

Antipodes.

Professional

background

Trained in New Zealand.

Worked on Waiheke Island

at a number of well-known

restaurants. Prior to acquiring

the Antipodes site, spent last

around eight years working at

the four most exclusive resorts

on Rarotonga and, in last two

as Executive Chef.

The creation of

Antipodes

Twelve years ago whilst on

a holiday in Rarotonga, my

partner and I came across this

Mediterranean style villa at

Blackrock, which at the time

The sign says it all

Antipodes,

an Epic Name for

an Epic Restaurant

At the time, we thought it

would be the perfect place to

set up a business specialising

in weddings, events, with

a restaurant and boutique

accommodation.

In 2017 the property came

on the market, we purchased

it and over the next seven

months, carried out extensive

renovations of the building to

convert it in such a way that

it could accommodate our

commercial plans. Everything

we imagined we would do

with the property, we finally

achieved in reality.

Superb accommodation at Antipodes

The Antipodes menu

No other restaurant in

Rarotonga specialises in

Mediterranean-inspired

cuisine. We provide

patrons with a menu that is

exceptionally varied, with

dishes from a number of

countries situated in the

Mediterranean region.

Top spot for top-end

dining.

Antipodes ambience

Antipodes has a unique

location perched on top of the

Blackrock Cliff that affords it

commanding views out over

the lagoon and the South

Pacific Ocean.

The ‘romantic’ Mediterranean

villa is very photogenic. The

position and way Antipodes

has been built, provides

maximum protection

from the elements. And,

Antipodes is perfectly

situated to take in the

magnificent sunsets.

Antipodes is also arguably

the best spot on the island to

easily view the Humpback

Whales that migrate from

Dining views over the South Pacific Ocean

Jocelyn Ballantyne: executive chef

and co-owner of Antipodes

Antarctica each year to spend

time in the tropical paradise

of Rarotonga between the

months of July through to the

end of October. From our

three spacious outside dining

terraces patrons can observe

magnificent whale

breaching and tailslapping

displays.

Antipodes,

the specialty

caterer and

accommodation

provider

The renovations we

carried out converted

the building and site to

accommodate weddings

and events. A luxurious

115 sq.metre bridal

suite was created on the

eastern side of the property,

which can accommodate up

to four adults in two en-suite

bedrooms that lead out to the

suites' private 200 sq.metre

courtyard - complete with a

pool on the cliff edge looking

out to the ocean.

Entertainment at

Antipodes

On Sunday evenings

Antipodes has its ' Sunday

Sunset Session', which features

live local entertainment. Each

Sunday of the month has a

different entertainer.

Antipodes, the future

To continue with our treasured

Antipodes team, to each

day try our best to provide

outstanding dining experiences

for our guests. And, to build

Antipodes up to be the premier

venue to enjoy a romantic

meal, celebrate weddings and

anniversaries, and other special

events.

Above all, to remain respectful

and hospitable to all our

patrons!

Antipodes Restaurant

T: 28 873 or 73 900

E: events@

antipodesrarotonga.com

www.antipodesrarotonga.com


20 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ONE OF THE MOST

UNDERSTATED CAFÉS ON

RAROTONGA RESIDES

WITHIN THE HISTORIC

BEACHCOMBER BUILDING

JUST OUTSIDE AVARUA,

WHICH ALSO HOUSES AN

ART GALLERY AND AN

UPMARKET GIFT SHOP.

IT IS SIMPLY CALLED THE

CAFÉ.

The Café is home to the

Vinyl Revival Club

with its astonishing

collection of 60s, 70s, and 80s,

and Polynesian, vinyl records

ranging from Bobby Darin,

The Monkees and Diana Ross,

to Elvis Presley, The Troggs,

and Aretha Franklin.

About as laid back

as it comes on the

island.

Customers can personally

select and play their own music

to accompany their coffee,

cake, or light meal. Open

Simply The Café

SHOPPING

Owner Claire shows off the latest addition to the vinyl record collection

for breakfast, brunch and

lunch Monday to Saturday,

The Café serves up first-rate

espresso coffee, homemade

cakes and tasty fresh food,

including vegetarian and

vegan options. Try some of

the all time favourites such as

smoked marlin salad and feta

olive focaccia, or toasted bagel,

salmon and cream cheese!

Lots of character with a lovely

shaded courtyard, this unique

little treasure of Rarotonga is

about as laid back as it comes

on the island.

P.S. The Vinyl Revival Club

LOCAL PERSONALITY AND BLOSSOMING ENTREPRENEUR

MEREANI TALBOT IS ACTIVE IN MANY SECTORS OF THE

RAROTONGA COMMUNITY, BUT THE ENDEAVOR SHE IS MOST

PASSIONATE ABOUT IS HER BACK YARD ‘ARTS & CRAFTS’ TOURS.

Coffee and cake at The Café

‘mobile disco’ operated by DJ

Wheelie (Ian Wheeldon) also

makes regular appearances

at clubs and pubs around the

island, including Trader Jacks

and the Cook Islands Game

Fishing Club.

All roads lead to Raro

PHILLIP NORDT IS AN EXTRAORDINARY

ENTREPRENEUR WHO HAS BEEN MOVING TOWARDS

HIS DESTINY IN RAROTONGA SINCE THE 1980S. HE

CAN THANK HIS MOTHER FOR HAVING THE VISION

TO VISIT NEW ZEALAND WITH HER TWO SONS ON A

CAMPERVAN TRIP SEEKING OUT OPPORTUNITIES.

Today Phillip is a

Rarotonga resident,

master chef , master

baker and restaurateur, whose

energy is boundless.

Born in Landau, after two

years national service in

Germany, Phillip became a

management trainee with the

Vier Jahreszeiten Munich

(hotel), studied hospitality and

tourism in Vienna, and was a

commercial sales manager with

the Grand Metropolitan Hotel

Group in Frankfurt.

Years later he earned

a Bachelor of Arts in

Culinary Arts in Dunedin

and became a culinary

arts tutor, most recently

at the Cook Islands

Tertiary Training Institute

(CITTI) in Rarotonga.

New Zealand was a

goldmine of opportunities

Handcrafted ‘Back Yard’ Tours of Rarotonga

Self confessed

gourmet

for Phillip who met the right

people to help him build on,

and invested in, a range of

cafés, restaurants, clubs, and a

hotel marketing & an inbound

tourism operation. Phillip

also became passionately

involved with the international

gastronomic society,

OTB On the Beach Restaurant & Bar

Culinary entrepreneur, Phillip Nordt

La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’s

Christchurch chapter, now

he heads up the Cook Islands

chapter, which he started.

Married to Frances (the Cook

Islands connection), they have

two children Hanny (21) and

Harry (20).

Chef Phillip Nordt, selfconfessed

gourmet, has worked

for Pacific Resorts and CITTI

in Rarotonga, but is now the

owner of OTB On the

Beach Restaurant &

Bar at Manuia Beach

Resort. At the 2018

Cook Islands Tourism

Awards, OTB won the

‘Emerging Tourism

Leader Award’. It’s

been a long journey from

Landau to Rarotonga,

but Phillip knows it has

been worth it!

Born in Manihiki, Ani

(as she is best known),

spent most of her

childhood in Auckland, and

most of her working life in

New Zealand and Australia

in the IT industry, but that’s

another story. She returned

to the Cook Islands a few

years ago with her family,

particularly wanting her two

boys to connect with their

Cook Islands heritage.

Ani is now the perfect host

and tour guide, personable

and knowledgeable about

the forgotten and often

rarely seen local artists and

craftsmen, including wood

carvers, weavers, ukulele

makers, shell-carvers and

jewellery designers. Back

Yard Tours also visit makers of

coconut oil skin care products,

pareu (sarongs), and black pearl

jewellery. The list goes on! Most

tours will visit eight or nine

places, depending on what people

are open on the day of the tour.

A three-hour+ Rarotonga Back

Yard ‘Arts & Crafts’ Tour is an

Ani Talbot of Back Yard Tours

interesting and fun ‘shopping

experience’ for both the shopper,

and the non-shopper!

The tour travels around the island

visiting the skilled artisans in

villages, workshops, and literally

some backyards!

“This is the only combined

cultural and shopping tour

experience in Rarotonga,”

said Ani.

“Cook Islands arts and

crafts are so beautiful and

this unique experience

gives our guests a sense of

appreciation for what these

artists and vendors do”.

Ani added: “Nearly everyone

who visits the Cooks wants

to purchase a special gift for

others, or a keepsake to remind

them of the wonderful time they

had in Rarotonga. Many want

to buy locally made; Backyard

Tours offers overseas visitors

the opportunity to meet our

talented locals and see how they

make their products right here in

Rarotonga.

Back Yard Tours travel in an airconditioned

van in small groups,

with a minimum of two guests,

and a maximum of eight.

The tour generally takes between

3 and 4 hours, including pick up

and drop off.

T: 26 457 or 81 899

E: bookabackyardtour@gmail.com

Fb: www.facebook.com/

backyardtoursrarotonga/

Treasure Chest

'A SHOPPING TREAT'

Rarotonga's largest

selection range of island

clothing and footwear,

together with an

extensive range

of souvenirs, craft

and gift ideas.

FOUR GREAT SHOPS:

Mana Court in Avarua

(Tel. 22325)

The Edgewater Resort

(Tel. 28325)

Pacific Village Muri

(Tel. 21325)

and, The Rarotonga

Beach Resort

(Tel. 27325)

treasure@oyster.net.ck


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

SHOPPING

21

Tropical fashion vibes

Cook Islands style

Id.CK (Identity

Cook Islands)

is a popular

fashion store

located in

Banana Court,

Avarua -

Rarotonga’s

main township.

The store stocks

a broad range

of resort wear

for men and

women from swimsuits

and hats, to evening

wear and tops, jewellery

and accessories, to beach

footwear and sunglasses.

“If you want to

look great and feel

comfortable on your

tropical getaway - id.CK

is the place to shop! We

stock a wide variety of

brands, including from

NZ, Australia and the

USA, with a focus on

natural fabrics with lots

of vibrant colours – just

the way we dress here in

the Cook Islands,”

said shop manager

Rachel Harris Best.

1. id.CK’s SUNNY GIRL range

speaks for itself – tropical prints, great

fabrics, stylish and contemporary.

