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ISSUE 27

FREE

The Atoll of Pukapuka Master Artist Island Art Te Maeva Nui Adventures at Sea FIND US ON FACEBOOK: Cook Islands Escape Magazine

www.escapemagazine.travel


One unforgettable Day

“The view of the island from the plane was just spectacular.”

“I think we’d all forgotten how to relax, the cruise fixed that.” “This tour was the highlight of our trip. We loved every minute of it.”

LM/SD 2023017

“Once they found the fish the boys snorkelled for hours.”

Flights depart daily (except Sundays) from Rarotonga Airport at 8.00am. Returns 5.30pm. For more information please call our reservations centre (Mon-Sat) on 22888 or email bookings@airraro.com

www.airraro.com


Aitutaki Cruising, swimming, snorkelling, relaxing over a barbequed relaxing over a barbequed lunch of freshly caught fish lunch of freshly caught fish as you explore Aitutaki’s asbeautiful you explore Aitutaki’s lagoon.

Cruising, swimming, snorkelling,

beautiful lagoon.

AIR RAROTONGA’S DAYTOUR INCLUDES: A I R R A R O T O N G A’ S - Aitutaki DAY T O U Risland I N C Ltour UDES:

THE VAKA CRUISE - Island hopping T H E VA K A C RU I S E - Delicious barbequed lunch • Island hopping served on-board • Delicious barbequed lunch - Complimentary served on-boardtowels and snorkelling equipment • Complimentary towels and - Bathroom facilities snorkelling equipment Round trip facilities airfares from • - Bathroom Rarotonga Round trip airfares from • Aitutaki island tour

Rarotonga

All inclusive costs:

FFROM RO M $493 $459 PPER E R PERSON PERSON

Adults $493 (incl. VAT) Child $246.50 (2-11 yrs) Infants FREE (under 2 years)


CONTENTS Issue 27 July 2018

52

Up front

Tour of the Cook Islands

6 8

10 An introduction to the Cook Islands 22 Rarotonga 80 Aitutaki 86 Atiu 88  Our South Pacific Home – Southern & Northern Group Islands

Introduction Contributors to this issue

Features

74

40 The Atoll of Pukapuka Amelia Borofsky talks about the island and the people of Pukapuka, one of the Northern Cook Islands.

Regulars

46  Beachcomber - from Ruin to Renewal Rachel Smith looks at the history and renewal of the Beachcomber, from when it was built to present days.

12 Art Scene Our writer Joan Gragg talks about her early childhood memories of building a family home.

50 A Rarotongan Art Tour A quick tour of some of the local art galleries on Rarotonga.

16 Book Worms A review of topical authors and their books.

52

A Master Artist Local writer Glenda Tuaine talks to Mike Tavioni about his life and times and his aspirations for artists of the future.

62

Te Maeva Nui 2018 - The Path of the Moon A look at the upcoming annual cultural celebrations that are Te Maeva Nui which are part of the of Cook Islands Constitution celebrations. This year the theme is about the path of the night or the moon and how it influences life in the Cook Islands.

66  Fresh Fruit on Rarotonga A brief look at some of the fresh fruit to be found in and around Rarotonga, and some of their uses. 68 Te Ipukarea Society - Caretakers of the Cooks Read about TIS and their efforts to promote a more environmentally friendly and sustainable society in the Cook Islands. 70 

An Interview with Marc Cameron - A Collector of Stories Tim Meyer sits down in Rarotonga to talk to Marc Cameron, author of the latest Tom Clancy novel about his love for The Cook Islands.

74 Camping on a Cargo Ship Thomas Koteka gives us yet another intriguing insight to days gone by, and his adventures.

Front Cover: Young fishermen in Pukapuka Photo: Amelia Borofsky

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18 What’s in Store? Taking a look in shop windows. 20 Raro Rhythm Read about Kathy Brown a Cook Islander who has played internationally during her career and is now back home, sharing her talent. 28

Island Cuisine We visit local restaurants.

36 Phillip Nordt on Food Learn how to prepare and serve the opah or moonfish as it is also called. 56  Great Places to Stay A guide to some of Rarotonga’s best accommodation. 92 ‘The Bond’ Entertainment Guide The inside story on the best clubs, island shows and nightlife. 96

What’s On? A calendar of events and holidays.

97

Seven Events that you shouldn’t miss Upcoming great events to see and do.


EDITOR'S Note

publisher RD Pacific Publishing Limited editors Margaret and Steve Woulfe design Christina Thiele | Ultimo Group Auckland, New Zealand printed in New Zealand Webstar a division of Blue Star Group (New Zealand) Ltd, Auckland. advertising director Margaret Woulfe regular contributors Glenda Tuaine Joan Gragg Rachel Smith Tim Meyer Amelia Borofsky Rachel Reeves advertising sales Rarotonga Steve Woulfe Phone: (682) 23449 or 57298 Email: advertise@escapecookislands.com distribution Rarotonga Phone: (682) 57512 Email: advertise@escapecookislands.com distribution Aitutaki Annie Bishop Phone: (682) 31009 Email: bishopcruz@aitutaki.net.ck Escape is published bi-annually by RD Pacific Publishing Limited P.O. Box 3010, Rarotonga, Cook Islands Email: advertise@escapecookislands.com All contents of ESCAPE magazine are copyright of RD Pacific Publishing Limited. Any reproduction of any part of this magazine without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

Kia Orana and welcome to the Pacific Paradise of the Cook Islands and issue 27 of Escape magazine. While some of you are sitting on a beach or relaxing by the pool in Rarotonga, Aitutaki or one of the other Cook Islands. Others of you will be reading this, sitting in an Air New Zealand Koru lounge in Auckland or even the Qantas or Strata lounges while waiting to go away on holiday or having picked up a copy from a Flight Centre Expo are planning already where to go and stay while over here. Hopefully this gives you a small taste of what the Cook Islands have to offer. When you are thinking of that next trip away, this is the place to visit. Now we have three airlines flying to Rarotonga – Air New Zealand, Jetstar and Virgin it is easier and more affordable than ever to come over for a week or two or more. With daily flights from New Zealand to Rarotonga and easy connections to Air Rarotonga, all the Cook Islands are in easy reach. In the next 12 months there are lots of events and experiences to be had in the Cooks. From traditional dancing and singing (Te Maeva Nui) to running in the Round Rarotonga Road Race in September - if you dare! Go to the rugby sevens or the netball in November or just go swimming in the blue waters or practise for running around Aitutaki next year in the Aitutaki marathon, there are activities for all the family. For more information on Whats on see pages 92 to 98 or call any of the Cook Island Tourism offices listed on page 98. We have accommodation from high end resorts and hotels to backpackers for the budget conscious to self-catering holiday homes, there is something here for every budget, so check out some of the best places to stay both in Rarotonga and Aitutaki later in this issue. For those who like to dine out we showcase the best of the best restaurants and cafes in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. We hope that everyone finds something to enjoy in this issue and welcome any feedback you may have either via email or on our Facebook page – Cook Islands Escape Magazine. Don’t forget if you are on Facebook to please like our page and follow our page to keep up with events and people in the Cook Islands. Don’t forget to mention Escape magazine when you book or use any of our advertisers as some are offering a discount for name dropping. To all visitors please take this magazine home with you and share with your friends so they too can come and experience our little piece of paradise. And last but not least to Raui Manapori and his wife Mahina and daughter Frances for their hospitality and kindness on our trip to Aitutaki in March, meitaki atupaka. Kia Manuia Margaret & Steve

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T H E WOR L D S BE ST K E P T SE C R ET Our resorts are an independent, character infused family of hotels in our little paradise of the Cook Islands, filled with local, colourful characters who go above and beyond. At Pacific Resort, we believe the magic of travel is in discovering something different. Something local, valuable and authentic. W W W. PAC I F I C R E S O RT.C O M

R AROTONGA ¡ COOK ISLANDS


STAY CONNECTED WITH BLUESKY WHILE IN THE COOK ISLANDS

CONTRIBUTORS Glenda Tuaine

WiFi HOTSPOT For fast internet connections on the go, Check out our Hotspots. There are over 300 Bluesky WiFi HOTSPOTS in Rarotonga and Aitutaki giving you easy internet access to your family, friends and Social Media.

MOBILE Grab a $49 Bluesky VISITOR SIM card. Available from any of our Bluesky Outlets and our Airport Kiosk. Our VISITOR SIM card is preloaded with 3GB of data, 30mins of calling and 300 TXT to anywhere in the world*.

INTERNATIONAL CALLING Get talking with INTERNATIONAL CAPPED CALLING. Our one-hour capped calling rates are some of the best under the Pacific sun. For up to an hour pay $5.00 to call New Zealand and $10.00 to call Australia, Fiji, UK, USA and Canada.

Visit us at any of our Bluesky Outlets in Rarotonga and Aitutaki

Glenda has lived in Rarotonga since 2005 when she returned to be the Marketing Director for Cook Islands Tourism after working in the New Zealand Arts industry as a Festival Director, Producer, Writer, sometime Radio and TV Presenter and all round arts advocate. Now Glenda and her husband Mo run the successful creative company Motone focusing on Music and Performing Arts development in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. Glenda is of Aitutaki and Rarotongan descent and when not working on a myriad of projects can be found at the beach with her daughter Ruby and dog Nemo.

Tim Meyer Tim has lived in the Cook Islands for a number of years, working in diving and resort management in Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Manihiki. He is an ocean enthusiast, father, husband, gardener and over all a man marvelled by the wonders of the South Pacific. In his spare time, Tim enjoys island life with his wife and two children who are both born in Rarotonga. He also writes for the personal family blog azurecoconut.blogspot.com where he shares the adventures of a French/German family exploring the world in an unconventional way.

Dr. Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky Dr. Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky grew up in Pukapuka and Hawai’i and calls Oceania home. A global traveler, she has visited 42 countries, but Pukapuka remains her favorite. She wears hats as a community psychologist, storyteller, mother, and surfer. Her wanting to give back to the Pacific led her to founding www.seaofislandsconsulting.com. She has written for the Atlantic, New Zealand Geographic, and Cook Islands News. She sends a huge Atawai Wolo to all her family and friends who influence her writing and heart.

Rachel Smith Rachel is a freelance writer who has recently returned to live in Rarotonga. It was a love for the relaxed island pace of life, and the beauty and warmth of the Cook Islands and its people, which made it an easy decision to move back after three years of living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her freelance and fiction work has featured in a number of online and print magazines, and she now combines freelance, fiction and policy writing with family life. http://rachelmsmithnz.wix.com/rachel-smith

Joan E Gragg Joan was born in Rarotonga and has lived most of her life in Rarotonga with brief interludes in New Zealand and Australia. In 2010 she graduated with a Masters of Art and Design from AUT. She paints in watercolour and oils and enjoys making sculptures using local materials. Her happy childhood is the subject of much of her writing.

Also Learn our language & culture. Download the Hika Kia Orana app today from the App Store & Google Play store.

8 • ESCAPE

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


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The Cook Islands

15 tiny islands in paradise, that a small nation calls home.

London Berlin Vancouver Rome Beijing

Seoul Tokyo Los Angeles Hong Kong Honalulu

Northern Group

Capetown

Perth

Sydney

Cook Islands Auckland

Southern Group

W

here would someone say, “may you live long,” upon meeting you for the first time, but in the Cook Islands.

The Cook Islands greeting Kia Orana, means exactly that, “may you live long.” It is a unique first gesture of friendship from a special Polynesian people, renown for their hospitality and warmth. It is as if God chose his 15 most precious gems, and then sprinkled them over 2.25 million sq km of the Pacific to become the Cook Islands – an ei (necklace) of islands awaiting to embrace all visitors. All the islands combined make up a land area of just 240 sq km. Each of the ‘gems’ is unlike the other and all have their own special features. From the majestic peaks of Rarotonga to the low-lying untouched coral atolls of the northern islands of Manihiki, Penrhyn, Rakahanga, Pukapuka, Nassau and Suwarrow. The latter, inhabited only by a caretaker and his family, is a popular anchorage for yachts from all over the world. The Southern Cooks is made up of the capital Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mauke, Mitiaro, Manuae, Palmerston and Takutea. Takutea is an uninhabited bird sanctuary and managed by the Atiu Island Council. Manuae is the remaining uninhabited island. Cook Islanders have their own Maori language and each of the populated islands a distinct dialect. It has a population of around

10 • ESCAPE

13,000. The Cooks has been self-governing in free association with New Zealand since 1965. By virtue of that unique relationship, all Cook Islanders hold New Zealand passports. The country is governed by 25-member Parliament elected by universal suffrage. The Cook Islands Parliamentary system is modelled on the Westminster system of Britain. The Queens Representative is Head of State. A House of Ariki (traditional paramount chiefs) counsels and advises government, as does the Koutu Nui, a body of traditional chiefs. This is a delightful Pacific country where the ‘metropolis’ of Rarotonga offers a wide range of activities, accommodation and cuisine and visitors can choose to be as busy as they wish. A short inter-island flight away are the less developed southern group islands each offering something different. Travelling to the isolated northern islands by inter-island flight or boat, one savours a South Pacific rarely seen by outsiders. Due to distance and infrequency of transport there are fewer visitors to the northern group islands. But wherever you turn you see bright tropical colours and movement, whether it is the sway of palms and sea in the trade winds, or dancers entertaining at one of the many nightspots found on Rarotonga and Aitutaki. While you may nearly always hear the ocean, you will always feel the warmth of the people and their tropical paradise. The Cook Islands truly is a slice of heaven.


THE

VAKA

CRUISE 2018 EVENT FORMAT: Cruising Aitutaki’s magnificent lagoon aboard our unique We expect Polynesian-style craft

MANUREVA AQUAFEST Aitutaki 2018

(pending wind conditions)

the week to look like this…

SUNDAY 19 AUGUST: Aitutaki • Welcome briefing for participants and supporters • Final registrations and distributing Manureva Packs (reusable water bottle & straw, event shirt & hat + lots of other cool swag)

This is the cruise you can’t miss …

MONDAY 20 AUGUST: Aitutaki & Motu Tavake • Traditional blessings and Turou (welcome call) A five day international watersports festival; Manureva Aquafest • Official Opening Ceremony is a special experience filled with exhilarating, action packedIsland hopping, Six hours on Aitutaki’s beautiful lagoon. snorkelling, and a delicious barbequed • Boat Towels transfer to Motusnorkelling Tavake watersports, blended with the traditions and on-board culture of thewith Cook bar service. lunch served and • Orientation and Day 1 kiteboarding races start! Islands. equipment are complimentary. Bathroom facilities. TUESDAY 21 AUGUST: Motu Tavake Each year, Manureva Aquafest brings together competitors and • Day 2 of kiteboarding races and potential downwinder supporters from around the South Pacific and beyond to enjoy WEDNESDAY 22 AUGUST: Motu Tavake The Vaka Cruise departs Monday to Saturday at 10am from O’otu and returns at 4pm. the unique conditions of Aitutaki’s stunning lagoon – pristine • Day 3 of kiteboarding Big Air, Expression session aqua blue water, warm and flat, perfect for freestyle, racing and • Night BBQ and party on the beach at: (TBC) big air kitesurfing, as well as stand up paddleboard (SUP) races, THURSDAY 23 AUGUST: Aitutaki swimming and apnea breath challenge. • Join the fun with our local school “Kite Kids” programme at Araura College. This year’s event with a purpose highlights women and youth in sport and the environment. The stunning Miss Cook Islands, Alanna Smith, will be competing, judging the kid’s kite building competition at one of Aitutaki’s schools and providing a powerful environmental message through her work with Te Ipukarea Society.

FRIDAY 24 AUGUST: Aitutaki • Aquafest Day at Aitutaki Village, Ootu Beach – swimming, paddleboarding and apnea breath challenge • Closing Ceremony, Prize Giving.

THE

VAKA Take a Romantic

CRUISE Cruising Aitutaki’s magnificent lagoon aboard our unique Polynesian-style craft

Dinner Cruise on Aitutaki’s Lagoon

This is the cruise you can’t miss … Experience a nostalgic tropical evening dedicated to

Six hours on Aitutaki’s beautiful lagoon. Island hopping, snorkelling, and a delicious barbequed the1950’s worldand famous Coral Route on Aitutaki’s lunch served on-board with bar service. Towels snorkelling fabled lagoon; includes dinner, equipment are complimentary. Bathroom facilities.

drinks & entertainment. This is the cruise for The Vaka Cruise departs Monday to Saturday at 10am from O’otu and returns at 4pm. true romantics.

www.airraro.com

ESCAPE • 11


art scene

our new

Painting and story: Joan Gragg

W

hen we first moved in 1950 to Tutakimoa section 47B. the boundary pegs gave us three quarters of an acre of land six feet below sea level in the village of Tutakimoa. We were very excited about building our own house because we had rented a house in Ruatonga ever since our parents had come to live in Rarotonga from Palmerston Island in 1943. They had married in Rarotonga in March 1941 but moved to Palmerston where our mother was the school teacher. Our oldest sister was born in Palmerston and our father had to be a doctor when our mother had problems giving birth. Dr. Ellison coached him over the radio. He was assisted by the island midwife. By 1950 there were seven kids in our family. Five girls and twin boys. Our father drew plans for the house that reminded him of his childhood home in England but functioned in the opposite

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way. Instead of keeping in warmth it invited cool breezes to freely blow through the house. It was two storied. The upstairs for the kids. The down stairs had a kitchen, sitting room, our parents bedroom, a spare room for a guest and an inside bathroom. Outside stood the pit toilet for emergencies and for housing the garden tools. The steep pitch of the roof did not have to let the snow slip off the roof but allowed torrential rain to flow easily so it could not gather and pool on the roof and cause leaks. It also provided protection from strong winds. On our section were three huge mango trees, six enormous kapock trees, an avocado tree, a lime tree, three breadfruit trees, tall mature coconut trees, wild pistata trees, pawpaw trees and a Brazilian cherry tree, and rampant growing au trees. All towered above the tarapi which is a tall serrated leaf grass that grabs and scratches your skin as you walk past. Under all the lush growth were tons

of coral stones. You could tell that this area had once been at the bottom of a lagoon. We loved it for so many reasons. not least of which was it was ours to enjoy for sixty years. Building materials were not readily available, especially cement so in the tradition of the London Missionary Society churches built in the eighteen hundreds, we made our own umu ngaika, lime pit. A pit was dug in the yard by a bulldozer and the trees in the way of our new house were cut and put into the pit for fire wood. Kapok, pistata, and coconut. Truck loads of coral rocks from the beaches were brought in and baskets full of rocks from our section were gathered by us children and piled on to the fire wood. Our papas from the village helped to gather coral from the beach, which they carried in sacks on their bicycles to the umu ngaika. When the firewood was covered in a huge mound of coral stones, kerosine was poured in gaps around the umu, then dried kikau (a coconut frond) was lit and poked into


Tivaevae Collectables.com the gaps where the kerosine was poured. We watched with anticipation expecting a dramatic explosion because of the fire accelerant addition, which we were never allowed to use around fires. Instead the wood slowly ignited and wisps of smoke appeared and very slowly flames broke the surface of the mound and built into a flaming volcano that burst some coral rocks and spat them out at us. When it flamed fiercely, water was squirted over the inferno to slow the wood from burning too quickly. The burning wood had to be carefully monitored so it did not burn out of control. The umu burned for many days, to us as kids it seemed it burned for many months. In the morning, on the way to school we called in to see how the umu was doing and planned what we could do to make use of this burning crackling inferno. We were not allowed to get too close but fires were part of our lives and we planned to cook something that we could eat. it was not very successful because the long sticks we had to use to get to the heat burned through before any food had time to cook. Our friends helped us gather red matakoviriviri seeds in empty corn beef cans and toast them over the fire on long sticks. When cooked the seeds split and we were rewarded with a nut the size of a very small pea. Often we lost the Matakoviriviri when the stick burned and the can fell into the fire with all the matakoviriviri that had taken hours to gather. After the umu was burned out a pit of white wet hot lime was left. It looked like white icing you could eat with a spoon. Around the edges of the cooled pit where the lime was dry it was powdery and would stick to you when you walked in it. It stuck on your feet and crawled up to your knees after a few steps. In a minute you could be looking like a Momoke ( A legendary albino fairy from the underworld ) all covered in white lime. You soon learned it is not fun to be covered in lime. It eats into your skin and makes you itchy and really stings when it gets into a cut.

We used the lime to plaster our house. The walls were made with gravel and cement that was poured into boxing. Steel rods in the boxing every few feet anchored the walls to the floor and when the walls were the right height and dry they were plastered with lime. We had a very cool house. Lime keeps the walls cool probably because it absorbs moisture. In one area it was always damp. A special feature about our house was it had rounded corners. Where a wall ended at a doorway or a wall butted into another or the wall met the floor there were rounded curves and no sharp right angles. Our roofing iron came from a building that the Union Steamship Company was pulling down. It was thick and heavy and had years of shelter left in it. After the roof was erected Mariana and our Dad and Carry Marsters painted it with silver roof paint. Mariana learned to paint and balance on two by one scaffolding on the steep roof. The rest of us left that chore to her. When we first moved to the house we had a ladder to climb up stairs. As time went by the ladder became less steep until finally a proper staircase was built. For a few years there was no cladding on the sitting room ceiling so we could peep through the floor boards from upstairs and see who our parents visitors were. In those days people often came to visit after they had eaten dinner. We ate early and went to bed early. As we grew older our routine changed and like the umu ngaika our lives evolved into a new existence. We all worked hard at making our house a home.

TRADITIONAL PACIFIC FABRIC ART FOR YOUR HOME

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Playingof the Cardlsands

Cook Is

Novel, unique and appealingly attractive, this deck of cards features 54 art works by Joan Gragg. Joan’s art is influenced by everyday life in the Cook Islands. An ideal gift or souvenir! Available from: Beachcomber Pearl Market Bounty Bookshop • Island Craft • The Gift Shop The little Red Gallery • Perfumes of Rarotonga

See Joan’s artwork at The Furniture Centre

ESCAPE • 13


ADVERTORIAL

Ariki Adventures “T

he Tans will fade, but the memories will last forever” It’s easy to think that Rarotonga is a sleepy little paradise where you can chillax and take some wellearned time out from your hectic lifestyle. However for the more adventurous spirit, Rarotonga is fast becoming an adventure destination. Ariki Holidays is a locally owned and operated family business that has quickly made its presence felt in only three and a half years. Owners Kave & Julie Tamaariki have created a unique business guided by their vision, “A world where everyone shares an Ariki experience” Their values are simple, Innovation, Passion, Power, Strength & Honour. Jules says “We want to create a holiday experience here that we expect when we travel. We love meeting and staying with locals because we get to experience the real magic of the people and the country”. The Ariki Holidays group comprises three distinct elements offering the Ariki experience. Ariki Bungalows offers three fully selfcontained units offering real “value for money” in Muri. Set on Tamaariki family land over-looking Motutapu Islet, each unit accommodates two people and is perfect for couples or friends wanting the personal one-on-one personal approach with locals. Facilities include a recreation area called the “Arenui” (meeting house) where guests can relax, have a drink at the bar or watch a movie. Once a week Jules offers an umu kai or BBQ meal to get to know each other and their 9.4 Guest Rating from Trip Advisor is testament to their personal approach.

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They also offer Yoga & Wellness Retreats and Kiteboarding Clinics as part of a package deal. Ariki Adventures is their outdoor activity company based on Kave’s passion for marine activities and his love of the environment. “After 28 years in the air force I wanted to return home and create life-changing experiences for tourists and locals alike. Our marine environment in Rarotonga is stunning and I wanted to build adventures that show case our environment and our culture”. The range of activities offered include Night Paddling, Kiteboarding School, Yoga and SUP Yoga classes, SUPFit classes, Standup Paddleboard and Glass Bottom Kayak tours. The introduction of Sea Scooter Safari adventures are now their most popular tours. Imagine snorkelling through a coral canyon in the lagoon surrounded by tropical fish, or swimming in the electric blues of the open ocean with reef sharks, moray eels and more, or swimming with our majestic Green and Hawksbill turtles. The Sea Scooters allow the professional Ariki Crew to guide you to where you never thought you could go before. Guest reviews currently rank Ariki Adventures as #2 of 38 outdoor activities in Rarotonga. Ariki’s Shack is Jules & Kave’s Café and is also the adventures Booking Office. Located in Muri, it is the funkiest little Shack on the rock. They are the first to introduce Cold Brewed coffee and tea on the island and have a quality range of cold and hot drinks as well as fresh bagels on offer. From the serene to the adrenaline, Ariki Adventures has something on offer for you. In Rarotonga, Ariki is “where adventure awaits”.


Island Escape Over forty years ago, an Air New Zealand DC10 arrived in Rarotonga carrying a youthful Australian family on the adventure of a lifetime. Disenchanted with the duties of a suburban housewife

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

and never seeing a husband that worked 12-16 hour

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

shifts as an electrical engineer, my mother rebelled and

company evolved to include these stunning newcomers

escaped to the little known islands of the South Pacific with

and became the first local company to specialise in

a friend and mentor.

Black Pearl Jewellery.

