Fruit shortage sparks impressive venture

Saturday September 19, 2015

Derek Fox describes an exciting new venture on Aitutaki which is showing the way forward for the production of fruit and produce on the island.

The eco warrior of Mangaia...

Saturday September 19, 2015

This is the story of Tereapii Muriaiti, the “eco warrior Mangaia. The story is part of a series called “50 Tamariki of Kuki Airani.” Telling the stories of ordinary Cook Islanders who have achieved extraordinary things. It was written by Florence Syme Buchanan.

A gentle Cook Islander

Saturday September 05, 2015

This profile by Florence Syme Buchanan is another in a series called “50 Tamariki Kuki Airani.” The series, which is also on Facebook, profiles interesting Cook Islanders born after 1965. The page was created in celebration of the Cook Islands’ 50 years of self-governance and as a platform for the stories of ordinary Cook Islanders who have achieved extraordinary things.

When Father John Rovers told the congregation at St Mary’s Catholic Church last Sunday morning that he would conduct one more Mass the following Sunday and would then be going ‘to paradise’, it raised more than a few chuckles.

Development Economist Vaine Wichman has worked extensively throughout the country as a development economist. She began writing this column in response to women and men who asked her to explain the working of the economy. Views in this column are Vaine’s.

Soldier’s efforts to be remembered

Saturday February 21, 2015

This year will commemorate the 100th Year of the Cook Islands men enlisting in the New Zealand Army, and the Cook Islands Soldiers of World War One committee, (CISWWO) is planning to make the 2015 commemoration a big success. 

The Laughing Samoans are set to get the weekend off to a giggling start when they perform at the National Auditorium tonight.

Emotional homecoming to Mauke

Monday February 26, 2018

I had something of a spiritual experience last week –  although I’m not really that sort of guy – and ticked or half ticked something off my bucket list at the same time.

Space travel youngster’s dream

Tuesday November 20, 2018

While most youngsters are content to just play games on their smartphones, Tai Eraio is searching deep into space above Rarotonga every day and night, tracking the International Space Station on his phone.

The tech savvy 12-year-old uses a phone app that detects the course of the space station as it hurtles through space, he says, at a warp speed of 7.65 kilometres per second, or an even more mindboggling 27,605km an hour.

He exclaims looking down at his phone, “Right now it’s travelling over Africa.”

But, on Monday evening he didn’t need to use the app to see where the space station was, as just on dusk it was passing directly over the veranda of his family’s home, high on the hill in Akaoa.

“That’s where I saw it,” he says, pointing high to the southwest. “It was very bright and flying directly in line of the Cook Islands.”

He says for anyone else wanting to sneak a peek at the space station: “It looks like a star, but is fast-travelling like a satellite, only brighter, and passes over us three times a day.” 

He also uses another app, International Space Station HD Live, which gives a camera view from the space station, as well as trying to take snaps of it himself on his phone on clear nights.

It’s not only the space station that passes overhead he says, but also a Chinese space station called Tia Gong. He sometimes spots old satellites in orbit floating around earth’s atmosphere, and says you can track those too.

For other kids not already interested in astronomy Tai says, “It’s a fun thing to do as a hobby; you can do it at home. You can map out the stars from books… you can look at planets, satellites, constellations, comets, but mainly stars.

“So if you are a kid at home and you want to learn about astronomy, you can do it anytime...”     

Talking to Tai, it becomes obvious how passionate this intelligent young man is about all things space.

He says he first got interested in astronomy using an old mini-telescope and following astronauts in space online. Learning new things about astronomy, he adds, inspires him to learn more.

Eraio says he loves watching Stephen Hawking documentaries and Discovery Science on TV and says the theoretical physicist and cosmologist is his idol.

So it’s not surprising that this year 8 student from Apii Nikao also has big plans for his future… working at NASA.

“My dream is to work for NASA. I want to go to Australia to get a good education and go to university… I was then thinking of one day going to America so I can get into the space programme, and go up there.”

Dad Stephen says Tai’s been into science from a young age.

“He’s right into the deep space black whole theory. It’s a bit beyond my capability,” he says with a smile. “But we encourage him as much as we can.”  

When NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle was on the island in May to visit local schools, Tai missed out on her talk.

But while the astronaut didn’t visit Apii Nikao, Tai’s Mum Roberta wasn’t going to miss the opportunity when she spotted Cagle in the Air New Zealand lounge at Rarotonga International Airport.

She told the NASA-trained astronaut and retired medical doctor that she had someone on the line that would love to speak to her, after phoning Tai on his mobile so they could have a good old chat about space and the international space station.

And while most of us can only dream of going into space, Eraio is setting himself up as best he can from a young age to make his dream a future reality. – Chris Taylor

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