Pictured is a SUNNY GIRL

dress for $85, accessorised with

chandelier earrings and a clutch from

ADORNE – Australian accessories

fashion house.

2. AMELIUS brand

collection is all about tropical

colours and prints; pictured

is an off shoulder number –

perfect for hot days, priced at

$99. The outfit is accessorised

from id.CK’s ‘funky’

sunglasses and jewellery range.

3. White is a great colour to wear on

a Cook Islands holiday. The attractive

men shirt with palm tree embroidery in

fine cotton fabric is only $29.90.

The lady is wearing a stylish playsuit

from AMELIUS priced at $120.

5. Kaftan is the

versatile friend for

all your vacations.

id.CK’s beautiful

kaftans are from

LULA SOUL,

priced from $99.90.

4. Look great on the

beach in this vibrant

tropical bikini – priced at

$39.90, and a fine cotton

pure white maxi skirt

priced at $29.90. And, of

course, not forgetting a

wide brimmed hat from

id.CK’s sunhat range.

6. id.CK’s stylish Men’s

Hawaiian shirt collection will

make you want to own one.

Excellent quality, priced at $59.90.

Select from a huge range of

colours. Sunglasses from CARVE,

an Australian surf brand.

Looking for a unique

cultural experience?

Then take a look at Pacific

Weave in Panama (next to

the airport) and learn about

the art of weaving. Try your

hand weaving, and leave

with your own hand-made

souvenir. Traditional weaver

Nanave Taime will show you

how, and share stories about

life in the Cook Islands.

Pacific Weave is a unique

store in Rarotonga with

a window to the arts and

culture of the South Pacific.

Call Nanave on 27 535 to

book a weaving class; they

are suitable for adults and

children.

Pacific Weave

The Perfumes of Rarotonga

factory outlet located next

door to Pacific Weave has been

making pure virgin coconut

oil soaps for years; produced

by hand in small batches

from traditional recipes, with

scents capturing local flowers

including gardenia, frangipani,

and jasmine. Some of their

soaps are unscented and some

have healing qualities with the

addition of Noni health tonic.

The soap is wrapped in the leaf

of the pandanus tree, which

is a trademark look of the

Perfumes of Rarotonga Pure

Coconut Oil soap. Perfumes of

Rarotonga offer daily factory

tours.

Coconut Oil Soaps


22 ISLAND LIFE

CoOK ISLANDS SuN

Charlie’s, a great

'chilled-out' local eatery

EVER WONDER WHERE

TO FIND THE MOST

RELAXED, CHILLED OUT

PLACE FOR CASUAL

EATING AND LIVE

MUSIC WHEN YOU ARE

ON VACATION? WELL

WHEN ON RAROTONGA

YOU NEED TO CHECK

OUT CHARLIE’S IN

TITIKAVEKA.

A

handful of years

ago Charlie’s began

modestly in a

beachside container with

kayaks, paddleboards, snorkels

and flippers at Titikaveka.

Today, it is one of Rarotonga’s

most enjoyed venues for casual

all day dining, which also

features live evening music

from Monday to Friday.

The container has been added

to but the first thing you’ll

notice is the expansive back

deck and alfresco dining

options with an affordable

menu that includes a variety

of crowd-pleasing gastronomy

from burgers, fish and chips

and toasted sandwiches, to

sashimi, fresh salads, beer

on tap and cocktails. There’s

added seating near the bar.

The owners, Charlie and

Mary Tapurau Hoskings are

two of the happiest people

on Rarotonga. They love life,

they love their family, and

they love their businesses,

Charlie’s Rarotonga and

the new Charlie’s Villas at

Matavera.

Charlie’s began

modestly in a

beachside container.

Whilst Charlie and Mary first

met at Rarotonga’s Tereora

College, they got together

later when they both started

dancing with the Ta’akoka

Dance Troupe: “It’s named

after motu Ta’akoka out there

in the Muri lagoon,” said

Maryy.

“We were married in

Rarotonga and have six

children: Anthony, Vivian,

Tamatoa, Charlie Jnr,

Christian, and one daughter,

Elsie. The oldest is 38 and the

youngest 20. Anthony was

born in Rarotonga, the others

in Australia.”

Initially Charlie studied to

be a pastor in Melbourne at

the Harvest Bible College,

which specialised in training

for Christian ministry.

Graduating with a BA, he and

Mary lived in Australia for 21

years.

Mary was a homemaker and

Charlie’s Rarotonga logo and lagoon image

Charlie Tapurau Hosking with Charlie’s Rarotonga’s

A1 Meitaki Award

mother: “But, I also did odd

jobs in supermarkets and in

telemarketing,” said Mary.

“I came back in 2005 because

my dad passed away and my

mum was alone, so I came

back first. Charlie returned

later after he sold our house.”

Back in Rarotonga, Charlie

worked for four years at

Tereora College as a PE

teacher before starting the

Hosking’s first tourism

venture in 2010, which was

accommodation on family

land, Te Akapuao Studio

Villas. Then came beachside

Charlie’s Rarotonga, also

on family land, where they

rented out paddleboards

and snorkelling equipment,

and started a basic café open

during the day.

Charlie Jnr, who now manages

Charlie’s Rarotonga,

said he was just happy

to help out when his

parents started the

business. He began

the Charlie’s Facebook

page and Instagram

account for the café

and beach rentals:

“That was in 2014.”

“I was born and raised

in Clayton south east

of Melbourne, then

moved to the city

later. I came to Raro

in 2005 with mum

and dad. I lasted a

year then went back

working mainly in

retail and management

where I learned a lot

about advertising and

marketing, graphic design and

web design at that time.”

Charlie Jnr added: “This is

a really a family business,

although we also have a few

Indonesians working for us!”

“When we got our bar licence

about two years ago, Mum

decided we should start

serving dinner, so we did that.

“Then we added live music.

I was playing Mondays and

Fridays and Dad was playing

Tuesdays and Thursdays, and

we had Tok Haurua coming in

on Wednesdays”.

Charlie Jnr played guitar and

piano, Charlie Snr guitar and

ukulele.

“Today, Anania Brown plays

on Monday, Tupous Fynest on

Tuesday, Tok on Wednesday,

Kahiki and Mo on Thursday,

and Dad’s band PVC on

Friday: Pania, Varani and

Charlie Snr. Koti Teina also

performs on Friday.”

“On Saturday afternoon from

1pm we’ve added Mo, Ronnie,

Jimmy and Mii to the line-up

of musicians.”

The Charlie’s Rarotonga

menu is wide-ranging, and

includes local fresh fish,

chicken and steak.

Charlie Jnr represented Cook Islands in basketball

“Our sashimi is always fresh

off the boat,” said Charlie

Jnr. “We have also started to

incorporate some Indonesian

cuisine.”

Charlie Jnr is a basket baller

who has represented Cook

Islands, most recently in the

Polynesian Basketball Cup in

Samoa.

In his leisure time, Charlie

Snr is the vice president of the

Cook Islands Rugby Union.

Charlie’s offers live music from Monday - Friday

from 5pm

He and the Hosking family

are also avid supporters of

the Ngatangiia - Matavera

Sea Eagles rugby league club

where Charlie Snr played in

the B Grade as a teenager.

Charlie’s Rarotonga is one of

the club’s sponsors.

“The Sea Eagles Club won

the 2019 competition in June

completing the season without

any loss!” said Mary.

Charlie’s Rarotonga also

sponsor the Titikaveka

Bulldogs Rugby Club, the

Turangi Cricket Club and

others groups and events.

“We sponsor sports all the

time!” said Mary. “But we’re

also a sponsor for other

things like the Maori Speech

Competition, which is for

local schools.”

“Another event we

have been involved

with has been

the Cook Islands

Sevens!”

The Hosking family

is sporty, and they

are community

minded, but they are

also one of the top

visitor-orientated

businesses in

Rarotonga, having

been presented in

2019 with an A1

Meitaki Award

by the Cook

Islands Tourism

Corporation. To

receive an A1

Meitaki Award

a business, or

individual, must be nominated

multi-times by visitors to the

Cook Islands. Nomination

forms are only available from

the Cook Islands Tourism

Information office in Avarua

(or Aitutaki), and in the

Rarotonga International

Airport departure lounge.

Businesses are nominated

for ‘excellence in service to

visitors’.

On weekdays and Saturday

from 11am Charlie’s serves

up hearty light meals, teas,

coffee, smoothies and cold

drinks. Licensed, Charlie’s

also opens for dinner Monday

to Friday until 8pm, each

evening accompanied by

live music from some of

Rarotonga’s finest musicians!

Saturdays 11am-3pm, closed

Sunday.

Charlie’s Rarotonga &

Charlie’s Villas

W: charliesraro.com;

E: info@charliesraro.com;

T: 28 055


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ADVENTURES IN PARADISE

23

TEN MUST DO’S

WHEN VISITING

RAROTONGA

1. Ask for taro with your meal.

It is a staple root vegetable used

in the Cook Islands as a side to

other dishes. Most island night

feasts include it, as do many

restaurants.

2. Rent an electric bicycle and

tour the island. You can peddle

normally, or pedal-assisted, or

ride fully electric. No vehicle

emissions, so it can’t be bad for

the Rarotonga environment!

3. Visit the Punanga Nui

Market in Avarua on Saturday

morning to soak up the

cultural atmosphere, buy local

fruit, veggies, handicraft, and

jewellery. Enjoy a coffee, pastry

or smoothie.

4. Stroll down historic,

picturesque Makea Tinirau

Rd (opposite Beachcomber),

past the Cook Islands

Christian Church and some of

Rarotonga’s oldest and most

interesting buildings (and

graves).

5. Enjoy a walk along the

waterfront from the Avarua

Harbour to Avatiu Harbour or

vv, stopping to view the

SS Maitai shipwreck (1916)

just past the reef, whose engine

block is clearly visible.

6. Black Rock is a lovely beach

just past the airport opposite

the golf club. It’s a good

snorkelling and body boarding

spot. Be startled occasionally

by low flying, wide-bodied

aircraft approaching Rarotonga

Airport.

7. Muri Beach with its wide

lagoon and quaint little islands

is a watery wonderland with

snorkelling, paddle boarding,

kite surfing, and lagoon cruises;

and, a lovely village for lunch

or coffee.

8. At the entrance to Muri

lagoon is Avana Point; nearby

is a peaceful park with the

circle of seven stones, which

commemorates the fleet canoes

that left for New Zealand from

there seven hundred years ago.

