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July - December 2017











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4 5 2017

7 3

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of Perfumes Rarotonga


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Handmande crafts from around the Pacific & the Cook Islands


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8 opposite Cook’s Corner, Call: 26238,




From the Prime Minister





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.

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 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


4 Local entrepreneur Rohan Ellis on the future prosperity of the Cooks 8

Farmer’s daughter Liana Scott, GM of the Muri Beach Club Hotel

22 The magnetic bond of three sisters from Hamilton

Island life & Culture

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! |

In this issue



Love a little ‘ Cook Islands’ pearl

10 Enjoy some of the best spas in the South Pacific 11 A unique skin care range born in the Cook Islands 20 Book review: Pa and the Dolphins: A true story...


Dining & Entertainment 12 Island Night Shows in Rarotonga

13 The amazing young chef from Puka Puka 14 A Guide to Eating & Drinking in Rarotonga



See & Do

18 A Q&A about big game fishing

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, Honourable Henry Puna Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism PUBLISHER/EDITOR: Alastair Blount TELEPHONE: +682 20 222 or +682 77 183 EMAIL: DESIGN & LAYOUT: PMP Limited - New Zealand DISTRIBUTION RAROTONGA: 20 222 or 77 183 DISTRIBUTION AITUTAKI: 31 009 POSTAL: PO Box 30 Avarua, The Cook Islands


19 Adventures in paradise 20 See & do, in brief


23 Stay a while in Aitutaki 25 Wet & Wild - too much fun!



27 Enjoy Atiu



28 Punanga Nui Cultural Market


Front cover image: One Foot Island, Aitutaki ©Kirklandphotos














from as low as

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3 CONVENIENT LOCATIONS Head Office (Arorangi): +682 22632 Open 7 days Town Office: +682 24632 Open 6 days (Mon – Sat) Muri Office: +682 21632 Open 7 days

SMALL CARS from as low as

$45 a day






Entrepreneur talks business and the future prosperity of the Cook Islands

Pay for 3 days get 2 free ! n e d o m



sel e

The Islander Hotel turned TWO on 1 May this year. It is a family affair, and the jewel in the crown for Cook Islands entrepreneur, Rohan Ellis.


Opposite the Airport Phone: 22326

“Best deals on the Island” ST P MU P SH ST



t forty-three, Rohan Ellis’ success in Cook Islands is set in stone. Of Manihiki ancestry, his first job following university was with the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation. By the time he took over Rarotonga’s Aquarius Hotel two years ago, transforming it into The Islander Hotel, he had been honing his business skills and management capabilities for over twenty years. Energetic and fun-loving Rohan heads up Natura Properties Ltd. He shows no signs of slowing down with his ambitious plans to grow his businesses and contribute to the prosperity of the Cook Islands. Born on Rarotonga, Rohan’s parents are Cook Islanders. He completed his primary and secondary education on the island before heading to the University of Queensland to gain a degree in Tourism Management and Business Administration (1992-95). Rohan said he benefited from a loving and easy-going childhood. “I had a simple life as a child, but a good life; lots of close family, lots of love. Our family was guided by my grandparents, who ‘ruled the roost’. On return from Australia, Rohan joined the Tourism Corporation, but soon moved on to head up the country’s new development agency, which is today the BTIB (Business Trade Investment Board). Quite a responsibility for a 23 year old! He remained in that position for five years gaining invaluable, handson insight into the world of business in the Cook Islands. “Around that time the Cook

“My job was to improve relationships between the Pacific Islands and China, in particular between Cook Islands and China.” Whilst in China, Adriane formed a cultural dance troupe to help promote the Cook Islands. “We brought in some key dancers from the Cook Islands, and recruited local dancers in China, as well as Cook Islands students studying in China”.

Rohan Ellis in one of his roles as MC for the Akirata Dance Troupe shows

Islands had the economic crisis and the country was bankrupt. The new Economic Development Ministry was formed to kick-start the economy, and getting the Cook Islands back on the world map,” said Rohan. “We were losing a lot of people. The strength of the economy is based on the population, so what we did was to attract more people into the country, through investment

"Trying wherever possible to help Cook Islanders achieve prosperity” in agriculture, fisheries, pearls and tourism, trying to stimulate exports”. As a progressive step, Rohan was then appointed to open up an office in China. “I was the Trade Commissioner for the Pacific Islands; my salary was paid for by the Chinese Government. I did that for eight years (2000-

CONTACT US Rarotonga: CALL Anne ON 24 688 NEW ZEALAND: CALL Kathrine ON 09 480 7620 EMAIL:

2008), based in Beijing with my wife Adriane, who worked in the office as part of the admin team”.

Find us on Facebook

Look for our sign west of the airport – opposite the Weather station in Nikao Rohan is an active member of the Miss Cook Islands Pageant

The Akirata Cultural Dance Troupe was formed, and still exists today in Rarotonga. On his return, Rohan joined the Tourism Corporation once again, but only for a short time. “I quit to do something more challenging in hotel management, working closely with the banks to turn around failing hotels and resorts. I did that for three years”. Rohan then took on the position of General Manager at the five-star Crown Beach Resort for five years. “The Aquarius Hotel came on the market and I felt I had the experience, so I thought it was time I put my acquired skills into practice. “As Managing Director of Natura Properties Limited, a new holding company for tourism accommodation properties in the Cook Islands, the first property we acquired was The Aquarius Hotel. We renamed it The Islander Hotel. “The property is central and has a prime oceanfront location opposite Rarotonga Airport. Other properties will be added to the portfolio later,” said Rohan. Whilst the Aquarius Hotel was run down, Rohan said he



A Hula Bar by night

liked the ‘bones of the property’. “The hotel has a beautiful waterfront location, close proximity to the airport, central on the island, and great potential in food, beverage and entertainment. “The figures at the time showed the hotel was ‘kept alive’ through food & beverage. We knew that area of the business could be improved.” One of the first developments for The Islander the launch of a new beach bar.

The Islander’s Island Show

“We had began discounting drinks in the hotel bar, which became too busy and noisy for restaurant patrons, so the ‘Hula Bar’ was born. “We came up with the tag line – All day happy hour! That is 11am to 11pm. Drinks start at $3.50. We’ve never looked back! The Hula Bar is now one of the most popular bars on the island. “The Islander Restaurant then began to operate at full capacity, so we knew we had to expand and take better advantage of the wonderful ocean frontage, which was popular with diners.

The Islander Hotel has also become the entertainment and events hub of Avarua. “That was our strategy. A waterfront location that is capable of holding up to 1000 people, catering for small to big events,” said Rohan. “We’ve contracted musicians to provide entertainment on a daily basis. Additional to the fixed entertainment, we bring in visiting bands and feature concerts. We also partner closely with the Miss Cook Islands Association fundraising with local promotions company, Motone Productions”.

“We reclaimed land towards the water and put in a rock wall. We went from a capacity of 80 seats, to comfortably holding 350 people”. So what about the food? “The cuisine An Islander Hotel room experience I learned over the years is that the food has to be trendy, and Whilst setting up the Islander’s the food has to be relevant. ‘Island Night’ featuring Tastes change. Today, we offer Akirata Dance Troupe, Rohan a Pacific menu with an Asian said he was keen to feature fusion twist,” said Rohan. authentic Rarotonga food right from the start. Another vital component for Rohan is rooms. “I asked my uncles and aunties to make their signature island “As an airport hotel with only dish. They brought in their 13 rooms, we knew we needed favourite meals and we put in to turn over rooms – some up on one buffet and launched to three times a day, and that it – everybody went wild – the has been achieved. We also food was spectacular”. have twelve holiday homes. Our goal is to reach twenty“Today, the Akirata Dance five. These are under the Troupe is made up of four big Natura Properties brand: same family groups who share the reservations and accounting love of Cook Islands culture. system. My wife Adriane designs the choreography; I manage “All The Islander Hotel rooms the marketing and finances, have now been upgraded. Our and I also voice-over the immediate plan is to increase show. Another key member our room count to 39 rooms; of the dance troupe is Mama we’ll get that underway later Tuaputa who is the costume this year.” maker”.

As if Rohan wasn’t busy enough, he also sits on the Board of the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation and the Miss Cook Islands Pageant. He is President of the Akirata Dance Troupe, an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, and is involved with other organisations including La Chaine des Rotisseurs and the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council. “I invest in this country and I like to be involved with organisations that are responsible for making the country get ahead. “The most important thing for me is to support Cook Islanders by buying their produce, helping them becoming entrepreneurial, helping them along the way. We buy local wherever we can, including providing jobs for young Cook Islanders trying to find new career paths for them in tourism. Trying wherever possible to help Cook Islanders achieve prosperity!” said Rohan. “When society is prosperous, you diminish poverty, and with it diminished socioeconomic problems. The ideal situation is that everybody plays an equal role in contributing to the economy and prosperity. Everybody has personal pride and everybody is able to live meaningful lives in the Cook Islands”. For Rohan it doesn’t stop there. “In three years time The Islander will be a bigger ‘animal’. Long term we want to increase our room numbers to 100+ rooms, and we will be a significant player in the food, beverage and entertainment industry. “Natura Properties as a company is also increasing its partnerships and joint ventures with key players in the food and beverage industry,” said Rohan. “We have social responsibility; we want to provide a better platform for the youth of the country and Cook Islanders in general to make an economic living. We want to encourage Cook Islanders to be more entrepreneurial.”





Lesley & Temu Okotai Harbour House, Avatiu, ph 20 635 email:


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

Take one home from any participating outlet around town, around the island or at the Punangui Nui Market: A & M Pearls, Bergman and Sons, Farm Direct Pearls, Goldmine, Island Craft, Kora Pearls, Kiyana, Manihiki Pearl Techs, McLeod Pearls, Moana Gems, Paka’s Pearls, Pearl Essentials, Rangi Peyroux Black Pearls, Tarani Crafts and Pearls, The Pearl Lounge, Tokerau Jim and Vaiana’s. Just look for the Love a Little Pearl Flag and present your voucher to receive $40 off the price of any Love a Little Pearl item valued at $200 or more!




Love a little ‘Cook Islands’ pearl Q&A with Alexis Napa Wolfgramm, Executive Officer Marketing for the Cook Islands Pearl Authority

What is the reasoning behind the Cook Islands Pearl Authority running this campaign at this point?


any of the visitors to Rarotonga are unaware before they arrive that we have a thriving pearl industry and that we culture black pearls in Manihiki. Most people are aware of Tahitian black pearls because of their successful marketing over many years. We thought it was time to boost awareness about Cook Islands Pearls and that right here on shore where we have many visitors is a the best place to mount a fresh campaign. We also want to distinguish our pearls in front of our own people, to make them want to wear them every day and not just for special occasions.

