Mauke The Cook Islands South Pacific Paradise
– An Experience not just a holiday destination
Experience Mauke, the garden island, your own tropical Paradise.
This year you could be married on any number of Pacific Islands; you could renew your vows; stay in a variety of accommodation including resorts that satisfy your every need. You could have contact with the outside world, or have no contact with the outside world, whatever your whim. You could be massaged and spa-ed until you don’t know whether you inhabit your own body or someone else’s. You could be moddled and coddled, and yet still feel there is an element missing. Or you could travel to Mauke, the garden island, your own tropical paradise.
Bike down to the airport in the quiet of early morning. On the way, check out the harbour to see the fishermen set off to catch tuna from their outriggers. Then keep riding past the early morning service at the CICC church in Kimiangatau village, past the Air Rarotonga board that still displays your name as one of the arrivals from yesterday, past the old hospital, and the deserted Julian Dashwood house, to the end of the airport where from July to September you may see humpback whales cruise by a few metres from the edge of the land.
This is a special place. You can hire a bike or scooter for a round island trip where you will be dazzled by the turquoise sea on one side and the lush tropical forest on the other. Take some fruit and water, or rely on the locals to hail you from their coconut grove with a drinking coconut and fresh fruit. Stop at Teoneroa beach (long white sand) where the locals picnic all through the Christmas and New Year break.
You will also stop at the stone marker which shows the way to Kea’s grave. Kea was the wife of Paikea, the ancestor of the Whale Rider. Later, talk to Teata and Tangata at Tiare cottages who will explain the connection to the Whale Rider and tell you the story of the ghostly figures seen by travellers as they cycled past the stone marker. Spend some time on the long sandy beaches at this end of the island. Carry on further, stopping at sandy coves, watching dolphins play in the azure waters, and wonder why anyone would wish to go to a resort when they could experience this.
A trip inland is best experienced with a guide. There is the Motuanga water cave said at one time to contain 100 rooms which allowed access to the sea. Nowadays you can access 3 caves. It is eerie but magical. You can immerse yourself in the black waters of the cave pool, under the flickering light of the candles, listening to ancient stories.
You will be taken to one of the largest Banyan trees in the Southern Hemisphere. There, you will walk among the acre of aerial roots eating chestnuts or payaya that you picked up on the way in. This tree is well known to international experts who travel from around the globe just to see it. Visit the ancient marae, still in use today for ceremonial occasions. Watch the school children jump from the ledges into the water at the bottom of Vai Tango cave and marvel at their timing.
Arrive back at Tiare cottages for a barbeque or umu of fresh caught tuna. Or try raw tuna marinated in fresh lime with freshly grated and squeezed coconut cream (you will never want to eat tinned coconut cream ever again). Salads made from organically grown fruit, vegetables and herbs. Exchange stories with travellers from around the world while listening to the endless rumbling of the Pacific ocean coming ashore on the reef.
You will need to stay for several days just to see it all. And once you’ve been to Mauke, you will want to return again and again. But you won’t want to tell your friends about this magic place. Some secrets are too special to share!
A visit to the Banyan Tree is included on the tour of the island. Researchers have estimated the tree covers one and a half acres. The aerial roots form their own architectural space. It’s like Notre Dame has come to Mauke.
Fishing trips can be organized with Clem. You will stand on the edge of the reef fishing in the deep waters of the Pacific.
The Cook Islands celebrates the gaining of independence with the Constitution Celebrations during the last week in July and the first week of August each year. All the islands send dancing and singing teams to compete.
The dancers make their own costumes from natural fibres. The whole community is involved in the production of these dances and songs. The dancers make a huge commitment to practice as there is a lot of prestige to be gained by competing and scoring the maximum number of points.
“I had wanted to come to Mauke for many years and now it is a dream fulfilled. Thank you Teata and Tangata for your generous hospitality and I hope you will forgive me for keeping you up late at night talking. I encourage you to maintain the island culture and customs that make Mauke unique. It is a wonderful place and an ideal retreat to recover from the stress of everyday life and recharge one’s batteries.
Mautaki maata, ka kite ano
Ian, Auckland, NZ.
For the 2013 celebrations the Cook Island Government decided each island could celebrate on their home islands. On Mauke, Mapu Taia, the island historian and composer wrote the words for a new Kapa Rima or action dance. This new composition was based on the theme of the celebrations Te Rakei o Toku Enua, the costumes of my island.
Each of the three villages on the island took the words Papa Mapu had written and developed their own tunes and choreography with the drummers and dancers. Everyone on the island of Mauke became involved in the celebrations.
You too can enjoy Mauke hospitality
and the colours and flavour of the Cook Islands, book with us now
for a Pacific holiday you will savour.