9. A visit to Rarotonga is not

complete without an evening

out at one of the many island

night shows that can match

almost any budget. The cultural

dancing, music, and buffet

feasts are not to be missed.

10. Rarotonga has mountainous

volcanic terrain covered with

beautiful dense jungle. There

are various poorly marked

tracks, but the cross-island trek

is the ‘must do’: better with a

guide than not!

Q+A With Corinna Tucker, the new owner of “Storytellers” Eco Cycle Tours

Tell us a little about

your personal and

professional background

I

am from New Zealand,

originally from Hawkes

Bay. In 1999 I moved to

Palmerston North to complete

my tertiary education and

ended up staying there for 18

years. I gained my PhD in

Sociology in 2011, and from

2010 worked full time at

Massey University. I spent the

last six years there employed as

an Environmental Sociology

Lecturer.

What inspired you to

buy Storytellers?

When I discovered Storytellers

was for sale, I knew it was

something I should follow up

on, as the timing of it coming

up for sale was perfect in terms

of my own circumstances,

and it seemed a good match

for my own background,

interests and experience. The

chance to operate a business

that focuses on disseminating

a better understanding for

visitors about local culture and

environment here in Rarotonga

is something that I really value,

and the Storytellers business

was a great way to be able to

do that. Having Jimmy (Jim

Mare) already involved in the

business as a Storyteller (tour

guide) and Jimmy wanting

to stay on and become more

involved, was another great

incentive for me as well.

How do you feel about

living and working in

Rarotonga?

I love living here. I loved

the place from the moment I

stepped of the plane here for

a visit 10 years ago, and I’ve

been coming back regularly

ever since. In early 2018 whilst

I was based in Rarotonga for

my research sabbatical, I knew

that this was where I wanted to

be! I enjoy the work that I do

here now at Storytellers.

What is the philosophy

behind Storytellers, the

business?

For me it is really about

providing a better

understanding of the Cook

Islands, and in particular

of Rarotonga in relation to

history, the people, and the

land. If visitors can better

appreciate the importance of

the relationship between the

people and culture, and the

land and environment, then

this will inspire visitors’ caring

and respect for the people and

place while holidaying here.

Can anyone join a

Storytellers tour,

regardless of age and

fitness level?

Just about anyone can enjoy

a Storytellers tour! The

youngest participant was a five

month old (before my time),

and we had an 80-year old

lady not long ago. We offer

three different length tours

so visitors can choose which

tour best suits them, whether

it is the shorter 3-hour one, or

the longest at 5 hours. The

important thing to keep in

mind is that Storytellers is

more about people enjoying

and learning about Rarotonga,

Long-time Storyteller tour guide Jimmy on the job

than it is about the cycling:

bicycles are just a great way

to explore parts of Rarotonga

that visitors otherwise may not

encounter, while at the same

time learning more about this

beautiful place.

Typically, what do your

customers experience

on a Storyteller Tour?

Customers largely dictate

what it is that they will see

and experience: each person is

asked what they are interested

in learning about, or seeing,

and our Storytellers will do

their best to incorporate as

much of that into the tour.

Common experiences include

learning about marae and

the Ariki system, local fruits

and vegetables, medicinal

plants, legends and stories

from the past, the impacts

of missionaries, fishing, the

weather. Sometimes visitors are

lucky to encounter some local

artists; on two occasions this

year guests have been fortunate

to come across investitures in

progress.

With your background

in environmental

sociology, do you

intend to use that in

Rarotonga?

I hope to bring that into the

business – it’s a really neat

fit having a background in

teaching and researching,

primarily in the area of

environment and people.

Overseeing Storytellers

provides the opportunity to

share my passion directly with

people, and through how the

business is operated. I hope

that opportunities will arise

where I can use my skills and

experience in a positive way to

help with the environmental

protection and integrity of the

Islands in particular.

Does Storytellers

have Mana Tiaki Eco

Certification?

I am in the process of

completing the certification

application. For me it is a

huge priority to become more

environmentally friendly,

and to do this to the best of

our ability and in every way

that we can. We are already

limiting fossil fuel use; we no

longer sell bottled water, and

are switching to biodegradable

equipment and cleaners for

example.

What is your opinion of

the growing emphasis

on eco tourism in the

Cooks?

I think eco tourism should

be a priority here. The

environment is such a huge

draw card for visitors and

hence integral to the economy

of the Islands. It would be

such a huge shame to see the

environment compromised

for the sake of bringing in

more tourism dollars without

thinking long term about the

environmental, social and

cultural impact.

How do you see

Storytellers role in the

future of tourism in

Rarotonga?

I would like to see Storytellers

stick around for a long time,

and only get better over time.

It would be great to think that

we can become an exemplary

model for eco tourism in the

coming years.

Tours

starting

from

all tours include a

delicious lunch or

$79sunset cocktail.

We give

10%

of our profit

back to the

community.

23450 or 53450 tours@storytellers.co.ck www.storytellers.co.ck

It was such a relaxing ride filled with so many interesting things

about the people, land and culture.

Explore the ancient back road ‘Ara Metua’ and learn about

Rarotonga’s history and culture from a passionate local storyteller.

No two tours are the same!

Three tours are available, ranging in length from three to five hours.

Ride at your pace and to your ability.


24 SEE & DO CoOK ISLANDS SuN

E-cycle around the island

A

great way to explore

Rarotonga at your

own pace is to rent an

e-bike, getting some exercise

on the way! They are easy to

operate, and suitable for all

fitness levels.

Tik-e Bikes recommend three

cycling options: cycle as you would

on a normal bicycle, peddle assist up

to 35kph, or go fully electric. You

can circumnavigate the island twice

on a single charge (a charger comes

with a Tik-e Bikes rental).

The first to offer this novel

environmentally friendly way to

enjoy the island, Tik-e Bikes are

located opposite the Crown Beach

Resort in Arorangi. T: 28 687.

ADVENTURES IN

PARADISE

ADVENTURE COOK

ISLANDS

Want to visit some of

Rarotonga’s best diving

spots; Adventure Cook Islands

is a good place to start. They

also rent scooters, kayaks,

& bikes, do the Raemaru

Mountain trek, and teach

Cook Islands dancing and

drumming. T: 22 2212

KOKA LAGOON

CRUISES

For an amazing excursion on

Muri Lagoon filled with

laughs, music and snorkeling,

experience Koka Lagoon

Cruises. Included is a fish

BBQ on a small island (motu),

a display of coconut tree

climbing and coconut husking.

T: 27 769

STORYTELLERS ECO

CYCLE TOURS

Storytellers are the only

tour guides on Rarotonga

to lead these unique cycling

experiences, offering a variety

of bike riding to suit all

fitness levels. Enjoy learning

about the island’s history,

flora and fauna from locals.

T: 53 450

No

Licence

Fees

Tik- e bikes

Electric bike hire

DISCOVER MARINE

AND WILDLIFE ECO

CENTRE

This is a great place to learn

about the creatures that

inhabit the Cook Islands, both

on land and in the sea. It’s an

interactive centre for all ages,

with live fish and coconut

crabs, birds, a theatrette, café,

and marine exhibits.

T: 23 344

KITESUP

WATERSPORTS

CENTRE

Based in Muri, Rarotonga’s

original watersports

centre offers the lot: kiteboard

lessons, stand up paddle boards

(SUP) rental, sea scooter

snorkel tours, night and day

paddling tours, yoga on a

paddle board, and a surf shop.

T: 27 877

RARO REEF SUB

MARINE LIFE ECO

TOURS

The Cook Islands’ only

semi-submersible tour

leaves several times daily

from Avatiu Wharf, weather

permitting. A great photo

opportunities for sea life,

and for picturesque views of

Rarotonga and the SS Maitai

shipwreck. T: 55 901

THE BEST ECO WALKS

IN RAROTONGA

Pa Teuruaa has trekked

Rarotonga for three

decades, most famous for his

cross-island trek. Whilst Pa

still leads a Medicinal Herbal

Walk twice a week, his nephew

Bruce now escorts the crossisland

trek three times a week.

T: 21 079

CAPTAIN TAMA’S

LAGOON CRUIZES

Established in 1992,

Captain Tama’s Lagoon

Cruizes continue to provide

a memorable Muri lagoon

glass-bottom boat tour and

snorkeling experience, packed

with Cook Islands humour,

fun and a BBQ on the motu.

T: 27 350

THE PERFECT WAY

TO SPEND SATURDAY

MORNING

Next to Avarua, Punanga Nui

Market is a lovely glimpse

into Cook Islands culture every

Saturday morning with locals

selling their fruit, veggies, fish,

recorded music, handicrafts,

pearls, jewellery, coffee and

pastries, just about everything!

THE DIVE CENTRE

Also known as the ‘Big

Fish’, The Dive Centre

opposite the pristine Aro’a

Marine Reserve has everything

a snorkeler or scuba diver

needs, including equipment

rental, dive trips, and dive

courses for individuals &

groups. T: 20 238 or 55 238.

TIK-E TOURS

They’re 100% electric and

100% fun. Experience

the open air and the silence

of an electric ‘tuk-tuk’ vehicle

that allows you to enjoy your

personal tour of Rarotonga,

and maybe their famous ‘sunset

cocktail hop’, or whatever!

T: 28 687

RARO QUAD TOURS

Brother to the cool Raro

Buggy Tour is the

Raro Quad Tour. If it’s true

adventure you’re after then you

won’t be disappointed with the

90% off road Raro Quad Tour

through Rarotonga’s rugged

inland jungle and hidden

valleys. T: 23 000


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

SEE & DO

25

Kura Happ is the real deal!

Amazing live entertainer

and now reef tour guide

KURA HAPP IS A

GIFTED AND ARTISTIC

RAROTONGA-

BORN VOCALIST,

GUITARIST AND

SONGWRITER WHOSE

PERFORMANCES

AROUND THE ISLAND’S

MUSIC SCENE

ARE SOULFULLY

ENTERTAINING AND

SPIRITED.

She is one of those unique

restaurant entertainers

who performs in an

unpretentious yet eye-catching

manner at a sound level where

you can both appreciated her

sweet music and enjoy your

meal. But, Kura wasn’t always

this way!

Kura Happ has been on a

musical journey since she

was a young child when her

grandparents brought her

along to church to sing with

the choir.