Having previously visited Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands,

On the occasion of our 42nd anniversary, I warmly

the duo arrived in Rarotonga. The effect was immediate

welcome you to our Cook Islands Black Pearl Jewellery

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

stores on Rarotonga and Aitutaki to experience a part

Shortly thereafter, and to the chagrin of friends and

of our on-going family adventure.

neighbours, my family abandoned the suburbs of

I also take this opportunity to bid you Kia Orana and

Melbourne for an unknown future on an unknown Island.

welcome to my adopted home.

Since that time, my family has built a company specialising

My name is Ben Bergman, Pearl Jewellery Designer

in Cook Islands Pearls.

and Managing Director of Bergman & Sons,

Relocating to the northern group Island of Penrhyn for 5 years in 1976, my parents collected natural pearls for

Black Pearl Jewellers of the Cook Islands. Kia Manuia.

European and Asian markets.

One Family One Gem One Adventure

Cooks Corner RAROTONGA Pacific Resort AITUTAKI p +682 21 902 e luke@bergmanandsons.com w www.bergmanandsons.com ESCAPE • 15


book worms

Soldiers from the Pacific Howard Weddell The book review is from Dr Andrew Macdonald. Dr Andrew Macdonald is a New Zealand-born author and military historian living in London. He holds a PhD (University of London) in First World War military history. His PhD is in the assessment of military effectiveness in the First World War. He is the author of three books covering the Somme and Passchendaele battles. He is twice published by HarperCollins. The history of World War One is known to many, however the participation of roughly 1000 men from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Samoa and Norfolk Island who joined the New Zealand Army from their tranquil homelands until recently has faded into forgotten history. These Islanders served — whether as individuals or part of a Pacific Islandsrecruited unit — on the inhospitable

16 • ESCAPE

escarpment of Gallipoli, industrialised killing fields of Western Europe and also in Egypt and Palestine. One-hundred-andseven lost their lives to disease or enemy action, 73 were wounded and a further three were prisoners. Until now little of note has been written of their military service 1914—1918, its origins and, indeed, their personal stories.

So it is that we can follow the story of soldiers from the Pacific Island through the politics and practicalities of recruitment through to their return home after hostilities. They played their part in the big Western Front battles of the Somme and Passchendaele, and also in Egypt and Palestine and participating in the multiple engagements of Gaza.

Howard Weddell’s first and muchanticipated book, Soldiers from the Pacific: The Story of Pacific Island Soldiers in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in World War One, handsomely addresses all of these matters. In timing this tome fits nicely with the centenary commemorations of the First World War; in practice the research and writing began more than a decade ago as a labour of love that has consumed much of Howard’s time on weekends and in evenings. Through its pages the reader will spy the author’s eye for fine detail, a bent to examine his subject area fully, a careful and even-handed approach to analysis, as well as empathy for the men and their ordeals. At least some of this will be linked to Howard’s own career as a now-retired officer in the New Zealand Army. He has overcome a dearth of eyewitness accounts from communities that pass history orally from one generation to the next, but nonetheless succeeded in producing a compelling digest.

Such battles are only one part of a much bigger story. Howard has spent a good amount of attention to addressing the subjects of disease, death, discipline and diet throughout, along with many other fascinating points that have been unearthed over 12 years of research studying military personnel files, war diaries and other official documents. Few historians go to this length; fewer still manage to make it interesting reading. What we have in Howard’s book is a topto-bottom account of Pacific soldiers in the NZEF, adding a fresh dimension to the existing pool of literature about that formation. It has the added bonus of being the first of a kind for Pacific Island communities and also the great and greatgreat grandchildren of those who sailed off for a great adventure. It is not at all going too far to describe this book as ground breaking and a long-overdue addition to the historiography of the First World War.

Anyone who has visited Rarotonga must surely have observed that country’s links to the First World War. Zip around its coastal ring road on a scooter and there is plenty of evidence to be seen, most commonly in the form of returned servicemen’s headstones and other memorials. The timeless stories of these men — some hailed as heroes, others as so-called characters and more still anonymous to the pages history — and others who served alongside them, are outlined in detail.

This book can be purchased via: www.soldiersfromthepacific.com


Cook Islands Art & Architecture Rod Dixon, Linda Crowl and Marjorie Crocombe Already acclaimed as a Cook Islands taonga or treasure, this richly illustrated 485 page book provides visitors with a colourful and comprehensive account of the traditional and contemporary arts and heritage of the Cook Islands. The book’s 21 essays have been written by Cook Islands artists, choreographers, performers and academics, encompassing local dance, drumming, fashion, painting, quilting, carving, weaving, tapa making, theatre, as well as architectural practice. A central argument of the book is the contrast between the specialized and individualistic nature of western art production and the ‘grass roots’ collectivist nature of Cook Islands art works. While Cook Islands visual and performance art is often inspired by a single ta‘unga or expert, its final form depends on improvisation and elaboration by a large group of artists and performers working collectively. This is best seen in the production of tivaivai, in dance and dramatic performance and in choral music where an individual idea is taken up and elaborated by an ensemble of artists or performers. Even the most contemporary Cook Islands artists, working in modern media, including photography and painting, are often -consciously or unconsciously - drawn back to collaborations with their local communities, ensuing a strong ‘grass roots’ involvement in what - in other countries – has contrarily become an elite pursuit.

Published in early 2016, Cook Islands Art and Architecture is notable not only for its extensive illustrations and analyses of Cook Islands drumming, dance, carving, crafts, painting and architecture but also for its own striking design reflecting the colours and motifs of these most colourful and creative islands. Available from the University of the South Pacific (Cook Islands), or order online at http://au.blurb.com/b/6956145-cookislands-art-and-architecture

Pa and the Dolphins Jillian Sobieska A True Story of Pa, Rarotongan Hero and his Journey to Tahiti This spellbinding tale of one of Rarotonga’s most loved characters (the same Pa that escorts you on the Cross Island Walk) will delight children and adults alike. Well written and beautifully illustrated by Jillian Sobieska, a renowned Cook Islands artist, it tells the true story of Pa swimming in Tahiti and being hassled by a shark. Believing his life to be in danger he prayed for help – and was rescued by dolphins. Well that’s enough detail… do buy the book, its a little treasure. Available from Jillian Sobieska: Tel 21079, or Bounty Bookshop

ESCAPE • 17


what's in store New Design from Bergman & Sons, Cook Islands Black Pearl and Diamond Earrings in 18ct Yellow Gold Cage settings. Call into Bergmans at Cooks Corner and see their advert on the back page.

Cook Island Moana Dolls ($45 each) are among the many items available from Tivaevae Collectables near the weather station on the Main Road. See their advert on page 13.

These great drink coolers and nip glasses are available in a variety of designs at Treasure Chest. Take one or two home to keep reminding you of your special time in the Cook Islands. Call into any of their four shops and see their advert on page 26.

Here at The Little Red Gallery we have a large range of prints, local and Pacific artworks and gifts that reflect the beauty and uniqueness of the Pacific – the people, the place, the flavour that is The Cook Islands. See their advert on page 51.

Show the destinations you visit with one of our Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS Souvenir metal number plates. Great as a gift for your guests to promote our tourist location! Or simply hang in your home! Only $30.00each. Available at Perfumes of Rarotonga Located in Cooks Corner Avarua or our Factory outlet in Panama next to the airport. See their advert opposite page.

18 • ESCAPE


Perfumes of Rarotonga

Handmade

Island Perfumes and Gifts Browse the wide range of locally made goods at Island Craft including fragrant coconut liquid soap with frangipani essence and Matau or ceremonial hooks. Call into their shop in downtown Avarua and see their advert on page 43.

e g d s

’ ok

Co

fu For the best range of fishing tackle, hire tackle and fishing charters in Rarotonga call and see the Marlin Queen team in the orange/yellow hut on the Main Road at Avarua Wharf. See their advert on page 37.

f

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www.facebook.com/PerfumesRaro Cook Islands black pearls, south sea gold and south sea white pearls, fashioned into beautiful pearl strands at Moana Gems Pearl & Art Gallery. Call into their Pearl & Art gallery in uptown Avarua and see their advert on page 39.

Tamanu oil is pressed from tropical tree nuts of the Calophyllum family. It has been traditionally used as a local medicine to help soothe the skin and promote healing throughout the Pacific, great for skin irritations such as eczema, psoriasis and chickenpox. Available at CITC Pharmacy as a pure oil or combined with other healing oils from $12.90. See their advert on page 67.

Great Cultural Experience!

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


raro rhythm

Kathy Brown

A life of music Story: Glenda Tuaine

T

he Cook Islands contemporary music scene I think is like one of our beautiful Tivaevae, bright, brilliant, uniquely stylish and decorated with original character. One such character is the effervescent and talented musician Kathy Brown. I sat down with Kathy to talk about her current music projects and the pathways that lead her to being the musician she is today. “I started at a very young age - at 12 years - as a pianist for the SDA Church and was being taught music by a wonderful Australian woman who has since passed Michelle Porter” and so the story unravels as to how Kathy one of our long standing performers on the local music circuit became trumpet player, pianist, guitarist, session muso, part of the well known Cook Islands trio Sweet Sour and Cream, solo artist Katarina and of course Kathy Brown for her diners at the various restaurants she now plays in. But let’s get back to the trumpet playing! Her father encouraged her as a young girl to play trumpet in the SDA brass band “And you had no choice but I read music and if I had to pick it up I could still blast out a tune.” She then goes on to tell me that she would often be told that it was not an instrument for a lady but her Dad supported her to be multi talented. Kathy fills me in that her family was very musical and as he tried to get all of her siblings involved Kathy was the one

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music stuck to. “I enjoyed it. I was so keen to get into my music I was playing and performing, then conducting and teaching choir, my passion just kept growing!" Talking to Kathy you can just tell she is in all senses a professional muso. Her love of what she does is very matter of fact. When she relays some of the stories of her music career it is obvious she is a talented entertainer and a music business woman. Music is her passion that became her career as she jokingly tells me how in her younger days she chucked in her day job doing secretarial services for a Government department to pursue playing more gigs at night. “Music was a hobby at first. I had no idea it would turn into a full time career” Kathy explains. From 1985 to 91 Kathy was in New Zealand working in studios as a back-up singer and session musician for Cook Islands artists who were recording at the Te Ono Studios in South Auckland which were owned by Tereapii Pita. Working alongside Cook Islands music legends such as Apiti Nicholas, George Brown, Apii McKinley and Henry Story, she provided back-up vocals and keyboard in the studio and performed with a variety of Cook Islands artists around Auckland. This was where Kathy learnt her versatility and the ins and outs of live entertainment.

In 1991 Kathy returned to Rarotonga on the request of her grandparents who simply wanted her to return to be with them as she had a house back in Rarotonga. Her music career broadens again and she becomes a part of Sweet Sour and Cream with members George Upu and Tina Herman. The trio quickly becomes one of the Cook Islands most popular trios playing at all the hotspots of Rarotonga and rocking Stair Case, Trader Jacks and the then Hidies Bar at Cooks Corner. With their fan base growing and albums being recorded by the trio their popularity stretches to audiences not only here in the Cook Islands but overseas. They begin touring in New Zealand and Australia but not without a little controversy too! Back on home shores a court case suddenly makes headlines in Rarotonga over the ownership of their name which saw a rival Sweet Sour and Cream claim the rights to the name. After a month long battle in the courts Kathy, George and Tina won the case and continued on recording group albums with the support of Vaimutu Records owned by Noo Vaevae Pare which we know now as Heimana Music. But the realities of life and new directions see the trio disband when George and Tina both move overseas and Kathy now embarks on her career as a solo artist. Under the performance name of Katarina she is supported by Raro Records owner Nia


Heather and goes on to produce three solo albums under her own recording label Ariki Records. “I chose to play in restaurants when Tina and George left, first at the Edgewater for 6 years followed by the Rarotongan Hotel , then Pacific Resort but really I have played just about every resort and club on the Island!” Kathy’s style fits in to those venues so very easily because she is a performer who loves to play slow easy listening music and has an extensive repertoire. That is why she is one Cook Islands Musician that is never short of work, playing just about every

night of the week and as if she isn’t busy enough Kathy is about to embark on a new journey investing in a hut at the Punanga Nui market in Avarua which will become the ‘Kathy Brown School of Music and Performance’ where she will pass on her skills and knowledge to the next generation of performers. “After all these years of performing I want to help develop the young ones. I can teach guitar, ukulele, piano, vocal training so I am really excited to get this underway” When I ask Kathy if she has plans for another album she lets me know that her plans for a gospel album are underway with a possible release for the end of the year she laughs “I have gone full circle and come back to my roots, back to the church giving thanks to the Lord for the great talent he blessed me with so a Gospel Album is my composition in my Reo (Cook Islands Maori language)”.

Talking with Kathy I know that her Gospel Album will be an inspired piece of work and once her school is up she will be a formidable teacher. I am excited that Kathy will be developing a resource centre for our young people to tap in to their own aspiring musical talents. Kathy is helping to create the new bright patterns of the Musical Tivaevae of Cook Islands music.

When you are in Rarotonga you can see Kathy performing at the following places: • Monday - Moana Restaurant • Thursday & Sunday – The Muri Night market • Wednesday & Friday nights and Sunday lunch at the Islander Hotel • Kathy’s albums are available from Raro Records in Avarua Township and Heimana Music in Auckland

Cook Islands Retailers Moana Gems The Pearl Lounge Paka’s Pearls Goldmine Far from the clamour of our everyday urban world, in the vast blueness of the Pacific, lies the pristine necklace of the Northern Cook Islands. The remote home of Avaiki pearls. From their clear depths, the profusion of green, blue, aubergine and silvery hues in Avaiki pearls capture the rich colours of the lagoon. For discerning jewellers and jewellery buyers who demand beauty, rarity and integrity, Avaiki pearls have a special appeal. Only the highest grades of pearls sustainably harvested from the lagoon become Avaiki pearls. Their consistently deeper nacre creates higher lustre and resilience - a rare beauty to stand the test of time.

www.avaikipearls.com

ESCAPE • 21


Rarotonga, the most populous of the Cook Islands, captivates about 120,000 hearts a year. Whether you’ve been here once or have been returning annually for decades, you know Rarotonga as paradise, an escape from the drudgery of traffic and consumerism, a window into a simpler past.

e s i d a Par Rarotonga – a pacific

Story: Rachel Reeves

O

nce you’ve visited an outer island, your perspective changes; you notice the modern conveniences available on Rarotonga, the trucks and supermarkets and nightclubs, but still you appreciate the pace of life. Still you notice that there aren’t any stoplights and the same musician greets every flight. You notice that people wave at oncoming traffic. You notice there are only two bus routes: clockwise and anti-clockwise. You notice that on Rarotonga, time slows down. Photo: Kirby Morejohn

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When there’s nothing on either television channel, when you don’t have easy access to Wi-Fi, you learn to be outside, smell the flowers, taste the fruit, appreciate the sun and stars, and commit to memory the natural beauty that’s been seducing travelers for centuries. The first visitors to Rarotonga were the Māori people who came, depending on who you believe, from either Avaiki – the mythological centre of Polynesia – or East Asia or South America. Some continued on to settle New Zealand – you can read

about their canoes on plaques at Avana, the site of their departure – but others were hooked. They had travelled over thousands of kilometres, searching for islands, navigating not with GPS but by reading the stars, swells, and skies. They were migratory people, comfortable at sea, but on Rarotonga they built homes of coconut trunks and fronds, planted crops, and created a society in which everyone had enough to eat. Rarotonga’s inhabitants split into three villages – Takitumu, Te Au O Tonga, and Puaikura,


each with its own governing chief. Centuries later the Europeans arrived, and were also entranced by the island’s breathtaking beauty. A book written in 1842 documenting early missionary work describes Rarotonga this way: “its hills and valleys are rich in the fruits of the earth: mighty trees overshadow the land, and grow down to the very borders of the sea; not in a dense unwholesome forest, shutting out the light of the sun; but scattered here and there among the green hills, and affording a delicious shade; some are covered with beautiful flowers and some with light foliage, waving like plumes in the wind.” Nearly 200 years later, Rarotonga’s splendour continues to make this kind of impact. Despite the luxury resorts and 24-hour petrol stations that have since sprung from its soil, the island is still the kind of beautiful that makes your heart swell. You can’t watch an Arorangi sunset or climb one of Rarotonga’s mountains without feeling awestruck by the beautiful world we live in. You can’t drive a motorbike around the island, with the wind in your face and the salt on your

skin, past coconut palms, banana and papaya trees, and remain undecided about whether you love this place. Rarotonga might be just 32 kilometres around, but she is versatile, with creeks and swimming holes and waterfalls some locals don’t even know about. Take a walk or ride a scooter along the back road or into the mountains; hear the air get quieter and the birds get louder. Watch the bush get thicker. You won’t get lost if you remember to use the sound of the waves as your compass.

From the air The best way to see all of Rarotonga is from the air. If you miss the view when the plane lands, and if you’re willing to shell out the money, Air Rarotonga does private aerial tours in a small Cessna. A cheaper option is to hike one of the island’s many peaks. Most require a tour guide, but a hike to The Needle, and across the middle of the island, is manageable and clearly marked. You’ll need good fitness and good shoes. Locals are friendly; ask anyone how to get to the start of the “cross-island walk” in Avatiu and they’ll point you in the right direction.

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

Ph +682 55901 or +682 55903

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

ESCAPE • 23 Please arrive 10 minutes prior to departure time


The ascent is steep, but the view from the top makes the trudge worthwhile. From The Needle, one of Rarotonga’s tallest mountains, you can see every shore, ringed by a translucent lagoon, the white foam of waves crashing on the reef, and the yawning blue Pacific. It’s the kind of view that makes you feel tiny and insignificant, but also like you rule the world. Descending down the other side of The Needle will lead you to Wigmore’s Waterfall, one of the locals’ favourite swimming spots. For a more informative cross-island experience, book a tour with Pa, a traditional healer who grew up climbing mountains and studying the medicinal properties of plants. Pa takes tourists across the island six days a week.

From the water To behold Rarotonga from the sea is to channel the joy its settlers must have

felt. They would have been at once weary from the long voyage and awestruck by the dramatic mountains and white-sand beaches of their new home. There are dozens of ways to experience this view. You can spend the day on a fishing charter, casting for deep-sea fish under the tropical sun, or you can take a ride on a glass-bottom boat. Both Captain Tamas Lagoon Cruizes and Koka Lagoon Cruises make daily trips to Koromiri, a motu (islet) off Muri Beach. Each tour features a local string band and a barbecued lunch of freshly caught fish. At low tide, the Muri lagoon is shallow enough to walk to the motu with a picnic lunch and a towel. Dive shops hire out snorkeling gear, and the best place to see marine life is in an area protected by a ra’ui – a traditional ban on fishing and collecting seafood, imposed and lifted by chiefs. Signs mark the ra’ui; most snorkelers prefer the ra’ui at Fruits of Rarotonga in Tikioki and at The Rarotongan Resort & Spa in Arorangi. If you’re a certified SCUBA diver – or if

you want to get certified – visit one of the three dive shops on the island. You can rent kayaks, take yoga classes on stand-up paddleboards or sign up for a kitesurfing lesson. You can swim to The Boiler – what’s left of the SS Maitai, shipwrecked in 1916 – and then jump off it into the sea. If you prefer to stay on the shore, engage with the sea by watching an outrigger canoe race, held weekly during the sport’s season. In November teams arrive from all over the world to compete in Vaka Eiva, an international paddling competition and Rarotonga’s largest sporting event. Between the months of July and October, be on the lookout for whales. You can learn more about them at the Whale & Wildlife Centre in Atupa. And if you’re a surfer, you know the drill: respect the locals. It’s their wave.

On land There’s always something to do on Rarotonga. There’s sport to watch – on Saturdays, village clubhouses host rugby, rugby league, netball, cricket, lawn bowling, and soccer matches, depending on the season. They also throw socials afterward, with cheap drinks and low entry fees. There’s a nine-hole golf course in Nikao, with a bar and eatery inside its clubhouse, and two miniature golf courses in Arorangi. There’s also a driving range in Vaimaanga. You can play paintball and laser tag; take cycling, quad, or buggy tours that go around the island; or hire bicycles (either manual or electric) to explore the side and back roads. You can take photos of the abandoned Sheraton – a hotel that was never finished because its developer, who had links to the Italian mafia, disappeared. If you believe the local legend, a curse on the land stalled the project. In Titikaveka, you can visit Maire Nui gardens, a sprawling,

24 • ESCAPE


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carefully manicured jungle with a quaint café. There are several art galleries around the island, and you can buy handcrafted ukuleles from inmates at the Arorangi Prison. The Punanga Nui marketplace on a Saturday morning is an essential itinerary item. For locals, it’s a social outing; everyone goes. From 6 a.m., you can visit the open-air market to get your fresh nu (coconut water) and local fruits and vegetables. You can also buy cooked food, both international – the crepes and waffles are popular – and local delicacies. There’s something for every eater, from smoothies to stir-fry to sausage rolls. The Punanga Nui market is also a one-stop souvenir shop. You can buy everything from island music to large handmade quilts to coconut oil to hand-painted pareu (sarongs). Mamas sell hats and bags woven out of coconut fibre. Pearl farmers sell their black pearls, cultivated and harvested on the island of Manihiki, 1100 kilometres north of Rarotonga. If you miss the Punanga Nui market, there are souvenir shops around the island, most of them in Avarua, where you can pick up something for friends and family members who had the great misfortune of not joining you in paradise. A special way to immerse in the island culture is to attend a Sunday service at the Cook Islands Christian Church. The Cook Islands, like much of Polynesia, readily embraced Christianity; though the missionaries ruled in authoritarian ways, imposing outrageous fines and penalties on the disobedient, their gospel stuck. Church is a pillar of any Cook Islands community, both at home and overseas. Congregations are welcoming if you dress modestly, behave respectfully, and take some gold coins for the

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offering plate. The power of the imene tuki – a blend of traditional chanting and Christian hymns – will stir your soul. Two museums in Avarua – the government-run National Museum and the private Cook Islands Library & Museum Society – are excellent resources for those seeking more information about Rarotonga and its history. The latter hires out books, or you can buy beach reads at Bounty Bookshop in Avarua.

Come in to view our extensive range of sarongs, island clothing, footwear and t-shirts. Rarotonga’s largest selection of souvenirs, crafts and gift ideas.

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

Salt & Pepper shakers 26 • ESCAPE treasure@oyster.net.ck

For beautiful food to suit any palette, try one of Rarotonga’s many restaurants; more information is available within the pages of this magazine. Whether you’re in the mood for freshly caught fish, a burger, pizza from a wood-fired oven, French fare, or Asian fusion, Rarotonga’s got a restaurant for you.

From your seat Celebrations of culture occur almost nightly. Attending an “island night” a must during a holiday to Rarotonga. You get a chance to watch local dancing, energetic and sensuous, and hear local drumming, reportedly the best in the Pacific. If you dread the limelight, beware the ura piani, when dancers recruit tourists of the opposite sex for a number. At an island night, you’ll also get to try local food. Dishes like ika mata (fresh raw fish in coconut cream), rukau (taro leaves in coconut cream), taro, and poke (arrowroot and coconut cream with a pudding-like texture) are available at some shops and restaurants, but at an island night you can have them all, buffet-style. Hotels and cultural centres offer island nights for a range of budgets; talk to your accommodator about your options. If you’re on Rarotonga in August, you’ll get to experience the ultimate celebration of Cook Islands culture. A bit of background: Rarotonga’s chiefs consented to becoming a British protectorate in 1888; all of the Cook Islands were later handed over to colonisers from New Zealand. In 1965,

the country became self-governing, and every August, Rarotonga holds a festival to celebrate. Called Te Maeva Nui, the weeklong event features a parade of floats decorated with local foliage and a spectacular nightly show at the National Auditorium, in which villages and islands compete in singing, dancing, and drumming.

Weddings Rarotonga is a popular spot for destination weddings; hundreds of tourists get married here each year. On-island wedding planners can design a special ceremony on the beach, and liaise with hair and makeup artists, caterers, a celebrant, and photographers/videographers before you arrive. All you have to do is bring your loved ones and prepare mentally for a wedding you won’t soon forget. Cook Islanders are notoriously generous people, some of the most hospitable in the world. They will make you feel welcome, as long as you treat them with respect, the way you would anyone who invites you into her home. Be mindful of the fragile island environment also; as the travel adage goes, take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints. But above all, enjoy yourself and a place that makes you feel a little bit more alive. When you leave, you will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of people around the world who think often of, and talk often about, Rarotonga, who dream of the day they’ll return.


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COOK ISLANDS ROAD RULES The main island of Rarotonga is circled by 2 roads – the main road along the coast or Ara Tapu and the back road or Ara Metua. Driving is on the left hand side of the road – the same as in New Zealand, Australia and United Kingdom. If you have a full driving licence from your home country then you are entitled to drive in the Cook islands for up to 6 months. If you are here longer then you must apply for a Cook Islands driving licence which can be obtained from the Cook Islands Police headquarters in downtown Avarua.

