Cook Islands Tourism was pleased to see the information storyboard for Tuoro, also known as Black Rock, unveiled on Wednesday.
Tourism says they worked tirelessly with the landowners through Nooroa Rangi to get the storyboard approved and installed.
The opening was organised by Nooroa Rangi and her committee and the sign was unveiled by land owner representative Brienna Paerau, daughter of Tere Solomon.
The unveiling was also blessed by CICC Arorangi Orometua Tauturu, Pastor John Andrew.
A Tourism spokesman says it was great to see the community and leaders of Vaka Puaikura attend the unveiling which further emphasised their endorsement for the historic storyboard signs project.
“The community understands the importance of the sign and how it represents the historic value of the site.”
Because of this understanding, Cook Islands Tourism says the community banded together to construct a kikau-style hut over it to protect the sign from the elements.
Other improvements on include a shower for public use and there are plans to install a waste station and further beautify the area by the planting of tamanu trees, menemene and miro.
A committee headed by Nooroa Rangi has overseen the upgrades to the Tuoro site and will maintain the site in the future with the help of the community.
Tuoro is the Maori name for the site locally known as Black Rock, which marks the boundary between the districts of Te-Au-o-Tonga and Puaikura.
The abundant black rock in the areas, from which it derives its English name, is basalt and has been estimated to be 1.9 million years old.
According to information on the storyboard, Black Rock is one of the few readily accessible remaining areas where visitors can see where stone was worked by the Maori people of Rarotonga during Neolithic times. In the absence of metal, people depended heavily on stone for making tools.
Tuoro is believed to be the place where spirits of the dead leave Rarotonga, before they ascend to a pua tree and leap from it to begin their journey back to their ancient homeland Avaiki, to the west.
Similarly, the Maori people of New Zealand believe that Cape Reinga in the North Island is the departure point for spirits of their people to Hawaiki.