Born in Rarotonga, raised

in Sydney, Kura began her

musical pathway learning the

piano, but she got disinterested

with it and didn’t continue.

As a teenager still at school

Kura and her sister Leilani

practiced their musical skills

busking during the holidays in

Sydney’s busy shopping district

around Pitt Street, the Town

Hall and Central Station,

and also nearer to home at

Hurstville and Cronulla.

“My best friend is my sister.

We’re both singers. I would

play guitar and she had the

ukulele.”

“We’d carry those little fold

out stools with our instruments

on our backs and a little

Djembe drum. We’d walk

around and set up at the best

place; no sound system just

acoustic.”

Kura said they played different

styles of music from the R&B

music of Destiny’s Child

and TLC, to Dr. Hook, The

Eagles, Cat Stevens and Bob

Dylan (influenced by their

parents taste in music): “I love

Dr. Hook!”

“My mum was the one that

really got us into our music.

She can play. And, she took us

to musicals like Miss Saigon,

The Lion King and Ipi Tombi.

There was so many I can’t

remember them all!”

Kura and Leilani ultimately

became a duo R&B group

called Brown Sugar for a

period with some success

around the club circuit.

“We did a few big gigs like

Waitangi Day.”

Ariimoana, king of the ocean

Kura Happ, queen of the Rarotonga music scene

Kura later joined a group called

Indigo: “It was a really good

band, but I was also in other

groups.”

When Kura’s mum and dad

retired they returned to

Rarotonga; Kura moved back

and forward until eventually

settling back in her homeland

when she was 23.

“I learned to play the guitar in

Raro by watching and listening

to local musicians.”

I Love it! If I could

live down there, I’d

leave this place and

go live in the ocean

forever.

For the past fifteen years

Kura Happ has become well

known locally as an individual

performer around the music

scene presenting her own

distinctive style. She has also

performed internationally.

Kura is also half of one of

Rarotonga’s most popular

and accomplished acoustic

percussion duos known as

Trigger Fish, with Maurice

Newport (Mo). They perform

a mix of soul, reggae and jazz

in both small and large venues,

including heading off to Tahiti

often to play at the Hinano

Live concert. “I love Tahiti!”.

Kura is on guitar and vocals,

and Mo on the Cajón (a box

shaped percussion instrument

originally from Peru): “It’s

really cool!”

"I love the music scene in

Rarotonga. The only thing is

(Photographer: Alisha Street)

(Photographer: Jaiah Arai)

all the good concerts and my

favourite musicians I love to

listen to, are often on the same

nights as me."

Recently Kura has expanded

her horizons starting a unique

‘eco’ venture called Ariimoana

(King of the Ocean).

"I’m an outdoor nature 'waterbaby',

big kid at heart! I love

being in the ocean: snorkeling,

spear fishing, scuba diving,

free diving and reef walking. I

love to scuba dive but I prefer

to free dive with friends."

I Love it! If i could live down

there, I’d leave this place and

go live in the ocean forever.

Working for Captain Tama’s

Lagoon Cruizes at one stage

as ‘Captain Happy’ exposed

Kura to visitors, contributing

to her confidence speaking as a

tour guide, and supporting her

believe that she could create a

business focussing on her love

of the ocean. “Also, working

with Ariki Adventures, I learnt

so much there, which gave me

the confidence and courage

to start my Ariimoana reef

walkabouts.”

In 2019, Kura began

Ariimoana walkabouts.

The Ariimoana reef walks

are designed to explore the

lagoon’s marine life close up.

The walkabouts last around

three hours during low tides.

“We go on the reef at low tide,

which is the best and safest

time to go. We find sea life

including moray eels, starfish,

sea urchins, octopus, reef fish,

and sea cucumbers, and talk

about their roles in the ocean

world. I tell stories about how

the locals use to live fishing

the reefs. All those stories my

grandparents would share with

me. I was raised on the beach.”

For more information about

Ariimoana reef walks call 70

070. Facebook - Ariimoana;

Instagram - ariimoana_

walkabouts.

Kura Happ is the real deal!

Amazing entertainer and now

‘eco’ tour guide. It’s going to

be difficult not to come across

Kura if you love the best things

Rarotonga has to offer – local

live music and the pristine

lagoons!

PA'S

TREKS

Across Island Trek with Bruce

• About 3.5 hours

• Reasonable fitness needed

(not suited for those with heart, ankle,

knee or hip problems)

• Transport & light lunch provided

• Monday to Friday - weather

permitting

Medicinal Nature Walk with Pa

• A gentle walk through the noni

plantation and taro fields to

the mountain. Enter pristine

rainforest, visit the sacred Marae.

• Hear stories of Pa’s ancestors and

learn about local herbal remedies.

• Tuesday & Thursday

Eco tourism

at it’s best!

THE TRUE STORY OF

PA & THE DOLPHINS

Written and

illustrated by his

wife Jillian Sobieska,

this story will delight

and inspire children

everywhere.

Available from Bounty

Bookshop or directly

from Pa and Jillian

Bookings 21079 or email pastreks@gmail.com | www.pastreks.com


26 ISLAND LIFE CoOK ISLANDS SuN

The custard squares

are Deli Licious!

MOST CAFÉS IN

RAROTONGA HAVE

SOME CLAIM TO

MAKING THE BEST

COFFEE, OTHERS CLAIM

TO MAKE THE BEST

CUSTARD SQUARES,

BUT JUST ONE CAN

CLAIM TO BE THE MOST

DELI LICIOUS CAFÉ ON

THE ISLAND!

Muri’s cool looking

Deli-Licious

Café is located

on the village’s main road,

conspicuous for it’s shady

outdoor seating and umbrellas.

Open Sunday to Friday 8am-

3pm for breakfast, brunch and

lunch, owner-manager Kris

Higgins said Sunday is their

busiest day.

As with many expat business

owners, Kris and husband Neil

came to Rarotonga on holiday

and dreamt of making a living

on the island one day.

“The place reminded me of the

Whangaparaoa Peninsula on

the outskirts of of Auckland.

Kris and Neil came

to Rarotonga on

holiday and dreamt

of making a living on

the island one day

The Deli-Licious Café at Muri

Kris Higgins with a Deli Lious custard square

The hibiscus, the sun, the

beaches; just reminded me of

that!

“In New Zealand I worked in

corporate finance: I worked

in banking then went into

investments, but I just didn’t

feel I had any quality of life.”

Neil, who worked for the

Department of Corrections

as a Corrections Officer, felt

the same way, so they started

looking and soon found Deli-

Licious Café online, and it was

for sale.

“We bought Deli Licous as it

was; we saw it on Trade Me

about four years ago. We are

now in our fifth year,” said

Kris.

“We revamped the menu a

little bit, but didn’t make

huge changes as the café was

running so well”.

Focusing on quality coffee,

cakes and light meals, Deli-

Licious Café is not only

vegetarian and vegan friendly;

it is also dog friendly!

“We have a real love of

animals. So visitors to the café

must love dogs, because they

are always around. They just

hang about being friendly. We

feed them around the back!”

But getting back to custard

squares, Kris is very proud of

the Deli Licous variety.

“We have the best custard

square on the island because

ours are made with eggs, milk

and all things natural!”

When asked if their custard

squares are fattening, Kris

replied lightheartedly: “When

you are on holiday, nothing is

fattening!”

Kris concluded: “We didn’t

come to Rarotonga to make

millions, we came here for

quality of life. We enjoy what

we do. We love working with

the girls in the café; they are

awesome – and local!”

Polynesian Rentals expand

100% locally owned

Polynesian Rental

Cars & Bikes is now

positioned at seven locations

around Rarotonga, plus

Rarotonga Airport. In 2019,

Polynesian added its seventh

location, which is situated on

the main road at Titikaveka,

next to Royale Takitumu.

The others locations include:

two in Avarua, Muri Beach,

Aroa Beach, Club Raro and

Edgewater Resort.

New location at Titikaveka

Peter Heays and Carey Winterflood, partners in Cook Islands Real Estate Ltd.

Get advise from the experts!

COOK ISLANDS REAL ESTATE LTD PARTNERS

CAREY WINTERFLOOD AND PETER HEAYS HAVE

YEARS OF EXPERIENCE SELLING AND LISTING

PROPERTIES AND BUSINESSES IN RAROTONGA

AND AITUTAKI, PREDOMINANTLY RELATED TO

THE COOK ISLANDS TOURISM SECTOR AND

TRAVEL INDUSTRY.

We asked them what

their advice was for

people interested in

buying a business in the Cook

Islands: Is it easy or difficult?

“It's certainly not difficult,

but it is a process that has

to get approval from the

BTIB, the Business Trade

Investment Board,” said

Carey.

“You need to get past the

BTIB criteria to buy a

business, which includes

health checks, police checks

from back home, and a small

business plan. Providing the

criteria is met, you'll find that

you're most welcome, and

work and residency permits

are renewed easily.”

So why choose the Cook

Islands for a lifestyle change,

and not another South Pacific

island?

“The Cook Islands is actually

quite a sophisticated island

nation, so we have ‘the

niceties’ to conduct business.

We also have the ease of

travel to and from Australia

and New Zealand, where

most of our buyers come

from. English is widely

spoken here, and the laws are

similar to Australia and New

Zealand, but particularly

New Zealand. So it’s fairly

easy to do business here,” said

Carey.

Peter added: “We also have a

stable government, we have

laws that are recognisable,

and policies that are not

continually changing. It's

consistent, and there is

confidence in the future

of the country. That's our

biggest advantage over other

Pacific island nations.”

According to Cook Islands

Real Estate, people are

primarily looking for lifestyle

businesses mostly in tourism:

hotels, motels, bed and

breakfast type properties,

cafés, restaurants, and tourist

attractions.

Cook Islands is

actually quite a

sophisticated island

nation, so we have

‘the niceties’ to

conduct business.

“One of the factors to be

taken into consideration when

buying a lifestyle property

in the Cook Islands is that

property cannot be bought

freehold, only leased, albeit

long term leases lasting

decades. And, it certainly

makes the unaffordable, more

attainable, said Carey.

“The entry level for

accommodation property

is dramatically different

in Australia and New

Zealand. Here, a million

dollars could buy you a small

accommodation property

close to the water front; back

in Australia or New Zealand

it would be three, four, maybe

five times that amount.”