THE ROAD RULES ARE SIMPLE... 1 Maximum speed at all times for all vehicles is 50 km/h 2 If you do not have a Cook Islands motor cycle licence you must wear a helmet. 3 In villages, passing schools and in town the maximum

speed is 30 km/h 4 In villages, passing schools and in town the

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maximum speed is 30 km/h 5 Drink driving is an offence – you could face

Court and if convicted a fine or jail sentence 6 Be aware of dogs or animals running out from

properties wandering mainly on the back road You are here for a good time, do not ruin it through speed or drink driving. Call a Taxi 28862, 50908, 72888 or take an organised tour of the Island.

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IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 999 NON EMERGENCIES: Police 22499 • Hospital 22664 • Power faults 25257 AITUTAKI: Police 31015 • Hospital 31698 • Fire 31829 ATIU: Police 33120 • Hospital 33664

ESCAPE • 27


island cuisine

FLAMBÉ RESTAURANT Crown Beach Resort & Spa Situated directly at the entrance to the Crown Beach Resort, Flambé Restaurant was opened on the 23rd of May 2016. Since its inception, our team of dedicated and attentive staff have lovingly taken the Flambé name and its reputation for dynamic service and outstanding cuisine to another level of fine dining in Rarotonga. The Flambé menu has been inspired by a Cook Island legend of how fire was introduced into the World. It now blends the fusion of Fire and Ice in its menu and ambient outlook. The ambience boasts the use of original local artwork, a locally made champagne flute chandelier, mood lighting, an outside dining gazebo and bar, and a coral

28 • ESCAPE

waterfall that compliments flame torches throughout the garden. Live nightly entertainment on opening nights, with the addition of a fire dance display on Fridays. With a menu that not only uses as much local produce and fish as possible, but also offers international dishes that include ostrich, venison, duck, and much more. This restaurant’s style of cuisine celebrates the classical culinary art of Flambé, with succulent meat cuts and local fish taking on that characteristic char-grilled delicious finish. Desserts at Flambé are a delectable celebration of the taste buds. The Signature dessert of the Crepe Suzettes provides entertainment for the eyes being prepared especially for guests at their table, or, that of a hand-made ice igloo - encapsulating the famous Belgium chocolate and almond semifreddo.

Our outdoor Bar, boasts restaurant themed inspired cocktails and a large beverage selection of varietals, wines, bubbles, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages. Flambé also caters for private events for the groups wanting something different, spectacular, and a fine dining experience. Flambé is also Adults only – a bonus for the guests wishing to have a peaceful, intimate, and authentic evening. Open for dinner only Tuesday to Saturday. Fire dance show on Saturday only. Bookings essential P +682 23953


OPEN 7 NIGHTS · MAR – OCT WED – MON • REST OF THE YEAR

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· Open from 6pm - best to reserve a table! · Return transfers available by arrangement & location · Live music with Tani & Rose on Mon nights · Fully licensed Gordon, Rebecca & The Kikau Team Phone: 26860 ˙ Mobile: +682 55869 Email: kikauhut@oyster.net.ck

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The Rarotonga Beach Resort

Titikaveka

Check out our ‘all-day’ breakfast menu and join us for awesome coffee, friendly service and great home style cooking. 21/10/16 3:37 pm

Try our custard square and cheesecake – local favourites!

Open Sunday – Friday 8.00am – 3pm Located on the main road at Muri Village. Wifi available.

P. 20858


KORU CAFÉ Aitutaki Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times This family owned and run café, located on the way to O’otu Beach, first opened in January 2008 and has a well-deserved reputation for consistently delicious food and great service. A local patron described it as “professional cuisine with creative flair”. The café is proudly owned and operated by Steve and Trina Armstrong. Trina says, “It had been a dream of ours to one day move to Aitutaki to build a café and just enjoy life...and well, here we are. We’re just loving it.” They and their three children enjoy living near Trina’s parents who host an accommodation on the island and have a plantation where they grow much of the local produce used at the café. Why Koru Café? Trina explains: “Koru is a New Zealand Maori word for the design used as our logo. The koru depicts the growth of a new fern – the opening of the frond – and represents new beginnings, growth, peace and harmony; which is very symbolic for us, and our move to Aitutaki for our new start.” The café is open seven days a week from 7 AM to 3 PM, and is an ideal place for a coffee, all day breakfast or a wide range of lunch dishes and daily specials. A local said, “They serve the best coffee on the island. They have an espresso machine and they know how to use it.” They use Lavazza Italian coffees, both hot and iced. Patrons can sit outside at umbrella shaded picnic tables or inside the restaurant, surrounded by large screened windows with soft Pacific breezes blowing through. Children are given colouring pages, and

30 • ESCAPE

a supply of large crayons, and a few children’s books are on the table between comfy couches. Locals often come to the café for coffee or for one of their delicious meals. Visitors are delighted by the variety on the menu and the specials of the day. Specials include lightly seared fresh caught tuna, or tapas such as steak with a mild blue cheese dressing served on a board. Spicy tomato soup is available in season, and sometimes a huge bowl of chicken soup – good for the soul. Crispy Salt and Pepper Squid is a local favorite along with other seafood dishes. All day breakfast items include omelettes made of local free range eggs, brioche French toast with fruit compote, cream and real maple syrup, and rashers of crispy bacon.

“death by chocolate” brownie with ice cream, are “to die for.”

Hearty sandwiches are served on homemade breads all baked onsite, accompanied by tasty sauces and salsas. There are gluten free options and several vegetarian dishes seasoned with fresh herbs, as well as a huge steak sandwich for big appetites. Wifi is available and tourists often can be seen booting up their laptops or tablets.

Special events include jazz concerts with open mic, and they are open for dinner service during the high season as well. Guests are happy to discover the made to order take-away meals such as BBQ pack and “Heat and Eat” meals, or they can order in advance anything they choose from the menu. Delivery also available. Koru Café (www.korucafe.biz) is an ideal place to bring family and friends for a gourmet feast with home-style touches by this island family.

Koru Cafe’s original desserts, from coconut cheesecake to sticky date pudding to

By Linda Kavelin-Popov www.lindakavelin.com


c

on

Please support the advertisers in this magazine… they make it possible for you to read this for free.

r

ne

in a

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Casual Beach Side Cafe Authentic Thai food, tasty Mexican, burgers, fish and chips, coffee home-made desserts + we’re fully licensed.

Opening Hours Sunday to Friday 8.30am - 2.30pm Ph 20020 Find us on your map at the halfway mark down South at Titikaveka...

SALTWATER CAFE - RAROTONGA 2013 & 2016

ESCAPE • 31

www.themooringfishcafe.com


If you are a guest of the hotel, eggs are included as part of the breakfast buffet as the hotel is owned by the local egg farmer. Non guests are permitted to use the pool, as long as they order Food and Beverage from the Restaurant. The pool is one of the bigger ones on the island and located in the centre of the hotel complex which keeps it nice and sheltered and of course is child free.

SILVER SANDS RESTAURANT Muri Beach Club Hotel Silversands is perfectly positioned to give you a choice of dining experiences that are unrivalled. Whether it is casual poolside with cocktail in hand, inside the restaurant with a melody of island tunes sashaying across the room in a more formal setting, or being spell bound by the views of the stunning Muri Lagoon.

SilverSands located at the boutique adult only Muri Beach Club Hotel has it all! The food is simply superb and caters to all tastes including those that are gluten and lactose intolerant. Muri Beach Club Hotel is open every day of the year, including public holidays(without the surcharge). SilverSands has some of the friendliest staff you can come across, and if you are really lucky and order a Snickers Bar cocktail then it is personalised by writing your name on the glass which is really cool!

There are a couple of theme nights like Polynesian Island Night on the Wednesday (we make an exception for kids on this night). This is seriously one of the best shows with amazing costumes and accompanied by the fire dance show. Really good value at only $59per person for a huge buffet feast with a bit of everything, plus the show up close and personal. Pig and Prawn night is the Friday and a bit more of a hands on experience. The fall off the bone Pork Spare Ribs and the tantalising King Prawns are served on hot plates accompanied by a much needed finger bowl. Sunday ends the week with Reef and Beef night, the juiciest tender steaks or freshly caught fish, with a menu of side dishes - I am getting hungry just thinking about it. All the theme nights are accompanied by Live Music which certainly adds to the ambience. So in summary, great staff, great location, great food, no kids – what more could one ask for!

32 • ESCAPE


Tuoro Licensed Muri Village Fresh flavours of Mexico for dinner, plus fresh fish, pizza, vegan and gluten free. Open for Dinner from 5.30pm

Takeaways available

See you there amigo!

P. 20693 or 26487

TAMARIND HOUSE

RESTAURANT & BAR

Casual and friendly Asian street-style café Asian Fusion including

vegan & gluten free options Open for dinner from 5.30pm Closed Sunday & Tuesday Takeaways Available

Muri Village Phone: 22232 or 26487

Fresh Delicious Tropical Cuisine

Unique al fresco dining in town

LUNCH

LUNCH: TUES – FRI 11.30 AM – 2 PM

(CLOSED MON AND SAT LUNCH) THUR & FRI 11:30am - 2pm

Extensive choice of vegan and fish dishes

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

Bookings Advised Open for Lunch from 11am Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun

DINNER: MON – SAT FROM 5.30 PM

DINNER

SUNDAY BRUNCH: (APRIL – OCTOBER) MONFROM - SAT from 9 AM – 1.305.30pm PM

A A beautiful beautiful heritage colonial house, located just 33 minutes minutes locatedon on the the seafront, seafront, just from town centre. centre. from the the town Dine by by candlelight candlelight in in the thepeaceful peacful Dine seclusion of a romantic tropical setting. seclusion of a romantic tropical setting.

Takeaways Available

THE PERFECT FOR YOUR THE PERFECT VENUE VENUE FOR YOUR WEDDINGOR ORPRIVATE PRIVATE FUNCTION WEDDING FUNCTION EMAIL tamarind@oyster.net.ck www.tamarindrarotonga.com

PHONE 26487

Open Monday - Saturday newplace@oyster.net.ck

Ph 22279 or 22299

PH. 21233

blackrok@oyster.net.ck ESCAPE • 33 www.blackrockvillas.com


NAUTILUS RESORT RESTAURANT Nautilus Resort Rarotonga, absolute beachfront overlooking the sparkling Muri Beach and lagoon and just 20 minutes by road from Rarotonga’ s international airport is already adding to its trophy cabinet by taking out the inaugural Supreme Award for Restaurant of the Year, topping a group of Cook Islands eateries and wowing the public with their culinary creations by winning the La Chaine des Rotisseurs and Cook Islands Chefs Association Restaurant of the Year Awards dinner. The laid-back luxury of Nautilus Resort offers a fresh new dining experience showcasing signature tastes featuring a Polynesian inspired restaurant, absolute pure South Pacific beachfront. The cuisine is Cook Island - Asian - European fusion, using local seasonal ingredients and produce, with of course an emphasis on

organic fresh produce and plenty of fresh fish and seafood. High-ceilinged and overlooking an infinity pool that seems to flow directly into the lagoon, the restaurant opens at 7.30am for breakfast, which drifts through to lunch and an inviting all-day menu and then slides effortlessly through Nauti Hour (aka Happy Hour) and into dinner until late. Nautilus Executive Chef Carlos Rebello is originally from Brazil, growing up in the professional kitchens of his mother and grandmother’s own family Brazilian restaurant … but drawn to the love of his surfing and beach life (and a Kiwi wife!) the last 8 years have been spent working in Australian and New Zealand restaurants. When asking Carlos his #1 reason that took him to work in the Cooks, it was the ability to harvest the most freshest wild produce from the sea (especially his favourite fish – proximity to the freshest Tuna), and being able to work closely with local villagers (and assisting local growers) to provide seasonal indigenous produce such as the Dragonfruit, local varieties of Taro, and Maniota (similar to arrowroot) - creating unique dishes to Nautilus called ‘Smart Food’. Additionally, he grows organic produce right here at the resort … he can explore and teach guests about Cook Island native fruits, vegetables and herbs all in the Nautilus’s own ‘edible gardens’. This philosophy is a resort wide planting philosophy that sees abundant grown produce throughout the resort.

34 • ESCAPE

A la carte favourites from Carlos are, of course the traditional Cook Island dish, with a Nautilus twist on ‘Ika Mata’ – purely for the use of the absolutely freshest use of raw game fish Tuna and our local coconut, and the Nautilus Signature dish – ‘Polynesian Fish’ using the very best fish available each day (at the time of writing the deep sea Red Snapper was featured), served on a bed of black ink (squid) risotto, fennel, saffron aioli and pineapple salsa. For the sweet lovers – the Nautilus ‘Banana Cigars’ are always a favourite – using local Rarotongan ‘finger bananas’ wrapped in a light filo pastry, with homemade chilli chocolate sauce and resort made whiskey ice cream. Meat lovers are in for a treat with a new menu just launched featuring ‘Duo of Beef’ – two cuts of beef, succulent filet mignon matched with a slow cooked short rib, served with garlic potato puree and local Rukau (cooked Taro leaves). For Under-12s there’ll be delicious and nutritious fresh pasta dishes, meatballs, and of course the freshest hand caught fish and ‘best’ chips. To accompany the ‘smart’ food they also have a casual Beach Bar serving light meals from 11am to 9pm, where lunch includes a selection of meat and fish burgers. And don’t forget the famed Nauti Mojito, which includes a couple of secret ingredients and pioneered the sugar-cane swizzle stick . . . Nauti but nice!


Located at PUNGANA NUI MARKET (BESIDE THE PLAYGROUND), AVARUA

c i t n e h t u A e n i s i u C Asian A TAST E O F AS IA

Sashimi & Carpaccio Ika Mata Seafood Platters Fish, Chips & Salad Gourmet Sandwiches

Fish N Chips $13.00

All day breakfast And heaps more

A short stroll east of town | Phone - 28830 Now with online menu - www.bamboojacks.net We also have an air-conditioned private room for dining & meetings (with conference facilities)

Ika Mata $10.00

Mon 8am – 4pm Tues – Fri 8am – 9pm Sat 8am – 2pm

Fishermans Platter $18.00

P. 23 577 Phone orders welcome Mon – Sat 6:30am – 4pm

P. 23 575 Phone orders welcome

No.1 ! for seafood Fresh Sushi Cabinet food daily Freshly squeezed Juice Boosts Healthy & delicious Smoothies Espresso Coffee & Cake And heaps more

try our

Pizza Shack eat in or take out

PH 26464 • info@traderjacks.co.ck

Located beside the playground Punanga Nui Market, Avarua

Best chocolate

ESCAPE • 35 brownie in Raro!


gone fishing

Story: Phillip Nordt

OPAH O The

pahs (also commonly known as moonfish) are large, colourful, deep-bodied pelagic lampriform fish. The moonfish is actually a commercial Fish Species. This fish can get very large and weigh up to 1,000 or more kilos. The upper part of the fish looks like tuna and tastes like a cross between tuna and salmon, but their pectoral muscles - the ones that power the fins on the side of the body - look and taste like beef. Opah can be eaten raw, but they're also great on the barbecue or smoked. Today I am sharing a few secrets on what to do with fresh moon fish. The meat is soft and can be carefully bruised, we fillet it carefully, considering the different parts of flesh for different uses, wrap them in cling film or vac pack and put them straight on ice. I do not like waste and decide for a little appetiser with left-over bits.

1/

OPAH CARPACCIO flakey salt, fresh lime juice, freshly

grated coconut, green onion, petite salad of herbs. Recipe per servIng Ingredients Moon fish 150g, freshly grated coconut 50g, green onions x 2 tablespoons, Herbs: Coriander, Maire – bush basil, mesclun salad handful, Asian rice wine dressing, Method

Method

Centre Plate the small Mesclun & fresh

Start by preparing all vegetables, ready to

herb salad and add light Asian dressing.

serve.

Cut slices of moonfish around 3-5 cm diameter and place 2 rounds around the plate and the petit salad. Sprinkle with freshly grated coconut, thin slices of green onions, add lime juice, freshly cracked pepper and flaky sea-salt (Marlborough…. but anything like Maldon will do). Salt & Pepper to taste. Rito extra Virgin Coconut Oil, fresh lime juice, garnish with fresh Coriander & Bush Basil.

2/

ingredients in a deep pan or wok with the coconut Oil….season with salt/pepper. Place the slice of Opah on top and cover to steam for about 5 minutes. To Serve Place vegetables on a plate and place Opah fillet on top, pour on sauce, squeeze some fresh lemon, garnish with the herbs and serve.

CHIMI CHURRI OF OPAH

STEAMED OPAH

3/

over cucumber shavings, palm

smoked paprika & lime aioli.

sugar, red onions, ginger, mirin & rito extra virgin local coconut oil. Ingredients Moon Fish fillets from the upper part 200g each x 4 Red Onion quartered and cut into leaves x 4 tablespoons each Tamari Soy 1 tablespoon

plantain fritters, paw paw salsa,

4 Persons Ingredients 800g Opah fillets (200g of Opah red meat fillet per person) Plantain 600g, 2 tablespoons tapioca flour, 2 eggs, ½ red Onion julienne, Salt/ Pepper to season. Plantain Fritter: Method: boil plantain, cool then chop into thin long strips, add all

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for frying x 2

above ingredients, shape in to patties and

tablespoons

grill on griddle to serve.

Cucumber shavings 4 cups

Chimi Churri Rub: 1 tablespoon of each:

Palm sugar x 4 cubes Red Onion wedges, 200g

36 • ESCAPE

Sauté Cucumber shavings with all

Fresh ginger, fresh chilli, fresh garlic, spring Onion, fresh coriander, cracked black pepper, Flaky Salt, Extra Virgin Coconut

Fresh Ginger 8 thin slices

Oil, mix together with Opah Fillets and

Mirin ½ cup

marinate up to one hour.


Paw Paw Salsa: ½ Paw Paw chopped into brunoise (fine dice), ½ Red Onion chopped into brunoise, 2 tablespoons Coriander

Bluesky Emerging Tourism Leader Award 2018 – On the Beach (OTB) Restaurant & Bar

chopped, 1 fresh Chilli chopped, 2 Lime squeezed. Mix all ingredients together and set aside for use. Smoked Paprika/Lime Aioli: Use 1 cup freshly house made or best Mayonnaise, crush 2 Garlic cloves and make into paste with salt, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika powder, juice of 2 limes, mix together and set aside for use. Method & Serving of Opah Chimi Churri Char grill or grill Opah Fillets on high heat for 3 minutes on each side, fry plantain patties on the griddle plate, centre plate plantain. Place hot Opah Fillet on top of plantain, dress with paw paw salsa over and around and place a tablespoon of smoked paprika & lime aioli on top of the Opah, serve. Bon Appetit, Phillip Nordt Bachelor of Culinary Arts

with Why come fishing

us?

Our record fish and high catch rate speaks for itself!

• Half & Full Day Charters • Three boats available • Shared or Private charters • Top quality Shimano gear P. +(682) 55202 or +(682) 20683 E. fishing@marlinqueen.co.ck | www.marlinqueen.co.ck

Rarotonga’s best known & most trusted local crew ESCAPE • 37


CAFES & RESTAURANTS

Kikau Hut, Arorangi Ph 26860

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Bamboo Jacks, Taputaputea Ph 28830

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Bite Time/Body Fuel, Punanga Nui Ph 23577 or 23575

Breakfast • Lunch • Dinner Espresso Coffee Smoothies Local Beers Ice Cold Drinks NZ & Australian Wines Cold Pressed Juices

ALL DAY A LA CARTE MENU

Gourmet Pies Seafood Platters Sushi & Poke Bowls Hot & Cold Cabinet Food

Located Uptown Avarua

between Moana Gems & Tuki’s Pareu

OPEN: Mon - Thur 7am to 3pm Fri 7am to 9pm Sat 7am to 3pm Ph Orders: +682 27619

La Casita, Muri Village Ph 20693 OTB, Arorangi Ph 22461 Shipwreck Hut @ Aro’a Beachside Inn Ph 22166 Trader Jacks, Avarua Ph 26464 Oceans @ Crown Beach Ph 23953 Vibe, uptown Avarua Ph 27619 Tumunu, Arorangi Ph 20501 Deli Licious, Muri Village Ph 20858 Pacific Resort Rarotonga Ph 20427 Flambe @ Crown Beach Ph 23953 The Yellow Hibiscus @ Palm Grove Ph 20002 The Mooring Fish Café, Avana Ph 25553 Ariki’s Shack, Muri Village Ph 27955 Tuoro Café @ Black Rock Villas Ph 21233 Saltwater Café, Turoa Ph 20020 Aqua Restaurant @ Muri Beach Resort Ph 22779

38 • ESCAPE

Tamarind House, Tupapa Ph 26487

Kai Pizza, Punanga Nui Ph 23336 or 53330 The New Place, Avarua Ph 22279 or 22299 Nautilus Resort, Muri Village Ph 25125 The Rickshaw, Muri Village Ph 22232 Club Raro, Tupapa Ph 22415 Little Polynesian, Titikaveka Ph 24280 Silver Sands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel Ph 23000

CAFES & RESTAURANTS AITUTAKI

Aitutaki Village @ O’otu Beach Ph 31526 Rumours Café @ Aitutaki Escape Ph 31906 Boatshed @ Popoara Ph 31479 Koru Café Ph 31110 Tamanu Beach Restaurant Ph 31810 Pacific Resort Aitutaki Ph 31720


Pearl & Art Gallery

C O O K

I S L A N D S

P E A R L S

Simple Elegance & Timeless Beauty

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

Located UPTOWN Avarua, Taputapuatea • ph (682) 22312 • www.moanagems.co.ck

ESCAPE • 39


Atoll a k u Pukap

The

of

People, Prayer, and Play Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky Photos: Talcual Films Homecoming Documentary

M

ost tourists will never make it to Pukapuka because of the transport challenges. Cargo boats go four times a year, but have no set schedule. The boat is perpetually scheduled for “tomorrow.” If you do manage to catch the boat, the fiveday boat journey involves sea-water sprays and clothes that remain damp for days. There is little room for romanticising the cargo boat journey to Pukapuka. Once arriving in Pukapuka, a visitor can stay for the three-days it takes to offload the cargo or stay indefinitely until the next boat comes. Air Rarotonga flies occasional charters to Pukapuka, but government officials often fill the seats. When available, a oneway ticket costs around eighteen hundred dollars. Air Rarotonga also offers a “Northern Atolls Expedition” of Pukapuka, Penryhn,

40 • ESCAPE

and Manihiki on a private jet, but the stay is usually only a day. To visit Pukapuka, visitors need: permission from the island chiefs, a very flexible travel schedule, money, and patience. Pukapuka must be one of the hardest places in the world to reach. It is no wonder that tourists rarely make it to this northernmost atoll of the Cook Islands. You can, however, easily visit Pukapuka from an armchair. Many have written riveting accounts of the atoll. More anthropologists have studied Pukapuka then any other island in the Cook Islands. My father, Robert Borofsky, wrote an anthropological account Making History: Pukapukan and Anthropological Constructions of Knowledge. The Beagleholes wrote The Ethnography of Pukapuka. Japanese archaeologists carbon dated dog bones found on Pukapuka back two thousand years. It is a place well studied and archived. Adventure novelists have left their mark here too. Johnny Frisbie, born of a Pukapukan mother and an American father, wrote her memoir Miss Ulysses of Pukapuka, at age fifteen. Her father, Robert Dean Frisbie, wrote the novels The Book of Pukapuka, Mr. Moonlight’s Island, Island of Desire among others. I’m at work on a book called Wale (Home) about my own experiences here. With more Pukapukans living in New Zealand and Australia then in Pukapuka, it is as much an imagined homeland. If you don’t physically make it to Pukapuka, you can close your eyes, take in


the wind, and imagine a place that sails on a different plane. It is a place that prioritizes play, people, and prayer. On a typical morning, four-year-old Tangitane splashes in the aquamarine lagoon, singing a song to herself while tickling the stomach of a speckled mud crab. Her neighbour Anne-Tailor runs to join her. The older children walk the sandy road home from school. They strip off their starched navy and white school uniforms and jump into the lagoon too. Kids wrestle one another and try to catch sardines with their bare hands. The sun descends over the palm trees casting a warm mango-coloured glow over this three square kilometre atoll. A church bell rings. Mothers and older siblings gather wet children home for a cold bucket shower and a warm dinner of fish and taro. On Pukapuka, children play from dawn to dusk. With a population of four hundred and fifty and no cars, children feel safe to freely romp through nature. For toys, Tangitane has two hundred children, the lagoon, and the mud crabs. In Pukapuka, the village, the natural surroundings, and older children raise one another. Nature looks after the elderly too. Mama Maoake and Mama Langi sit on the shore of the lagoon “taking in the wind.” Every evening, they take in the wind, catch up on the village gossip, and watch the children play. Mama Maoake is in her seventies or eighties. She doesn’t know her age, and who cares really. Having spent her entire life on the sister atolls of Nassau and Pukapuka, she speaks little English. Some days she weaves, some days she peels taro, some days she plays cards with the other mamas until three in the morning. Most evenings, she sits with Mama Langi taking in the wind, angi angi te matangi, while the children splash nearby. Pukapuka sits only ten degrees below the equator. The atoll is at nature’s mercy too. Summer brings a scorching heat and truly “only mad-dogs and Englishmen

On Pukapuka, children play from dawn to dusk. With a population of four hundred and fifty and no cars, children feel safe to freely romp through nature. go out in the noonday sun.” The intensity of the heat means taking in the wind is an art form. Taking in the wind means searching for the windiest spot, feeling the light air dance on your skin, chattering with a friend, and letting your thoughts meander across the achingly sapphire sky. Modernised young couples often ride around on a motor-scooter along the sandy roads to catch the wind. Finding and taking in the wind is a full-time job. The heat and natural environment forces time to move differently in Pukapuka. People often sleep during the day, and work hard at night when the air cools. It makes sense to fish on the reef when the sun goes down and the fish sleep. It makes sense to weave a mat with a group of women when the moon is full. It makes sense to catch coconut crabs when they wander out of their holes at night. The question, “what time are you going fishing?” is usually answered with “it depends. I’m waiting on the tide.” If the tide is optimal at two in the morning,

well that is the right time. Many of the men wear watches but few of them work. The men follow the time of the tide. “We are vampires,” laughs one teenager who has watched a few too many episodes of Twilight. Life comes alive at night when the cool wind blows. Rather than functioning as a capitalist society, Pukapuka functions as a Polynesian commune. Pukapuka, along with Mangaia and Mitiaro, have no land court. Traditional leaders make the decisions about land, practice, and protocol. In Pukapuka, most of the land is owned communally by the villages. Pio Lavalua, a chief of Ngake and current Executive Officer has a salt and pepper beard and enjoys philosophical meanderings. He philosophises like a Yoda of the atoll. “Polynesians are the original socialists,” he laughs while we take in the wind. Everyone has land, food, and most of the land is made up of communally owned food reserves.

