Stallholder Tuhe Piho is 59-years-old but could easily pass for a man in his forties.
This might be something to do with the sort of food he sells at the Muri Night Market – and eats himself of course.
Once known to his family as ‘Super Yoga Daddy’ – now ‘Super Yoga Granddaddy’ since the birth of his first grandchild on Monday, Piho also obviously looks after his physical fitness, but it’s the food he sells from his “Super Healthy Food” stall that I’m interested in.
From his chicken chop suey and stir-fry fish and veges to his turmeric curry and kumara salad, Piho’s food is chock-full of vegetables and bursting with goodness.
He’s been turning up at the Muri Night Market since it first started five years ago and these days can be found there almost every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm.
A teacher by profession, having spent 30 years teaching in New Zealand, Piho really got into healthy living after a three-year stint as school principal on Rakahanga, the island where he was born.
“Over there I learnt to live off the land and the sea,” he tells me. “I didn’t know how to get coconuts, but they taught me and I said to them, ‘I’m going to sell coconuts’.
“So when I came back here to Rarotonga I started selling coconut water first, and then smoothies.”
Later he added the aforementioned vegetable-laden meals to his menu and has never looked back.
“We’ve got all the right foods here, but we just cook it wrong,” says Piho, explaining what drives him. “And we just don’t put it together properly.
“The tourists are the ones that come here and know – they see quinoa, they see lentils and turmeric curry and they know it’s all good.
“But our locals here are starting to realise that this is how they need to eat.”
As well as a chance to share his healthy outlook on life, Piho says the night market also provides a great opportunity to meet some “incredible people”.
“That’s why it’s a joy for me to come here,” he says. “I love it here because all the people that are coming have come here to enjoy themselves and relax.
“And I feel I’m part of an experience here in Rarotonga, to ensure that they have a wonderful time.”