Why did you call the campaign 'Love a little Pearl’? Cook Islands Tourism has a very colourful and catchy new slogan: “Love a little Paradise”. We thought that it captured where the Cook Islands is amongst so many larger tropical destinations for visitors. We felt a parallel with the pearl industry: we can’t compete with the volume of black pearls, and pearls in general, that are cultivated overseas. Our industry is smaller but still producing the outstanding quality the world market desires. We also have more of a boutique element

to the crafting of our pearls because they pass through hands rather than machines in every step of their journey from the shell into jewellery. There is certainly a lot of love mixed in with the care and culture of Cook Islands Pearls so we thought that ‘Love a little pearl’ would complement the Tourism campaign, it seemed a natural partnership.

Where do CI Pearls come from, how are they grown, and by who? Cook Islands' black pearls are cultured and perfected by nature in the pristine lagoon of Manihiki, one of the most remote islands of the Cook’s group over a thousand kilometres north of Rarotonga. Since the 1890s, the lagoons of Manihiki and Penrhyn (Tongareva) have been harvested for natural pearls from the Pinctada Margaritifera, the blacklipped oyster. Cultivation of the pearls began with trials in the 1970s leading to the first commercial farms being established in the 1980s in Manihiki. Today Manihiki, with less than 300 residents, most of who are involved in the pearl industry, is the heart of the cultured pearl industry of the Cook Islands. There are around 30 pearl farms in the Manihiki lagoon.

What is it about Cook Islands Pearls that distinguishes them from other pearls? Defined by their lustre, colour and deep nacre quality, Cook Islands Pearls are highly sought after throughout the Pacific, and internationally by the jewellery industry. Cook Islands pearls emerge from

Teinaki Toka’s seeding house on the kaoa (coral head) in Manihiki lagoon

their black-lipped mother of pearl shell in an amazing spectrum of colours reflecting those inside their host shell. Iridescent overtones of blue, green, gold, pink and purple shimmer across the body of the pearls’ deeper silver through to black shades. When rotated, the pearl’s colours will shift and glow as light is absorbed and then refracted through the layers of nacre built up on each pearl. Cook Islands' pearls come in a variety of shapes that range from the freeform and unique baroque pearls

“Our pearls are the natural result of cultivation and are not artificially enhanced, nor the oysters genetically engineered in any way”.

Image: Noel Bartley

through to the perfectly spherical rounds. Exquisite drops, ovals and button shapes are perfectly formed for particular jewellery settings, while the semi-baroque and circle pearls inspire jewellers and craftspeople to create fascinating and innovative designs. Each pearl has unique attributes that will appeal to the individual’s taste. Cook Island’s pearls are generally cultured to develop sizes between 9 and 14 millimetres. Occasionally, pearl sizes will reach 21 millimetres and are a premium on the international market. Our pearls are the natural result of cultivation and are not artificially enhanced nor the oysters genetically engineered in any way. The point of origin and proof of authenticity for exported pearls is guaranteed and certified by the Cook Islands Pearl Authority (CIPA) The highest quality of Cook Islands pearls is produced through a value chain of strict controls. Those pearls are marketed under the exclusive Cook Island’s brand name of AVAIKI.

Cook Islands pearls triple circle strand and peacock stud ear rings

What retailers are involved in the LALP campaign? There are a variety of vendors of genuine Cook Islands Pearls including A & M Pearls, Bergman and Sons, Farm Direct Pearls, Goldmine, Island Craft, Kora Pearls, Kiyana, Manihiki Pearl Techs, McLeod Pearls, Moana Gems,

Paka’s Pearls, Pearl Essentials, Rangi Peyroux Black Pearls, Tarani Crafts and Pearls, The Pearl Lounge, Tokerau Jim and Vaiana’s. Just look for the ‘Love a Little Pearl’ flag around the island and at the Punanga Nui Market.

Pearl & Art Gallery




Simple Elegance & Timeless Beauty

Local Art by: Judith KunzLe - Limited edition Prints • ALLAn tuArA - traditional Carving •

Located UPTOWN Avarua, Taputapuatea • ph (682) 22312 •



I s l and Life

Tik- e tours

100% Electric

 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

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)

An interview with , r e t h g u a d ’s r e m far e h t f o M G , t t o c S a n a Li l e t o H b u l C h c a e B i Mur Two years ago Rarotonga’s 30room Muri Beach Club Hotel was named the ‘world’s most luxurious romantic hotel’ by World Travel Awards in recognition for its world-class facilities and service excellence provided to guests. Not bad for a hotel that was only formed ten years earlier with the concept of offering an adult-only experience for guests to enjoy a beach holiday in a children-free environment.


he Muri Beach Club Hotel (MBCH) began as the vision of local farmer, John Scott. Today, the hotel is run by his daughter Liana Scott. According to Liana, the success of the hotel would have been not possible without the dedicated support of the staff throughout the years and the unwavering dedication and sacrifice of the family “We have a culture in the hotel to provide an excellent, genuine service and a memorable experience to all our customers,” said Liana. Fronting on to the clear waters of Muri Lagoon with a backdrop of the lush mountains of Rarotonga, the MBCH is located in one of the most idyllic vacation locations in the world. Liana Scott grew up in the area where the hotel stands today.

Pearls for Pandora

“I am a twin and was adopted from the Hunter family at a young age, but was always made aware that I had two families, given that both lived in close proximity to each other. Vara Hunter my birth mother had seven children, and Tara and John Scott were without children at this stage, but that changed and I was joined by another sister, Jonara.

Carved Pearls Shell and Bone Jewellery

OPENING HOURS Monday-Friday, 9am-2pm Tokerau Jim’s shop at Matavera - main road on eastern-side before Muri Beach

Saturday morning, 8am-12pm Tokerau Jim’s shop at Punanga Nui Market in Avarua, with pearl carving demonstrations and free name engraving.

morning collection and packing of eggs and then attend to deliveries. The day's production would nearly always sell out the same day. Dad was backwards and Miss South Pacific forwards between Liana said she gained farm and hotel, with more confidence and the ability emphasis on the hotel during to communicate at public its final years of construction”. events through both dance Finishing high school, Liana performance, as well as was offered an opportunity to selling the Cook Islands to work for Air New Zealand. prospective visitors. She also modelled for Ellena Tavioni “I was the youngest person from the Tav Pacific Fashion working for the Travel Centre Line, who was one of her key at age 18. It was a dream job,” mentors. said Liana. Liana had many opportunities “I just wanted to work, earn whilst holding the Miss South money and travel. I stayed Pacific title. with Air New Zealand for five years.”

Liana’s relationship with the airline was so amiable they became her sponsor for Miss Cook Islands. “I came first runner up and because of this had the opportunity to participate in Miss South Pacific the following year, and was privileged enough to win. This was a fantastic experience and took me around the world"

“Living in Rarotonga as a child was wonderful, safe and carefree. We spent most days on the beach and in the lagoon, although being a farmer's daughter there were chores seven day a week. We had vegetables galore, as well as ducks, pigs, and chickens. Our core business was eggs.

“I also travelled with my dance team, originally the Royale Rarotongans, then joined the Orama Performing Arts Troupe, travelling to Dubai and Europe. Orama still perform at the Edgewater Resort Island Nights. My sister, Jonara continues to represent the family” During this period Liana undertook correspondence courses in economics, accounting and tourism.

Liana said building the hotel at the same time as operating the farm seemed was part and parcel of her everyday life. “Mum would supervise the

“I went to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. I also attended ITB (travel show) in Germany. I was involved with a cultural dance team at the time, so it was a given that I would dance. I love dancing, and felt an immense amount of pride expressing my heritage in this way. From a young age, Vara (a legendary Cook Islands dancer and birth mother) was always very supportive.

Liana dancing with the Ta’akoka Dance Troupe

“Following Air New Zealand I worked with inbound operator Island Hopper for two and a half years. Then the family business needed me, assisting at the farm and hotel. It was nice to have the mix of the


I s l and Life


Liana on tour

physical at the farm with the administrative at the hotel.” Liana has been with her partner Anton Hayward since around the time of Miss South Pacific. “He came here from NZ looking for his Cook Islands roots. He met me and never left! We’ve been together nearly twenty years”. Anton and Liana have bungalows on the Muri hillside, plus other short-term rentals in Tupapa “We also operate Raro Buggy Tours and Raro Quad Tours. We never have a dull moment and try not to overthink it. I think, secretly, we love the chaos, but still enjoy a break overseas at least twice a year usually with our ‘list’ of things for the businesses” John Scott began the MBCH development at the time Liana was with Air New Zealand. “Dad is a Kiwi of the old school. He’s had a varied career turning to farming and creating the MBCH from bush, after service with the

Parliament, government, and in the private sector. It took fourteen years from clearing the land to opening the doors. He is married to Tara from the Ruatonga Utanga family. “MBCH was originally planned as a beach club hence the retention of the word 'Club' in the name, but it quickly became obvious that it made more sense to upgrade the development into a hotel beach resort”. Liana remembers one of the first things planned was the pool: "As the pool was to be the central feature with buildings surrounding, it was built early in the piece. "For us kids that was especially cool because we had exclusive use of the pool right up until we were adults!" “We finally opened in 2005. Our first general manager was Karla Eggelton (now Director of Sales and Marketing at Cook Islands Tourism Corporation). She has a wealth of knowledge about marketing and was a great asset at such a crucial stage.

Liana Scott, General Manager of the Muri Beach Club Hotel

“I came in as her understudy, taking classes at the Hospitality Training Centre, and learning everything about the hotel working from the bottom up. “I’ll never forget the day we opened in December 2005. It was chaos prior to that, everyone having sleepless nights, including sleeping onsite to complete things before the first guest arrived. A lot of things were ‘work in progress’, but when we opened we had six beautiful rooms, and 24 unfinished rooms that had to be finished within two

weeks for the next group of guests. Behind the scenes was madness but out front it was picture perfect and beautiful”. Liana started at the hotel as a waitress, also working in the kitchen and housekeeping, and as wedding coordinator and assistant manager. “I have been general manager now for over five years. Today we have 30 rooms, a restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a day spa with two treatment rooms, a lagoon lounge catering to conferences and events, and a dedicated wedding department. My passion is the marketing side of the business and I believe in customer engagement, instant confirmation and real-time contact”. Our patrons are mainly independent travellers on business, or newly married; occasionally a wedding group fully occupies the hotel. In 2016/17 we won a wedding planners of the year award. “Our Silver Sands Restaurant caters for both guests and visitors. Local fish is always on the menu and we have a good relationship with local fishermen.

The lagoon view from the Muri Beach Club Hotel

“Our cuisine has a Polynesian twist. We feature multinational chefs – Fijian, Indonesian, and Filipino, who have extensive experience worldwide. They keep the cuisine to a high calibre



chclubhot uribea el.c m . w om Phone 23000 to book ww

whilst using as much fresh local product and crops as are available.” “Dining can be extended to poolside or on the beach, weather dependent. Island Night is Wednesday. It’s very much a Polynesian night and we love it – the buffet is Polynesian, but not just Cook Islands Polynesian – because we have such a variety of chefs who like to put something special of their own into the buffet, but still keeping to the theme”

“I come from a farm family that knows about hard work and sacrifice.” Silver Sands Restaurant also has theme nights on Friday Pig & Prawn, which is served on sizzle platters and Reef & Beef night on the Sunday Liana said a main goal for the MBCH has been to develop a close, hardworking team that genuinely cares about the guests' happiness and satisfaction. “One of the things we do is to rotate the staff where possible. Restaurant staff will do a day of housekeeping or reception; front office will work in the restaurant and housekeeping.