ESCAPE • 41


The atoll is shaped like a three-bladed fan with a giant lagoon connecting three motus or islets. Only half of one of the islets is inhabited full-time, the rest of the islets function as ecological food reserves. For six months of the year, the Kau Wo Wolo, the traditional chiefs close them. During this time nature replenishes itself. Sometime between March-April, the village holds day-long meetings and after careful discussion, collectively decides to open the food reserves. Everyone agrees on what days the ladies can go to the uwi (the collective taro swamps), how many uto (sprouted coconuts) will get distributed to each family, and on the harvesting of which crabs and birds. This is consensus democracy at work. Motu Ko owned by Ngake village has the sandy airport and plenty of coconut crabs. Motu Kotawa owned by Yato village has numerous seabirds that nest in the Pukama trees. Motu Uta owned by Loto village is easily accessible and filled with uto (sprouted coconuts). For the six months the motu opens, families spend the weekends in the bush clearing and collecting resources. The men fish. The

women go to the taro swamps. Children catch kaipea, tiny land crabs that taste sweet and earthy. Fish, taro, and coconuts sustain the population of four hundred and fifty. The elegant motu system is indigenous food security.

down collared shirts. Everyone takes a communion of nu, coconut water, and uto, the sprouted coconut. The coconut tree is the tree of life and so it makes sense to use this as communion. Singing, prayer, and rest defines Sundays.

Not all food in Pukapuka, however, comes from the land and sea. The cargo boat Lady Moana usually makes it from Rarotonga to Pukapuka around four times a year. The sailing cargo boat KWAI makes it from Hawaii to Pukapuka twice a year. New appliances get offloaded (A washing machine! A new truck!), and boxes upon boxes of “boat food.” Author Johnny Frisbie who grew up on the atoll writes, “it was like being on another island when the trading schooner came to Pukapuka.”

After prayer, comes play. “If Pukapuka is about one thing,” says ‘Yoda’ Pio Lavalua, “it is about having fun.” Almost every afternoon after work, the villages play sports. For three months at Christmas the villages hold a very serious competition. Men play traditional games like tika tika, throwing sticks to see whose stick lands the farthest. Women play lele ipu, racing with a coconut shell on your head. Men and women compete in coconut husking, seeing who can husk one hundred coconuts the fastest. Traditional to Pukapuka, the young men hold an all-day wrestling competition complete with its own special chants for the winning village. There is also cricket, tennis, and volleyball. The village that wins the Christmas games makes up pautautau, songs of ridicule and holds bragging rights for the year. The losing team fishes for the winning team. Play is serious sport in Pukapuka.

Men line up passing bags of rice, cartons of frozen chicken, gas bottles, and boxes of diapers down the beach. Children delight in the treats of canned corned beef, cabin bread, and mone mone (sweets). The villages and individual families order 50kg bags of flour, sugar, and rice to supplement their fish and taro. The three shops on the island order extra food to last between boat trips. Twisties, Tim-Tams, cans of Sprite, and packets of twisty tobacco line their shelves. Nothing gets offloaded on Sunday. As the boat leaves, life returns to its usual natural rhythm. Sunday in Pukapuka belongs to the Sabbath. Children wake early and wash themselves behind their ears. They put on their finest threads, brush their hair with comb and coconut oil, and slip their hardy feet into ornamental shoes. The first brass church bell rings at six. Children line up in their best clothes to attend the Protestant or Catholic Church, and on Saturdays the Seventh Day Adventist. A cappella hymns echo into the CICC church rafters, painted in bright hues of sunshine, flamingo, and sky. “The music literally makes me cry with its spiritual beauty,” says Gemma Cubero del Barrio while filming. On white Sunday, the congregation is a sea of white long dresses and bleached button

42 • ESCAPE

For the last few years, Talcual Films has worked on a documentary called Homecoming: A Film About Pukapuka. The documentary promises to capture the strength of this community and record for the first time the music that pervades life on the atoll. All the photos for this story come from the crew. More information is available online. As producer Gemma Cubero del Barrio says, “its truly a magical spiritual place.” Pukapuka prioritizes people, prayer, and play. It teaches how to live closer to nature and to rely on one another. It teaches how to sing songs to the mud crabs and to stop, sit, and take in the wind. While hard to physically reach, Pukapuka touches on a romantic imagination of ancient Polynesia. You can’t help but feel closer to God and the infinity of nature on this three square kilometre atoll surrounded by unlimited shades of ultramarine.


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ESCAPE • 43

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TE VARA NUI VILLAGE

Rarotonga’s Spectacular Over Water Night Show & Buffet Dinner Described by many as “world class” Rarotonga’s finest dancers and musicians perform by flaming torchlight on floating and fixed stages of a waterfall garden to “The Legend of Tongaiti!” THE LEGEND: This compelling story of pride, love and celebration is of a voyaging warrior named Tongaiti who, along with his family goes in search of new land to call home. After many weeks at sea, Tongaiti spotted what looked

to be a coconut floating in the water. As they came closer to the floating coconut it seemed to grow and grow… It was instead one of the “floating islands” the beautiful island of “Tumu-Te-Varovaro”, Rarotonga. The natives from this floating island were very hostile and unfriendly, throwing spears and yelling to scare Tongaiti and his people away from their shores. For many days Tongaiti sailed around the island and his family grew tired, hungry and weary. Finally, out of desperation Tongaiti called upon his beautiful daughter to dance for the Chief of Tumu-Te-Varovaro hoping her beauty would soften his heart and allow them to set foot on the land. Spellbound and captivated by her beauty, the Chief fell in love with this beautiful maiden and welcomed Tongaiti and his family onto his island and celebrated this with feast and dance! This stunning Over Water Night Show performance delivers an electric and authentic cultural performance like no other. Enjoy an Island Western Fusion Buffet Dinner which includes local delicacies such as Ika Mata and Poke to name a few, and westernised favourites including gluten free and vegetarian options. Upgrade to include the Cultural Village Tour with the Spectacular Over-Water Night

WINNER 2016 / 17 44 • ESCAPE  Tourism Attractions Award 

Supreme Tourism Industry Award

Ph 24006 Muri Beach

Show and Buffet Dinner to what is, the ultimate Cook Islands cultural experience on a 4.5hour journey, the Combo Extravaganza! On this pre-dinner Cultural Village Tour, you will meet local people who will share their stories, knowledge and heritage with you. Winner of the Air NZ Tours & Attractions Award and the prestigious ‘Air NZ Supreme Award’ 2017, & People’s Choice Award 2018. Undeniably a night that promises to bring your people together for fun, love of the culture and laughter, in a unique setting perfect for everyone of all ages. Experience a memorable evening on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. BOOK NOW on 24006!


love and pearls At Beachcomer Pearl Market, you can choose your precious Cook Islands Pearl and create your own personal jewellery statement. See our exclusive range of Polynesian wedding bands with LOVE, RESPECT, FAITHFULNESS and HAPPINESS motifs.

U P T O W N AVA R U A PHONE 21939


r e b m o c h c a e B Story: Rachel Smith

– from ruin to renewal

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t was 1983 when David Bowie climbed out a window at the Beachcomber. Today the scene from the movie ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ is memorialised in the Vinyl Revival corner of The Café, where you can sip a coffee, play some vinyl and check out the very window. The Beachcomber, now home to Beachcomber Pearl Market, Bergman Gallery, The Print Room and The Café, has a history packed with stories, people, pearls and art.

Located just east of town in Taputapuatea, the original building was constructed by the people of Te Au o Tonga as a Sunday School for the London Missionary Society (LMS) back in 1845. At the time it was the second limestone construction in the country, used for reading, writing and scripture classes in Cook Islands Maori, and as a gathering point for the local community. “Lots of local characters remember this building,” say Ben Bergman, owner of Beachcomber and Director of Bergman Gallery. Notably, Sir Thomas Davis, a former leader of the Cook Islands, attended Side School when it was located at the site.

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When LMS operations ended in 1965, the Cook Islands Christian Church (CICC) took ownership of all their church activities, and in 1967 with a growing congregation the church investigated increasing the capacity of the school. Some of the roof was removed to look at the viability of adding a second story, then along came Cyclone Dolly which effectively removed the rest of the roof.

A complete re-build was proposed, an idea that was opposed by Makea Nui Teremoana Ariki on whose land the school was built. Instead an alternate location for a larger construction, the Sinai Hall, was found across the road. The former Sunday School went on to house the Cook Islands Legislative Assembly, the precursor to the Cook Islands Parliament, before being left empty and falling into a ruin. A ruin to what stands today is a large jump in imagination. It was a process that began with Joan and David Gragg, who had experience in renovating similar structures and had long seen the potential in the site. “In 1990 we asked Makea Teremoana Ariki for a lease on the land and building,” says Joan, with an eye to relocating their

business Beachcomber Ltd. “She agreed to give us a lease providing we did not tear the coral walls down. The walls were to us the focus of our rebuild plan.” “The structure was sprouting trees from the top of the walls and trees grew in the coral floor. Coral stones were piled in what was the main part of the building where hurricane waves had dumped them over the years. David appreciated the aesthetics of the remains of the building and decided that he should preserve every part of the building that spoke of its history.”

The new Beachcomber opened its doors in 1992 as a pearl gallery, complete with the original coral walls and mismatched window sill height. An art and craft gallery was added later that year, followed by a glass studio and a stable to house their Clydesdale horse. Today, the stable and the glass studio are long gone, and while Beachcomber has gone through many transformations the focus on art and pearls remains the same. The Bergman family purchased the site back in 2001 and under their ownership a courtyard space was added and a café, and perhaps most significantly in 2009 a


purpose built exhibition space. Beachcomber Contemporary Art showcased community and Pacific art for 15 years under Director Ben Bergman. It naturally evolved into Bergman Gallery in 2016, and has since exhibited shows of some of the Pacific’s top artists.

numbered and open prints of many of the artists who have exhibited work at the gallery. Right next door is the Beachcomber Pearl Market, which mixes pearls and interior design pieces with local art, such as textiles and painted furniture by artist Kay George.

“We started with a very strong base of Cook Islands community artists,” says Ben. The exhibition history is a line-up of respected artists including Joan Gragg, Mahiriki Tangaroa, Kay George, Ian George, Mike Tavioni, Eruera Nia, Tim Buchanan, Apii Rongo, Tabatha Forbes & Loretta Reynolds in addition to the five artists now represented by the gallery - Reuben Paterson, Andy Leleisi'uao, Tungane Broadbent, Sylvia Marsters and Benjamin Work.

“We really want to involve people in making their own jewellery,” says Ben. “You can come in and sort through loose pearls – and choose the pearl you love.” Pearls are sourced from the pristine environment of Manihiki. For the customer it is as simple as choosing a pearl and one of the selection of available settings, with the completed piece ready the following day.

“We now have a dedicated project space and dedicated print space,” says Ben, with The Print Room a new addition to the Beachcomber. The Print Room offers

The courtyard at Beachcomber doubles as an exhibition space, such as last year’s Vaka Eiva paddle art exhibition co-

ordinated by artist Ani O’Neill, and is the home of The Café. With all the Beachcomber has to offer, the focus for Ben Bergman has always been to showcase the very best of Modern Pacific Art, both to a local and international audience. “International shows allow us to broaden our reach - to show we are capable of producing conceptual art statements,” says Ben. “And to show off the destination – to make people aware of the Cook Islands.” Contact: Facebook – Bergman Gallery www.bergmangallery.co.ck | +682 55012

ESCAPE COOK ISLANDS

2019 Calendar Cook Island s

Calendar

2019

Ministry

August sunday

JULY ‘19

ion Day Constitut

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The Escape Magazine 2019 Calendar features the very best of Cook Islands images captured by our photographers during the past year. Each calendar is individually shrinkwrapped and has a stiffening board plus envelope for ease of mailing. From most stores and souvenir outlets on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

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ADVERTORIAL

c i f i c Pa e v a We

P

acific Weave store offers a unique opportunity for visitors to spend an enjoyable hour learning weaving skills and creating your own exclusive Cook Islands souvenir. You will be greeted by Nanave, a young Cook Islands artisan weaver who will share with you her stories and her skills.

Nanave Taime hails from the islands of Penrhyn in the Northern Group of the Cook Islands and has been taught weaving skills by her grandmother. She is now an artist in her own right. Her weaving creations are highly prized and given as gifts on special occasions. Clearly, you will be taught your new skills by the best! In addition, visitors to Pacific Weave store can enjoy a “virtual” tour of the South Pacific and admire native crafts sourced directly from communities from around the Pacific. See the arts and crafts from

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Marshall Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands, French Polynesia and Micronesia. You will be working with natural fibres created right here in the Cook Islands. ‘Rito’ is one of the common natural materials used for weaving in Penrhyn. Made from the young fauns of the coconut leaves. If you visit any church in the Cook Islands you will see women wearing with adornment & pride, beautiful white hats decorated with woven flowers & shells. Holding finely woven fans in vibrant colours & amazing intricate patterns – All made with ‘Rito’. A special section of the store is devoted to beautiful Cook Islands crafts representing the best in weaving,

carving and painting skills of local artisans. You can come individually or as a group. Classes are interactive, visual and suitable for all ages. Pacific Weave store is located in Panama, just before the Airport next to Perfumes of Rarotonga Factory outlet. Call them on 27535 to make a reservation for your class.


MODERN PACIFIC ART

LOCATED AT BEACHCOMBER PEARL MARKET

exhibition schedule: bergmangallery.co.ck bergmangallery

ANDY LELEISI’UAO: HARMONIC ISLANDS” 2018 >>>

LIMTED EDITION PRINTS COOK ISLANDS AND PACIFC ARTISTS including: Tabatha Forbes Mahiriki Tangaroa Kay George Ian George Sylvia Marsters Nanette Lela'ulu Mark Cross Apii Rongo Joan Gragg Miriama Arnold Matthew Payne Reuben Paterson Michel Tuffery & others.... Located at Beachcomber Pearl Market theprintroomCK

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A Rarotongan

r u o t Art Story: Rachel Smith

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t is difficult not to be inspired by the Cook Islands, whether you are a visitor or have lived here for generations. Creativity has always been an important part of daily life, in weaving and tivaivai, in the making of 'ei and 'ei katu, in tattooing and carving, and in dancing and drumming. The list is endless. Today creativity in the Cook Islands takes on many forms with talented Cook Islands artists renowned for their expertise across the Pacific. Avarua Any art tour should start with the Beachcomber in Taputapuatea, on the eastern side of Avarua. The Bergman family purchased the Beachcomber complex back in 2001, exhibiting work by Cook Islands artists at the Beachcomber Art Gallery and constructing a purpose built exhibition space in 2009. “Bergman Gallery came about as an end result of 15 years of the Beachcomber Art

Gallery,” says Ben Bergman, Director. “I realised the conceptual depth of modern Pacific art works – that we could do shows like those in Auckland.” With a focus on Cook Islands and New Zealand artists, Bergman Gallery represents Reuben Paterson, Andy Leleisi'uao, Tungane Broadbent, Sylvia Marsters and Benjamin Work, as well as continuing to show other Pacific artists in its 4-5 shows per year. The gallery also takes part in international exhibitions, earlier this year attending the Auckland Art Fair 2018 with Andy Leleisi'uao and Sylvia Marsters and hosting PŪTAHI ONO KUKI AIRANI in Rarotonga. Upcoming shows at Bergman Gallery for 2018 include: July 21 - August 26: Kay George with a collection of textiles including

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silk and cotton pareus, table runners, painted furniture and wall hangings. Sept 3 - October 6: Matt Payne’s landscapes from the Cook Islands Further art work can be found in the Beachcomber Pearl Market, and at The Print Room which offers prints from a wide range of Pacific artists. Contact: Facebook – Bergman Gallery www.bergmangallery.co.ck | +682 55012 Opposite the market on the main road in Avarua is a small red gallery, aptly named The Little Red Gallery. Purchased by Lee and Boaz Raela in 2015 when they returned with their family to live in the Cook Islands, the gallery is led by Lee, who is an artist herself. “We wanted to have more local art - and they’re all really quite different,” says Lee, with a mix of Cook Islands and Pacific art available. Lee has filled the gallery with a range of art work by Cook Islands artists – her own paintings and prints, as well as prints by Joan Gragg, Tim Buchanan, Fe’ena SymeBuchanan, David Teata, Miriama Arnold, Spike Tuara and, New Zealand based artist, Valerie Beale. Contact: Facebook – thelittleredgalleryrarotonga | +682 74981

Panama It’s not all tattoos at KareHa Pacific Ink Polynesian Art Studio. Inside you will find simple but striking black and white prints by Stormy Kara as well as original paintings by Shane Andrew. Contact: Facebook – Pacific Ink Tattoos +682 56636


Muri TE ARA – the Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise mixes history and art with supporting cultural enterprise. Opening early last year, Te Ara’s gallery space and gift shop presents work by a wide selection of Cook Islands artists. “Everything is made locally at Te Ara,” says co-founder Stan Wolfgramm. This begins with photography by Carly Ave, stunning original paintings by Mahiriki Tangaroa and a selection of Ani Dun’s work, as well as prints and wall hangings from Maria File and wood block prints by David Teata.

Punanga Nui Market, open on a Saturday morning, is another great spot to check out local creativity. Many of the artists whose work is included in galleries across Rarotonga, will also show their work at Punanga Nui.

Arorangi

Originals | Prints | Gifts Phone: (682) 74981 www.thelittleredgalleryrarotonga.com

Facebook: The Little Red Gallery

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“I paint what I feel and what I see,” says Maria, whose work includes original paintings on wood and canvas as well as a wide selection of prints and cards. “It just comes – it just pours out.”

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Maria’s Art Gallery, located just behind Ariki Adventures, is home to the art work of Maria File. Creativity, in particular painting, comes naturally to Maria who was first drawn to painting from watching her mother-in-law.

Local & Pacif ic

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For something a little different Uruā Collection’s fabric work utilises a Japanese printing technique, and there is pottery and printed pareu from The Creative Centre and woven rito pieces by Tarani Crafts & Pearls. Contact: Facebook – TE ARA - Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise www.tearacimce.com | +682 27641

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Acrylic on ply, metal, hardwood or canvas, her paintings come in a wide range of sizes including wooden postcards that are stamped and ready to go, as well as hanging icons and fabric wall hangings. Contact: Ani79777@gmail.com

The Little Red Gallery

CA

Look out for the bright art gallery sign pointing inland at Akaoa No2 Road in the village of Akaoa in Arorangi. Known around the island simply as Ani’s Gallery, Ani Exham-Dun’s paintings all feature her take on island designs. Ani describes her work as drawing on a tapestry of tattooing, weaving of mats and basketware, rock drawings, carvings made of wood and stone, and tivaivai.

The gallery also includes jewellery, pareus, cushion covers, soap and bags on behalf of other artists. Contact: Facebook – Maria File Art Gallery Rarotonga | +682 53896

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Pacific Weave features art and crafts from around the Pacific including selected work by Cook Islands artists. Here you can find paintings by Tim Buchanan, Loretta Reynolds, Remiah Mani and Kay George, on a mix of mediums from glass and wood to canvas and fabric. Contact: Facebook – Pacific Weave www.islandperfumes.com/pacificweave +682 27575

in 2002 and can be found on most days painting out the back of her gallery. Tribal designs in both black and white, and colour, are painted freehand and are a feature of Maria’s work, as well as island scenes and bright botanicals.

With a background in painting and teaching art, Maria returned to the Cook Islands

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A

r e t s Ma t s i t r A

Story: Glenda Tuaine

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s I stand and look at the two Mike Tavioni paintings titled ‘Pig Twilight Bath’ and ‘Pig Twilight Wash’ I know I am up for a great story on how these art works have come to be. Sure enough Mike Tavioni does not disappoint. In that deep rumbling voice he tells me, “So I just put the paint in the pig pen and chased the pigs around. I thought they would naturally walk all over them but you had to nudge them a bit. In the end one of them pooed on one of the canvas’s so I scraped some off that one.” He laughs and then tells me that was the painting out of the trio that sold in the gallery in Ponsonby, Auckland. We both agree that it probably sold because they knew it had poo on it. Mike Tavioni is a Cook Islands Master of Art, a rebel of sorts with a connection to artistic expression that is as vital to him

as breathing is to keeping alive. He is a Painter, Sculptor, Master Carver, Screen and Block printer, Designer, Canoe Maker, Poet, Writer, Teacher, Storyteller and a Critic of Life and even after that list I am sure I have probably missed out some other titles that could aptly be bestowed on him. An interview with Mike is a snapshot into the life of a resourceful creative mind. I ask him when creativity started for him. “I remember in the early days we had a cook house, poorly constructed; and when I was about five or six I became fascinated with fire. I used to hold the burning stick from the fire and do all sorts of things from that. I would sneak round the back and draw Cowboys and Indians because the movies at the time were all about Indians and Cowboys. I would draw it with the stick, charcoal you know, sometimes still burning” he reminisces. “From a young kid as soon you can hold a knife you are supposed to go and cut the coconuts for the pigs so when you have done that your parents don’t see you. I would go out carving trees as well as drawing! I would try to carve names of whatever I imagined on the trees.” If you haven’t gathered by now Mike naturally likes to push boundaries and as we delve further into this interview his cleverness to understand and seize an opportunity out of what others may find a crisis or problem, is a character trait Mike has had since he was a young boy. “At school I would draw on my books and in Grade 4 and 5 I had a very good teacher who punished me all the time for drawing.

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She would tell me go in the corner on the floor with newsprint and pastels. So the punishment was really great! I would go and draw all kinds of things without her knowing that I was loving it. She pushed me away from arithmetic and punished me with this!” he laughs and tells me how he would commit the crime as often as he could so he would be sent to the corner to draw. Growing up Mike naturally pursues art and as a teenager he is carving, drawing and decides to branch into clothing design enlisting his sisters sewing talents to create his very first shirt that he patterned with printers ink and a nib. As he tells some of the stories of his life he provides insight into what was influencing the minds of youth in 1960’s Rarotonga. America definitely holding the interest of a young Mike who at one stage became fascinated with the American eagle, carving pearl shell pendants of the symbol for himself and his friends using the one file that he owned. But it is with words that Mike finds an inner emotional expression and release. “At first I started playing with poetry but my mother loved singing Tahitian songs and in the songs there is poetry so I grew up with her singing these songs”. As a high school student Mike secures a scholarship and finds himself at a school in Kaikohe, Northland, New Zealand. "I actually began to write poems there because I was so homesick.” At 16 Mike is influenced by the 18th Century English Romantic Poet William Wordsworth.


He is quick to inform me English is his worst subject as Mike is a fluent Maori speaker and writes his poetry in the language he is fluent in, which even when translated to English captures poetic eloquence that really does have echoes of Wordsworth like qualities. Recently Mike completed his Masters in Art and Design from AUT; no mean feat for a man who sees English as his worst subject. His former Professor asked him to create a poem or proverb for the University. He created one which he translates from Maori for me:

Now it is only silence You turn around I am still standing here Your Chord of union to the Divine Awaiting patiently For your return

Mike explains this is aimed at Cook Islanders who have left not to return. He is concerned at the increasing depopulation issues that the Cook Islands outer islands face. Mike has observed this first hand and from the period 1996 to 2010 looked at the quarterly population statistics to note the trends. Mike is a keen observer of what impacts our country and our communities, he observes and provides what he terms ‘critic’ on our societal trends and directions. He is not afraid to voice his views be that through art or through direct conversation. “We were losing an average of over 700 people per year from 1996 for over 10 years, who did not come back including births and deaths in that total. Now it is 2018 and in 1996 there were 2,000 people in Atiu now there is what? 300? Maybe it is less. It is the same with all the islands over here. The illusion is the island, Rarotonga is over populated but on average 2,000 tourists are here every day as well as 2 to 3,000 foreign workers. The illusion is Rarotonga probably only has about 7,000 people here including foreign workers.”