According to Peter and Carey

most of their enquiries for

lifestyle businesses come

from their website www.

cookislands-realestate.

com. “Our website has a

monumental click-on rate,”

said Carey.

“But we also get calls from

visitors here on holiday.

They’ve fallen in love with

the place, seen how easy it

appears to be to do business

here, and that's the clincher!

They're about to go back

to a 9-5 grind, and think:

maybe we could settle

here in the Cook Islands.

Others get back home, get

onto our website and start a

conversation by email.”

Cook Islands Real Estate

handle hundreds of ‘lifestyle’

enquiries each year.

Peter said: “We pride

ourselves in personally

guiding people through

the entire process from the

inspection, through the

BTIB process, immigration,

the banks, the loans, right

through to the day they take

over, and even beyond!”

“We both first came here

individually years ago as

tourists, and we know what

it's like to be a purchaser,”

said Carey. “Not just that,

we’ve brought our children

up here, so we know about

schooling, sports and

recreation and so on. We’ve

collectively got years of those

sorts of experiences to share”.

The Cook Islands Real Estate

office is next to Cook Islands

News on the main road just

out of Avarua, but mostly

Peter and Carey are with

clients and vendors.

“The best way to contact us is

by mobile telephone 24/7 or

by email,” said Carey. “We’ll

come to you, or meet you for

a coffee!”

With over 30 years experience serving the Cook Islands and investors.

Full and complete knowledge of local land laws, rules and Government regulations.

We are with you right from the from start and all the way to settlement.

Local company, sensitive and discreet —buying and selling—Your No.1 choice.

CAREY WINTERFLOOD +(682) 55678 PETER HEAYS +(682) 55289

www.cookislands-realestate.com info@cookislands-realestate.com


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ISLAND LIFE

27

Cook Islands, the perfect sea change

It’s not a dream. Lifestyle is real!

FIFTEEN ISLANDS

SPREAD OVER 2

MILLION SQ.KM MAKE

UP ONE THE MOST

EXCEPTIONAL AND

ACCESSIBLE COUNTRIES

IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC,

THE COOK ISLANDS.

Exceptional because of

its engaging Polynesian

culture and pristine

environment, accessible

because there are direct flights

from New Zealand, Australia,

French Polynesia and the

United States, and English is

widely spoken.

The most visited islands are

the main holiday island of

Rarotonga and its close by

neighbour, Aitutaki, which has

what many consider the most

beautiful lagoon in the world.

And, it is possible to live

and work in these islands

subject to the approval of

the BTIB (Business Trade

and Investment Board), who

provide information on what

is required to start a business,

or for those looking to invest

in an existing business, in

the Cook Islands. They also

manage the approval process.

The BTIB is a government

funded agency that is

responsible for the promotion

of trade, investment and

business in the Cook Islands,

Teariki Vakalalabure BTIB’s chief executive officer

the promotion and monitoring

of foreign investments, and to

encourage the participation

of Cook Islanders in trade

investment and business.

Heading up the BTIB is the

affable chief executive officer

Teariki Vakalalabure.

According to Teariki there

is a clear need for foreign

direct investment to continue

in specific areas including

tourism, agriculture, transport,

and marine resources.

“At the moment, tourism

seems to take the bulk of our

investment. But the need

increases for foreign direct

investment to be happening in

other sectors too,” said Teariki.

“But, we do understand our

reliance on tourism, and it's

importance to the economy.”

Teariki said that BTIB develop

its criteria around Cook

Islands foreign investment

policy constantly aware of what

other countries are doing in

the region.

“We don't follow any specific

FOR SALE*

A selection of businesses currently for sale in the Cook Islands

BUSINESS LOCATION PRICE CONTACT

Aitutaki Escape Aitutaki POA Cook Islands Real Estate

Blue Water Tours Rarotonga $250,000 Jeff Tikitau Real Estate

Commercial building & home Atiu $260,000 Cook Islands Real Estate

Cook Islands Sun Publications Rarotonga POA cookislands.sun@enjoycookislands.com

Coral Sands Apartments Rarotonga $1,385,000 Cook Islands Real Estate

Iconic Gourmet Bakery & Café Rarotonga POA Jeff Tikitau Real Estate

Jasons Maps & Guidebooks Rarotonga $1,850,000 Jeff Tikitau Real Estate

Muri Garden Lodge Rarotonga $1,040,000 Cook Islands Real Estate

The Dive Centre (The Big Fish) Rarotonga POA info@thedivecentre-rarotonga.com

Vaima on the Beach Restaurant Rarotonga POA dine@vaimarestaurant.com

* The above businesses were for sale at the time of printing. Prices quoted are in NZD+VAT.

Details are sourced from real estate websites mentioned, the BTIB website, or the individual business.

model, but we rely a lot on the

practices within the countries

that supply most of our foreign

investment funds, primarily

Australia and New Zealand.

But, the Cook Islands is

foreign investment friendly!”

The BTIB office is located on

Avarua’s main road, opposite

the Punanga Nui Market,

in the same building as the

Cook Islands Chamber of

Commerce.

“We are on this stretch of

road for a reason. That is to

be as accessible as possible

to visitors, and to the public.

We'd like them to come in to

discuss opportunities.

“We want visitors to see our

sign board or see a business

opportunity and think: ‘I

could invest here.’ Visitors

don't necessarily come to the

Cook Islands for investment

purposes; they come here for

a good time and a holiday, but

they may see opportunities,

and then come to us for advice

and direction on investing in a

business.

“BTIB answer any sort of

question in relation to: Can

I invest in the Cook Islands?

said Teariki.

“We give people time with our

officers; we take them through

the process. And we provide

them them with brochures and

literature.”

Is it not by coincidence that

the Cook Islands Chamber

of Commerce share the same

building as BTIB.

“The Chamber subleases off

us, so we share in resources

in that sense. Notably, both

organisations serve the

business community. They

serve their members, and their

members are businesses on the

Island”.

Teariki said BTIB don’t have

a big promotional budget but

they are represented in some

trade shows, particularly in

Australia and New Zealand.

You don't just invest

to make money in

the Cook Islands,

you invest in your

lifestyle”

“We have also attended

trade activities in Honolulu.

When we attend these

events, usually it's a two

or three way government

agency collaborative effort to

promote local, export ready

commodities. That way we can

compete in a lot of markets.

“Last year we went to China

taking five or six different

products. A lot of it was

around crafts, hand-woven

hats, jewellery and pearls.

We promote niche products

overseas”.

Business Trade Investment Board

Cook I s l ands

But a core part of BTIB’s

mission is foreign investment

in the Cook Islands, which

is articulated on BTIB’s

comprehensive website btib.

gov.ck.

“We also dedicate a part of

our website for opportunities

to invest in the Cook

Islands. That's investment

opportunities and businesses

for sale”.

Teariki emphasised: “The tax

system is very simple. Two

kinds of tax, either income tax

or value added tax. You pay in

the Cook Islands. No death

benefits tax, capital gains

tax, all the other tax regimes

that you could experience

elsewhere. So it's very simple

tax.”

Teariki said that BTIB work

closely with Immigration for

all our investors.

“BTIB always try and make

sure that our investors get their

permits on time and regularly.

At the moment it is an annual

renewal, we are hoping that

can be extended soon to a two

or three years renewal cycle.

“We believe the Cook

Islands allows you a life

experience when you invest

here that's different from

other destinations,” concluded

Teariki

“You don't just invest to make

money in the Cook Islands,

you invest in your lifestyle”.

INVEST IN THE

COOK ISLANDS

Aitutaki Escape

Coral Sands Apartments

Business Trade Investment Board, Private Bag, Cook Islands

Telephone: (682) 24 296 Facsimile: (682) 24298

Email: btib@cookislands.gov.ck Internet: http://www.btib.gov.ck

The Dive Centre

Vaima on the Beach


28 ISLAND LIFE CoOK ISLANDS SuN

Cook Islands’ hard working

commercial traveller

THE TURAMA PACIFIC TRAVEL GROUP IS ONE

OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL INBOUND TOURISM

OPERATORS IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC. WE’RE

CHATTING HERE WITH ROBERT SKEWS, THE

COMPANY’S MANAGING DIRECTOR.

Turama means

‘light and

vision.’ The

group consists of

DMCK - Destination

Management Cook

Islands; Island Hopper

Vacations; Tipani

Tours; Raro Tours;

and Weddings Cook

Islands.

It all started in 1990

through a partnership

with Air Rarotonga

and some Papa’a (a

Maori term for people

of European descent),

including Robert Skews

and Brian Baudinet.

Whilst the business

developed, management

and partnerships came

and went, including the

departure of Air Rarotonga

as a shareholder in the early

2000s. Today Robert Skews

and Brian Baudinet are dual

shareholders.

The great thing is

we don’t need to

manufacture tourism

in the Cook Islands!

We caught up with Turama’s

managing director, Robert

Skews, (aka Poppa Hopper, or

simply Papa to his staff) who

in 2013 was presented with

the prestigious Cook Islands

‘Lifetime Achievement in

Tourism Award’.

Robert’s journey to Turama in

Rarotonga really began at Air

New Zealand in Auckland as

a management cadet. During

thirteen years with the airline

he once visited Rarotonga on

a relieving position, before

being seconded to Polynesian

Robert Skews at Turama House

Airlines in Samoa for two

and half years as reservations

and sales manager. That

secondment had enduring

consequences for his personal

and professional life.

“Air New Zealand provided

a general manager, traffic

manager and sales manager to

support Polynesian Airlines

until 1978,” said Robert.

Whilst in Samoa, Robert met

Polynesian Airlines flight

attendant and his future

wife Elisapeta, known as

affectionately as Mousie.

One of her aunties named her

Mousie, as she was so small as

a baby.

“We married in Samoa in 1977

and were together over 40

years. We have five children:

Mousie had three children,

and we added another two in

New Zealand, Nathan and

Shannon, before coming to

Rarotonga. We now have ten

grandchildren and seven great

grandchildren.”

The Skews made Rarotonga

their home in 1990. Soon

they became an integral part

of the Rarotonga community,

especially Robert’s beloved

wife ‘Mama Mousie’. Sadly, in

May 2018, Mousie died after a

battle with cancer: “One of the

many enduring things

I learned from Mousie

was the value of family!"

Robert is the front man

for the Turama Pacific

Travel Group, travelling

the world to promote

Turama’s services, and

the Cook Islands.