“These rotations allow staff to gain knowledge in the different departments as well as give them some appreciation as to what each other does. This increases staff morale and gives each of the staff the ability to not only cover each others shift, but also makes them more knowledgeable in each others departments. We have some staff that have been with us since the beginning” Commenting about the future of tourism in the Cook Islands. “We want to maximise tourist numbers, but not be overpopulated with visitors because the island has limitations like fresh water, rubbish disposal and roads. Numbers need to be sustainable. “I’d like to see more on the planning side from Government, including paths for pedestrian traffic on the main roads, sufficient parking around key areas, proper sewage reticulation, effective recycling, and better road marking and lighting to ensure road safety. “I come from a hard working farm family that knows about hard work and sacrifice, and that is what built the Muri Beach Club Hotel. I am proud of what my family has achieved here and proud of what we are contributing to the enjoyment and satisfaction of our visitors."


H E A LT H & B E A U T Y


Enjoy some of the best spas in the South Pacific An hour or two at a spa can give you the chance to truly relax and enjoy your vacation in the Cook Islands. You will appreciate how much better you feel after a massage, a bodywrap and scrub, a facial, or many of THE other indulgences on the spa menu. That goes for whether you are male or female!


Spa Ariki

Edgewater Resort & Spa

arotonga in particular offers a wide variety of spa and wellbeing options. Try one (or two), and the experience will be remembered as a highlight of your vacation to the Cooks. Most spas around the island have their own little ‘quirks and perks’; so don’t be shy to ask for their spa and wellbeing lists, or have a good chat to the spa receptionists. You may simply chose a spa based on its proximity to your accommodation, but you should also consider budget,

Relax, Refresh, Renew...

Deep tissue massage at The Spa (Muri Beach Club Hotel)

the range of offerings, the style of service, the surroundings, and the overall atmosphere.

On your search, you will find spas with special offerings such as hydrotherapy tubs, steam rooms, sauna, and Vichy shower, manicure, pedicure and make-up artists. Generally, they are all pretty good value by world standards. Once you have made your selection, and to totally enjoy your spa and welling experience, take your time, and be in a relaxed state of mind before your arrive. And, to maintain your comfort, avoid having too much food in your stomach beforehand.

Spa Ariki at the Crown Beach Resort

Vichy shower at Rumours Waterfall Spa

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Enjoy some of the best spas in the South Pacific whilst you are in Rarotonga!

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where nature meets science


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H E A LT H & B E A U T Y


Truth and integrity lend their name to a unique skin care range born in the Cook Islands In August 2012, a premium skincare range containing ‘secret’ Cook Islands plant extracts was launched in Rarotonga.


e Tika, meaning ‘truth and integrity’ in Cook Islands Maori, is a skincare range developed over ten years by Dr. Graham Matheson, founder and director of CIMTECH (Cook Islands Medical Technologies). The research and development of skin care products is highly competitive with a pressing demand for new and better skin care solutions. Occasionally, there is a breakthrough in the science of skin care that opens up new treatments. The Te Tika Bio Active Cook Islands Skin Care range is considered one of those discoveries. Dr. Matheson’s sister Jenny Henry now looks after the day-to-day side of the business having taken over from her father, Ken, who retired last year. The Matheson family had moved to Rarotonga from New Zealand when Jenny was five in 1986. Jenny (centre) pictured leaving NZ with Mum & Dad (Helen & Ken), Robert, Graham, Kyle and Erin

“My mum is a Kiwi and my dad is Cook Islander, of Manihiki decent. He was a schoolteacher then, and mum later became a secondary school teacher too, and then an Accountant”. Jenny said she thoroughly enjoyed her childhood in Rarotonga: “We first lived on Harley Street, which was a street full of teachers and their children.

“Jenny Henry looks after the day-to-day side of the business”. “I LOVE dancing!! I started Cook Islands dancing when I was at Tereora College. We’d moved next door to a dance team called TumuTe-Vavaro, run by Mau Raina – the current Golden Oldies Champ! “I grew up with three older brothers – all of them academics and athletes. So through high school I also got into athletics, netball, triathlons, and still today I coach netball with the Arorangi Junior Netters. I have two daughters!”

After school Jenny gained a scholarship to do Accounting at Auckland University in New Zealand. “Whilst at uni I was doing Polynesian dancing as a part time job. I also taught Cook Islands dance for the Faculty of Arts Ethonomusicology”. As a condition of her scholarship Jenny had to return to the Cook Islands once qualified. “I didn’t really want to get straight into accountancy, so I worked for the ANZ Bank in various roles learning the operations of the bank. I ended up in finance anyway! But, first I was sent to work in ANZ’s head office in Melbourne. From there I got up to Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Timor on short stints. I rotated through all key departments and returned to manage Treasury, Trade Finance, International and Offshore Banking. I later took on the role of Mobile Manager Financial Services”. Jenny said it was about this time that she was ‘mobile’, flying to Aiutaki for the Bank, that she met up with Stuart Henry: “We met in 2006 and married in 2009 and moved to his family business, Tamanu Beach Resort, in Aitutaki as Financial Controller for eight years, during which time I served for a couple of years as the outer islands Board Director for Bank of the Cook Islands”.

Jenny Henry

One of the multiple current hats Jenny wears today is that of a Technical Advisor to BCI.

nicely packaged, and it does what it promises, particularly in regards to the bioactive oils – they work! “Our research tells us we have satisfied repeat customers, the majority of whom say they have notice a significant improvement in their skin, particularly in texture and radiance.

“Today my role with Te Tika is mainly managing the stakeholders, including the Koutu Nui (Cook Islands’ traditional leaders)”. Initially Dr. Matheson sought permission to proceed with the natural plant remedy research from the Koutu Nui.

“Te Tika attracts customers who understand the importance of natural products on their face,” said Jenny.

“Today, Matheson Enterprises provides sponsorship for Koutu Nui and the community, and all Te Tika sales provide benefit sharing back to the guardians of our traditions.

The Te Tika range is available at the CITC Pharmacy in Avarua, and CITC Duty Free at Rarotonga Airport; also Pacific Resorts in Rarotonga and Aitutaki also use Te Tika in their spas.

“Te Tika products sell well. It is

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.





D ining and E ntertainment

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 DAY MONDAY Highland Paradise Cultural Centre TUESDAY Te Vara Nui Village The Islander Hotel The Edgewater Resort & Spa WEDNESDAY Highland Paradise Cultural Centre Muri Beach Club Hotel THURSDAY Te Vara Nui Village Crown Beach Resort FRIDAY Highland Paradise Cultural Centre SATURDAY Te Vara Nui Village The Edgewater Resort & Spa




21 924

$99 adult / $55 child (U-12). Includes transfers.


24 006



21 003

$109 adult ($119 with transfer) / $49 child (6-11) $49 adult / $20 child (5-12). Show only $15pp Family (2 adults + 2 children $130) $65 adult / $25 child (7-12). Includes transfers. Show only $15pp.

Highland Paradise Cultural Centre:


25 435

7.00pm/8.00pm 7.00pm/8.00pm

21 924 23 000

$99 adult / $55 child (U-11). Includes transfers. $59 adult/$35 child (5-11)

7.30pm/8.30pm 6.30pm/8.30pm

24 006 23 953

$109 adult ($119 with transfer) / $49 child (6-11) $55 adult / $30 child (3-12). Show only $15pp

Crown Beach Resort: Akirata Dance Troupe & Fire Dance

The Edgewater Resort & Spa: Ta’akoka Dance Troupe Home of the Tinomona Tribe; E Matike Dance Troupe

Muri Beach Club Hotel: Akirata Dance Troupe

The Islander Hotel: Akirata Dance Troupe


21 924

$99 adult / $55 child (U-11). Includes transfers.


24 006


25 435

$109 adult ($119 with transfer) / $49 child (6-11) $65 adult / $25 child (7-12). Includes transfers. Show only $15pp.

Te Vara Nui Village: Spectacular Overwater Extravaganza. The Legend of Tongaiti. *Supreme Award Winner at the 2016-7 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards

Highland Paradise Rarotonga’s most Authentic Cultural Experience Located high in the mountains overlooking the lagoon Join us and experience the magnificence and beauty of real Cook Island singing, dancing and drumming

Island Night dinner & show: 5pm – Monday, Wednesday & Friday Includes – transfers, welcome cocktail, tapu lifting ceremony, Buffet umu style dinner, and finally the magnificent singing, dancing & drumming. .



D I N I N G & E N T E R TA I N M E N T

The amazing young chef from Puka Puka


CoOK ISLANDS SuN G u ide to

Eating&Drinking IN RAROTONGA

There is a eclectic variety of dining and drinking experiences on Rarotonga, many on the waterfront, beachfront, and in other picturesque settings. In the following centre-spread you’ll find a wonderful selection of cafés, restaurants and bars to consider, all dotted around the island.


Earlier this year, the Cook Islands Chefs Association and the Cook Island Tertiary Training Institute, in conjunction with La Chaine des Rotisseurs, organised the ‘Young Chef of the Nation’ competition for young chefs in Rarotonga to demonstrate their talents. The winner and gold medalist who emerged was 22 year-old Puka Puka-born Ngmatua (Tua) Ngaro Tariau from On The Beach Restaurant at Manuia Beach Resort.


uka Puka is a small, sparsely populated coral atoll in northern Cook Islands with around 500 residents. Tua moved to New Zealand with his family in 2005 after experiencing a cyclone. “We were in NZ about five years. In 2011, I decided to come back to Rarotonga, where I finished school,” said Tua. Tua said he had always enjoyed cooking at home with his mother, so he chose to train as a chef once he had left school. “I did my training at the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute in a one year course. I worked at Club Raro for two years, part of the time whilst I was on the course, then I moved to Salsa Café in town,” said Tua “During the course, in 2014, I was invited to attend the Cooking Guild Team of the Year competition in New Zealand. The school paid for

“For me cooking for somebody, giving them a good meal and making them happy, makes me feel proud”. a team of three to do the trip. We won bronze. There were ten teams in the comp, most of them professional chefs. We actually came second, as the winners only won silver”. Tua acknowledges his mother as being his inspiration to become a chef. “I always had a good feeling when I cooked at home with my mother - traditional cooking style - that is why I became a chef. “I really like doing fish dishes, especially using traditional style of cooking that is

Footnote: Later this year Tua will compete in Frankfurt in the ‘Chaine des Rotisseurs Chef of the World Competitions in Frankfurt 2017’ against twenty international chefs in a prestigious and high level competition for ‘Young Chefs in the World’. Good luck Tua!