Muteki ua i teia nei Uri mai koe Te tu uatu nei au i konei To Tāura Atua E tatari marie uatu nei I toou okianga mai

Mike Tavioni creates art to develop conversations, ideas and directions and with his multiple artistic abilities he facilitates conversation on key topics affecting the Cooks. But in order to be an artist you have to be brave, it is not the

career many deem as acceptable. You see when we return to the life story of this artist I learn that Mike as a young school leaver wrote to his father to advise him he was going to be an artist. Mike explains the reaction. “My father said don’t come back to my home I disown you. How can you step on my head? What about your family? How are you going to feed yourself son?” Mike explains his father stipulated he could try and study law, be a teacher but he had to be somebody worthwhile or he could study agriculture. Mike not wanting to dishonour his family applied to take agriculture which meant

ESCAPE • 53


he returned to Rarotonga and worked in the Agriculture department for one year. However during that time Mike applied to go to join the New Zealand army and was turned down a few days before the recruits were about to depart. This was because of his bond to the New Zealand Island Territories Department and the requirement that he had to go to study at Massey University. Mike reflects “Good thing I didn’t go my best friend died. A lot of people I was with before they left have all died from Agent Orange. Those that didn’t go were lucky. It was a blessing not being accepted, we were all watching too many war movies all thinking we were warriors, anyway I ended up working for Government.” At Massey Mike wrote more poems because he was lonely. “That place was too cold and I couldn’t take it so I wrote more poems. One I titled ‘Windy Palm’ meaning Palmerston North.” On returning to Rarotonga he works for the Agriculture Department for 20 years and spends large amounts of time in the outer islands developing Coconut nurseries, Copra Dryers and planting new crops. It is during this time that Mike learns more as a carver and begins his journey with Canoe building. “I was sent to Mitiaro to build 6 Copra dryers and invent some things like that to dry bananas and assist them with planting. In Mitiaro and all our islands people do community work. Everything in Polynesia is communal and cooperative. So the women, kids and the people take the coconut, plant it and sing. It was like a festival we planted about 10,000 Coconuts back then. We designed Copra dryers using 24 gallon drums and for the first time they managed to increase their copra production.” Mike enjoys telling me how he used to send his assistant to do the monotonous work while he would sit with his grand uncle and watch him carving. “I would watch him carve kumete, one takes a few weeks to finish and when he had enough he would sit down and sleep so I had to go back to work.” He laughs and says that during that

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time the Mitiaro community were making canoes and he was intrigued how they were made. For every Outer Islands he went to he kept observing the carving and canoe making skills. Finally after 20 years Mike tells his father he is leaving Agriculture to be an Artist and although there were tears from his father Mike embarks on his true calling. He teaches himself to screen and block print, selling Pareus in Rarotonga and exporting to Samoa and Tahiti. In 1999 he is invited to Hawaii to the Canoe festival and attends for a decade building canoes every year alongside his wife and equally talented Carver Awhitia. Mike proudly advises me that the first year he attended he was not sure what to expect. “They knew me from someone who recommended me. I finished the canoe in four days the others didn’t finish theirs we only had a week! I didn’t really have any tools the first year. It was me and Hector Busby from NZ and some Tahitians and Hawaiians that was all. We were given a tree each to make canoes. I had some friends that looked after me. I said I want some metal to make adze. I had a friend who worked in sugar cane fields and he had some broken plates from tractors that they used for slashing the sugar cane. I drew what I needed and he cut it out for me” It is this resourcefulness that surrounds Mike Tavioni and leads him to his latest project which is one of his biggest. He is creating an Arts centre, a school where traditional arts and skills can be learnt and combined with contemporary arts. Mike being a resourceful man is funding and building this off his own back which is testament to his independent spirit and drive. The vision is to have mainly Cook Island artists work exhibited in the gallery which he hopes will feature largely painted works. Behind the gallery is where the Arts school will be located. This will be a school that teaches traditional arts, language and cultural practices. Mike believes strongly that a good traditional base will provide the foundations for new artists to emerge and as he discusses the Art centre concept and

vision with me you can see he is determined to make sure this project comes to life. I too believe that a centre such as this is incredibly important to the Cook Islands future development of a creative industry. Mike is committed to providing a space where traditional and contemporary artisans can combine talents. Where discussion and interests can merge to form artistic products and the stories of our people can be recorded, listened too, acted out or even just imagined. Mike Tavioni is a Cook Islands Master Artist well worth knowing more about so if you are travelling on the Back Rd of Atupa, Avatiu, keep an eye out for Mike Tavioni’s studio and work in progress Art Centre then stop and hopefully you will be lucky enough to spend some time with Mike. For more information on Mike Tavioni visit www.miketavioni.wordpress.com www.facebook.com/michael.tavioni or email – miketavioni@gmail.com


ISLAND STYLE JEWELLERY AND GIFTWARE LOCATED DOWNTOWN AVARUA NEXT TO TOURISM OFFICE - PHONE 21901

ESCAPE • 55


great places to stay

Sunhaven Beach Bungalows

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

happy holidays!

Look for this symbol‌ The Cook Islands Tourism Accreditation Scheme is designed to set minimum standards. It will assist you in your choice of where to stay, what to see and what to do. Wherever you see this logo you can be sure that the accommodation establishment, restaurant, retailer, tour or activity operator has met minimum requirements to assure you of good service, good facilities, safe practices and of course friendly Cook Islands hospitality. We highly recommend that visitors use their services. For a full list of all accredited businesses please refer to our website:

www.tourismindustry.co.ck


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

Reconnect with life at our Romantic Island Hideaway. Enjoy child-free tranquillity in a perfect beachside setting. P: (682) 28465 E: sunhaven@beachbungalows.co.ck www.mysunhaven.com

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

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P. +682 22020

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ADVERTORIAL

of July 2017 and in March 2018 Jetsave Cook Islands and Federal Pacific Cook Islands became the very proud tenants of a new 2 storey office building in downtown Avarua FEDERAL PACIFIC HOUSE. The name Federal Pacific House comes from one of our major financial arms being Federal Pacific Group. Each financial branch in the islands (i.e. Samoa. East Timor, Tonga, Fiji and more) are housed in a Federal Pacific House.

Jetsave Travel (Jetsave Cook Islands Ltd)

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Moving People and Money for the better in the Cook Islands for 20 years

etsave Cook Islands Limited Jetsave Travel, first opened its doors in December 1998. At the time the Managing Director was Melynnda Morrissette, who hailed from the USA. She had lived in the Cook Islands for over ten years at that stage. Melynnda who was a very experienced travel agent, grew the business for the first 10 years. Sadly she passed away in 2008. Her position was then filled by the current General Manager, Julie Bateman. Julie had worked for Melynnda and Jetsave for a number of years as Melynnda’s personal assistant and also as assistant manager. After a few years in business and seeing how successful the business was operating Jetsave travel introduced a financial services division which included becoming a network agent for Western Union Money Transfers. Today Jetsave Cook Islands Limited is a one stop shop for all travel needs.

It now comprises not just the travel side of the business but also a foreign cash exchange service and a money transfer service via Fexco Western Union. Prior to the era of electronic ticketing, the travel industry in those days was very complicated, particularly with issuing tickets. Everything was done by hand, mostly in triplicate. Cumbersome as it seemed at times, it certainly gave an interesting background to the industry. Today a complicated itinerary can be done in a few minutes as opposed to what could be hours spent on the phone coordinating flights, hotels and other associated services. As time marched on, we employed additional staff to cope with the growth of the business. We then started to feel more than a little "crowded" in our premises originally designed for 4 staff - the office was now accommodating 9 staff. Crammed to say the least! A decision was made in 2017 to upgrade and rebuild the current office space. Our landlord agreed that perhaps it was time to upgrade/replace the current building as it was no longer economically viable to patch and repair. Building commenced at the end

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The new premises reflect a wonderfully fresh, comfortable and modern ambience, not only for the staff working within these premises, but also for our customers. Our customers have been extremely patient with the renovations and have taken all the inconvenience in their stride and at times with much humour. We are still the same people, offering the same services, in the same location and our services still include: 1. The issuance of overseas airline tickets for travel anywhere in the world 2. Domestic airline tickets to all the accessible outer islands 3. Hotel accommodation, both inbound and outbound 4. Overseas and Outer island packages 5. Foreign Money Exchange - best rates and minimal fees 6. Domestic money transfers between islands 7. Business payments to anywhere in the world 8. Tours and activities for our visitors 9. Cruises 10. An afterhours emergency number to provide 24/7 assistance in our travel division

Jetsave is located downtown Avarua just a few doors up from Bank South Pacific. You can phone us on (+682) 27707 or email: jetsave@cooks.co.ck Kia manuia And we look forward to hearing from you!


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COOK ISLANDS MĀORI: LANGUAGE AND PROVERBS Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky

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ook Islands Māori delights with poetry, metaphor, nature, and hidden layers of meaning. One word has many different meanings and layers of meaning depending on the culture, context, and intonation. People appreciate you trying out the basics while in the islands. Greet people with Kia Orana, which serves as hello and literally means may you live long and healthy. You can say meitaki for thank you, which means all good as in everyone’s feeling good. Most locals appreciate the effort of visitors or manu‘iri (literally translated as

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a descending or landed bird) to learn the language. The three official languages of the Cook Islands are: Cook Islands Māori, Pukapukan, and English. The islands of Manihiki, Rakahanga, Penrhyn, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke, Aitutaki, and Mangaia each have their own dialect distinct from Rarotonga. Pukapuka has an entirely unique language as does Palmerston. Palmerston speaks their own unique archaic form of Midlands 19th Century English mixed with ship language and Cook Islands Māori. Palmerston residents still say “ahoy” for “hello.”

Cook Islands Māori was first written down in the 1830’s when missionaries codified it into the bible. Before then, it was only an oral language and still oratory and storytelling remain important. Like the bible, Cook Islands Māori is rich with proverbs. One of the best ways to understand a language is through its proverbs. Proverbs get at the hidden meanings of the language and teach us about ourselves. They contain metaphors, morals, and wisdom. Kia Manūia! Good luck and cheers! Meitaki Ma‘ata to Rutera Taripo, Te Reo Māori Coordinator at the Ministry of Culture, and Dr. Sally Ake Nicholas for their assistance.

Selected Cook Islands Maori Proverbs ‘Auraka e kai mata i te vī Don’t eat mangoes while they are green. Don’t do anything in haste. Be patient.

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Eia’a e ‘akatangi vave i te pū, ‘e kāre i māoa ake te varāoa. Don't blow the horn till the bread is baked. Don't boast about something until it is actually done. ‘E tumurangi matangi kāre ra i ua. A storm cloud but no rain. Said of a person who says that they will give, but then forgets about it. Karikao pao ngatā. A hard to crack seashell. Said of a person that is very stubborn. Ko tei koe te vaarua ra koia uaorai te ka topa ki roto. The person who digs a pit will fall into it. If a person finds fault for another, that person themselves has that fault. Te ma’ata ‘i ta’au ka ‘ōronga ko te ma’ata rāi ia i ta’au ka rauka. The more you give the more you receive. Wealth is measured not by how much you have, but by how much you give. Give freely and you shall receive. Do not be selfish. ‘A’aere mārie ‘e aku pōtiki kia kite koe ‘i ngā ‘inapōtea. Go quietly my sons, so that you see many moonlights. Go slowly, quietly, and carefully so that you may live long. Do not live in haste. O’ore ‘a meika para ‘ua. Skin it like a banana. It can be done easily and is easily overcome.’

‘Ākara kā veu te punā vai. Be careful or the clear pool might become dirty. Be careful that your cleverness does not turn into foolishness.

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Kāre ‘a mangō e tuku i tāna kai e mate ‘uātu. The shark does not give up its food. Said of a person who shows great tenacity. Tā te tangata e rūrū ra, tana rāi ia e kokoti. What a person sows, they will reap. If a person does bad things, they will reap bad things. If they do good things, they will reap good things.

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8 1 0 2 i u N a v e Te Ma THE PATH OF THE MOON Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule‘a Borofsky Photos: © Ministry of Culture

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are feet clatter back stage. Girls adjust their ‘Au (hibiscus bark) skirts. Tangerine-coloured feather headdresses frame their lengthy raven hair. A sixteenyear-old passes around scintillating Russian Red lipstick for all to share. Aunties with their glue guns attach last minute seashells to skirts. Boys shine their bodies up with coconut oil. A stagehand ushers groups past the scarlet curtain and onto the brightly lit stage. The stage lights up for Te Maeva Nui, the annual cultural celebration of the Cook Islands. Every August, the whole country commemorates independence with parades, markets, craft fairs, flowers, food, song, drumming, and dance. Alive and buzzing with excitement, it is the time to see authentic Cook Islands culture from all fifteen islands. The Cook Islands gained full independence on August 4th 1965, becoming a state in free association with New Zealand. To honour the occasion, the government launched a week-long ‘Constitution Celebration.’ In the seventies and eighties, the event took on a more political tone with songs and dances composed for the political party in power. In the nineties, the Ministry of Cultural Development set themes for the event, asking performers to

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research their own island communities for inspiration. The Head of the Ministry, along with a committee, carefully researches and chooses a theme that celebrates the strengths of Cook Islands culture. The themes become a repository of Cook Islands culture. For 2018, the theme ‘Te au Arāpō o Tōku Matakeinanga/The Traditional Calendars of My Ancestors’ promises to ignite the imagination. The theme is about arāpō, which translates as the path of the night or the moon. The traditional Polynesian calendar relies on the moon rather than the sun to mark time. Taripo, who helped choose the theme, says, “It will challenge everyone to do their research. They will need to talk to the elders of the community and find out the traditional calendars of their island.” The process of researching the theme creates the cultural connection and each island will have their own way of representing this in their performances. The night sky of the Northern Group looks different than the night sky of the Southern Group. Taripo continues, “Each island has a different moon. The moon phase tells us when to fish and what to fish. It tells us when to plant and what to plant. It tells when to make love if we want a son, a daughter, or twins. There are even particular moon phases for having a red-haired child. If you follow the stages of the moon, you’ll be able to accomplish what you need to do.” The path of the moon opens up a variety of interpretations. Most of the islands, particularly Rarotonga, have moved away from a traditional calendar. Fishermen and planters still abide by it, but many have forgotten. The Ministry of Cultural Development sees this as an opportunity for everyone to research, talk to elders, and learn about their own islands through uncovering the multiple meanings of the traditional calendar. “In the old days,” says Taripo,


“the connection with the wind, the rain, the ocean, and the spirituality of our people guided life. This theme takes us back to the skills and spirituality of our ancestors, from fishing to planting, to genealogy, mythology, and traveling on the vakas, canoes.” Seventeen-year-old dancer for Vaka Takitumu, Chémanya MackenzieHoff, says, “I am so excited about this year’s theme! With the moon we have a lot to showcase.” Preparations for the August festival start as early as November. Committees meet. Everyone discusses and debates the theme. The team chooses the composers, choreographers, and lead costume designers. Pukapuka/Nassau, Manihiki/ Rakahanga, Tongareva, Palmerston, Mitiaro, Atiu, Mauke, Mangaia, and Aitutaki will each send a team to Rarotonga to compete for 2018. Rarotonga has at least four teams competing: Oire Nikao, Vaka Puaikura, Vaka Takitumu, and Tupapa Maraerenga. With all the outer islands in

attendance, Te Maeva Nui 2018 promises a week-long show-stopping whirlwind of cultural celebration. Robert Ioaba, Events Coordinator for the Ministry of Cultural Development, says “The most exciting thing about this year’s Te Maeva Nui is the reuniting with our people from the outer islands. It has been two years since they came and they can’t wait.” Fifty to sixty people from each island will come to represent their unique style of drumming, dancing, and singing about their traditional ancestral calendar. It takes looking behind the scenes to truly appreciate the year-long labour that is Te Maeva Nui. Sisters Lexi Mackenzie-Hoff, Czaria Mackenzie-Hoff, and Chémanya Mackenzie-Hoff dance for Vaka Takitumu. They talked about all the hard work it takes to bring this show to the stage.

February we go into the bush with the kids, aunties, and all the dancers. We find the ‘Au tree and cut the young branches. We put them on the back of the truck and go back to the hall to strip the bark. Then we put the bark into rolls and let it sit in the seawater for two weeks. After that we have to clean all the gunk off, dry it out in the sun, dye them, and then weave it all into a skirt.” The ‘Au skirt forms the basis of all the costumes. The three sisters share a sense of pride in making their own costumes from bark to stage. In the last few weeks before Te Maeva Nui, many stay up all night. “Usually the week leading up to the celebration we don’t sleep at all,” laughs Czaria. A designated mama cooks the meals every night and makes sure the performers never go hungry. Drummers, dancers, children, committees, and families spread out on the mattresses on the floor.

Lexi explains the lengthy process of making the costumes: “First around

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prized. “I started as a kid banging sticks on the Anchor Powdered Milk Tins. Drumming is in our blood,” says Ioaba. The deep, soulful sounds of the drumming echoes inside the National Auditorium and all the way up to the moon.

Leading up to Te Maeva Nui, the air feels electric with the stress of perfection. “I like all the stress,” says Czaria. “We want to beat the other groups,” explains Chè, “but mostly we want to beat our performance from the year before.” When it comes time for the dress rehearsal at the National Auditorium, the groups only walk through their routines to hide their secret showstoppers. “Its all very secretive leading up to the competition,” says Lexi. Te Maeva Nui is a celebration, and also a competition. Finally, the day comes. Friday, July 27th opens with an official ceremony with dignitaries and the float parade down Avarua main road. Saturday July 28th highlights the national costume competition, where the costume designers compete with original designs in the wetgreen and dry categories. Events Officer Janette Browne says, “Team leaders have wanted to see the costume area compensated better.” The prize money for the best costumes has increased creating more incentive and wilder costumes. Judges walk backstage to inspect the costumes carefully. Browne says, “Judges have to come back stage and see for themselves. They either find pieces falling off where the glue gun didn’t work, or exquisite craftsmanship.” Chémanya Mackenzie-Hoff says, “I love it when the judges come backstage and they just say ‘wow.’” The festivities really get underway from Monday July 30th, through Saturday August 4th, when Constitution Park comes alive with Island Trade Days. Every morning, stalls fill with arts, crafts, and food unique to each island. Penrhyn brings their stunning ghost white rito hats. Pukapuka sells their long kikau brooms. Manihiki showcases their best pearls.

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“Manihiki has the best uto, sprouted pancakes,” says Czaria who looks forward to their stall every year. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a canary yellow pupu shell necklace at the Mangaia stall. Browne says, “it's a great time for the outer islands to showcase their baskets, hats, mats, brooms, earrings, bracelets, ei’s, seafood, and more.” You’ll find the diversity and quality of the crafts higher, and the prices lower because you’re buying directly from the sellers. Island Trade Days provides a rich array of traditional foods, crafts, and souvenirs. After shopping, evenings find everyone at the 2,000-seat National Auditorium for the cultural performances. Performers compete in at least four different categories. The electrifying Ura Pau, drum dance, brings the house down with its fast beats. The Kapa Rima, action song, has a slower beat with hand movements that tell a story. In the Pe‘e, chant, a male chants a well-known legend or a new story based on the theme and everyone engages in a theatrical performance. The Ute, a traditional singing four-beat song, brings older singers to the stage. Sunday August 5th closes out the performances with the Imene Tuki, traditional hymns sung in high pitched voices by the women, backed by low base notes from the men. Singers often get up and dance impromptu with huge smiles, swaying hips, and hands outstretched to the heavens. The Imene Tuki heard at Te Maeva Nui far surpasses anything you will hear at church on Sundays. Ioaba loves the drumming the best. The drumming competition, Tangi Ka’ara, takes place on August 4th. Like the dancers, the drummers make their own drums of different wood with mahogany the most

Ioaba highlights the unique style of drumming from each island. “Each island has its own unique style and beats,” he says, “I can hear the sound and right away I know which island the team came from. In the Northern Group, the drum portrays a story. Pukapuka’s drumming is the most unique. It is the most sophisticated drumming. Most of the drumming you hear is a complete beat whereas Pukapukan drumming is only half the beat. I tell each island stay with your style.” The message for each island to stick with its own style is a common message from the Ministry of Cultural Development. Te Maeva Nui helps preserve the rich diversity of each island’s unique cultural performance. The very last day of Te Maeva Nui is Monday August 6th with the 53rd Constitution Celebrations ceremony, prize giving ceremony and closing speeches. The Prime Minister gives a speech reflecting upon the year for the country. The judges announce the winners. Everyone returns back to their home islands filled with stories and dreams for next year’s celebrations. The trio of sister dancers Czaria, Lexi, and Chè urges everyone to come. “It is literally a one of a kind event,” says Czaria who now dances for a Tahitian troupe in Paris. Lexi chimes in, “I can’t believe a lot of visitors don't even know about it. I would come to Rarotonga just for Te Maeva Nui.” “This is really the only time you can see the whole variety of Cook Islands drumming and dancing,” says Chè. When asked if the dancing sisters had any last words to share, Czaria yells from another room, “You’ve got to go! Take your kids! Te Maeva Nui 2018 is a must!” Follow the path of the moon and you’ll find yourself at the National Auditorium of Rarotonga from Sunday 29th July to Monday 6th August 2018 celebrating Cook Islands culture.


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SPA EXPERIENCES IN THE COOK ISLANDS

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he Cook Islands are about as close to paradise as you can get with crystal clear blue waters, golden sandy beaches, tranquil lagoons and stunning scenery. For holidaymakers from all around the world it’s the ultimate destination for some wellearned R&R. For the very best in R&R, enjoying the facilities of a world-class Spa is a must-do. There are several options to consider, but we decided to narrow it to the best three Spas in the Cook Islands to make it a bit easier when planning your next vacation.

Te Manava Luxury Villa and Spa Te Manava Luxury Villa and Spa in Rarotonga sits on the shores of Muri Beach, overlooking a beautiful blue lagoon. The Spa, with an internationally trained team, will give you the 5-star treatment and ensure you feel completely relaxed, renewed and rejuvenated. There’s a smorgasbord of spa and beauty treatments to choose from to suit a variety of needs. Whether it’s a Te Tika facial, a deep tissue massage, or a combination of both you’ll get exactly what you need to feel completely refreshed.

There’s also a walking trail to the top of Maunga Pu Hill where you'll get great views of the surrounding islands, the stunning lagoon and beyond!

Moana Sands Hibiscus Spa The Te Tika products used are organic and made from ingredients exclusively from the Cook Islands. You'll probably like them so much you'll want to buy them, which is exactly what you can do direct from the Spa! In addition to this, Pacific Resort Rarotonga also have a Nail Lounge offering express manicures, pedicures, foot massages and more. Perfect for a fresh pop of colour or to simply take a moment to pamper yourself. It sounds great and is great but be sure to book in advance because this Spa is in high demand.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki Tiare Spa The Tiare Spa located at Pacific Resort Aitutaki is a fantastic place for first-class pampering. Perched high above the breathtaking Aitutaki Lagoon you’ll enjoy an open yet peaceful space and feel like you’re a world away from it all. In consultation with the massage therapists, you’ll experience a treatment that is perfect for you and you alone whilst listening to the sound of the waves. Situated on the beautifully remote Aitutaki Island, around your treatment,

Moana Sands Beachfront Villas & Apartments are located on the beautiful Vaimaanga Beach, on the southern side of Rarotonga. The Hibiscus Spa treatment packages here are the ultimate way to unwind and indulge. A warm foot bath, a gentle foot scrub, the unknotting of your back and shoulders, blissful aromatics and relaxing music are just some of the things to expect on your way to complete rejuvenation. Whether it’s by facial or massage, the Hibiscus Spa staff will cater to your every need to ensure you leave as contented as you can be. Afterwards, take a short drive to Moana Sands Beachfront Hotel where you'll be able to enjoy a beautiful tropical cocktail gazing across at a picturesque sunset from the Moana Restaurant and Bar. The perfect end to a perfect experience where you are the one that matters the most.

Conclusion So there you have it! Three great Spas at three stunning and unique locations, all with the shared goal of pampering you to a state of ultimate relaxation helping you get the most and best out of your Cook Islands’ experience.

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FRESH FRUIT ON RAROTONGA

tried various methods including using butterflies to curb their growth. Choose the passion fruit that is yellow or purple (not green). It can be eaten wrinkled or straight from the vine.

Story: Amelia Rachel Hokule’a Borofsky

Vī/Mango

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othing says tropical holiday like waking up to a breakfast of ripe paw-paw squeezed with fresh lime juice and grated coconut. Driving around the islands you’ll see the bounty of tropical fruits. Fallen roadside fruit is up for grabs but ask before picking the fruit from someone’s tree. Locals will often share when politely asked. The best place to find local fresh fruit is at the Punanga Nui Market on a Saturday. During the week, roadside stalls also offer up a variety of fruits from local backyards and small scale farms. Arorangi and Titikaveka, the agricultural hubs of the island, have the highest number of roadside stalls. Wigmore’s Superstore in Vaimaanga also stocks a good variety of seasonal local fruit at reasonable prices. Summer (December-March) delivers the greatest variety of fruit, but paw-paw and banana fruit year round. Climate change has disrupted some of the fruiting with mangoes surprisingly appearing a few years ago in July. For the greatest variety of tropical fruit, visit the Cook Islands in the summer months. Here is your guide to Rarotonga’s favourite fruits including their local name, season, health benefits, and how to eat them. Dig in and enjoy!

