Selection of ‘history’ stories


Te Maeva Nui Festival

The Cook Islands is a country divided by ocean, a 1.8 million square kilometers mass of water separating each of the 15 islands. But each year in a special event, that vast distance ceases to exist, when the far flung islands come together for a festival to celebrate nationhood.

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Taking time for turtles

There’s something… really big in the water,” came an excited call from one of our team members. Running to the back of the boat, I saw her, our symbol of safe passage. Contrasting with the deep blue of the surrounding sea, the whale’s belly appeared to radiate ultraviolet light as she rolled playfully, just off the stern of our overloaded charter vessel.

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Manihiki's Black Gold

It’s a typical island house – modest, weather-worn, doorless, louvers in the windows – except that outside there’s no yard and no neighbour. The house is built on a patch of coral reef called kaoa, and it’s surrounded by cerulean sea.

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Return to Mangaia

Large hands, scarred, move gently over intricate patterns carved into mahogany, the handle of a Mangaia adze.

Papa Tuaiva Moutairi speaks in lilting dialect of a home island, explaining to visiting Mangaia expatriate Tanara Maarametua Buchanan meanings of a traditional motif he’s etched into wood – the maro itiki portrays the back to back fighting stance their forebears take when outnumbered during battle. And fights there were, a plenty, during pre-missionary times, with other islands, particularly Atiu, sending marauding parties to Mangaia.

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