OTB (On the Beach) Bar & Restaurant

underground or just steaming it in rocks, or putting the fish on the live fire. Personally, I like small fish like parrotfish and trevally. I like fish and all the traditional foods like taro’” From Salsa Café Tua moved to The Islander Hotel when they first opened three years ago. “I worked there for a year, then I went to Atiu for a year where I have some relatives. Tumunu is good fun there. When I returned, I went back to Salsa Café. The owners, Gerrard and Erika, introduced me to Sue Welsh at Saltwater Café and I ended up working for her for a year. “For me cooking for somebody, giving them a good meal and making them happy, makes me feel proud. “Competitions are important too because I like to challenge myself, to test what I have been training on.” Tua has been a paid chef now for five years, but during the interview he revealed another goal. “My dream as a boy was actually to be a pilot. My love of flying started when I was little travelling on planes from Puka Puka. I still dream to be a pilot one day.” But in immediate future Tua said he would like to be able teach young people what he knows. “I’d also like to travel to get more experience. I’d like to go to Asia to see their different techniques. Maybe then come back to New Zealand to work, and maybe also study to be a pilot!”


12 6 5








24 7


Ngmatua (Tua) Ngaro Tariau, 2017 Young Chef of the Nation

1 20 22 13 14 3


25 9 27







18 32 11 MURI 15 16 31


28 17 30

Venue details in following centre-spread 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

Alberto’s Restaurant Anchorage Restaurant & Bar On the Beach (OTB) Restaurant & Bar The Café Salsa Café Bite Time Café Crusoe’s Restaurant & Wilson’s Bar Coco Putt Bistro & Bar Islander Restaurant & Hula Bar Kikau Hut Restaurant La Casita Café Body Fuel Café Flambé Restaurant Oceans Restaurant & Bar The Rickshaw Café Sails Restaurant & iSOBAR Kaingavai Water Garden Tea House & Vegetarian Eatery Silver Sands Restaurant & Bar Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar Spaghetti Pizzeria & Grill Tamarind House Restaurant The Tumunu Restaurant & Bar Vaima on the Beach The Waterline Restaurant & Bar Café Jireh The Yellow Hibiscus Restaurant Le Rendez-Vous Café & Bistro Saltwater Café Whale & Wildlife Café Charlie’s Café & Beach Hire Deli-Licious Café Te Vara Nui Cultural Village



D I N I N G & E N T E R TA I N M E N T


G u ide




For locality of eating & drinking places

Alberto’s Restaurant

Anchorage Restaurant & Bar

Bite Time Café

Body Fuel Café

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.

Located at the Sunset Resort in Arorangi, The Anchorage Restaurant & Bar is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Happy Hour is daily from 4pm in the lounge bar, and live music is performed on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evenings.

Sushi. Smoothies. Juices. Fresh sushi, tropical & healthy juice & smoothie blends. Plus, homebaked cabinet food. Locally roasted, fair trade espresso coffee and cold pressed turmeric. Lattes. Located next to the playground, Punganui Market, Avarua. Open Mon to Sat from 6am.

T: 23 597 or 55 725 E:

T: 23 004 E:

Fresh. Fish. Café. Our fish come straight from our boat and on to your plate! Ika Mata, sashimi, seafood platters, wraps and sandwiches, and more! Plus, try our ‘all day’ bacon & egg breakfast for only $13. Open Monday to Saturday 8am - 4pm; late night Tuesday & Friday until 9pm. Located next to the playground, Punganui Market, Avarua.

Deli-Licious Café

Flambé Restaurant

Located on the main road in Muri, check out our ‘all-day’ breakfast menu and join us for awesome coffee, friendly service and great home-style cooking. Try our custard square and cheesecakelocal favourites. Open Sunday-Friday 7.30am3.00pm. Wi-Fi available.

Fine dining in Rarotonga. An exciting menu focused on the legend of the demi-god Maui and the origins of fire to the Cook Islands. Exudes ambiance and style. Alfresco dining and bar, plus air-conditioned inside dining. Open for dinner only. Fire Dance Show every Friday and Saturday night. Closed Sunday & Monday. Patrons 16 years +

T: 20 858 Check us out on Facebook

OTB (On the Beach) Restaurant Beachfront dining OTB at the Manuia Beach Resort is enhanced by the restaurant’s Cook Islands-style sandy floor, kikau-thatched roof and Polynesian-inspired menu. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, OTB also features daily happy hour, Sunday night BBQ Buffet, and live music Sunday and Wednesday. T: 22 461 • E:

T: 23 577

T: 23 575

Islander Restaurant & Hula Bar

Kaingavai Water Garden Tea House & Vegetarian Eatery

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.

‘Love at first bite.’ Delicious, nutritious, nourishing whole foods + a range of organic herbal infusions and teas. Situated amongst tranquil gardens overlooking pond, near the CICC church in Titikaveka, the Kaingavai Water Garden/Teahouse offers a delectable range of vegetarian and vegan foods lovingly prepared by a serious foodie.

T: 23 953 (Crown Beach Resort) E:

T: 21 003 E:

Rickshaw Café

Sails Restaurant & iSOBAR

Salsa Café

Located on the main road in Muri village, The Rickshaw Café is a casual Asian street-style café that serves Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese, Malaysian and Thai cuisine. Bookings recommended. Open from 5.30pm.

Sails Restaurant & iSOBAR on Muri Beach is open seven days from 9.00am until late, offering Pacific cuisine and lagoon views. Located overlooking the beach and lagoon, Sails offers indoor and outdoor dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Occasions such as weddings, receptions, corporate events and private parties are a speciality. T: 27 349 E:

Popular bistro & meeting place. All-day breakfast and lunch. Serving a wide range of fresh ‘n’ healthy options as well as homemade breads and wood fired pizzas. Open 7.30am–3.00pm, Mon– Fri, 7.30am -2.00pm on Sat. Downtown Avarua, next to CITC Shopping Centre & Pharmacy. Punanga Nui Market within walking distance.

The Waterline Restaurant & Beach Bar

T: 22 232 or 75 449 E:

Tamarind House

The Café

The New Place Café

Tamarind House Restaurant & Bar is located in a restored colonial house set on 2.5 acres of lawns adjacent to the beach at Tupapa, just three minutes from Avarua. We offer a stunning location and the finest of cuisine, wine and beverages. Open for lunch Thursday and Friday from 11.30am, and for dinner Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm. T: 26 487 E:

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:

Situated on the main road in Avarua, next to Goldmine, the New Place is a spacious, under-cover, open-air café/eatery offering the best of fresh tropical cuisine with prompt and friendly service. Popular with locals and visitors, the diverse, visually exciting menu will not disappoint. Relaxed atmosphere and lovely surroundings. Open 7.30am –11.30pm. T: 22 279

T: 55 145

T: 22 215 E:

The Waterline Restaurant & Beach Bar is situated on the sunset coast for relaxed beachside dining. Open Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, diners have a choice of dining on the sand or on the deck looking over the beach. The Waterline Restaurant & Beach Bar also caters for small weddings and functions. T: 22 161 • E:


D I N I N G & E N T E R TA I N M E N T


ide to




Member of Cook Islands Restaurant Association Member of Cook Islands Tourism Industry Accreditation Scheme

Café Jireh

Charlie’s Café & Beach Hire

Coco Putt Bistro & Bar

Crusoe’s Restaurant & Bar

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 and sandwiches, plus cooked meals from bacon & eggs and eggs benedict to island pancakes, ‘Caveman’ and ‘Mega Angus’ burgers. Monday - Friday 7.00am - 3.00pm; Saturday 8.30am - 1.30pm.

Located on Te Akapuao Beach, Titikaveka, Charlie’s offer tasty light meals, lunch, takeaways, coffee and soft drinks. Charlie’s also hires standup paddle-boards, single and tandem kayaks, snorkels, masks and fins. Spend the day with Charlie’s at Te Akapuao Beach!

A 18-Hole Mini Golf course and café off the main road at Aro’a, Coco Putt is also a bistro and bar with Sky Sports, live entertainment & all-day menu. Open 10.00am until late. Golf prices – Adults $12 (includes a free standard drink), Children$5, Students $7, Family Pass $30 (2 adults/2 children).

By the pool or on the beach at the Castaway Resort, Crusoe’s Restaurant and Bar has a themed menu every night and a snack menu. Monday – Pasta night, Tuesday – a la carte, Wednesday – Mexican, Thursday – Pizza, Friday – Seafood, Saturday – Curry, Sunday – BBQ. Happy Hour from 3.00pm- 6.00pm, restaurant from 6.00pm.

T: +682 27 181 E: W:

T: 21 546 E:

T: 24 776

T: 28 055 E:

Kikau Hut Restaurant

La Casita Mexican Café

Le Rendez-Vous Café & Bistro

Oceans Restaurant & Bar

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 Saturdays, and a free transfer service available by prior arrangement.

Located on the main road at Muri village, this Mexican-style ‘street café’ serves a variety of dishes featuring fresh, authentic flavours including Mexican burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, pizzas, and a range of vegetarian options. Fully licensed. Bookings advised. Open from 5.30pm.

Located near Airport. Owners are French as is the cuisine. Freshly made food with local and imported French ingredients, freshly baked pies and pastries & savory French crepes amongst the dishes. Great coffee! The café is open for breakfast/lunch until 2pm, and the restaurant from 6pm. Also open Sundays.

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: 26 860 E:

T: 20 693 E:

T: 26 121 E:

T: 23 953 E:

Saltwater Café

Shipwreck Hut Bar at Aroa Beachside Inn

Silver Sands Restaurant & Bar

Spaghetti House Pizzeria & Grill

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 - BBQ Grill Night. Happy hour is everyday between 4.00pm6.00pm. Located at the Muri Beach Club Hotel.

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 airconditioned Spaghetti House Pizzeria and Grill offers authentic Italian cuisine with a selection of pizzas, pastas and other signature Italian dishes.

T: 23 000 E:

T: 25 441

Enjoy alfresco casual dining while admiring the stunning lagoon view at Titikaveka on Rarotonga’s south coast. Located opposite the beach at the ‘Halfway Mark’, Saltwater Café uses fresh local produce and is open for breakfast and lunch from 9.00am Sunday to Thursday. Relax and enjoy a Lavazza espresso coffee, an icy cold beer or cocktail. T: 20 020

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 ‘jam-jar 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. T: 22 166 E:

Tumunu Restaurant & Bar

Vaima on the Beach

Whale & Wildlife Centre Café

Yellow Hibiscus Restaurant & Bar

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 11am2pm, and dinner 5-9pm, seven days a week, Vaima provide transfers to/from accommodation on request.

Coffee, teas, cold drinks, quiche & salad, pizza bread, snacks, grilled & fresh sandwiches, muffins & coconut slices, and more, are served on an open air, undercover deck. Located on the Back Road, opposite Mike Tavioni Carvings, behind Avatiu Harbour. The café is open 10am4pm Sunday to Friday and most public holidays.