Nītā/Paw-Paw/Papaya SEASON: Year Round Introduced from Mexico The sweet soft fruit of the paw-paw has a host of claimed health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, carotenes, flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin B, fibre, and magnesium. Pawpaw especially aids in digestion because of the presence of papain, a digestive enzyme. The Cook Islands has two main varieties. The larger variety is yellow with orange flesh and the smaller variety is orange with

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red flesh. Simply cut in half, scoop out the seeds and reserve to make a peppery dressing, drizzle with lime and enjoy.

Meika/Bananas SEASON: Year-Round Introduced from Australasia The Cook Islands has 68 varieties of bananas. You’ll find the major varieties year round. Bananas in Rarotonga taste sweeter than those found in New Zealand, which usually come from Ecuador. The small lady finger bananas taste sweet and starchy while the larger green variety taste sweet and watery. In the Cook Islands, bananas are used in a variety of dishes particularly the popular banana poke, a rich dessert made by combining banana, starch, sugar, and coconut cream and baking it in the oven into a kind of pudding. Punanga Nui Market on Saturdays sells banana poke in small tubs as well as different banana varieties.

Pārapōtini /Passion Fruit SEASON: Summer (November-February) Introduced from South America A curling high-climbing vine, Rarotonga boasts two main varieties of passion fruit. The yellow variety is large and tangy while the purple variety is small and sweet. Both rich in Vitamin C. The red variety is an invasive species in the islands and the Department of Agriculture has

SEASON: Summer (November-February) Introduced from South Asia Running down your fingers and staining your face, the succulent fruit never disappoints. Mangoes have over one thousand different varieties and the most common variety in the Cook Islands is the Alphonso. Generally, mangoes are ready to devour when the peel turns orange-yellow or reddish. The desirability of the mango means that they don’t come cheap, even in summer. Climate change has impacted the growth rate of mangoes. A recent climate change report on the increasing temperatures in the Cook Islands entitled itself, “Mangoes in July.” Last year, mangoes appeared in July—a truly freak occurrence. For a few years the mangoes did not fruit at all. It is said that a large amount of mangoes in a bunch signals an upcoming cyclone. In recent years, the mango season has an element of unpredictability.

Dragon Fruit/Pitaya SEASON: Summer (November-February) Introduced from Mexico Also known as apple cactus or prickly pear, the dragon fruit comes from a cactus plant. The Cook Islands has three kinds: red skin with red flesh, yellow skin with white flesh,


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and red skin with white flesh. It grows well in sandy soil and is especially prevalent on the island of Mangaia. Dragon fruit is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, carotene, calcium, and several B vitamins. Billed as a “super food,” some claim it strengthens the immune system enabling bruises and wounds to heal faster. Dragon fruit is easy to find at the market with its hot pink jacket and pluming flame. Cutting open a red dragon fruit the brilliant magenta flesh awes. To get at the fruit, peel back the hot pink or pineapple yellow leathery jacket. The taste is mildly sweet and floral, a mixture of rosebuds and kiwi fruit with a crunchy texture.

Kātara‘apa/Sour sop SEASON: Summer (November-February) Introduced from South America At the market, you may come across a green spiky fruit four times bigger then a mango. Peel back the green spiky skin and eat the modules of white sweet-sour flesh spitting out the smooth black seeds. You’ll be delighted by an acidic creamy pineapple banana flavour. This is kātara‘apa also known as sour sop. Rich in vitamin C, it has controversial claims over its role in treating cancer. While not yet medically proven, Māori medicine believes in boiling the leaves and drinking the tea to aid in cancer treatment.

Raparapa/Starfruit Season: Summer (November-April) Introduced from Southeast Asia The star fruit has five distinctive ridges running down its oval-shaped body. When cut in cross section it resembles a star. Rich in vitamin C, the texture resembles that of a grape. The waxy translucent yellow skin is eaten with the small seeds easily eaten or spat out. Choose the yellow-

orange star fruit not yet browning for the sweetest flavour. For a tarter flavour, choose a yellow-green star fruit. In the high of summer, trees will droop with the heavy laden fruit and you may find this juicy treat on the ground.

Kuru Papa‘ā/Jackfruit SEASON: Summer (November-February) Introduced from India The jackfruit is a large green oblong fruit. Composed of hundreds to thousands of individual flowers it is the fleshy petals that are eaten. One jack fruit can weigh as much as 35 kg! To eat the jackfruit, cut it open and eat the individual fruits or petals in sections. It has a combination flavour between apple, pineapple, mango, and banana. A good source of dietary fibre, it is also rich in vitamin C.

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Inspired by traditional Cook Islands medicine

Tuāva/Guava SEASON: Summer (November-February) Introduced from Mexico Renown for their health benefits, guavas are the original superfood. Their yellowgreen skin opens to a flamingo pink flesh. You can eat the whole guava skin and seeds the way you would eat an apple. The skin contains the most vitamin C with a guava having four times more vitamin C than an orange. Filled with antioxidants, folic acid, magnesium, trace copper, dietary fibre, potassium and with a low glycemic index, guavas have a lot of health benefits. In Chinese medicine, guavas have been used to treat diabetes for centuries.

I‘i/Polynesian Chestnut SEASON: Fall (February-April) Imported from Fiji/Melanesia The local chestnuts of the Cook Islands are a delicacy. The Polynesian chestnut differs from the European chestnut and is the seed of a fruit. The smooth orange-brown skin covers a fibrous shell, which holds an inedible pulpy fruit and within it the kernel. The Polynesian chestnut kidney-shaped seed is toxic raw. When boiled for hours it turns into an edible creamy, nutty delicacy. Sold in ziplock bags you can pick them up at roadside stands.

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TE IPUKAREA SOCIETY - CARETAKERS OF THE COOKS Story: Rachel Smith Photos: Te Ipukarea Society

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nder the lid is a wriggling mass of worms, millipedes and cockroaches – exactly what you would expect from a well maintained worm farm. Alanna Smith, Project Officer at Te Ipukarea Society (TIS), digs around with a spoon and pulls out some worms. These are not any old worms but a specific type of compost worm known as ‘red wrigglers’ which can be found around muddy pig pens.

compost and worm wee for gardens. The worm farms are typical of the projects that TIS undertake. A non-government environmental organisation, they work to recognise and support the natural environment of the Cook Islands – the ocean, the land, the mountains and the lagoon, and the many varieties of flora and fauna whose home is spread across the 15 islands.

Alanna and fellow Project Officer, Liam Kokaua, have set up similar worm farms at schools across the Cook Islands over the past year. Funded by the Global Environment Fund Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), worm farms were purchased for each school and education provided on how to care for their worms as well as benefits such as using organic waste to produce

Kelvin Passfield, Technical Director, has been a member of TIS since it began back in 1996, initiated as a members based volunteer organisation by a group of concerned citizens. Managed by a voluntary committee it has only been in recent times that TIS has been able to attract sufficient funds to be able to pay four employees, including part-time Finance Manager Mary McDonald. The small team has a big job to do, working across the Cook Islands to share information and create public awareness, collaborating with other organisations both locally and globally, and undertaking carefully selected field projects. All their work is based around their five key focus areas: Biodiversity, Youth, Climate Change, Eco Sustainable Development and Waste Management. What this means is that while one day they may be setting up worm farms, the next day could be spent scrambling about mountains counting birds, making a UNESCO funded documentary on traditional fishing of flying fish in Mitiaro, working with government departments to establish the Cook Islands Marine Park now known as Marae Moana or journeying up to the Northern Group islands to eradicate invasive rats which predate on native birds.

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“It’s different every day,” says Alanna, who alongside Liam joined the TIS team at the beginning of 2015. TIS relies on funding from a range of sources, including BirdLife International with whom TIS is a recognised partner, and the Arcadia Foundation. BirdLife International has an obvious focus on conservation of bird life, and supports many of the biodiversity projects in the Cook Islands. This work takes TIS from one end of the country to the other - from rugged mountains to remote atolls and everywhere in between. Last year Liam visited Mangaia, for a project on the Tanga’eo, Mangaian Kingfisher, which is endemic to the island of Mangaia. “I talked with the community about the current status of the bird and its habitat,” says Liam. “We want to ensure the next generation of Mangaians are proud of their bird.” This year has a different bird life focus with the team set to head off for three weeks on another GEF SGP funded project to Suwarrow, a national park established back in 1975. Here they will undertake a rat re-eradication programme, a follow up to the first programme in 2012, and also a sea bird survey. “Suwarrow Atoll has a regionally significant seabird population,” says Liam, who will have the challenging task of counting hundreds of moving sea birds, with assistance provided from experts at BirdLife International. “I’m really looking forward to that.” Aside from these donor funded projects, TIS has an additional wish-list of areas to work


to ban the importation of polystyrene takeaway containers in the Cook Islands.

on within their five focus areas. And this is where Mana Tiaki comes in. Mana Tiaki, their “protect a little paradise” campaign, is essentially a visitor payback scheme that allows visitors and locals to act as guardians or caretakers of the Cook Islands and give a little back to help maintain the island paradise. Mana Tiaki donation boxes can be found across Rarotonga in the international departure lounge at the airport and at cafes, bars and shops. “All funds go towards one of our five focal areas,” says Kelvin, with the unrestricted income allowing TIS the flexibility to undertake work outside of specifically funded programmes. “This allows us to support the likes of some of the work we do with schools and the Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA).” TIS provide support to the TCA, a landowners conservation group known for its work in re-establishing the population of kakerori, Rarotonga Flycatcher. Such is the success of the programme that the population of kakerori has risen from just 29 in 1989 to a current population of over 400. TIS assist with guided tours to the area as well as participating in bird surveys with TCA and the Department of Conservation New Zealand, and in the process learn new skills such as how to safely catch, band and release the small bird. Another key area for TIS has been to decrease the amount of plastic waste generated in the Cook Islands by suggesting alternatives to polystyrene and single use plastic products. “We go around talking to vendors at the market,” says Kelvin, with TIS also advertising about local options when it comes to recycling. TIS is, of course, very supportive of a new policy from Infrastructure Cook Islands which hopes

It is a balance between local and global environmental challenges – between waste reduction issues on a small island to the far reaching effects of climate change. Recent work has taken Kelvin across the Pacific to Tokelau and Niue, who along with the Cook Islands are part of a community based adaptation climate change project funded by Australia through the GEF SGP Global Grants. Closer to home and Chris Benson is completing the very first TIS internship thanks to a generous donation from a visiting UK bird-loving couple. “It’s been great,” says Chris, who has worked as part of the TIS team between completing Year 13 at Tereora College and beginning his studies at university. “We’re not limited in what we do here – it’s been interesting and fun.” “We are committed to providing a continuing internship,” says Kelvin, which

has been aptly named the Dame Margaret Karika Memorial Internship, the Society’s long-term patron who sadly passed away in 2017. On a steamy Friday afternoon Alanna and Liam are doing the rounds of a couple of schools, checking up on how their worm farms are going. At Imanuela Akatemia Christian School, what was once the best worm farm in Rarotonga is needing a touch of TLC. Working with senior students, Alanna and Liam empty out a backlog of food scraps and add in soil and some new worms. It is also an opportunity for a chat about saying no to plastic straws and polystyrene containers, and supporting biodegradable products which are now available and in use around Rarotonga. The restored worm farm is wheeled back into its spot under the verandah with instructions on how to keep their worms happy. “It will be back to the number one worm farm in the Cook Islands in no time,” says Liam. www.tiscookislands.org

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At the beautiful Aroa Marine Reserve look for: ESCAPE • 69


AN INTERVIEW WITH

Marc n o r e Cam

– A COLLECTOR OF STORIES Story: Tim Meyer Photos: Victoria Otte

E

scape Magazine sat down with New York Times Bestselling author Marc Cameron on one of his favourite beaches in Rarotonga enjoying a refreshing fruit smoothie from Charlie’s Café and Beach Hire. His first edition of Tom Clancy – ‘Power and Empire’ has sold an incredible 150,000 hard copies in the United States during the opening week. His oeuvre has been translated into 5 languages and he has published over 10 books, novels and short stories. A true celebrity of the contemporary writer’s guild who is a regular visitor to our island paradise and we thank him for taking the time to have a chat with us. Escape Magazine was lucky enough to spend the afternoon with the author discovering what he draws on for inspiration when writing, the importance of family and how he came to fall in love with the paradise that is the Cook Islands and her people.

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The moment of surprise is a big element in your writing, multiple story lines running alongside each other and intertwining subplots make for the ultimate page turner. You keep surprising your readers with new characters and twists all the time. When were you last surprised and by whom or what? That is the reason why I travel. When I plan a plot, it is all about the unknown parts and connections. These unknown spots are the inspiration for telling a story. And I fill them with observations of people that I meet and see during my travels. One of my favourite sayings I overheard recently here in Rarotonga was: “you have more culture than a month-old mango.” I love those things and you do not learn about them unless you stay for a while. When did you first hear about the Cook Islands? Our 30th wedding anniversary came up and my wife asked me to take her to a white sandy beach. You know, we live in Alaska and everybody is trying to get away for Christmas. It is cold and snowy, so many Alaskans are trying to escape the winter for a while and go somewhere warm and tropical. I researched the South Pacific, got stuck on French Polynesia and Bora Bora. But soon discovered that the Cook Islands was more what we were looking for. We wanted to get away around Christmas time. Through Trip Advisor we found Royale Takitumu, Booked, loved it and never stayed anywhere else. This is our third trip in four years to the Cook Islands. When did you decide to combine your love for the Cook Islands and your writing? The moment we got here. You know I had started writing very early, short stories and also Westerns, stories about real cowboys and lots of guns (laughs). About 15 years ago I started writing professionally and by the time we first came here I was recently retired from my job in law enforcement, had published 5 books in


the Jericho Quinn Series and was ready for a new adventure. I write wherever I go and here I find the perfect mix to be productive: it is safe, relaxed, quiet, not too many distractions just like Hawaii 70 years ago must have been like. I love meeting and observing people so writing in a small beach resort gives me exactly that environment because it is very transient, guests come and go all the time and I can sit there at my deck and just filter through everything that is happening around me. I am a collector of stories and find many great stories here in the Cook Islands. What do you like most about the Cook Islands? The people; the people; the people. I really love the cultural surprises. You see, this is an old, longstanding tradition but for me it is all new and fairly recent because we (him and his wife Victoria) have just discovered it. So, talking to locals, hearing their stories is fascinating and very inspiring. Over the years we have made some real connections here in the Cook Islands and now it feels like coming home to visit good old friends.

When you don’t write, what do you enjoy doing? Reading, sailing, motor cycling cross country on my BMW GS Adventure I do about 10,000 – 12,000 miles per year. Driving gives me the head space to really relax, let the mind travel and explore. There is great inspiration in boredom for me (laughs). It is the monotony that lets the brain travel and explore. It is a great way of giving yourself the space to think about the important things in life and work. As a family we also enjoy hunting and fishing. To a certain extent we do lead a selfsubsistent lifestyle where my wife catches ocean salmon and my son and I go caribou hunting once a year to fill up our freezers. If there was one writer that you could meet, who would it be? Hemingway, Norman Maclean – they might not have been the best people or the nicest guys but I imagine they would be very interesting to talk to. All they wanted was to tell a good story. And they have achieved. Ian Fleming would have been great to meet as well. You know he wrote in a place in the Caribbean called Golden Eye and Royale Takitumu in Rarotonga is

kind of my golden eye. I would love to sit down with him and compare our ‘golden eyes’. Marc has written his first Tom Clancy Novel – Power and Empire here on Rarotonga while staying at Royale Takitumu in Titikaveka. So, with all this time spent in the Cook Islands, will there ever be a Cook Islands inspired plot or character? In fact, I love it so much that I have created a Cook Islands character – Lola Teariki, half Japanese half Cook Islander for my mystery novel Open Carry. In the book, Lola is a deputy marshal. My editors are still holding it back a little while but it will come out in April 2019. What do you love most about being a writer? The freedom. I can write from anywhere in the world. The creativity of imagining stories. It is a childhood dream come true. Plus, I love the many doors this line of work is opening. I have two editors and both are well connected and rooted in the old New York publishing business. Through

And your family, have they ever visited the Cook Islands? Yes! This year was special for us because we brought the whole family down and spent a couple of weeks with the grandchildren at Lagoon Breeze Villas. Our adult kids were kind of worried that they would not find enough entertainment for the kids here. But our grandchildren loved it. How much more than a nice sandy beach, some shells, some sticks and coconuts do you need? The kids had a great time and we have created some beautiful memories as a family. Where do you find the inspiration for your ideas? In people, definitely in people. In conversation and in my former work experience in law enforcement.

ESCAPE • 71


them I am meeting many fascinating personalities. This is fun! Is it difficult killing a character you really like? Sure! Robert Frost said: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” You have to be focused on telling a true story. I am trying to imagine the plot – here are the bad guys, they have their plan; want to blow something up to destabilize a government or the like and they are going on a straight line towards their goal. Marc makes a fist and slowly straightens up his arm mimicking the bad guys making their approach. He then moves his other fist across the extended right arm and continues: And then there are the good guys, they come in from the side. The best is when the lines meet multiple times, to the point where the reader thinks: “No, everything is lost!” The bad guys have won but then there is the twist and the good guys have one more ace and solve the conflict. On this line, when somebody has to die it needs to make sense. Following the plot, their skill set and age and if the story demands it they come to the end of their rope but you would never kill a person just to kill them or for entertainment. The progression towards the inevitable needs to be coherent, the character’s death needs to be convincing for the reader. When I write those scenes, it feels like I am almost hypnotized by the process of writing and it is then physically exhausting once the scene is over and the character has died at the end. It is tough, no kidding. How much research goes into your text? A lot. A whole lot. I read research texts for one hour in the morning and another one to two hours in the afternoon or at night. When I write, I write the story first and make a note to do more research

72 • ESCAPE

later. On the second round of editing I fill in the research blanks. This process is very important because what I write needs to be true. So, it has to be well researched. For example, the next Tom Clancy book has a lot of satellites in it and there is so much research needed that at some stage I have to draw a line and make sure that I do not lose the reader by overloading them with facts and science. At the end of the day, I am here to entertain! There is the famous Tom Clancy quote: “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense”. Can you tell us how much is real and how much is fiction? Through observation I am trying to tell the truth of how people talk and behave. It is the concept of verisimilitude showing people how things are by describing how things smell, feel etc. That is one of the reasons I like traveling to the places that I write about. Some places I have a hard time traveling to like Cuba especially with my back ground in Law enforcement and having some Cuban bad guys in the story, so I decided that it wasn’t the smartest thing going to Cuba. Instead, I read many blogs and researched on YouTube to find real footage and sources that I use in my text. Those parts are relatively close to reality but the connections between places and people have to be filled with imagination and are therefore rather fictitious.

Tom Clancy said: “When I write about a rock in central park then you need to be able to go and find that rock.” And I am following that motto. How long does it take to write a 582 pages Tom Clancy novel? I write two books a year. One Tom Clancy of about 150,000 words and one of my own at roughly 110,000 words. If you could give Jack Ryan one word of advice, what would it be? You be you. Is there a character that you would like to have imagined? Not so much a single character but writing itself. I really enjoy Norman Maclean and he only wrote three books but the way he wrote them makes me think I would have liked to write this. You see a lot of writing these days is like a bag of potato chips, you start and then can’t stop until its finished but it is not necessarily good for you. To recalibrate the brain, I enjoy reading Maclean and especially – A River Runs through it and other stories. It is only a short text but it is good.


41ST ROUND RAROTONGA ROAD RACE GOLD SPONSORS

2018 PROGRAM FOR THE WEEK

THU, 20 SEPTEMBER: FUN RUN Round Rarotonga Road Race 2018 foots off (starts) with dressed up 5km FUN RUN. The venue will once again be at the yard across from Beachcomber known as Sinai Hall down town Avarua. The aim of the race is to get everyone to meet and mingle and have fun before the main race. So dare to be different turn up as Superman or Robinhood. LETS HAVE FUN! Everyone is encouraged to dress up for fun, anything goes!

FRI, 21 SEPTEMBER: RARO SAFARI TOURS FREE DAY, your opportunity to discover more of Rarotonga. Raro Safari Tours offers an exciting day adventure into the interior of the island and visiting some of the islands ‘hard to get to’ places. This is a must do tour towards the beginning of your stay and is a great way to really get a feel for the lay of the land. SAT, 22 SEPTEMBER: THE MAIN RACE DAY The 31km race starts at Sinai Hall (across from Beachcomber in Avarua) at 5:30am and the 10km race will start in Muri at 7:30am. Complimentary busses will be available to pick up participants in the morning to get you to the race by 5:30am. Race Numbers and final check in will be conducted from the Corporate Marquees prior to the race. At the finish line, there will be complementary coconut juice, water, light snacks and tropical fruit for all runners & supporters after the race.

SAT, 22 SEPTEMBER: NIGHTLIFE 41 ST CELEBRATION Celebrate 41 years of Round Raro Road Race with fellow race participants on the GOING TROPPO Nightlife Bus Tour. Cool down the island way with your responsible sober driver. Cheers to a good run!!! (18 yrs+) SUN, 23 SEPTEMBER: CAPTAIN TAMA’S LAGOON CRUISE Discover the Lagoon aboard the glass bottom boats. Snorkel and feed the fish before heading to a motu (small island) where you will be entertained while the crew prepare a Fish BBQ lunch. Special price for Road Race participants and Supporters. SUN, 23 SEPTEMBER: PRIZE GIVING DINNER Day of rest in the Cook Islands with limited activities available. If you missed out on the Lagoon Cruise, we recommend you to attend the Sunday Church service where you can enjoy the distinctive traditional hymns of the Cook Islands. The Official Prize Giving Island Night Dinner & Show will kick off at 6pm.

MON, 24 SEPTEMBER: HASH HARRIERS BIRTHDAY RUN The local Hash House Harriers birthday promises a Costumed Run that is not to be missed. It starts around 5.30pm at the Spaghetti House Restaurant, Edgewater Resort. Come as the Queen, come as the shoe maker, you name it, you wear it. Wigs and hats supplied by Hash Harriers on the day. This event is followed by an Island Feast at approximately $10.00 per person for those that wish to eat and mingle with the Hash Harrier Team. Cash bar available.

TUES, 25 SEPTEMBER: NUTTERS CROSS ISLAND RUN The Nutters Cross Island Run is approx. 8.5km that starts at 2:00pm from the Inspiration of Rarotonga (opposite Vaima Restaurant) and heads over ridges across rugged valleys and riverbeds down to the Avatiu Coastline. The remarks from this run have been branded the most difficult in the country. It is not recommended for the fainthearted. The record still stands unbeaten at 45 minutes, and promises to be an exciting challenge. If you think you can beat it, give it a go!