Robert appeared

destined to live in, and

work on behalf of, the

Cook Islands.

“I was with Air New

Zealand until 1982.

I went to Papua New

Guinea with Air

Nuigini from 1982-

1986, ending up as sales

and marketing manager.

I returned to NZ to

work with Ansett 1986-

88 as airport manager

in Auckland.”

Robert then ran the Hawaiian

Airlines operation in NZ: “Air

Rarotonga chartered Hawaiian

to fly to Rarotonga, so I

then set up and managed Air

Rarotonga in NZ”.

On the road again, Copenhagen 2018

Four generations of family, 2004

But Robert actually craved to

work for himself.

“Smithy (Air Rarotonga’s

founder, Ewan Smith) needed

someone to handle inbound in

Rarotonga, so Island Hopper

Vacations was formed with

me and two staff in Brian

Baudinet’s Budget Travel Mana

Court office, in May 1990.

“We soon moved near the

airport as we kept running out

of space.”

“16 years ago we built Turama

House in Nikao.”

Robert Skews is

entrepreneurial, and for

over twenty years the Cook

Islands Tourism Corporation

benefited from his inclusion

on their board. Robert cites

Chris Wong, former CEO of

the Corporation, as one of his

greatest influencers; he also

paid tribute to the influence

of the late Dorice Reid, who

served as a fellow board

member.

“Chris was an amazing leader.

His skill was to get out there

and do the marketing! I used to

follow ‘Tourism’ around; that

is how we grew the business.

I have attended ITB Berlin

(travel trade show) 25 times."

Robert’s strategy has been

if Cook Islands Tourism is

overseas on a promotion then

Turama should be there too:

“And, it’s worked!”

In Europe and Asia for the

past five years Turama, Rosie

Holidays, and the South

Pacific Tourism Organisation

have worked in partnership

to run ‘Meet the Pacific’, an

event bringing together South

Pacific resort partners, tourism

boards, and airline partners,

with European tour operators.

One thing that distinguishes

Robert Skews from his peers

in Rarotonga and overseas is

his choice of Samoan lava-lava

(sarong) as his business and

leisurewear: “Since living on

Rarotonga I’ve worn it; it’s so

comfortable”.

We asked Robert his thoughts

on the future of Cook Islands

inbound market.

“My concern is that we lose our

uniqueness. We are ‘boutique’

- we don’t have the Sheratons

and the Hiltons, and we don’t

need them. This is our point

of difference. But, we really

are struggling on Rarotonga

with infrastructure and there

needs to be brakes put on

accommodation development.

“Also, we need to find ways to

develop the outer islands. The

great thing is we don’t need

to manufacture tourism in the

Cook Islands!”

Robert said he would like to

see better Los Angeles and

Sydney services with at least

two flights a week: “Another

option is maybe to have

Fiji Airways link Australia

through Fiji to Rarotonga;

I think that could work!

“You know, I love this industry

and the Cook Islands. We

just need to be more careful

about the bringing in plastics,

noisy bikes and cars, and jet

skis in the lagoon! Let’s keep

our pristine image; it’s our

advantage!”

Yakitori and Cuban cigars in a beach bar

eatery named after a volleyball

THERE ARE MANY SMALL RESORTS IN THE

COOK ISLANDS; NONE QUITE LIKE THE QUIRKY

CASTAWAY RESORT ON THE SUNSET COAST OF

RAROTONGA.

Bought from the bank

in 2012, the resort

has developed its

infrastructure and built its

reputation over the past

seven years through the

determination of its co-owners

Paul Ash and Michelle Oberg-

Ash.

Managing director of

Castaway Resort 2012 Ltd

is New Zealander Paul

Ash who comes from a

maverick-style business

upbringing. According to

Paul his previous vocation

was ‘a contract chief

executive troubleshooter’

working for various

banks, corporations and

organisations.

Paul met Michelle Oberg

in Christchurch during

a blind date set up by

Michelle’s sister Frances about

twenty years ago. Michelle is a

former Miss Cook Islands.

Whilst Paul was doing his thing,

Michelle was a senior executive

for 18 years at the Ministry for

the Pacific Islands Affairs in

Wellington.

Paul Ash, Castaway’s managing director

“We got married in Rarotonga

in October 2011,” said Paul

“Then I was still doing work

in Christchurch. Michelle had

moved to Raro so we made

a conscious effort to buy a

business and settle here.

“We bought Castaway in May

2012. It was completely run

down. It came with 12 rooms,

one part time cleaner and a guy

doing a bit of gardening. The

bar and restaurant were closed

down”.

Michelle took over the

accommodation side, and

Paul focussed on getting

the bar and restaurant

going. The old restaurant

was called Crusoe’s so it

occurred to Paul that a good

name for a beach bar and

eatery was Wilson’s after

Tom Hanks ‘friend’ in the

movie Castaway.

Cool style, warm service

is now the order of the

day at Wilson’s, which is

located right on the beach

next to the newly renovated

restaurant. The open sided,

elevated, undercover section of

restaurant seats seventy, whilst

sixty can be seated in the open

on the beach.

“We have live music on two or

three evenings, Friday being

the most popular with Anania

Brown.”

Wilson’s bar and the restaurant

(breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Cool style, warm

service is now the

order of the day.

are open seven days a week,

except on Sunday when the

bar opens at 6 o’clock. The

restaurant menu offers a

different theme every night

including pasta, Mexican,

curry, and seafood.

Wilson’s Bar and the new restaurant, beachside on the Sunset Coast at

Arorangi

“I enjoy the occasional cigar

but when I came here years

ago you couldn’t buy a cigar.

There’s only one type of cigar

to smoke and that’s Cuban!

I import them now for sale at

Wilson’s”.

Another innovation introduced

by Paul is Yakitori skewers:

“There is a selection of beef,

lamb, chicken, tuna, scallops,

prawn, vegetarian and cherry

tomatoes, all marinated in our

secret Yakitori sauce!”

With the food and beverage

fairly well looking after itself,

it was time to seek out new

investors to help renovate and

extend the accommodation

from twelve units to eighteen.

“All existing rooms are now

being upgraded and additional

units being built. All 18 will

be fully self contained and air

conditioned.”

Today Castaway Resort is

a successful local business

to be enjoyed by all, with a

harmonious and cooperative

relationship between its

accommodation, food and

beverage.


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

ATUTAKI

29

Voyager, sail forth,

to seek and find

GENERAL MANAGER OF TAMANU BEACH IN

AITUTAKI, NICK HENRY, HAS ACCOMPLISHED

SOMETHING MOST OF US ONLY DREAM ABOUT, AND

THAT IS CAPTAINING A POLYNESIAN VAKA FOR

TWO YEARS AROUND THE PACIFIC OCEAN ON A

MISSION TO SAVE THE OCEANS, AND GETTING PAID

FOR IT!

Grandson of the Cook

Islands’ first premier,

Albert Royle Henry,

Nick could not be more proud

of his family and his family’s

history.

Built on family land, Tamanu

Beach has been in existence for

eighteen years. Nick said the

resort was his father Hugh’s

vision: “Dad always wanted a

beachfront resort. He made a

sketch of it years ago, which we

still have,” said Nick.

Nick’s father sadly

died a few years before

the definitive Tamanu

Beach opened in 2006,

but two of Nick’s older

brothers Michael

(from the original Are

Tamanu 2000) and

Stuart (who developed

the neighbouring Manea

Resort 2004) partnered

up choosing to name the

amalgamated property

Tamanu Beach in honour

of their father.

“As the youngest

brother, it’s now my

turn to contribute

to the operation and

development of our family

resort,” said Nick, who arrived

at the Aitutaki resort in 2015

with wife Diane and newly

born son Harry.

“This year we have had

another son Arapati, named

after his great-grandfather

Albert Royle Henry.”

Nick said the family name

Henry originated from

Reverend Henry Royle: ‘He

was in Aitutaki preaching

the gospel with the London

Missionary Society in the mid-

1800s. Our ancestor Tetaura

Raru sought permission from

the Reverend to "borrow" his

name and then placed the

name "Henry" on his Son”.

The name Henry ended up

later in the century being

used as a surname: “So by the

time my grandfather was born

on 1907, he was Christened

Albert Royle Henry. My

full name is Nicholas Royle

Henry!”

“Grandpa died when I was

12 in 1981, so we knew our

grandparents well. He insisted

on having his children and

grandchildren around him

every week”.

Albert Henry spent many

years in New Zealand before

Island Night dancers performing beachside

returning to the Cook Islands

in the mid 1960s. “He wanted

to help change the way the

Cook Islanders were living. As

independence was in the air, he

got into politics,” said Nick.

Albert son, and Nick’s father,

Hugh was brought up in New

Zealand, as was Nick’s mother

Helen. Nick said that Albert

Henry had told Hugh in the

late 1960s: “It's time to come

home”.

Nick Henry and son Harry at Tamanu’s island night

Hugh returned in 1969 with

his wife and boys: Michael,

Paul, Stuart, and Nick. Sister

Katherine was born in 1972:

“Dad became Secretary of

Public Works working in the

Government.”

After a stint at uni in

Auckland, Nick returned

to Rarotonga to work for

the Cook Islands Tourism

Corporation in sales and

marketing. By1996 Nick was

with Edgewater Resort’s sister

property Club Raro as general

manager. Soon he left Club

Raro to help set up the Bond

Liquor Store.

After seven years with Bond,

Nick left and created a video

production company, The

Digital Factory, with two

partners making commercials,

documentaries and videos on

sporting and cultural events:

“I also helped start 88 FM in

Rarotonga around that time”.

With his video experience

Nick became involved with

the Cook Islands Voyaging

Society, through its president,

Ian Karika.

“In 2008, I was at Trader

Jack's having a drink with

Ian and I asked him if I could

go on the vaka and make a

documentary during their

forthcoming trip to American

Samoa.

“He told me they had no room

for a cameraman on the vaka,

but had room for a crew!

“This was a voyage to the

South Pacific Festival of Arts

in American Samoa. There

were sixteen crewmembers,

and after lots of preparation

we sailed off encountering

some massive storms, which

damaged our sails, so we

limped into Pago Pago seven

days later. We were the heroes

of the South Pacific Festival of

Arts - these unshaven warriors,

the only Pacific Islanders to

come by sea. Everybody had

flown in!”