T: 26 123 E:

T: 21 666 or 55 901 to, or 58 727 E:

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:

The oldest restaurant in Rarotonga (38 this year), 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:




What’s going on at Le Rendezvous Café & Bistro?

A great Sunday night out!

Live music from the “Rockin’ Jandals”

Guillaume body boarding in Rarotonga


rench couple Karine and Guillaume Kapfer are into their second year owning and operating the innovative eatery Le Rendezvous Café & Bistro, located on the main road near Rarotonga airport.

Karin in Le Rendez-Vous’ new French store

Everything about the place is French, reflecting their untiring love of French cuisine and all things French. Recently, they added a mini-French store component. "Le Rendez-Vous is now proud to supply to the Cook Islands a fine selection of emblematic French foods. Our customers can now buy a wonderful fish soup from the south of France, some Palets au Beurre (butter cookies), fine jams and even Perrier Sparkling Water. We also have a small selection of French Beauty Products," said Guillaume. Guillaume is keen body board surfer, who gets out when he can to ride some of the South Pacific’s best body boarding waves (one of the reasons his family moved to the Cooks!). T: 26 121 lerendezvousrarotonga/

Kikau Hut: restaurant and menu have great appeal


All Kikau Hut desserts are home made.

ikau Hut coowner and fun guy, Gordon Brown, took over the restaurant in 2015 and has never looked back! Put on the spot, he offered his recommendation for a three-course dinner. “For an entrée, consider Mata’s Scallops, our head chef ’s own design. It’s all about the sauce he creates (including rukau – the leave of the taro plant), and the way he presents them - scallops with the roe on. For a main course, try our ‘Fish of the Day’, Rarotongan-style, maybe mahi mahi, broadbill or tuna - griddled. We don’t coat it; we don’t batter it. We present

“The most popular at the moment is banoffee pie, which is caramel-based and comes with accouterments of cream and fruit”. Kikau Hut specialises in Australian reds and New Zealand whites, plus a noteworthy range of liqueurs and ports.

the fish over cooked banana, served with vegetables with a side salad,” said Gordon.

“We have live music on Mondays and Saturdays. Tane and Rose (Island Groove) on Monday, and the bluesy, jazz music of Katrina on Saturday.” Kikau Hut is located on the main road at Black Rock. Call 26860.


ot only does Rarotonga’s Coco Putt Bar & Bistro have an18-hole mini golf and café (open 10am-10pm except Sat), it is one of the best live entertainment venues on the island. In particular, Sunday nights are special! Owners, Tooks and Megan, call it ‘Muse, Brews and BBQs,’ and a free game of mini-golf is thrown in. For

only $35.00 (half-price for kids), Coco Putt Bar & Bistro (aka Coco Putt Ale House) lay on a magnificent BBQ buffet spread of chicken, steak, fish, salads and desserts. And, the live music just keeps coming! Check out the Coco Putt Facebook page for ‘what’s on’, or give Tooks and Megan a call. T: 27181 or 53331

Tooks introduces the evening

Shipwreck Hut Bar – perfect for that sunset cocktail!


ocated next to the lagoon at Aro’a Beachside Inn, there are few places on Rarotonga that are situated so perfectly to showcase the island’s amazing sunsets. Enjoy

a ‘jam jar’ cocktail, cold beer, bar meal and live music evenings. T: 22166

Vinyl Revival Club at home in The Café


ocated in Avarua’s Beachcomber’s building on the main road, The Café is a unique in that it’s home to the Rarotonga Vinyl Revival Club, whose soundtrack is old, and even new, vinyl records. Select your choice, sit back and enjoy locally roasted espresso, a light meal, homemade cake (and more!). A nice place for a coffee or lunch. T: 21283




Tokerau Jim,

Cook Islands master pearl carver


okerau Jim is a spiritual Cook Islander whose family comes from the island of Manihiki, the heart of the Cook Islands pearl industry. His tribal tattoos and muscular frame seem incongruous with the delicate work he skillfully creates with pearl shells and pearls. He is one of only a few genuine pearl carvers in the world. Today, Tokerau Jim carves black pearls and shells into attractive, affordable works of art. His work is distinctive in that he uses a lot of layering, a technique that gives his designs depth.

Tokerau Jim’s stylish retail shop (Mon-Thu 10am-2pm) is located on the main road at Matavera on the eastern side of Rarotonga, not far from Muri Beach. In addition to the Matavera outlet, Tokerau Jim Designs has a showroom at the Punanga Nui Cultural Market open on Saturday mornings from 8am-midday, where he demonstrates pearl carving and does free name engravings. Tokerau Jim Designs also has an online shop.

Frangipani is a very special flower in the Cook Islands


here is a variety of frangipani found around the Cook Islands; mostly scented white flowers with yellow (sometimes pink) centres.

The owner of Perfumes of Rarotonga, Russianborn Tatiana Burn, said around the November –December period ‘the air in Rarotonga is filled with beautiful scent of Frangipani from many trees growing around the island’. “The flower is often used for head and neck adornments, locally called ‘ei’. Everyone is also proudly wearing flowers in the hair, behind the ear to show the Kia Orana spirit of friendship and welcome to the Cook Islands.

T: 24 305 E:

“At Perfumes of Rarotonga we are capturing the beautiful scent of Frangipani on our locallymade perfumes, soaps, body lotions, shampoo and conditioners, body sprays and body oils – all have delicate scent of frangipani, which will remind you of your special time in Rarotonga”. To view the full range, visit the Perfumes of Rarotonga Factory in Panama near Rarotonga Airport, and next door to Pacific Weave. “Meet our friendly staff; see how the product is made, and experience beautiful scents of our little paradise,” said Tatiana. T: 24238 or 25238

Matutu – the taste of the Cook Islands. Started in 2006 100% locally owned

Amazing beers Made using sustainable practices

No added preservatives All natural ingredients

Handcrafted by E. Newnham & J. Puati

Tours Daily at 12pm and 1pm. Tour only $10. Transport & Tour $15. Free beer tasting on tour. Visit us in Tikioki, Titikaveka. Telephone. 26288. Email.




"Serious about

Half & Full Day Charters Three boats available Shared or Private charters

Big Game Fishing?”

We provide refreshments, snacks, all safety equipment, toilet facilities and use the latest Shimano fishing gear!

Fishing Every Day! Give us a call now...

Ph: +682 55202 A/H: +682 20683 E: Avatiu Wharf, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

A Q&A with Diane Ioapa from Marlin Queen Fishing Charters

Whale & Wildlife Centre

What charter boats do Marlin Queen operate, and what is the capacity of each boat?

W Don’t miss it!



e have 3 boats to choose from - small, medium and large. Our Bertram Marlin Queen takes up to 8 people, the Senator Strike Time up to 5 people and the Stabicraft Bobi Marie up to 4 people. Marlin Queen has two crew members whereas the two smaller boats have only one captain, which means a more ‘hands on’ trip for more serious/experienced anglers.

Do you offer shared and private charters? Yes we do and we do either half days (5 hours) or full days (8 hours)

What time do fishing trips generally depart and return? Boats depart at 7am or 1pm for the half-day charter, and 7am for the full day (8 hours)

What does my fishing trip include?

Where are Marlin Queen boats located?

We provide everything you need including food, water all the fishing gear (Shimano), bait and tackle - you just need to bring hat, camera and sunscreen.

At the western marina of the Avatiu Harbour, in the main town of Avarua. We provide a pickup and drop-off service if needed.

What if it rains?

“We do either half days (5 hours) or full days (8 hours).” What fish are we likely to catch? We target tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo and marlin - and if you want to bring along some of your own gear we can target sport fish like giant trevally

What happens to the fish we catch? We have a ‘share’ catch policy - all anglers on the boat get some delicious fresh, filleted fish to take back to the hotel, or one of the many great local restaurants who we can recommend to cook it for you!

Charters still proceed in the rain - high winds are the main reason we would cancel a charter, which rarely happens.

What is the best way to avoid seasickness? No alcohol the night before (ha-ha!) Our local pharmacies have great remedies for seasickness, so best to pop in there to see what best suits. We have some natural remedies available at the wharf prior to boarding if needed.

What is required to make a booking? Call us anytime on +682 55202 or +682 20683 or you can book directly on our website:

Diving into Paradise Osaka-born Kana Daniel first visited Rarotonga in 2000 on a diving holiday WHEN SHE WAS IN HER 20s. The magnetic attraction of the island drove her return to work, and ultimately get married and have a family here.


ana learned to dive in Japan and would go on diving holidays for her annual leave. “I came here a couple of times before I decided to stay long term. I thought the Cook Islands were beautiful and very welcoming. I felt safe and the people here are so happy,” said Kana. “When I came here for the first time I thought I need to come back here. It felt so comfortable.” “I did a professional diving course with The Dive Centre and before I finished the then owners, Huw and

Sheryl John, asked if I would like to work with them. I became a Dive Master and did an internship. Eventually I worked as an instructor. (Kana is the diver featured in The Dive Centre ad on this page).

“…the people here are so happy,” Kana met her husband Robbie, who is a builder, in 2003 and finished up with The Dive Centre.

Kana & Jiro

“I had a little while not working, then in 2006 worked at Polynesian Rental Cars & Bikes part time at the Edgewater Resort office for ten years. Polynesian then offered me the fulltime marketing and sales position in 2014, following my maternity leave. Her son is called Jiro. Since 2008, Kana has also run her own inbound travel company Kana Travel, exclusively for the Japanese market. No ‘sayonara’ soon for the Cook Islands!




E IS D A R A P IN S E R U T N ADVE Learn to kite surf with KiteSUP

Why is the Raro Reef Sub experience unique?

Learn to kite surf on Muri lagoon. The 2-hour Beginner Course is ideal for people who have always wanted to try kitesurfing. Full introduction of gear setup, safety and basic kite flying skills are covered. You will get a good taste of what the sport is all about and it will leave you wanting more! See KiteSUP Watersport Centre at Muri or call 27877

"It's like diving, but you stay dry." As you leave the harbour, the marine life experiences begin. From the underwater deck view giant trevally, turtles, sharks, puffer fish and coral gardens. In season (Jul-Oct) you can see whales from the main deck. Visit shipwreck RMS Maitai and enjoy great views of Rarotonga. Don’t forget to book. Call 55901 or 55903.

Off-Road with Raro Quad Tours

Glass bottom kayaks, a whole new world!

An action-packed off-road adventure in paradise! A Raro Quad Tour transports you to picturesque deep valleys and lush tropical forests in single driver 4-wheel automatic quad bikes, all accompanied by a local guide. The 2+ hour tours operate Mon - Sat with 8.30am and 12.30pm departures. Maximum seven spaces available each tour. Bookings essential call 23000.

Just when you thought there was no beating a peaceful kayak expedition in a pristine Rarotonga lagoon, they came up with a kayak that allows you to see what’s going on underneath the kayak!

Across Island Track

• 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

• 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

It’s like snorkeling without getting wet! You see the fish, the coral, the lot!