WED, 26 SEPTEMBER: ROUND THE ROCK RELAY The relay will start at 2:00pm for the walkers and 4:00pm for the runners at the Spaghetti House Restaurant, Edgewater Resort. This is a fun event and all teams are encouraged to adopt a theme. Registration forms for the relay can be obtained on the day of the 5km FUN RUN, the day of the main 31km and 10km race, DMCK website at www.dmck.co.ck or from our office at Turama House in Nikao.


p i h S o g Car

Camping on a

R

arotonga, December 1973, pre domestic airlines and the Banana Court was the only place to be seen on a Friday and Saturday night, the four of us were fortunate to secure the last cabin on Silk & Boyds inter island vessel MV Manuvai for a 5 day round trip cargo run to Atiu, Mauke and Mangaia. It was to be the last ship to these islands before Christmas. With 30 deck passengers under a tarpaulin stretched over the cargo holds, 4 cabin passengers, crew and cargo of all sorts, MV Manuvai sat right on her Plimsoll Line. A Prayer for a safe passage was offered to Tangaroa, then she detached her lines and set course for Atiu. Our cabin had two sets of bunks, a small wash basin, standing room only for 3 persons and one porthole which none of us could open, so it was hot. For the time being the excitement of the trip preoccupied us from the smell of diesel fumes, whiff of

74 • ESCAPE

stale vomit, the heat, the steady throbbing of the ships main engine and the constant motion of the Pacific. It was 6.30pm when Cook announced Dinner. A huge pot of boiled mutton flaps and cabbage accompanied by fresh baked Avarua bread, tinned butter and hot black tea greeted us. Cook had forgotten to load sugar and milk powder but would pick some up on Atiu. Feeling famished and queasy at the same time did not stop us from tucking in. Lucky we had bought with us a plastic bucket, which we all took turns using on that 1st long night in our cabin. Me and my fellow passengers, Simon and the 2 girls were not very well at all!!!! Early morning, the 4 of us despairingly ventured onto the main deck, emptied the contents of our bucket over the side and then, we were trounced by the sight and smells of a beautiful island not more than 150 yards

Story: Thomas Koteka Photos: Apai Mataiapo Keu Framhein, The Late Don Silk & The Late Bob Boyd

beyond the reef. Whilst this perked us up, we ignored breakfast. MV Manuvai was a hive of activity, deck passengers had packed their gear so that the tarpaulins could be secured and hatches opened to unload Atiu cargo. 3 lighters from the shore were already alongside and with much zeal loaded with cargo and passengers for the first run through the narrow passage in the reef. The Captain said if we wanted to go ashore, get down to the cargo deck and await further instructions. These instructions never came so when the next lighters drew alongside we just clambered down the ships side and set ourselves atop the cargo. Nobody seemed to mind. Fortunately my Mum had telegraphed my Auntie Parau on Atiu to look out for us. She was waiting and immediately put us on the back of a truck for a tour of Atiu. We even visited the old Church where my Mum and Dad got married after they eloped from Rarotonga. This was followed by lunch at the Resident Agents verandah in the main village of Ngatiarua hosted by Auntie Parau and the family. We were indeed spoilt for choice - boiled fresh water prawns in coconut cream, whole fried parrot fish, rukau, swamp taro, mitiore, eke (octopus), ika mata, breadfruit, pineapples and drinking nuts‌ awesome!!!!. Afterwards we went for a fresh water swim in the Anatakitaki caves. The water was cold which helped battle the heat of the day. We also visited Aunties plantation where we were gifted with fresh pineapples, pawpaw, bananas and Atiu limes - where we were


Below: Cave swim Atiu Previous page: Mangaia pineapples

going to stow all this on board was not a concern at this time. After our farewells we boarded the last lighter in the late afternoon. Strange how the condition of the seas can change, we were drenched by the time we pulled alongside and the conditions demanded all our attention and adroitness climbing aboard. Where we were going to stow all that fruit was now of no concern because they all tumbled into the Pacific as we clambered aboard, we did rescue 2 pineapples and a bag of Atiu limes. The rest became the property of the crew from the lighter as they gathered what they could while heading back to shore. I sensed that Simon and the 2 girls were not impressed as we set sail for Mauke. 6.30pm, Cook just had dinner on the table when the yelling started! …“e Mahimahi… e’e rua Mahimahi…..iiiaaaa kuku” !!! For expediency the Captain reduced revolutions as the crew hauled in the 2 mahimahi caught on the 2 hand-lines. They changed colour a number of times from black to gold and all the colours in between as they lay on the deck, sad to see such a crude ending to these Pacific wanderers. Cook stowed most of the dinner he had prepared to have the next day and with delight, changed the menu to fresh fried mahimahi fillets. 30 minutes ago these amazing creatures were roaming the Pacific minding their own business, never-the-less they were delicious doused with Atiu limes.

trip, he said yes and in the same breath told us there would be no refunds. That being established he did allow us to use the foam mattresses and bedding from our cabin to sleep on. As 10 passengers had alighted to Atiu there was ample room for us to set up camp under the tarpaulin on the deck. The fresh sea breeze qualified our decision and that night we slept soundly. After most of the night hove too in the lee of Mauke, the early morning greeted us with the aroma of gardenia’s, frangipani, tiare maori and the last of the mahimahi fillets

being fried for breakfast. The Pacific was dead calm. There was barely a ripple across the reef, the ocean floor some 10 fathoms below revealed fish of many varieties dancing amongst the coral outcrops and underwater canyons that disappeared into the dark blue. We enjoyed our breakfast that morning - Simon and the girls were very content. A light rain had started as the hatches were cleared to unload the Mauke cargo. Amongst other things there was a a new pickup truck for the Island administration which was skillfully delivered through the

Afterwards we went for a fresh water swim in the Anatakitaki caves. The water was cold which helped battle the heat of the day.

Atiu had put us all in good spirits and we had found our sea legs, so during dinner we admitted that our cabin was not the best environment for us and given the 1st nights experience we were dead keen to seek other arrangements. Cook mentioned the deck was the best place on account of the constant fresh sea breeze. So we asked the Captain if we could become deck passengers for the rest of the

ESCAPE • 75


Left and opposite page: MV Manuvai Below: Mauke passage 1970's

It was still calm and drizzling, when we arrived to Mangaia in the early hours of the morning. Cook was poorly so the 2nd Engineer prepared breakfast, instant coffee (he found a tin of coffee in the Cooks cabin!!!), cabin bread biscuits and fresh pineapple (which he found in our cabin!!!!) the breakfast was delectable!!! Mangaia is my birth Island. I left here when I was 8 years old, and I had not returned till now. I recollected many things as I gazed at the towering makatea cliffs that circled this very ancient island. passage on 2 lighters bound together by 6 x 2 timbers and hemp ropes. Fortunately my Mum had telegraphed Auntie Helen on Mauke to watch out for us, and there she was as we stepped ashore. Auntie Helen was never short of a word and as we followed her in the rain to her home at Tepari she kept us informed of all the gossip on Mauke. She had already prepared lunch for us, free range chicken curry, bele, maito, coconut cream, pawpaw and banana pancakes, tomato and cucumber salad from her garden, fried taro and candied coconut drink. As we ate she captivated us with stories about our genealogy, her husband, the late Judge MacCarthy, their feeding sons and daughters and what my Mum was like while she was growing up on Mauke. This fascinating lunch ended when my cousin Framhein arrived with 4 horses which we road bareback to the centre of the island to swim in one of Mauke’s many fresh water caverns. Mauke is my family island on my mother’s side (she and her siblings were all born here), so being here was a poignant experience for me. Simon and the 2 girls were most overcome with my Mauke heritage as narrated by Auntie Helen in the short time we were there. By 4.30pm we had already said our goodbyes to the Mauke family, loaded

76 • ESCAPE

the bunches of banana’s on the deck and stored our many bottles of Mauke miracle coconut oil as the light rain continued, still we were cozy and dry under the tarpaulin as we set sail for Mangaia. Like clockwork dinner was announced at 6.30pm, and goodness me, what a treat!!! ‘Tiopu tomati’ – or bully beef stew with fresh Mauke tomatoes, onions for contrast and Watties tinned spaghetti for binding. The rain had chilled the air and tiopu tomati, cabin bread biscuits and tinned butter warmed us up. We also had powdered milk and sugar. Today was an awesome day, Simon and the 2 girls were speechless.

Often Simon had commented that I was a tad strange fellow with an attitude. This was confirmed when he was told by the Captain that Managians were often referred to as the Irish of the Pacific on account of their strange behaviour and holier-thanthou attitude. Fortunately my Mum had already telegraphed Auntie Tu to watch out for us and there she was waiting for us as we alighted from the barge that had bought us through the passage. Mangaia was the 1st outer island to get a motorised barge to transfer cargo to the ships off the reef.


This was so as this island was exporting pineapples by the ship load for the NZ market. As this was the last island on this schedule MV Manuvai’s holds would now be empty and ready to load up with pineapples to trans ship to Rarotonga very enterprising! Auntie Tu had arranged a truck for us to use for the day to explore Mangaia, which is the 2nd largest island in the group. She also has the distinction of being the oldest coral island on the planet, having gone through a number of periods where she was raised from the ocean floor. Evidence of this are her towering makatea cliffs which circle the island like a castle keep protecting the rolling landscape of her interior. She is also riddled with a network of caves many of which were used by our ancestors to bury the dead. We visited the hospital where I was born and the house where I spent my first years on the planet, memories of my childhood came flooding back. Simon and the 2 girls thought I was crying, but it was dust in my eye! We were just about to have lunch at Auntie Tu’s when someone rolled up on a very old Suzuki 90 2 stroke motorbike and announced that we had to get on board ship as soon as possible. The last of the cargo was being loaded and more importantly, the weather was deteriorating and the Captain wanted to set sail as soon as all passengers were aboard. Auntie Tu said hurry up let’s go or you’ll be stranded here for a month! She wrapped a kikau basket of food for us and took us to the landing. There were only 10 passengers heading back to Rarotonga, which included the 4 of us. The last barge was loaded with pineapples in wooden containers and we were instructed to climb on top of the cargo. Nobody on or off the barge was alarmed that the transom of the barge

The barge hit the side of the MV Manuvai quite hard on account of a rogue wave. I don’t recall how we did it, but all 10 of us, in unison, alighted effortlessly while that rogue wave held the barge at the very same level as the deck for no more than a split second! Simon and the 2 girls were so impressed they cried with joy! was actually underwater! No worries said someone, the hull of the barge is sealed and cannot leak. And with that we set off to MV Manuvai beyond the reef. It happened so quickly. The barge tipped suddenly just outside the reef entrance! As a result, we and the pineapples slid off deck into the Pacific!!! As we surfaced amongst a sea of pineapples, we heard - ”swim to the reef… swim to the reef”. As the barge chugged away, the crew yelling ”swim to the reef!”, I guessed Simon and the 2 girls were not impressed at this time. Apart from a few grazes and scratches gleaned as we crossed the reef we, and the other passengers were ok and as we made our way across the shallow lagoon back to the landing half of Mangaia was making it’s way to the reef to rescue as many pineapples as they could!

When the barge returned to the landing a number of official type Officials began very heated discussions with the crew. Nothing came of it and in the end we wet passengers again boarded the barge (this time without any cargo) and made our way back to the MV Manuvai. It was dead quiet as we went through the passage entrance, save for someone whistling an Elvis Presley number. We noticed that the wind was now stronger and the Pacific a tad nasty. The barge hit the side of the MV Manuvai quite hard on account of a rogue wave. I don’t recall how we did it, but all 10 of us, in unison, alighted effortlessly while that rogue wave held the barge at the very same level as the deck for no more than a split second! Simon and the 2 girls were so impressed they cried with joy!

ESCAPE • 77


Left: Avarua late 1960's Above: Old Avatiu Airport Below: Don Silk and Bob Boyd

After a thank you prayer to Tangaroa, family and friends helped us disembark. Now on dry land, we all continued to feel the motion of MV Manuvai. With a puff of black diesel smoke from the funnel, the holds half full of Mangaian pineapples, we set course for Rarotonga. By all accounts it was going to be a very rough passage! Extra coverings were placed at the bow end of the cargo deck to help keep the seaspray from coming in, while the noise of the hull as it slammed into a wave was uncomfortably deafening, but we were warm and snug camped under the tarpaulin on the deck.

in a game of eucre as MV Manuvai rock and rolled her way to Rarotonga.

tomorrow evening, it would be a 10 day passage.

The Pacific had calmed down by 6am. We could now see the peaks of Ikurangi and Maungatea on the horizon. Everyone started preparations for arrival into Avatiu harbour. Cook, now back on deck, announced that leftovers were for breakfast. Simon and the 2 girls thought about it, otherwise no one was interested.

With the Cook still poorly, the usual 6.30pm dinner announcement was made by the 2nd Engineer. This was ignored by most, including Simon and the 2 girls. I was hungry so I carefully made my way to the dining room to find 2 other passengers at the table. Boiled salt beef, onions and cabbage, rice, tomatoes, Mangaian taro (the best in the Pacific!!!), cabin bread & tinned butter, steaming hot black tea or instant coffee, sugar, powdered milk and pineapple pie! There was plenty for everyone !!! I thought, Simon and the 2 girls would be hungry in the morning.

It was 9.30am as we entered the harbour. The crew had already hauled and stowed the tarpaulins and without any fuss we were securely moored to Avatiu wharf.

When I look back, I acknowledge that these small island traders and their crews sacrificed and risked all in providing a reliable service to the outer islands, but that was the norm in those days. A new generation continue this service today, and still with deck passengers under tarpaulins, a stark contrast to the availability of air services to nearly all the islands in the group.

Full bellied I headed back to the camp site to find them sound asleep. I was impressed that none of them were seasick. I couldn’t sleep so joined the other deck passengers

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After a thank you prayer to Tangaroa, family and friends helped us disembark. Now on dry land, we all continued to feel the motion of MV Manuvai. This would last a couple of days and was quite normal, Simon and the 2 girls looked as if they were drunk. As the last passenger stepped ashore MV Manuvai opened her holds and the unloading of the pineapples began. Piled high on the wharf was cargo designated for Manihiki, Penrhyn and Pukapuka, which was where the MV Manuvai was heading

Mum picked us up in the Datsun truck and we headed to our Takuvaine home for a long shower and fresh clothes. As we passed the Avarua markets opposite Rima’s Cafe, out of the blue, Simon suggested we head down to Avatiu wharf in the morning and see if they had space for us on deck for the Northern Group trip … but that’s another story.


RUMOURS CAFE

Intimate air-conditioned dining Sunday, Wednesday & Friday. Pacific Rim cuisine & full bar facilities (BYO if you wish). Reservations Essential.

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“Sharing our culture with you”

Island Nights

LOc aL

Every Tuesdays Local | Food | Music | Dancing • FOOD

Island Nights

sharing our culture with you - every Tuesday •

Music

Dancing

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

ESCAPE • 79


i k a t u t i A

a little slice of heaven

Kia Orana! Aitutaki is 220 kilometers north and an easy 45-minute flight from Rarotonga, the capital of the Cook Islands. Considered one of the most magnificent lagoons in the world with small uninhabited islands on its surrounding reef, it is unquestionably the most picturesque of the Cooks southern group islands. Many visitors to the Cook Islands take the opportunity to discover Aitutaki’s beauty by taking a day trip from Rarotonga, which usually includes a cruise on the lagoon. However, the luxury of a little extra time fully reveals the stunning palette of a tropical retreat unsurpassed anywhere in the world; and a welcoming and friendly local populace who live life at an easy, relaxed pace. So, if you’re considering a visit - stay over a night or two, or preferably longer; you will not be disappointed.

outside world. The breathtaking allure of its crystal clear turquoise waters and sparkling white beaches confirms that it is “one of the places to visit while you are still on this earth”.

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

The best thing about Aitutaki is undoubtedly its lagoon. They have taxis here, but rather than those normally found on land, these are small fast boats equipped with outboard motors. They can

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From the air this island paradise has to be one of the most beautiful sights in the South Pacific. Aitutaki is made up of a triangular-shaped reef encompassing an aqua lagoon in which three volcanic and twelve small coral islands nestle. A small island is known locally as a motu.


take you to your own private island where you can spend the day snorkeling, sunbathing or having a picnic, and then pick you up after several restful, sun-filled hours. There are also numerous lagoon tours, which last almost an entire day. Lunch, refreshments, snorkeling gear, and towels are always provided and nearly all tour operators can pick you up from the airport, or your hotel. Possibly the most well-known is Air Rarotonga’s day tour onboard Titi-ai-Tonga, a large double hulled vessel that cruises languidly in the lagoon. Sit down meals are served by friendly staff, and after snorkeling in the lagoon visitors are taken to One Foot Island (Tapuaetai). Bishops Cruises is perhaps the lagoon’s most experienced and they offer a choice of cruises to various islands. And you can opt for a smaller boat with a more intimate and personal tour if

... your own private island where you can spend the day snorkeling, sunbathing or having a picnic, and then pick you up after several restful, sun-filled hours.

The highlight of Aitutaki is her lagoon and a visit is not complete without joining us for a fun filled day cruising this spectacular wonder. Explore the incredible marine life while snorkeling and swimming. We offer a range of tours and lagoon taxi services, hotel transfers, snorkeling gear, beach towels and BBQ lunch on the famous One Foot Island. We are also ‘Island Wedding’ specialists. Tel: +682 31009 Email: bishopcruz@aitutaki.net.ck Visit our website to discover more...

www.bishopscruises.com ESCAPE • 81


This vast lagoon was once a stopover for the TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) Short Solent flying boats traveling the renowned ‘Coral Route’ through the South Pacific. you wish. After a wonderful morning of snorkeling and feeding the fish, lunch is usually served at One Foot Island which boasts what could be the world’s smallest Post Office. Don’t forget to take your passport with you; because you can have it stamped here, making a great souvenir of your visit. This vast lagoon was once a stopover for the TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited) Short Solent flying boats traveling the renowned ‘Coral Route’ through the South Pacific. TEAL is the former name of Air New

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Zealand and TEAL themery can be found in a small lodge on Motu Akaiami. The lodge has been built on the exact spot where the original terminal stood and remains of the original base and jetty are still visible today. Here the well-to-do of the fifties, including movie stars John Wayne, Cary Grant and the like, stopped for a few hours or even overnight, while planes were refuelled, serviced, or waiting for weather to clear. Passengers would swim in the clear warm waters in the bay, shower outdoors under the palms and eat lunches of crisply cut sandwiches and local pawpaw, before re-embarking. Aitutaki has an interesting aviation history. It was 1942 when the construction juggernaut that would soon become known as the Seabees came ashore and began constructing what many feared would be the last line of defence for allied forces fighting the Japanese. The airport at Aitutaki was constructed as part of operation Bobcat. With their slogan” we build – we fight”, the Seabees soon had the island air-base operational; just in

time to see them move from this part of the Pacific, as they pursued the Japanese further to the north and west. The runway has recently been completely rebuilt. Charmingly small, quaint even, Aitutaki airport is the busiest it’s been since the war days. Back further in time; the first European discovery was by Captain Bligh sailing on the Bounty in 1789. He sighted the island just 17 days prior to the infamous mutiny.


A I T U TA K I • CO O K I S L A N D S

Tamanu Beach

Tamanu Beach CASUAL LUXURY

A winding road criss-crossing the island and lots of small tracks, lead to interesting, unexpected places and a number of local villages. Bligh returned later to Aitutaki and is said to have introduced the pawpaw which, like other varieties of tropical fruit, grows in abundance all over the island. 50 years later the first missionary, the Reverend John Williams of The London Missionary Society, introduced Christianity to Aitutaki and the Cook Islands Christian Church, down by the wharf at Arutanga, became the very first Church built in the Cook Islands. A grand old lady with coral walls, stained glass windows and ornate ceiling decorations, she is a constant inspiration to locals and a reminder that Aitutaki was the first of the nation’s islands to embrace Christianity. Delving further into the islands past is local archaeologist Ngaakitai Pureariki. On a four-acre site in one of Aitutaki’s bushclad valleys Nga’a is uncovering remnants of his peoples’ ancient past on a site strewn with large obelisk-like stones. Carbon dating of samples reveal that the Marae at Paengariki was established around 1000 A.D. Warriors met here before and after battle; sacred feasts and coming-of-age ceremonies were celebrated and human sacrifice took place. This is a fascinating place to visit for the Aitutaki Cultural Tour at Punarei. Visitors will find a wide range of accommodation options available on the main island; from award-winning resorts to less expensive clean and comfortable motels and backpacker operations. The best way to see the Aitutaki mainland is by hired car or motor scooter. A winding road criss-crossing the island and lots of small tracks, lead to interesting, unexpected places and a number of

Takurua Island Night

EVERY THURSDAY RESERVATIONS ESSENTIAL

Ph. 31 810 W W W.TA M A N U B E ACESCAPE H . CO M • 83


Hot sun, white sands, swaying coconut palms, a stunning turquoise lagoon and romantic sunsets - Aitutaki is blessed with them all; and friendly, laughing people that make you feel very welcome – all the time.

local villages. A short drive up Maunga Pu provides a fantastic 360 degrees’ lookout of the entire vista – whichever way you turn. Several guided tours are available on the main island, visiting ancient sites, burial grounds and major points of interest. Most serve light refreshments or lunch. Island nights with cultural shows are on throughout the week. Experiences not be missed are the island nights at Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Aitutaki Village and Tamanu Beach. Some of the best meals using local produce are to be savoured at Tamanu Beach and Aitutaki Escape on the western side of the island and at O’otu Beach you will find The Boatshed, Koru Café and the Blue Lagoon Restaurant and Bar. All are great places to visit whether you want lunch or dinner or just a drink and to relax and to take in the Islands atmosphere. Fishing aficionados will be in heaven on Aitutaki, as several operators offer game and sport fishing beyond the reef and there is always the call of the elusive bone-fish within the lagoon. On the waterfront near the wharf at Arutanga, is the Aitutaki Game Fishing Club which has a bar inside a shipping container; this is a good place to make contacts for deep sea fishing enthusiasts. Scuba diving is excellent in clear, warm waters and there is a choice of accredited operators who will show you a great time and a memorable underwater experience. Hot sun, white sands, swaying coconut palms, a stunning turquoise lagoon and romantic sunsets - Aitutaki is blessed with them all; and friendly, laughing people that make you feel very welcome – all the time.

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rs From scoote an se oo ch to cars, , c e to rsvehicl ca ed ic ad at lo m auto ur yoal it du suvi e to indi a ve yoclur it hi su s ed ne r al ou du indi edvis from rge ne r la et... fle frlaom rgeou fleet…

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ESCAPE • 85


Atiu

Enua Manu

Be different, come to Atiu, our little Garden of Paradise

T

here are few places left in the world like Atiu, an island with just over 500 people and acres and acres of untouched rainforest and coastal bush. There are no western bars (apart from the small one at Atiu Villas), bright neon lights or busy roads. For travellers searching for an island paradise, Atiu is it.

Most overseas visitors to Atiu lament on departure that they wish they’d organised a longer stay on this unspoiled island gem,

full of captivating history, scenery and friendly people. The Anatakitaki Cave walk is the perfect offering for visitors who want an unforgettable nature experience. On the day we went, we were guided by Marshall Humphreys. Married to Atiuan Jeanne, Marshall is proud of Atiu conservation and how the locals “always leave a bit for the next day, like when they go fishing and catch just enough to eat.” He’s also impressed with the way the island works as a community. Reasonable fitness and covered shoes are needed for the trek through tropical forest that resembles a fantastically overgrown garden. Regarded by environmentalists as a national treasure, Anatakitaki Cave is home to the Kopeka bird, a swallow unique to Atiu, which like a bat, navigates its way in the pitch black caverns using sonar. The towering limestone caverns contain cauliflower coral, proving that the caves were once beneath the sea, as these coral

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formations only occur underwater. There are huge stalactites reaching to the cavern floor and massive stalagmites sparkling as though they are embedded with millions of diamonds. The magnificence of the caverns is breathtaking. Another tour takes you to Rimarau Burial Cave that includes visits to age old marae and “walking the dramatic route taken by hundreds as they went to meet their death in ancient times.” If beaches, historic sights and panoramic scenery also appeal, opt for an island tour. It offers contrasting scenery, drives through shady roads and forest thick with ancient trees to coastal tracks and points of interest including the coral garden, sinkholes and fabulous little beaches ideal for shell collecting or leisurely lolling in the warm, pristine sea. George Mateariki, better known as Birdman George, takes us on his morning tour – first stop is to catch a glimpse of the endangered Kakerori bird. We are a bit startled as George begins loudly beeping his car horn as we near the

The Anatakitaki Cave walk is the perfect offering for visitors who want an unforgettable nature experience.


nesting ground. He explains that being inquisitive birds, Kakerori are drawn to unusual noises. He calls to them, walking through the picturesque bush and making kissing noises. The birds do not disappoint, replying with their call sounds. To see Kakerori so close is a real treat, as they were once on the brink of extinction. Along the way, George points out medicinal plants and how they are used to treat various ailments. “I love my history and everything I know about Atiu was taught to me by my grandfathers,” says George. A fun experience is a visit to one of the legendary Atiu tumunu – ‘clubs’, where local men gather to drink homebrew and chat about island affairs, with clear rules about conduct. Often there’s a stringband for added entertainment. Visitors are always welcome to stop in, partake of a cup of the local brew and meet the locals.

“There’s money in the land,” says Mata Arai, pointing to her coffee bushes laden with ripe berries. Mata is an industrious Atiuan woman who produces the 100 percent Atiu Island Coffee using a technique she learnt from her grandmother as a child. It’s a process all done by hand. Atiu Island Coffee can be purchased from Mata’s home, in Atiu stores, or supermarkets on Rarotonga.

