The popular rito hats from the Northern group islands are treasured and sought after – and now they’re being made right here in Raro.
Mama Orometua Temaria Saitu-Marsters, the Ngatangiia Cook Islands Christian Church pastor’s wife, is teaching women in the village to weave the Northern group rito hats.
Group organiser Teroro Totini said: “It took a week to cut, prepare, boil, dry and process the coconut leaves to its final weaving product – rito (white) and rito tita (light brownish off cuts).
“Just the preparation process is very time consuming and it makes us realise the hard work that goes into the making of one special hat and the cost of these beautiful hats are justified.
“We are all want to learn this craft and appreciate Mama Orometua teaching us her skills,” said Totini.
“Our goal is for each women to complete a white rito hat to wear to church on ‘White Sunday’ – the first Sunday in September.”
The previous Mama Orometua for the village passed on her valued tivaivai sewing skills, she added.
It takes seven kao (new coconut shoots in the middle of the tree) to weave one Northern rito hat.
* People who are cutting down their coconut trees, the women would appreciate the new inner shoots in the center, please call Teroro Totini on phone 73660.