“It was an unforgettable

arrival with a big crowd

at the harbor, and the

Governor there to greet

us. I remember hearing

the Cook Islands drums;

just an incredible feeling!”

Even though Nick

wasn’t supposed to shoot

video: “I became a crew

with a camera. I made

a documentary called

‘Seven Days to Pago

Pago,’ which aired on

Cook Islands Television,

and we showed it at the

Festival of Arts. I edited

it there on my laptop!”

Nick became an active

member of the Cook

Islands Voyaging Society,

ultimately as a captain: “I went

to New Zealand to get the

qualifications. So that really

was my next career move - to

move from the media into

this ‘cultural revival’. Then I

just sailed for two years. I got

paid as a captain of one of the

vakas by an organisation called

Okeanos (Foundation of the

Sea).”

…when Aitutaki

people are ready

to develop more

tourism, then that’s

when it should

happen

In 2010, Okeanos began

working with voyaging

societies across the Pacific to

develop and build a fleet of

seven traditionally designed,

fossil fuel free double masted

Vaka Moanas, representing 26

island nations.

Nick was involved in the

famous voyage Te Mana O

Te Moana (The Spirit of

the Ocean), which began in

April 2011 and launched a

renaissance in traditional vaka

culture, ocean stewardship

and engagement. Over the

course of two years, hundreds

of sailors navigated from

Aotearoa to Hawai’i to the US

with a historic arrival at San

Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

and back, making stops at 15

Pacific nations along the way.

After the voyage, Dieter

Paulmann of Okeanos gifted

four Vaka Moana from the Te

Mana O Te Moana fleet to

Tamanu bungalows facing the lagoon

Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and Cook

Islands.

The voyage demonstrated

the genius of Pacific vaka

design and the power of the

almost lost culture of celestial

navigation.

Nick then headed off to Tahiti

for a couple of years. On his

return, he was asked by the

Prime Minister, Henry Puna

to chair the 50th Anniversary

Ph. [682] 31 810 Fax. [682] 31 816

reservations@tamanubeach.com

AITUTAKI • COOK ISLANDS

www.tamanubeach.com

Our well-maintained and modern fleet includes

• small 4 door hatchback cars • 8 seater MPV's • 15 seater vans • automatic scooters

Phone: (682) 31379 Email: fishing@popoara.co.ck www.popoaraoceanbreeze.com

boatshed@popoara.co.ck

of Independence Committee,

which took place in July and

August 2014. In 2015, Nick

headed off to Aitutaki to take

over the family business as

general manager of Tamanu

Beach.

Tamanu Beach is a friendly,

adults-only (12+), airconditioned,

roomy bungalowstyle

resort overlooking

the beach, lagoon, ocean,

or tropical gardens on the

sunset side of Aitutaki. With

23 bungalows and all the

amenities anyone needs for a

tropical holiday, including a

spa and massage, a beachfront

restaurant and bar, and two

fresh water pools, Nick

describes the resort as ‘Casual

Luxury.’

After five years Nick believes

in ‘Aitutaki for Aitutaki’,

meaning that when Aitutaki

people are ready to develop

more tourism, then that’s when

it should happen. Not before!

“My sentiment is I want

Cook Islanders to own Cook

Island tourism. I think that

Aitutakians should decide

what they want. Right

now, there is not enough

Aitutakians on this island to

grow the industry. So until

they come home, or until the

Aitutakians here are equipped

and ready to take tourism to

another level, only then am I

happy for us to go to that next

level”.


30 AITUTAKI

CoOK ISLANDS SuN

YES, we do it all. Let my husband

and I take you out on one

of our Personalised

Charters.

A great day out!

BLACK PEARL

All Charters include, transfers,

breakfast or lunch, hot and

cold drinks, towels, snorkelling

equipment, etc.

Certificate of Excellence

www.blackpearlaitutaki.com

CHARTERS

1.DEEP SEA FISHING - Fish the FADs and drop

offs for Tuna, Wahoo and Mahi Mahi. Other fishing available,

jigging, live baiting, bottom fishing and casting for GTs.

Experience not required.

2. PRIVATE LAGOON / SNORKELLING

TOURS - Enjoy a day exploring our lagoon without the

crowds. More snorkeling than any other operator, including

the outer reef. Visit as many islands as time allows and enjoy

a BBQ on One Foot Island. Timings are flexible and families

welcome. Half days also available.

3. SPEARFISHING - Spearfish your own

lunch or dinner, experience not required. Phone

Give us a call for details.

31125 home

52 125 mobile

Email: blackpearlaitutaki@outlook.com

tekotia@aitutaki.net.ck

Blue Lagoon Restaurant & Bar

+682 31 852

reservations@aitutakivillage.com

www.aitutakivillage.com

ATIU

ATIU, A WORLD APART

Atiu is only 187

kilometres from

Rarotonga, yet it

is a world apart! With a

population of around 400,

this rugged island is one of

the eco centres of the Cook

Islands attracting bird lovers

and the more adventurous

traveller.

Only a forty-five minute flight

from Rarotonga, a two or

three-day visit to Atiu opens

up a tranquil, charming, an

unforgettable no frills Cook

Islands’ eco-travel experience.

See Jetsave Travel in Avarua or

Air Rarotonga at Rarotonga

Airport for accommodation

and flight options.

Here are just a few of the

attractions of Atiu.

1

Photo captions:

1. Taungaroro Beach. Enjoy your

own secluded beach.

2. ‘Land of the birds.’ Take a tour

with Birdman George.

3. Anatakitaki Cave. Inhabited by

the Atiu swiftlet (aka kopeka).

4. Cook Islands Christian Church.

Visit Atiu’s first church building.

2

3 4

Your hosts Roger and Kura will make your stay an exciting adventure

Phone: (682) 33 777 | Email: roger@atiuvillas.com

On-line bookings at www.atiuvillas.com - Free email & internet

For more information on Atiu Island visit www.atiu.info


CoOK ISLANDS SuN

LOCAL HISTORY

31

Rare investiture of an ariki (chief) on Rarotonga

By Jean T. Mason, curator, Museum Cook Islands at Taputapuatea (Library & Museum Society Inc).

There are six ariki (chief) titles on Rarotonga but three of

them have a similar source: Makea Nui, Makea Karika and

Makea Vakatini. They are said to have all arisen from the chief

Karika for it is from this man that the Ngati-Makea (ngati:

clan/tribe) are descended.

Karika is said to have

arrived from Manuka

(reputedly in Samoa)

and together with another

great ancestor figure, Tangiia

Nui (from Tahiti), battled

the original inhabitants of

Rarotonga to gain supremacy.

As is the case in many parts of

the world the titles obtained by

succession have a long history

mixed in with a healthy dose of

myth and legend.

Although ariki power has

declined significantly over the

past century the investiture of

the new ariki entails special

traditional ceremonies and

the investiture of the Makea

Karika Ariki title carried out

on 12 December 2018, called

akauruuruanga, was completed

with suitable aplomb fitting

for the position. For whatever

power may have been lost,

much respect and pride

remains.

When the previous holder

of the title, Dame Makea

Margaret Karika Ariki was

invested in 1949 following the

death of her father, the WWI

hero, Pa George Karika, the

investiture was modest, and

occurred in a church, possibly

reflective of the austerity of

the post-war period and the

sadness that her father died

from wounds inflicted in the

Great War. The much admired

war hero had only held the

title for 7 years. Dame Makea

Margaret Karika Ariki died on

12 December, 2017 at the age

of 98 having held the title for

68 years.

George Taripo, tama ariki,

the son of the late titleholder,

succeeded his mother in

the emotional investiture

ceremony, which took

place one year to the day

following his mother’s death.

Preparations for the investiture

began almost immediately

after the death of Dame

Makea Margaret Karika Ariki.

At her funeral service the pare

(crown) and tokotoko (spear/

staff) were handed to her son

George in the church. As

was always the custom pigs

were raised and root crops

planted. In addition much

of the food for the feast that

followed the investiture was

donated by community and

family members. The food

A tusked boar was set before the new chief

Makea George Karika Ariki (right)

was prepared and cooked on

site at the paepae, Ngarurutu,

(official residence of the ariki)

in a giant umu (ground oven).

The investiture began with

the arrival of the tama ariki by

sea on a vaka taurua (double

hulled canoe) paddled by a 12

member mixed crew. People

filled every vantage point at

Avarua wharf, traditionally

known as Tuituikamoana.

George Taripo was carried

ashore and placed on his feet

as the main chanter welcomed

him with a turou (formal

welcome chant). The tama

ariki and his crew then passed

through the smoke of the two

A spectacle many

may not see again

was over within a

couple hours.

large bonfires, in the rarely

seen custom of ‘patai’ or ‘kiriti

ma’u tai’, an old custom used to

‘cleanse’ voyagers and ‘remove

the dampness of the sea’. The

smoke is said to wipe away

any bad spirits that may have

travelled with the voyagers.

The crowd of about 700 then

followed the soon- to-beariki

with his entourage as he

walked to his paepae, for the

formal part of the ceremony

with local cultural expert,

Vaitoti Tupa, in the lead,

beating a lone pate (log drum)

to signify the solemnity of

the occasion. Makea Karika’s

va’a tuatua (spokesman)

Anautoa Rangatira (Teariki

Rauru) welcomed them with

a traditional chant at the gate.

Immediately the tama ariki

was given a nu (green coconut)

to drink (in former times

it would have been poi – a

coconut cream based drink of

pounded fruit or cooked root

vegetable).

The tama ariki and his

entourage were resplendent in

their traditional ceremonial

regalia of red or green rau ti

leaves (cordyline), headdresses

and tatua (sashes) and tiputa

(overshirts) of tapa (barkcloth)

and rauara (pandanus leaves) as

they sat in front of the paepae.

The youthful dancers of

Nukutere College entertained

in green rauti. The dancing

over, one by one rangatira

and mataiapo (sub-chiefs)

of the Ngati-Karika clan

handed to the tama ariki the

symbols of his office: first, a

white tapa (barkcloth) tiputa

(overshirt), was presented,

followed by a marokura, the

sacred girdle (in past times

would have been woven with

kura feathers, breast feathers

of the Vini kuhlii, now extinct

on Rarotonga); then his rei

(sacred talisman necklace,

signifying his warrior status); a

tokotoko (staff/spear) a symbol

of his promise to protect his

tribe; followed by a large fan, a

symbol of the peace by which

it is hoped he will rule his

subjects. Lastly, a parekura

(crown) was placed on his

head. Kura feathers in the

crown and girdle signify high

status, the red colour standing

for mana/power and nobility.