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 |

Muri-based Ariki Adventures, who introduced sea scooters to the island last year, now present another water-based novelty for the ultimate pleasure of visitors - glass bottom kayaks. They even take them out at night with the night SUPs. T: 27955

o tourism at it’s best!


A day out with Koka Lagoon Cruises Involves glass bottom boat cruising Muri Lagoon, including a fish BBQ with tropical salads and in-season fruits on beautiful Motu Koromiri (‘no touching’ island). Koka Lagoon Cruises depart 10am Sunday – Friday, and include hotel transfers (if required), snorkelling equipment, fish BBQ , cordial & water. Onboard ukulele playing and sing-along with the crew (never a dull moment!). Call 27769 or 55769.




Book Review

A true story of Pa, Rarotongan hero and his return journey to Tahiti

Rarotonga's BIGGEST selection of

• Books • Newspapers • Maps • Postcards • Paperbacks • Stationery • Books on the South Pacific

Phone Cards Available Located next to Post Office

Phone 26 660

Pa, one of Cook Islands ‘living treasures’, is a spiritual and dignified man, surrounded by in a serene aura that instantly calms those in his presence.


oday, he is known for his eco tourism cross-Rarotonga treks and nature tours, but in his younger years he was an ocean swimmer who once swam from Moorea to Tahiti in French Polynesia to connect to his ancestors. He was 39 years old when he accomplished the swim in 1985, a distance of 22 km.

“Beautifully expressed and illustrated” Pa and the Dolphins: A true story of Pa, Rarotongan hero and his return journey to Tahiti is an illustrated children’s book

that tells of his great personal adventure and Polynesian spirituality. The story of Pa’s extraordinary swim and his intimate encounter with a pod of dolphins is beautifully expressed and illustrated by his wife, Jillian Sobieska. An authentic souvenir from the Cook Islands, the book can be purchased from the Bounty Bookshop next to the Avarua Post Office.

A new ‘e-way’ to get around Rarotonga In May this year, Tania and Karl from Tik-e Tours, operators of the ever popular electric tuk tuks, introduced a new environmentallyfriendly way to get around Rarotonga… Tik-e Bikes.


ur e-bikes are imported from a New Zealand supplier who designs and manufactures comfortable, functional electric-assist bikes from the best quality components,” said Tania.

“Tik-e Bikes offer three cycling options: cycle as you would on a normal bicycle, pedal assist up to 35kph, or fully electric.” Karl added that Tik-e Bikes are easy going for young and old, and suitable for just about all fitness levels. “You can circumnavigate the island at least twice on one single charge and there are no licence fees!” said Karl. “Just walk in, hire, and in 15 minutes you’re on your way. No paying for fuel as the battery can be easily removed and charged in your room.” Tik-e Bikes are located on the Main Road opposite Crown Beach Resort at Arorangi. When you hire an e-bikes chargers, helmets, and bike locks are supplied. “An e-bike offers a great alternative to really explore our beautiful island at your own pace,” said Tania.

Be captivated and charmed by Cook Island’s only Semi-Submersible Avatiu Harbour 5 min walk (west) from Punanga Nui Market

Ph +682 55901 or +682 55903

“We’ve always thought that people would love to cycle around the island but thought the distance was too much. An e-bike gives riders the confidence that they can do the full circuit with ease, using a combo of cycling, pedal assist, or fully electric.”

Tik-e Bikes: T: 28687 E: Fb: @tikebikesrarotonga

No Licence Fees

“Just walk in, hire, and in 15 minutes you’re on your way.”

Tik- e bikes

Electric bike hire Tours leave 9am, 11am, 2pm and 4pm (sea conditions dependent) Bookings essential for 9am and 4pm tours

Please arrive 10 minutes prior to departure time



INBRIEF Want to know about birdlife in the Cook Islands?

Inspired by an intergalactic personality

hen pop in to the Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre on Ara Metua (Back Road) near Avarua. Sheryl John runs the Bird Rescue Project from there and she is always happy to talk about, and share her knowledge of birds. Sheryl has hand reared a number of young white terns recently who have fallen from their trees (no nests) and become orphaned. You may see at least one of these birds at the Centre. Other birds that have been rescued, fed and released are brown boobies, brown noddies, white headed petrels, red-tail tropic birds, herons, moscove duck, pacific pigeons and fruit doves. Open Sunday-Friday 10am-4pm.

orn in 2007, ilabb Streetwear has established itself as one of New Zealand’s leading fashion brands, specialising in action sports-inspired street wear and collaborative products. The name came about after the minds behind the threads, Seadon Baker and Matt Saunders, had a few ‘beersies’ and became quite inspired by an intergalactic personality named ilabb. What occurred that night has since become ilabb's DNA: collaboration, creativity, innovation and, of course, the intergalactic galaxy. On Rarotonga, Ilabb can only be found at KiteSUP Watersports Centre in Muri. Open Sunday-Friday 9am to 4pm.


White terns, Bart and JJ

T: 21666 E:

A customised range of clutches handmade in the Cook Islands


ake a sewing machine and off-cuts from TAV Pacific Fashions and the very first clutch was made and LuSantials was born, with a little help from Lucile Meyer and Sandrina Thondoo: “We inspire to combine the beauty of the island we have called home, and the need for a memorable souvenir, to create our locally-made purses and clutches. We want to promote the Cook Islands through our products, up cycle off cuts material from local artists and designers”, said Lucile. “LuSantials are handmade in Rarotonga by ourselves, as well as a local mama and Veronica, a deaf lady member of the Cook Islands Women and Girls with Disabilities. Products are available from our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as pop up stores. T: 75334 E:

The ‘Must Stop’ Shop


ivaevae Collectables is a nice little shop for homemakers in Nikao, opposite the Weather Station, offering a collection of traditional style fabric art and other home decor and exterior decorator items. You can’t miss the ‘Shop’ sign that is in the design of a red ‘Stop’ sign on the main road. Check out their bargain tub just inside the door!

T: 24688 E:


T: 27877 E:

‘Must do’ micro-brewery tour


tour of the tiny Matutu Brewery (The Taste of the Cook Islands), near the Fruits of Rarotonga in Tikioki, is an interesting experience, even for non-beer drinkers. The tour takes around 30-40 minutes and several tastings are included! Tours are at 12pm and 1pm, except when the Matutu A-frame on the roadside says otherwise. Costs only $10 ($15 with transport).

T: 26288




I s l and Life

The magnetic Rarotonga bond of three sisters from Hamilton Three girls, born and bred in Hamilton NZ, had no say in coming to Rarotonga in 1978 when their father successfully applied for a specialty job with the Cook Islands Post Office installing the automatic telephone system on a one–year contract.


he Fletcher family girls, Karyn, Sue and Diane, were 13, 11 and 8, when they began their tropical island adventure. That year had an irreversible influence on the family, all who fitted comfortably into the relaxed island lifestyle. Today, the three Fletcher girls are known as Karyn Vinsen, Sue Fletcher-Vea and Diane Ioapa. Looking back, Sue FletcherVea, who today is general manager of the Manuia Beach Resort and the President of the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council, said she appreciated that her father was well suited to the job as a family man with his laid back nature, and ability to get on well with people of all cultures.

enjoyed the golf club. “Dad promised that if he got an eagle he would shout the family dinner at the Beach Hotel on Sunday night, where they had ‘Pig on a stick’. The location of the old Beach Hotel is where

“Family values have always been important to us, which originates from mum and dad, and which is very much in line with the values of the Cook Islands people”.

“Mum and dad were happy that their girls were able to have an opportunity to experience a different culture. We all loved the water, the outdoor lifestyle, and the social life!”

the Manuia Beach Resort is today!

“We went to a school at Avatea, which was the only English-speaking school on the island at that time. There were only two papa‘ā in my class.

The Fletcher family settled into the ‘normal’ lifestyle of New Zealand, but there was always an urge to return.

“Without television here in the 70s, there was a lot of listening to the stereo and dancing to Saturday Night Fever and Grease. “My sisters and I spent a lot of time at the sailing club.” Sue said her mum and dad

“There were tears when we left Rarotonga; that year had changed our lives!”

Sue studied tourism management at university and became a travel agent. Diane had a successful career in the car industry. And, Karyn, a qualified landscape designer, married businessman Richard Vinsen, who was also in the car industry. “I recall Karyn and Richard

L-R: Diane, Sue and Karyn today.

came to me to ask me for ideas about where to take an two or three months extended break from NZ with their young kids and I said: ‘Why not Rarotonga?’ That was eighteen years ago. “Karyn and Richard loved it so much they worked out a way so they could stay. They ended up buying Hogan’s, which was a gas station with rental bikes. Richard went into partnership with Dennis Hogan, a local. That business grew to be a much bigger business, Island Car & Bike Hire, which occupies the original site in Arorangi”. Sue has been married to Tongan, Tom Vea, for twenty years. “I met Tom in Tonga. He was an engineer in the navy. We moved to NZ. He is a pretty good rugby player and a keen fisherman who loves the water. We started to visit Karyn and Richard in Rarotonga the first time about fifteen years ago.

Manuia Beach Resort

“We too loved the lifestyle. Each time our holiday became longer and longer, until in 2005 we knew we wanted to live here permanently. That is when we went into partnership with Richard and Karyn to buy Puaikura Reef Lodges”. Sue and Tom ran Puaikura Reef Lodges for nine years. The property was sold two years ago and is now known as The Black Pearl of Puaikura. All the time this was happening, sister Diane was back in New Zealand still in the car industry. And, she too was visiting Rarotonga on a regular basis.

Island Car & Bike Hire

“When we were all together we enjoyed some awesome family holidays. Diane loved it here too and visited often with her kids,” said Sue.

Diane applied for a job at the Motor Centre as sales manager: “Diane took up the opportunity to be close to us. She was soon promoted to GM and really enjoyed the job.” Around this time Diane met a local man called Junior Ioapa, a well-known fisherman. They now have a child Teane who is six. Diane had three boys from her first marriage, Nick, Jeremy and Liam. “Tom and I have Ruby and Lily, and Karyn and Richard have Anna and Thomas - makes for awesome family gatherings!” Diane and Junior went to New Zealand for a year, and bought a fishing boat, The Marlin Queen. That was seven years ago. They subsequently leased another boat, the Bobi Marie, to support the growing demand for the fishing and charter business.

Sue's husband Tom on the Marlin Queen

“They recently brought in The Clansman, which is a bigger boat; versatile too, catering for fishing, parties, group events, sunset and dinner cruises”. Diane also runs Bite Time Café and Body Fuel Café at the Punanga Nui Market.

was coming on to the market. We prepared for the event and when it came on the market we submitted a successful tender. We took over in 2012. We refurbished and rebranded – before it was called Manuia Beach Boutique Hotel. Since then we haven’t looked back”.

“As a family, we have always loved the Manuia Beach Resort.

“Karyn worked hard on managing the refurbishment and redesigning the garden. Being a qualified landscape designer and artist she had a feeling the Manuia Beach Resort garden could be really something, and today it is!”