...visits to age old marae and “walking the dramatic route taken by hundreds as they went to meet their death in ancient times.”

fact file: Atiu is a 45 minute flight north-east from Rarotonga and there are regular scheduled flights. Alternatively, why not consider an Air Rarotonga ‘Two Island Adventure’ which includes two night’s accommodation at Tamanu Beach Resort in Aitutaki and two night’s accommodation at Atiu Villas on amazing Atiu. Local tours are optional and extra. Available from April to October, flights depart Rarotonga on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Book through Air Rarotonga Tel: (682) 22888 | www.airraro.com

u i t A las l i V

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

BOOK ONLINE AT: www.atiuvillas.com ESCAPE • 87 Ph. (682) 33 777 | Email. roger@atiuvillas.com | www.atiu.info


e m o H c i f i c a P h Sout Our

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

The Southern Group Atiu See our story on page 86. Takutea Just a few miles off the coast of Atiu lies the uninhabited island of Takutea. Numerous seabirds thrive on this pristine island that has been declared a bird sanctuary by the Atiu Island Council. Only they can give permission for visitors to land there. Mauke The garden island of the Cook group, Mauke is 18 kilometres around. It is surrounded by makatea (fossilised coral) with a volcanic plateau in the centre. Parts of the foreshore are dotted with isolated white sandy coves and caves that one can swim in. Inland there are fresh water

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caves and the famous Motuanga Cave that has galleries reaching beneath the reef. The reef is so close to the foreshore that crashing white breakers are visible from most of the unsealed coral road that runs around the island. Do visit the “divided church” built where the villages of Ngatiarua and Areora meet. Shared by the two villages, it has two separate entrances and sitting areas. There are clean and comfortable places to stay in Mauke - try Ri’s Retreat or Tiare Holiday Cottages. They can also organise cave, reef and forest tours. Be sure to obtain a garland of the fragrant maire, a creeper that grows along the makatea. Mauke is picturesque, unhurried and tranquil – a wonderful tonic for frayed nerves. Mitiaro Of the cluster of islands in the southern group called Nga Pu Toru, Mitiaro would be

the least visited by tourists. Not because it is any less beautiful than sister islands Atiu and Mauke, but simply that it is the least known. In the centre of Mitiaro are two lakes full of itiki, freshwater eels. Mitiaro itiki are considered a delicacy in the Cook Islands. Tilapia (bream) are also abundant in the lakes. The lakes are from time to time protected by a traditional raui, a prohibition on all fishing to preserve stocks. At its widest point, the island is 6.4 km across and private gardens in the village are beautifully kept and neat. Community activities include fishing, sports, handicrafts and uapou, or village singsongs. Pretty and unspoiled, life on Mitiaro is refreshingly uncomplicated. Mangaia Imagine visiting a fairly large island where you and maybe a handful of others are the only tourists. Mangaia is an island


Below: Mauke Right: Mitiaro Previous page: Mangaia

of incredible, serene beauty – from its rugged coastline to the lush, green interior. It is peaceful beyond belief for those accustomed to the constant rush and haste of the outside world. This is a place where one can trek for miles along the coast or in the interior and not meet another soul or hear a vehicle. Nor see any dwellings; just lots of well-tended plantations of pineapples, vegetables, taro, kumara and other crops. Deep-sea fishing excursions are available – just ask your host, who can also steer you in the right direction for guided tours that include caving, reef/lagoon walks, bush walks and bird watching. Check out the market on Friday mornings in the ‘town’ centre and the craftwork by the skilled Mangaian women. The shell necklaces and woven pandanus bags are labour intensive and sold for very reasonable prices. Mangaia is the destination for those who love the outdoors, appreciate peace and quiet and want to experience a friendly island that’s not in the least “touristy.” Palmerston Made famous by Englishman William Marsters, who settled there in 1863 with three wives. He later married and raised

a large family. Marsters’ modern day descendents are scattered all over the world. About 60 still remain in Palmerston, which has six motu or islets in a big blue lagoon about 11 km across. The family exports fish, supplying in particular, parrot fish to Rarotonga restaurants. Palmerston hosts the occasional cruise ship and yachts frequently call in. The island also boasts one of the world’s most isolated bars, where thirsty yachties can enjoy a “cold one” and hear tales being regaled by the islanders. It is 500 km NW of Rarotonga. Manuae Manuae is an uninhabited nature reserve and an important seabird and turtle breeding ground. Its two islets in a large shallow lagoon make-up this incredibly beautiful island, situated about 100 km SE of Aitutaki. Many Aitutakians can claim traditional land rights to parts of Manuae. Once inhabited by work gangs of Cook Islands men who produced copra, it is now only occasionally visited by Aitutaki fisherman for its rich fishing grounds outside and within the lagoon. It is possible to view Manuae from the air, on a flight from Atiu to Aitutaki.

The Northern Group Suwarrow Suwarrow is one of the few "untouched" sanctuaries left in the world where existing endangered species can survive. The Suwarrow National Park is the first National Park in the Cook Islands - international environmental groups recognise the group of tiny atolls as an untouched haven and breeding area for turtles, sea birds and crabs. Because of the lack of human intervention, Suwarrow is acknowledged as one of the most important sea bird breeding areas in the Pacific. A caretaker and his family live on Suwarrow during the cyclone off-season, between April and November each year. Yachts often visit the island during these months. Suwarrow was made famous by New Zealand hermit Tom Neale, who lived there during the early 1950’s and again in the early 1960’s. He wrote about his experiences in his book “An Island to Oneself.” Pukapuka Lying northwest 1150 km from Rarotonga, Pukapuka is one of the most isolated islands of the Cook group. One interisland flight from Rarotonga about every six weeks and irregular shipping

ESCAPE • 89


Left: Penrhyn

Penrhyn (or Tongareva) is the most remote of the Cook group, lying 1365 km NNE of Rarotonga. It has a remarkable blue water lagoon measuring 233 sq km.

has kept Pukapuka one of the most untouched and secluded places in the Pacific. Its remoteness has also kept the traditions and culture of Pukapuka largely unchanged for centuries. Islanders speak the distinct Pukapukan language as well as Cook Islands Maori. According to legend, almost 500 years ago the Pukapuka population was almost entirely wiped out during a catastrophic storm that struck the island. Fourteen people survived, from whom Pukapukan’s today are said to descend. The late American writer Robert Dean Frisbie settled there in 1924 and immortalised Pukapuka in the books he wrote about life on the island. The now uninhabited area where he lived with his Pukapuka wife and children is one of the most beautiful – an untouched white sandy beach with palm trees reaching out to tease the clear blue lagoon. Nassau Access to this tiny island of about 80 Pukapukans can only be gained by interisland boat. Regarded as the sister island of Pukapuka, a voyage from Rarotonga takes about three days. The islanders are adept at surviving an isolated lifestyle that remains unchanged year after year.

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Nassau was hooked up to the country’s telephone system only in 2001 and many of the people had never used a telephone before. Just 1.2 sq. km in size, where families live in kikau thatched cottages. Manihiki The cultured black pearl capital of the Cook Islands. Quality black pearls become centrepieces for fine jewellery that are worn by women and men all over the world. In 1997, the island survived one of the worst cyclones in Cook Islands history. It claimed 19 lives after a tidal wave swept men, women and children out into the huge, raging lagoon. Pearl farms dot this remarkable lagoon. Villagers use small outboard boats to travel between Tukao and Tauhunu – two villages on separate islets – or to their pearl farms set up on coral outcrops. Some of the pearl farms are sophisticated operations jutting out of the deep blue lagoon, complete with small gardens and poultry farms that help support workers who live in modern quarters. Manihiki women have made history for entering what was once a male dominated vocation. A number of women own and manage their own pearl farms, diving, seeding and cleaning the oyster

shells all year around. The women are also renowned for their finely woven craftwork. Manihiki is astonishingly beautiful and those who have been fortunate enough to visit the island, have never been disappointed. Rakahanga Sister island of Manihiki and 42km north-west. Visits to Rakahanga are only possible by boat from Manihiki or interisland vessel. There are two main islands and seven islets in the Rakahanga lagoon. The island is picturesque and unspoiled. Penrhyn Penrhyn (or Tongareva) is the most remote of the Cook group, lying 1365 km NNE of Rarotonga. It has a remarkable blue water lagoon measuring 233 sq km. A 77-km coral reef encircles the islets in the extraordinary lagoon. The villages of Tetautua and Omoka are on different islets that are barely visible to each other. Penrhyn island women make the finest rito craftwork in the Cook Islands. Hats, bags, fans and mats made in Penrhyn are amongst the best to be found anywhere in the world.


Guidelines for an enjoyable time at the beach and in the lagoon… Coral is a living organism! It takes hundreds of years to develop a reef like ours and you can harm the reef just by standing on it; many steps may kill it. What you can do to help… • Make sure your gear fits properly, is comfortable and adjusted, before you go in the water. If you need to make adjustments, find a sandy area on which to stand, or swim to the shore. •

If there is a RAUI (protected marine area) in place, please respect it and leave everything in the lagoon that belongs to it.

Observe animals exhibiting their natural behavior rather than stimulating them to entertain.

Please do not harass or touch protected species, such as turtles, giant clams and fragile corals.

There is no need to feed the fish. To attract them closer just bang two little stones together. They will come.

Please take your rubbish with you when you leave the beach.

Thank you for looking after our lagoon. Take nothing but memories – leave nothing but bubbles…

• 91 Photos: The DiveESCAPE Centre & Jim Gariu


entertainment guide

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ake in the sunset with a cocktail near the water; catch an Island Night Show with beautiful dancers, and get down to live local Cook Islands music and dancing all around town. Raro’s night life is special – you can have a great night out whether you’re on your own, or with friends. 18 or 80 years old, it doesn’t matter, everyone just gets together. And you’ll feel welcome wherever you go. Island Night Shows are a must for every visitor. There is nothing better than seeing our beautiful men and women, adorned in flowers and local costume, dancing to the wonderful pate (hollowed wooden drums), ukulele, guitar, and full voiced singers. It is a joyful, sensual and exuberant experience. Check out our Island Night Shows Guide on these pages to find a venue that suits you.

HE T T TLETS A U LE AB UM O L I A I M AV W D PRE O N AN ND BO

During the week A number of Rarotonga restaurants feature live music during the week - refer to our Night Life Guide for details of what’s on, when and where. It’s great to wander into some of our smaller local bars too - the Game Fishing Club is right on the water; meet the locals and play some pool, this bar is just east of town. If you’re staying around the Muri or Titikaveka area, try Silver Sands Restaurant at Muri Beach Club Hotel, or for a la carte dining and some local music the Pacific Resort, also well known for their Island Night show. For casual ambience, check out the Asian street-style food at The Rickshaw, or mouth-watering Mexican dishes at La

RAROTONGA’S

BEST SELECTION OF INTERNATIONAL BEER BRANDS

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Casita. Take a walk downtown and call into The New Place for great al fresco dining. On the sunset side, you have great choices from Shipwreck Hut at Aro’a Beachside Inn for casual dining, to OTB at Manuia resort for beachside dining, to Flambe or Oceans at Crown Beach or Kikau Hut especially on Mondays for live music.

s r a l l e c 1 . o Your N

Check all places out for when they have their happy hours or meal specials. Remember that it pays to make a reservation if visiting a restaurant, to avoid disappointment; and if you want music with your meal, ask who their resident singer is that night. Check the local paper or ask your resort what’s happening at the local sports clubs – join in for some good live music, cheap drinks, and great company. Local women enjoy dressing up, and the men prefer comfortable shorts, shirt/t-shirt and sandals, but dress code is open.

Friday Night Friday night is party night, as clubs and bars can open until 2am, unlike every other night, which is 12 midnight. Downtown Avarua is a great place to start: First up is a sunset cocktail at Trader Jacks, where there’s always a nice mix of locals and tourists. Luna Bar near The Fudge Factory has various entertainment depending on the night. Later in the night it’s back to Rehab for some dancing, or perhaps for some of the latest hip hop, R’n’B, and techno sounds. The great thing about this town is that the bars are only minutes away from each other. It’s safe and people are friendly and will give you directions. Remember to organise a dedicated driver or taxi if you’re drinking. An organized Nightlife Tour is another great way to enjoy your Friday night and you won’t need to do the driving. Remember you’re in Raro now, on ‘Island Time’, so relax and enjoy. Remember you’re in Raro now, on ‘Island Time’, so relax and enjoy.

ge… n a r e g u h r u o Check out Over 600 wines, all popular brand spirits, liqueurs, beers, RTD’s, mixers, ice, etc. Wedding and special occasion catering, party-hire. Free delivery 6 days per week.

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In central Avarua, opposite Punanga Nui Marketplace Open Mon - Thur 9 to 5 | Fri & Sat 9 to 7 ESCAPE • 93 Phone: 21007 Email: trish@thebond.co.ck


entertainment guide

Rarotonga night-life guide

Keep our roads safe if you’re drinking:

MONDAY

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort: Live entertainment (transfers available) Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular “Dances of Legends” cultural performance & island/western fusion buffet Islander Restaurant: Tuaine Papatua on guitar

Taxis: Refer to yellow pages and book homecoming fare before you go out. Buses: Clockwise Bus: Evening bus departs Cook’s Corner clockwise only, every hour Monday to Saturday from 6pm to 11pm. Times are subject to change so contact the i Site 29435 to confirm.

Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Live music

Edgewater: Tokau Haurua

Island Night Shows – Quick Guide

TUESDAY

Shipwreck Hut @ Aro’a Beachside Inn: Live music on the beach

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort: Live entertainment with a DJ and happy hour(transfers available)

(Bookings are recommended)

Yellow Hibiscus @ Palm Grove: A la carte with live music from Lincoln

Pacific Resort Rarotonga: Tamariki Manuia A la carte dining and live local artist Kahiki Tehaamatai

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7 nights a week. Live music with Tani & Rose also Island Groove SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Live island music Pacific Resort Rarotonga: A la carte dining and live local artist Fred Betham

Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and Monday Over Water Night Show &Dinner. Spectacular Highland Paradise Culture Centre 23953 “Dances of Legends” cultural performance & island/western fusion buffet

Tuesday Te Vara Nui Village

24006

The Islander Hotel

21003

Blue Lagoon @ Aitutaki Village, Aitutaki

31526

The Edgewater Resort & Spa

25435

Oceans Restaurant @ Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Seafood night with live music

31720

Highland Paradise Culture Centre

Highland Paradise Culture Centre

OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort: Live entertainment with Kura (transfers available)

Crown Beach Resort& Spa: Live music

23953

Islander Restaurant: Kathy Brown on keyboard from 6pm then Akirata Dance Troupe show from 830pm Saturday The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa

25800

Te Vara Nui Village

24006

The Edgewater Resort & Spa

25435

Captain Andy’s: Andre Tapena BlueWater Grill: Tara Kauvai

THURSDAY

Shipwreck Hut @ Aro’a Beachside Inn: Sunset cocktails with live music

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

94 • ESCAPE

Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7 nights a week. Live music some nights

SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Pig & Prawn Night with live music Trader Jacks: Kura every Friday lunch Friday night Rere and the boys - rock classics & seafood, steaks& pizza

Islander Restaurant: Kathy Brown on keyboards

Kikau Hut: Live local music

Friday

Oceans Restaurant @ Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Steak, Fish & Ribs Night with live entertainment

Edgewater: Polynesian Floor show with Taakoka

23953

23953

FRIDAY

Yellow Hibiscus @Palm Grove: Happy hour and a la carte dining with live music every Friday night -Tara Kauvai - Mustonen or Tani & Rose alternate.

SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Polynesian Island Night buffet with Akirata Thursday Dance Troupe Te Vara Nui Village 24006 Crown Beach Resort & Spa

Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort: Pub Night menu with live entertainment

Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort: Seafood Night with entertainment

Wednesday & Orama Dance group followed by Tara Kauvai The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa 25800 WEDNESDAY Muri Beach Club Hotel 23000 Pacific Resort Aitutaki

Edgewater: Ru and Boyz

Oceans Restaurant @ Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Live music followed by Cultural Island Night Show Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining 7 nights a week. Live music some nights

Edgewater: Tereapii and Girls

SATURDAY

Shipwreck Hut @Aro’a Beachside Inn: Great beach BBQ with live music Trader Jacks: Music with Tok Watch out for “Brews & BBQ” and special guests monthly at Trader Jacks. Kikau Hut Restaurant: Great a la carte dining with Katreena Smith singing local and popular songs OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort: Live entertainment with Garth on piano (transfers available) Te Vara Nui Village: Cultural Village Tour and Over Water Night Show & Dinner. Spectacular “Dances of Legends” cultural performance & island/western fusion buffet Edgewater: Polynesian Floor show with Taakoka & Orama Dance group followed by Tara Kauvai Island Night Buffet & Cultural Show Captain Andy’s: Andre Tapena BlueWater Grill: Tara Kauvai


SUNDAY

Club Raro: BBQ night Oceans Restaurant@Crown Beach Resort & Spa: Sunset roast with live entertainment OTB Bar & Restaurant @ Manuia Beach Resort: Live entertainment with local island strings (transfers available) SilverSands @ Muri Beach Club Hotel: Reef & Beef night with live music Yellow Hibiscus @ Palm Grove: Sunday BBQ with music from Lincoln and Lito Pacific Resort Rarotonga: A la carte dining and live local artist Rudi Aquino Anchorage Restaurant @ Sunset Resort: BBQ with live entertainment

Aitutaki night-life guide MONDAY

Rapae Bay @ Pacific Resort Aitutaki: Romantic dining overlooking the sea, nightly from 6pm Flying Boat Beach Bar @ Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa: Fire dance show with Te Aito Dance Group no cover charge, a la carte dinner Tupuna’s Restaurant: Great a-la-carte dining with the freshest local foods in a relaxed garden setting. Mon-Sat from 6pm

TUESDAY

Blue Lagoon @ Aitutaki Village: Island buffet and cultural show on the sandy beach at Ootu

Edgewater: Ru Tauta & Boyze

WEDNESDAY

The Boatshed Bar & Grill: Check out this popular restaurant any day of the week. A-lacarte menu for lunch & dinner. Great cocktails!

THURSDAY

Tamanu Beach: Takurua, Island Fire & Dance Show with Te Aito dance troupe and young children of Aitutaki and a Fire Dance show on the beach with stringband. Fantastic entertainment with a great selection of food

FRIDAY

Aitutaki Game Fishing Club: One of the most popular local bars to visit for a sun-downer Coconut Crusher Bar: Entertainment and party the night away with your host Ricky

SATURDAY

Flying Boat Beach Bar @ Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa: Fire dance show with Te Uki Ou Dance Group no cover charge, a la carte dinner

SUNDAY

Aitutaki Village: All day barbeque with great entertainment Tamanu Beach: Sunset Henry Family Barbeque Night with great local entertainment from Uncle Taumuri Williams on keyboard and local island food

Rapae Bay @ Pacific Resort Aitutaki: Island night South Pacific cuisine and performances by local Aitutaki song and dance troupe from 7pm Aitutaki Game Fishing Club: A good evening to visit and meet the locals. Where else would you find a bar in a 20 foot container?

Prices or schedules are subject to change at any time.

Located opposite the Punanga Nui Market, right next to the bus stop

ESCAPE • 95


what's on

t

hroughout the year we find many reasons to celebrate and have fun, and there’s always plenty to do and see on Rarotonga and her sister islands. As most Cook Islanders are willing sports participants, you’ll find a multitude of sports codes and clubs active throughout the islands, where you are always welcome to visit. As for festivals and celebratory events, it is certain that you will always find something of interest taking place.

JULY Fri 6th ‘Ra o te Ui Ariki’ (Ariki Day) – public holiday Thu 19th Atiu Gospel Day Fri 20th School Term 2 complete – School Holidays begin Mon 23rd Mauke Gospel Day

Mon 13th School Term 3 begins Wed 15th Rakahanga Gospel Day Mon 20th to Fri 24th Manureva Aquafest in Aitutaki

SEPTEMBER Sun 2nd Fathers Day

NOVEMBER Thu 1st to Sat 3rd Cook Islands International Rugby 7’s, come and see great 7’s rugby in a Rarotongan setting Fri 23rd to Fri 30th November Vaka Eiva 2018 Canoeing Festival A weeklong festival that attracts a large number of international paddlers. Vaka Eiva has been referred to as “the most fun event on the paddling planet!”

Tue 25th Rarotonga Gospel Day

Thu 20th to Wed 26th Round Rarotonga Road Race (subject to confirmation)

Mon 30th to Sat 4th August Te Maeva Nui Celebrations 2018

OCTOBER

Wed 28th to Tue 4th December Netball in Paradise

AUGUST

Fri 5th School Term 3 complete – school holidays begin

DECEMBER

Fri 4th Constitution Day Mon 6th Constitution Day public holiday Observed Wed 8th Manihiki Gospel Day

Thu 25th Aitutaki Gospel Day Fri 26th National Gospel Day – public holiday Mon 15th School Term 4 begins

Fri 23rd to Fri 30th November Mire Tiare Flower Festival

Mon 3rd to Thu 6th Motu 2 Motu – in Aitutaki Thu 6th Pukapuka Gospel Day – public holiday Pukapuka Fri 15th School Term 4 complete – School Holidays begin Tue 25th Christmas Day Wed 26th Boxing Day

JANUARY 2018 Tue 1st New Year’s Day – public holiday Wed 2nd Day after New Year’s day – public holiday

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

96 • ESCAPE


7

Events That You Shouldn’t Miss…

29TH JULY – 6TH AUGUST Te Maeva Nui – Celebrating our nation’s independence Every year from June to August about 2,000 people on Rarotonga and on the outer islands put their lives on hold to prepare for Te Maeva Nui, the national culture and dance festival. It is a week-long cultural marathon held around the date of August 4th, which is the birthday of the Cook Islands as an independent nation. You may have seen cultural dance shows around the island, or perhaps in your resort, but you haven’t seen anything that even closely resembles the vibrancy and passion of the finals at Te Maeva Nui, held in the National Stadium. This is the cultural highlight of the Cook Islands year; the only people who are ever disappointed are those who miss it.

20TH – 24TH AUGUST Manureva Aquafest International Kite Surfing Competition In August some of the biggest names in kite surfing will head to the Cook Islands to vie for the top spot at the international kite surfing competition on Aitutaki. The Cook Islands Kite Surfing Association, in conjunction with the events team at Cook

Islands Tourism, will manage this big event which has catapulted the Cook Islands on to the international stage as a desirable kite surfing destination. 2011’s inaugural event generated immense support for the association and this year marks the 8th such competition on the stunning waters of Aitutaki Lagoon.

23RD – 30TH NOVEMBER

20TH – 26TH SEPTEMBER

Held annually since 2004, Vaka Eiva has established a reputation as a hugely enjoyable week of racing, culture, and festivities, and attracts crews from throughout the world.

Round Rarotonga Road Race The Round Rarotonga Road Race celebrates its 40th Anniversary with its annual weeklong event from the 20 -26 September 2018 held on the beautiful tropical island of Rarotonga. The event caters for everyone including families, social, recreational and competitive runners and is a fantastic opportunity to combine a holiday with a once in a lifetime sporting achievement. See Cook Islands Tourism for more details.

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

There’s an air of festivity on the island the whole week long, from the opening ceremony, throughout the week of racing and social activities. The area around Trader Jack’s is the hangout of choice for paddlers and spectators throughout the week, giving close views of the start and finish of the ocean races.

1ST – 3RD NOVEMBER

23RD – 30TH NOVEMBER

Cook Islands International Raro Rugby 7’s

Te Mire Tiare Flower Festival

The Cook Islands International Rugby 7’s Tournament has become one of the most sought after 7’s competitions in the Pacific. Although it’s not the Wellington or Hong Kong sevens, where hundreds of thousands flock to the games in colourful eye catching attire, here in paradise, the party and dress up atmosphere is very much island style! After all – playing sports and having a good time is something the people of the Cook Islands know how to do, and do well.

This happy and colourful festival features competitions for the best floral decorated shops, schools and government buildings, each one on a different day of the weeklong festivities. Locals also vie for the honour of making the best head or neck ‘ei (garland), best pot plant and much more. The glamorous focal point to the week is undoubtedly the ‘Miss Tiare’ competition which sees attractive young ladies competing for this prestigious title. The first appearance of the contestants is usually at the Punanga Nui marketplace on the

ESCAPE • 97


first Saturday of the festival; the weeks wraps up with a colourful float parade and crowning of Miss Tiare on the following Saturday.

29TH NOVEMBER – 5TH DECEMBER Netball in Paradise The tournament is for UNDER 13, UNDER 15, UNDER 17, OPEN LADIES, SOCIAL LADIES & OPEN MIXED divisions. Netball in Paradise 2018 will run for seven days, but every day and every night you can enjoy our famous Cook Islands hospitality. For more information contact DMCK at events@ dmck,co,ck. For more information and to confirm event dates, visitors are advised to contact the Visitor Information Centre – phone (682) 29435

VISITOR

INFORMATION CENTRE DOWNTOWN AVARUA NEXT TO ANZ BANK

RAROTONGA (HEAD OFFICE) PO Box 14, Rarotonga Cook Islands (682) 29435 headoffice@cookislands.gov.ck

NORTHERN EUROPE cookislands@global-tourism.de

AITUTAKI PO Box 3 Aitutaki (682) 31767 tourism.officer@aitutaki.net.ck misepa.isamaela@cookislands.gov.ck

UNITED KINGDOM ukmanager@cookislands.travel

ATIU (682) 33435 mareta.atetu@cookislands.gov.ck NEW ZEALAND Studio 11, Level 3 91 St George Bay Road Parnell, Auckland 1052 +64 (9) 366 1106 nzmanager@cookislands.travel

Advice on accommodation, tours, restaurants, activities, entertainment and travel to our sister islands. Phone or call in to see us. OPEN: Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm | Saturday 10am – 1pm 98 • ESCAPE (682) 29435 headoffice@cookislands.gov.ck

AUSTRALIA Suite 129, Level 14 5 Martin Place Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia +61 282 091 658 NORTH AMERICA usamanager@cookislands.travel canadamanager@cookislands.travel

SOUTHERN EUROPE southerneurope@cookislands.travel

CHINA chinamanager@cookislands.travel JAPAN japanmanager@cookislands.travel


GRAB A VISITOR SIM TODAY From our Airport Kiosk or from any of our Bluesky Outlets in the Cook Islands.

3GB DATA

30 MIN

anywhere in the world

only

49

$

300 TXT

anywhere in the world

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


cook islands black pearls

Cooks Corner, RAROTONGA | Pacific Resort, AITUTAKI p +682 21 902 e luke@bergmanandsons.com w www.bergmanandsons.com

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Escape Magazine Issue 27  

Escape Magazine Issue 27  

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