Paniania Taunga (George

Paniani) chanted more than 10

different karakia (traditional

special chants) some of which

comprised a warning to the

new chief on how he should

conduct himself; to care for his

people, that he should conduct

himself always with honour and

wisdom; then his genealogy and

the history of the Karika title

were also recited.

A large partially roasted tusked

boar (puaka tuika’a; nio piki)

was set before the new chief

– from which he was to take

The arrival of the tama ariki by sea

a bite from its ear, a ritual

vital for the completion of

the investiture. The men who

held the carcass aloft had to

make sure no one would try

to get in between them and

try to bite the ear for custom

says an usurper could become

chief by biting the ear before

the intended candidate gets

to bite it. The women folk

surrounded the men to further

offer protection of the puaka

tuika’a. Biting, chewing

and swallowing the pig’s ear

symbolises the completion of

the investiture ceremony and

the promise the chief will listen

to the pleas of his people; that

thereafter he will rule them

fairly, justly and peacefully.

There’s a whole lot of history going

on at Museum Cook Islands (MCI):

• a plethora of ancient gods, canoes,

stone adzes, wooden spears;

• Cook Islands and Pacific art;

• textile crafts;

• a multitude of pictures and

photographs;

• 40,000 books.

Check us out at

http://cook-islands-library-museum.org

Communicate with us at

phone: 26468

email: library@cookislandsmuseum.com

When all ceremonial rites were

over, the new Karika Ariki

George Taripo spoke. He

promised to always listen and

support his tribespeople as well

as to try to rule with peace and

understanding.

Unusually the new Ariki

did not follow the custom of

being carried aloft on a pa’ata

(litter) at the completion of

the ceremony as by his own

choice he wanted to signify

his closeness to his people

and his humility by keeping

his feet on the ground. The

local Cook Islands Christian

Church minister offered words

of support and blessed the

occasion as well as wishing the

chief a long and peaceful reign.

As is the custom for this title,

the 100 or so invited guests

enjoyed a sit down feast inside

while the public were given

raurau kikau (platters of woven

coconut leaf) of food to take

home (or eat on site if they so

desired).

The whole ceremony was

conducted expeditiously but

respectfully. A spectacle many

may not see again was over

within a couple hours. But

the memories of it for those of

us who bore witness to it will

endure in our hearts for the

rest of our lives.

Acknowledgments: Makiuti

Tongia and Helen Tatuava.

Hours: Mon-Sat, 9am-1pm; Tues, 4pm-7pm

Located on Makea Tinirau Rd, opposite University of the South Pacific, Avarua

Postal: PO Box 71, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

MCI preserving our nation’s heritage

since 1964.

Avarua

Harbour

Trader Jacks

Bar & Grill

Taputapuatea Rd

Beachcomber

Gallery

We are here

Makea Tinirau Rd

CICC Church

USP Cook

Islands Centre

Ara Tapu

Constitution Ave

National

Auditorium


32 COMMUNITY CoOK ISLANDS SuN

What Mana Tiaki means to

the Cook Islands and to you!

“TIAKI MEANS KEEPER OR GUARDIAN AND MANA

TRANSLATES AS INFLUENCE OR POWER. IT

MEANS GUARDIANSHIP WITH SACRED PURPOSE,

TO PRESERVE IT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

THE KEEPER HAS THE POWER OR ABILITY TO

KEEP OUR CULTURE AND HERITAGE ALIVE. MANA

TIAKI ALSO REFERS TO OUR RESPONSIBILITY

AS GUARDIANS OF THESE ISLANDS AND

ENVIRONMENT”.

(Source: www.kiaorana.cookislands.travel)

During 2019 the Cook

Islands, as a nation,

moved further

towards protecting its ‘Little

Paradise’ with the launch and

introduction of Mana Tiaki

Eco Certification designed

for businesses, particularly

tourism-related, to contribute

to a sustainable future for the

Cook Islands.

Attending the

official launch

of Mana Tiaki

Eco Certification

(MTEC) at the

Discover Marine

& Wildlife Eco

Centre in Arorangi

was Prof. Simon

Milne of Auckland University

of Technology, whose

highly regarded ongoing

Cook Islands Visitor Survey

provided background on why

this certification scheme is

important to the sustainability

of the islands.

“The Cook Islands

International Visitor Survey

highlights the number one

reason for visitor interest

in the Cook Islands as our

pristine natural environment.

With increased numbers of

visitors, comes a strain on our

biodiversity, infrastructure

and local communities. It

Mana Tiaki Week

The Mana Tiaki Eco-Certification

launch and Green Expo at the

Discover Marine & Wildlife Eco Centre

in Arorangi, coincided with the annual

Mana Tiaki Week in Maire Nui Park in

Avarua, where Cook Islands Tourism ‘Kia

Orana Ambassador’ legends Aunty Nane

Papa and Aunty Lydia Nga presided.

Nane and Lydia are great friends who

have known each other from school days

at Titikaveka College; one year apart in

age, Lydia admits to being the eldest.

They have worked together for over ten

years at Cook Islands Tourism; now

both are the most recognised public faces

is vital that these issues are

carefully managed and that

responsibility lies within our

communities, government,

and our private sector,” said

Prof. Milne.

Also in attendance was

Kelvin Passfield, the technical

director of the eco-active

NGO environmental

organisation,

Te Ipukarea

Society, who run

the certification

program: “Mana

Tiaki Eco

Certification comes

as the country

notches up record

numbers of visitors,

but there is a genuine desire to

curb the impact visitors have

on the natural environment”.

For some time now, the

original Mana Tiaki program

has enabled visitors to engage

with local conservation efforts

by supporting the work of Te

Ipukarea Society financially.

Donations to the Mana

Tiaki program are primarily

made through Mana Tiaki

collection boxes at various

tourism outlets, including

accommodation, attractions,

and food and beverage outlets.

Monies collected go to various

Te Ipukarea Society projects.

of Tourism, not

only as Kia Orana

Ambassadors,

but also featuring

together in Cook

Islands Tourism

promotional

videos, print ads,

posters, and TV

commercials.

However, the MTEC moves

an important step closer to

supporting the Te Ipukarea

Society mission to “Protect a

Little Paradise”.

The steady growth of tourism

in the Cook Islands has

made the protection of the

country’s natural environment

more critical to the long-term

sustainability of the tourism

industry. And, the tourism

industry is aware of the

contribution they can make

through MTEC, whereby an

eco accredited business follows

a set of standards established to

embed biodiversity considerations

and basic conservation efforts

into its day-to-day operations.

Business operations that

achieve Mana Tiaki Eco-

Certification are rewarded

with the recognition that this

type of ‘green accreditation’

can bring, particularly the

long-term sustainability of the

tourism industry.

Mana Tiaki Eco-Certification

(aka ‘eco accreditation’ or

‘green accreditation’) is

jointly undertaken between

the National Environment

Service through the ‘Ridge to

Reef’ project, the Te Ipukarea

Society, the Cook Islands

Tourism Corporation, and

the Cook Islands Tourism

Industry Council.

Sue Fletcher-Vea, president

of the Cook Islands Tourism

Industry Council, said at

the launch: “I would like

to encourage everyone in

tourism to step up and become

certified. I can't emphasis

enough how important it is

that we in the private sector

protect the very reason our

Nane said: “As Kia

Orana Ambassadors,

we are pretty much

the ears and eyes of

Tourism out in the

community.

We visit schools, businesses

and community groups making

presentations about the Kia Orana

Values. There is three core values

of Kia Orana: Kia Orana, Meitaki

and Mana Tiaki.

“Kia Orana is both a blessing and

a wish for good fortune, and Kia

Orana communicates the essence

of our people and islands. Meitaki,

which means thank you, also refers

international visitors come to

the island.

“It is absolutely our

responsibility to ensure that

whilst enjoying the financial

benefits of tourism that we

do it in such a way that we

are protecting our beautiful

‘little paradise’ for future

generations.”

The CEO of the Cook Islands

Tourism Corporation, Halatoa

Fua, said at the launch:

“We are here today to mark

a great milestone in our

tourism industry, which is the

introduction of Mana Tiaki

Eco-Certification.

“Our natural environment,

together with culture and

traditions, are the most

important assets of any

tourism industry. This

certification is a ‘step up’

strategy to protect the essence

of our growing tourism

industry.”

Since the launch dozens of

tourism operators have already

earned their MTEC. Look for

the MTEC logo around the

Cook Islands, and support and

recognise its membership.

Aunty Lydia and Aunty Nane are not just great friends, they are the

embodiment of Kia Orana Values

Nature guru Pa Teuruaa is spiritually connected to the ecosystems of Rarotonga.

to how we are feeling if we are feeling

good. And, Mana Tiaki that refers to

our responsibility as guardians of these

islands and the environment”.

Lydia added: “We both love what we do!

We don’t count the minutes, and that

includes the ‘meet & greet’ at the airport

all hours of the day and night; and we

happily attend openings of businesses,

buildings and events representing Cook

Islands Tourism.

NOMINATE

SOMEONE FOR

AN A1 MEITAKI

AWARD

Simply complete an A1 Meitaki Award

form at any Cook Islands Tourism

Information Centre, or at Rarotonga

International Airport, and nominate

an individual or a business in

the Cook Islands for excellence

in service to a visitor.

When an A1 Award is given,

the recipient receives nothing more

than grateful acknowledgement and

a certificate.

YOUR CHANCE TO SAY

MEITAKI!

Reward excellent service in the Cook

Islands by nominating an individual or

a business for an A1 Meitaki Award.

Alana Smith shows off one of

Te Ipukarea Society’s more

recent initiatives: 800ml insulated

thermo-flask bottles, which keep

their contents hot or cold for up to

24 hours. There are five colours to

choose from: red, silver, black, blue

and gold. A great souvenir from

Rarotonga too!

Help reduce the amount of plastic

bottles entering the waste stream;

say ‘no’ to single use plastic bottles,

and refill a reusable bottles instead!

They cost around $30.00 and can

be purchased from the Te Ipukarea

Society’s office, next door to Bamboo

Jacks, on the main road at Tupapa,

near Avarua. All profits go into Te

Ipukarea Society projects.

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