“Seven years ago, Manuia Beach Resort looked like it

It took many years, but the Fletcher girls all reconnected

Karyn and Richard now spend a lot of time travelling. They have two bases, here and in Auckland.

with Rarotonga, their childhood dream island. Forty years on, Sue has returned to the place she loved so much as a child, the old Beach Hotel. She is now the general manager of the Manuia Beach Hotel in the exact same location. “Mum and dad visit Rarotonga often. We are a close family, not just the three sisters, but our kids are also very close. “Family values have always been important to us, which originates from mum and dad, and which is very much in line with the values of the Cook Islands people”.




Stay a while in


Famous for its vast blue lagoon and palm-fringed beaches, Aitutaki is more peaceful and less crowded than Rarotonga.

Image credit: Zhang Da Qiang


nly a forty five-minute flight from Rarotonga, Aitutaki is a peaceful little island paradise with lots to do…or nothing to do! The ‘lots’ include snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing, game and bone fishing, eating and drinking! The ‘nothing’

involves peace and quiet, relaxation and rejunination. Enjoy a combination of both!

Cook Islands, and some of the biggest banyan trees.

Aitutaki has a population of around 2000 and no dogs! The island was the first of the Cook Islands to embrace Christianity back in the early 1800s and it has the oldest church the

If you can’t stay a while in Aitutaki go for the day! Air Rarotonga’s Day Tour is a ‘great day out’ option for those who are only in the Cooks for a week or so.


ir Rarotonga’s inclusive Aitutaki Day Tour operates Mondays to Saturdays departing at 8.00am, returning by 5.30 pm.

Only 45 min utes

to Aitutaki wit

h Air Rarotonga

On arrival you are taken on a onehour island tour by 'le truck'. This is followed by the Vaka Cruise aboard the 21m vaka (catamaran), Titi-ai-Tonga, which offers comfortable seating and deck sun loungers. There is time for snorkeling, swimming and beachcombing on the little islands in the lagoon, working up an appetite for a barbecue lunch cooked on board. Included in the Aitutaki Day Tour price of NZ$493.00 (including VAT) per person: • Pick up/drop off from/to your accommodation on Rarotonga. • Return flights from Rarotonga to Aitutaki. • The Aitutaki Island Tour. • The Vaka Lagoon Cruise with stops on islands in the lagoon. • Snorkeling equipment and towels. • BBQ lunch, tea, coffee and water.

Book with the Air Rarotonga Tour Desk at Rarotonga International Airport or call 22 888 seven days a week. Enquire by email at or visit

Te Vaka Cruise in Ai tut

aki lagoon .

Ima ge cred it: Dav id Kirk


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:




YES, we do it all. Let my husband

I take you out on one Aand great day out! of our Personalised Charters.

CK PEARL A L B 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.

All Charters include, transfers, breakfast or lunch, hot and cold drinks, towels, snorkelling equipment, etc. Certificate of Excellence

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:

Blue Lagoon Restaurant & Bar +682 31009

Ph. [682] 31 810 Fax. [682] 31 816 A I T U TA K I • C O O K I S L A N D S



Wet & Wild in Aitutaki – too much fun! A chat with Quinton Schofield, operator of the locally owned Aitutaki adventure business Wet & Wild. Tell us about your connection to Aitutaki


y connection to Aitutaki comes from my mother and her Aitutaki bloodline. Even though she grew up in New Zealand, it was her dream to come to Aitutaki and live. My father is from Australia, where I was born and grew up. They met living and working in New Zealand, then moved to Australia, and then Aitutaki. It’s great to have family and friends everywhere. I enjoy the best of three different worlds. I have been here for 19 years now.

Why and when did you start Wet & Wild? I started Wet & Wild a few years after I moved here. I used to help out Dad with building the bungalows at Ranginui’s Retreat in Ootu Beach, where our land is, and where we live. It was Mum’s dream for the family to move back to the Aitutaki together and build this place. We are happy she got her dream before she passed away, which is why on the front of the sign at Ranginui’s Retreat it says Moe Moe a Moana (Moana’s Dream).

I’d think to myself: “Man,

“One of the best things about living in Aitutaki is the freedom”

One time comes to mind: we were out fishing, casting for GTs (Giant Trevally) and hooked up on a monster. The guy reeling in the fish got so tired he ended up laying on the deck on his back with his feet up on the side of the boat, and the rod poking out the top of the boat while still fighting this huge GT. I have never seen anyone fight a fish like that before. Not sure I ever will again unless, he comes back (ha-ha!)

The first two years of the business, I would take people swimming with the dolphins every morning as part of my cruise, and would take ten on board. At the time there was no-one advertising private charters, so people started asking me for them and after a while I just went with it, so now I mainly just do private charters.

activities for tourist to enjoy. Now I do all the things I love to do, and I make a living from the business! It was difficult at the beginning. We opened and closed the business a couple of times, as it was not yet the time of the tourist boom we had all been waiting for.

Tell us about what visitors can do with Wet & Wild

On the weekends, when Mum was alive, I’d go out on the Quinton and Quinton Jr cruise boats that were operating at the time: Bishops, Paradise Island and Kit Kat cruises. I loved the job and life the crew had working on the best lagoon in the world: every day snorkeling, swimming with the fish and turtles, and visiting the motus (little islands).

Have you had any humorous experiences with clients of Wet & Wild?

Do visitors want private charters or do they ask to share a day out?

I wish I could do that for a permanent job”. Then a light went on in my head: “You can do that! But, what can I do to set myself a part from the rest”. In Australia, Dad had taken us fishing, hunting and camping. We grew up in and on the water. So I decided I wanted to blend everything in together fishing, water sports, with the beauty the lagoon had to offer. There were only two commercial fishing boat operators at the time, Foxy Lady and Baxter’s fishing boats. There was plenty of room to introduce more


opportunity, is swimming with the humpback whales while snorkeling along the drop off of the outer reef.

We’re into whale watching season. Does Aitutaki get its share of passing whales? We have some of the best whale seasons here in Aitutaki. When they are here, we head out each day and have up to a

90% sighting rate! Aitutaki is pretty much their destination. They are not just passing by. They stay for a few months with their calves, always playing and having fun. In the past, we have been really lucky to be able to swim next to these beautiful animals - an amazing lifetime experience - though it is important to be safe and have respect for the whales.

What do you like most about living in Aitutaki and running Wet & Wild? One of the best things about living in Aitutaki is the freedom. Having Wet & Wild allows me to do all the things I love, and I get to share amazing experiences with the world, through visitors! For more: +682 31651

Visitors can do just about everything with us including deep-sea fishing, spear fishing, kite boarding, wake boarding, water skiing, tube riding, snorkeling, island hopping, sightseeing and whale watching. And, we provide a water taxi service. Anything to do with water and a boat, that’s us! All things Wet and Wild!

What makes enjoying the lagoon and ocean around Aitutaki so special? The best thing about Aitutaki is that is a long way from the rest of the world. It is a beautiful and remote place, with one of the most beautiful lagoons on the planet. When visitors leave, they say: “Oh well, it’s time to go back to the real world!” But I think they all have it wrong. I think that this is the real world, and this is the lifestyle we should all have, and this is how it should be. For me, Aitutaki is the best place in the world!

What is the most ‘ask for’ water experience in Aitutaki? Because we cater for so many activities and options, clients often try everything they can in the time they have on the island. But, probably the best ‘lifetime experience’ for those clients who have the

Kite Surng Tube Riding Water Skiingg Wake Boarding ing Snorkelling Boat Charters rs Deep Sea Fishing Spear Fishing Water Taxi Whale Watching (seasonal) Beachfront accommodation

E: T: 31651, 56558 or 75980




Ori, koni, ura, kapa?

Cook Islands Dance, what is it? by Jean Mason, Curator, Museum Cook Islands.


here are several names in Cook Islands Maori for 'dance', the most popular of the expressive arts. Ura, the word commonly used today, is thought to derive from hura or mehura, the old Tahitian words for dance, or hula, the Hawaiian word. Older folk say it used to be kapa which is still used to describe ‘action songs’. There is: kapa rima (dance using hands); kapa rakau (stick dance); kapa rore (stilt dance); kapa pi'a (box dance); kapa a' i (fire dance), and others. Although, as Captain James Cook discovered when he travelled with Omai, there are striking similarities between the languages of Hawaii, Tahiti, the Cook Islands and New Zealand that oddly does not extend to the words for dance, which varies even between the islands of the Cook Islands. On the island of Mauke it is ori, Aitutaki koni, Atiu ' ingo, Penrhyn kosaki, and Manihiki hupahupa despite striking similarities in the styles of dance and drumming. In Tahiti it is upaupa and ori, for the New Zealand Maori, kanikani. An early missionary to the southern Cook Islands, William Wyat Gill, noted, "Their great national amusement was the dance. In this singular performance the joints seem to be loose. I do not believe it possible for any European to move the limbs as a Polynesian loves to do. At a very early age mothers carefully oil the hands, &c, and then knead the tiny limbs, stretching and "cracking" each joint.” However although the dance of today is evocative the performances at the time when the Europeans arrived were decidedly lascivious. Gill politely wrote, “Respecting the morality of their dances, the less said the better; but the "upaupa" dance, introduced from Tahiti, is obscene indeed." (W. W. Gill 1893, reprinted in Cook Islands Custom, 1979). There was also something of a ‘coming of age’ associated with dancing. At maturity, aged around 14, a young woman was "... expected to make her debut by taking part in the next grand dance. The greatest

requisites of a Polynesian beauty are to be fat and as fair as their dusky skins will permit. To insure this, favourite children in good families, whether boys or girls, were regularly fattened and imprisoned till nightfall, when a little gentle exercise was permitted. If refractory, the guardian would even whip the culprit for not eating more, calling out, "Shall I not be put to shame to see you so slim in the dance?" These dances invariably took place in the open air, by torchlight." (W. W. Wyatt Gill 1893, reprinted in Cook Islands Custom, 1979). Even though the missionaries caused the dancing to become more restrained with the participants wearing rather more clothing than in pre-Christian times, nothing could deprive the Cook Islanders of their love of dancing. As The Otago Witness reporting in 1907, “When a Polynesian gets started dancing he never seems to realise that he was ever meant to do anything else". (Issue 2787, 14 August 1907).

The style of dance in the Cook Islands until about 1970 has been described by the elders (women now in their 80s) as akaparu or akaūkaūka - where the whole body swayed while dancing - quite different from today where the upper body has to remain still and the hips move. We can see this kind of dancing in old films such as Moana Roa (1951) and Drums Across the Lagoon (1960). Women move around freely and synchronisation doesn't appear to be so important (like it is today). Those were the days when dancing was purely for fun or entertainment and not for payment, or for competitive reasons. Also, upon examining the films closely it becomes apparent the hand /finger movements are not as refined as they are now. My generation learned to dance, mainly at school, not in the local village scene dancing socially. It seemed at that point the akaparu style was acceptable in non-formal situations but not so in formal situations. Over time, with the rise of tourism, informal dancing is less common and it has become more the perogative of youth with fewer venues for older people to get up on stage and join in.

