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Monday, april 15, 2013 cook Islands News

localNEWS nuti no roto i te IpuKArEA

returned to his birthplace A MAN who was born in the Cook Islands in the 1950s has returned to his birthplace for the irst time – and was pleasantly surprised at what he found. Rob McVeagh was born in rarotonga Hospital in 1951 and while he does not remember anything about his early childhood in the Cooks, his older sister Trish has fond memories of growing up in Aitutaki. She was was given the name pau by the islanders, which the family understood to be the name of the irst woman or Eve, as she was the irst papaa baby on Aitutaki. It’s been 60 years since McVeagh has been back and he cannot believe he has waited so long. He came with a party of 25

for a 60th birthday celebration on his wife’s family side. “It’s bloody amazing here. It’s got a lovely climate, and the people are so friendly and helpful – they’re just lovely aren’t they?” A local shopkeeper suggested he talk to CI News to tell his story of returning to the place of his birth. The man lives in Wellington and is a surveyor for Opus International, and comments with surprise at how urban rarotonga is and the lack of ‘road rage’ here. “Everyone just smiles.” He was busy being a tourist on his week-long trip, going on glass bottom boat trips and to the markets, and already intends to come back. The keen sailor wants to sail

here next time and get up to Aitutaki too, which he decided against on this trip because of the cost. McVeagh always kept the Cooks in his heart, fuelled by the stories his parents – who have passed away – used to tell him of their time here. His father Bernard ‘Mac’ McVeagh became Aitutaki Airport manager in 1947 and stayed for six years, servicing the lying boats which came to the island by towing a barge through the reef to refuel them. His mother pat acted as a travel agent for the flying boat passengers. “My father always had great memories and stories of the fun-loving and laidback people

Rob McVeagh was born in the Cook Islands and returned for the irst time after 60 years. 13040512 here. He had worked all around the Paciic and loved the Cook Islands the best.” - Calida Smylie

Bernard ‘Mac’ McVeagh became Aitutaki Airport manager in 1947 and stayed for six years. 13041143

Pat McVeagh acted as a travel agent for the lying boat passengers. She is pictured centre with her Aitutaki colleagues. 13041146 The McVeagh family Pat, Trish and Bernard. Rob, who was not born at that stage, recently visited the Cooks after 60 years away. 13041151

Rob McVeagh’s sister Trish was known as Pau by the islanders, as she was the irst papaa baby on Aitutaki. 13041149

Images taken from the McVeagh family photo album show their happy six years in Aitutaki. 13041148

An aerial view of Aitutaki in the early 1950s. 13041145

Monday 15 April  

News, Sports and Opinion from the Cook Islands News for Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday 15 April  

News, Sports and Opinion from the Cook Islands News for Monday, April 15, 2013

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