Cook Islands Dancers The Cook Islands have always been famous for their vigorous drum dances and graceful action songs. Feature here are dancers from the Cook Islands National Arts Theatre, which won an international reputation in the 1970s. Images by James Siers (1936-2013) from his book Rarotonga published in 1977 by Millwood Press.

(one arm and one leg on opposite sides of the body thrust out in the final move (when the dance finishes). Although these innovations have been around for some years and can feature for just a few seconds during the performance, they still bring immense pleasure to the audience when the moves are executed well.

But if there is one constant in the history of Cook Islands dancing, and one single factor which distinguishes Cook Islands dancing from that of the rest of Polynesia, it is the drumming. To the east drums with a skin covering predominate and to the west the wooden drum is beaten but in the Cook Islands, a central point in the Pacific, a full ensemble of drums from both east and west is present which collectively create a powerful resonating sound. Not surprising then that one the key performances is the ura pa'u (drum dance) which is composed

around a series of beats played on a range of drums which can number up to ten pieces including the tokere, pate, pa'u (double headed skin bass-drum), the pa'u mangō (upright drum like a conga), the ka'ara (a large wooden drum used mainly for ceremonial purposes) and the tini (an empty cabin bread tin and obviously a postEuropean addition which is most prevelant in the northern islands of the Cook group). Both men and women dance this genre. The women perform a fast hip-swinging action from side to side and the men a scissor-like flapping of the legs in time to the beat. The drum dance is usually fast and the actions of the dancers short and rhythmic with the dance often culminating in a dramatic finish. Some unusual features of the drum dance which can increase audience appreciation include the gymnasticlike limbo move (bending right back); ura totoro (dancing/walking while crouched close to the floor), 'foursquare' (a jerky movement where a 'square' is formed with the hips), the 'cobra' (a snakelike movement from the waist down through the lower body said to be an influence from Bollywood), and the 'Hollywood'

Costume is also important. The dance skirt for both sexes is made from kiri'au (beach hibiscus) bast which has been cured in salt water for up to three weeks, and then dried, stripped and dyed. Flowers, shells, feathers and seeds are used to decorate the titi or overskirt which goes over the purau or pareu kiri'au (dance skirt). Women wear the coconut bra, being an influence from Tahiti in the 1980s. Prior to this kiri'au bras, shell or seed decorated cloth bras were worn, as were bras of pareu fabric, or other cloth. The bustle at the back of the woman's dance skirt is an innovation since the mid-1990s. Costumes are more sophisticated now than in the past due in to the introduction of dance competitions and the increased availability in shops of imported materials used in costume making. Dance has a special place in Cook Islands life. It is a way of entertaining and having fun but it can also have a serious purpose teaching cultural values and to record history. Before the written word came to these islands the history of its people was passed on in stories, chants and dance but even today dancing remains the principle vehicle for the transmission of heritage from one generation to another. See the Dance Costumes of the Cook Islands, Special Exhibition, at Museum Cook Islands, commencing mid-July 2017. Located near the CICC Avarua on road opposite Beachcomber building.





Jackey Tanga was born on Atiu but spent many years in New Zealand and Australia before ‘coming home’ in 2011. Since returning, Jackey has worked at Atiu Villas. Here she shares some insider tips for visitors who want to make the most out of their trip to Atiu.

Enjoy an eco tour with Birdman George

Atiu Island, also known as Enuamanu (land of the birds) lies 187 kilometres northeast of Rarotonga.

Best place to watch the sunrise and the sunset on Atiu.


he best place to watch sunset is Taungaroro beach, and for sunrise - Oneroa beach. Personally, my favourite is watching the sunset at Taunganui Harbour. If you’re watching it from the top where all the tables are, looking across the horizon, you feel small compared to the ocean, and problems seem to fade away.

Best way to get see the island Depends on how long you have on Atiu. If you have more than three days, then I recommend walking or motorbikes. And,

“Everyone is so friendly, that you could say hi to the same person five times today and they will always wave back!”

don't worry; traffic does not exist on Atiu! If you only have two nights, an island Eco tour with Birdman George, or the Island Discovery tour with Marshall is the way to go.

Top ‘must do’ activities One off my favourite ‘must do’ activities is dinner at Kura's Kitchen at Atiu Villas. The bar opens at 6.30pm most nights, and guests and visiting diners mingle and get to know each other in a nice atmosphere. But not only that, they get to meet the locals. There’s Ina (the chef), Mags or Denisha (the chef ’s assistant), Andrew (barman) and me (Jackey, your hostess) Also, it’s a good place to organise tours and learn local knowledge.

Jackey transferring guests from the airport

Best beach experience on the island Best question to ask yourself is, do you want a beach to yourself or not. Our most popular beach is Taungaroro beach, and like most beaches around Atiu it is most likely empty, with no signs of human life. So if you do go to Taungaroro and there is already someone around, you just ask yourself the question: ‘to move or not to move to another beach?’

Best cultural activity(s) for visitors

Caving at Anataketake


The cultural experiences depend on the month you travel to Atiu. For example, in July there is Constitution week (aka Independence week). This is a time where you will witness locals creating costumes, practicing their singing and dancing - a lovely cultural experience. I also love December because it is time when all our families come back to Atiu and hold different functions. You might get invited to celebrations such as weddings and birthdays - a real way to immerse yourself in local family celebrations.

Best fishing experience When going lagoon fishing with Andrew (tour guide) you’ll learn lots of local knowledge, especially if there are other locals around. Andrew takes you to the best places to go fishing. It’s always a nice experience going with the locals, often you’ll see children learning how to fish from their parents.

Best long walk on the island If you have 4-5 spare hours, the best walk is from Matai beach to Orovaru (Captain Cook’s Landing). Matai beach

is about 30 minutes from Atiu Villas. The walk from Matai and onwards is quiet and peaceful. Secluded, but not lonely, the walk experience is tranquility in itself. The roads are shaded most of the way so getting a sunburn is not possible. And, most likely, there is not a person around, except wildlife. Most of the area is a conservation site. Don’t forget to take a bottle of water, mosquito repellants, camera, and if you want a rest and a swim, there’s plenty of beaches to have a picnic on.

Best place (s) to meet the locals The tumunu. Best place to meet people, but also learn about the traditional method of brewing beer. Because everyone’s tongues are loose, thanks to the brew, it is very easy to learn new things about Atiu. Local gossip is what most people would call it.

Something interesting about Atiu that all visitors should know Everyone is so friendly, that you could say hi to the same person five times today and they will always wave back!

Don’t leave Atiu without ... Trying the island night. If you can organise an island night for more than 10 people, then it is on. The island nights are a way for you to see young kids dancing but also enjoying themselves. And the elders singing and playing their instruments. More information:

Cook Islands specialists for inter-island packages, local tours and activities Foreign Exchange and Money Transfers A one-stop shop with personalised service


Your hosts Roger and Kura will make your stay an exciting adventure Phone: (682) 33 777 | Email: On-line bookings at - Free email & internet For more information on Atiu Island visit






Going to the Punanga Nui Market on Saturday mornings in Rarotonga is quite a tradition for both locals and visitors.


ocated on the waterfront next to Avarua near the wharves, the Punanga Nui ‘Cultural’ Market is a must do for visitors as it is a fair representation of life in the Cook Islands; even outer islands such as Mangaia operate a retail hut.

The cultural show features young dancing talent

There is a friendly Polynesian atmosphere around the market place with lots of people browsing the shops and stalls, enjoying a bite to eat and drink in the cafés, and enjoying the free mid-morning cultural performance that highlights future dancing talent. You can buy just about everything from fruits and vegetables, herbs and fresh flowers, pearls and pearl carvings (look out for Tokerau Jim Pearl Carvings), tee-shirts and pareu, art and prints, fish and honey, and many other assorted Rito Cook Islands has its own hut

products including local health & beauty products such as Rito Cook Islands. Many tourism operators are present on Saturday too offering visitors the opportunity to check out what is on offer, particularly with adventure and entertainment activities. Whilst the market is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm, Saturday is the main market day with all the stalls, shops and huts occupied. The market closes by 2pm on Saturday. T: +682 29 370 E: Smoothies are abundant

t y the m arke Locals enjo visitors as m uch as

Many tourism operators are present at the Market on Saturdays Pearl Carver Tokerau Jim demonstrates his work

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.

Adventure Cook Islands Air Rarotonga Alberto’s Restaurant Anchorage Restaurant & Bar Ariki Adventures Bite Time Café Body Fuel Café Ariki Adventures Atiu Villas & Kura’s Kitchen Avaiki Cook Islands Pearls Boat Shed Restaurant & Bar Bishops Cruises Black Pearl Charters Blossom at id.CK Blue Lagoon Restaurant & Bar Café Jireh Captain Tama’s Lagoon Cruizes Charlie’s Café & Beach Hire CIPS CIPS Electronics/Jaycar Coco Putt Bistro & Bar Cook’s Fudge Factory Crusoe’s Restaurant & Bar Deli-Licious Café Dive Aitutaki Dive Centre Edgewater Resort & Spa Factory Outlet Farm Direct Pearls FEXCO Money Exchange Flambé Restaurant Goldmine Good Life Highland Paradise Centre Id.CK Island Car & Bike Hire Islander Hotel & Hula Bar Jetsave Travel Kaingavai Water Garden Tea House & Vegetarian Eatery Kikau Hut Restaurant KiteSup Watersports Koka Lagoon Cruises La Casita Café Le Rendez-Vous Café & Bistro Love a Little Pearl Marlin Queen Fishing Charters Matutu Brewery Moana Gems & Art Gallery Oceans Restaurant & Bar OTB Restaurant & Bar Pa’s Treks Pacific Weave Perfumes of Rarotonga Polynesian Rentals Popoara Rentals Raro Quad & Buggy Tours Raro Reef Sub Eco Tours Rarotonga Rentals Rickshaw Café Muri Rito Cook Islands Rumours Waterfall Spa Sails Restaurant & iSOBAR Salsa Café Saltwater Café Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar Silver Sands Restaurant & Bar Spa Ariki Spaghetti House Pizzeria & Grill Tamanu Beach Tamarind House T&S ArtworX Te Tika Bioactive CI Oils The Café The New Place The Spa Tik e-Tours Tik e-Bikes Tivaevae Collectables Tokerau Jim Treasure Chest Tumunu Restaurant & Bar Waterline Restaurant & Beach Bar Wet and Wild Aitutaki Whale & Wildlife Centre Vaima on the Beach Restaurant Yellow Hibiscus Restaurant & Bar

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Cook Islands Sun Jul-Dec 2017 edition  

A Cook Islands traveller magazine featuring what to see and do, eat and drink, shopping, news and reviews, and local stories.

Cook Islands Sun Jul-Dec 2017 edition  

A Cook Islands traveller magazine featuring what to see and do, eat and drink, shopping, news and reviews, and local stories.