“We came for the first time to Rarotonga in 2000 for a friend’s wedding,” says Ruth, “and we’ve been back every year since, bar one. And twice one year.”
She says they originally looked at other destinations, but were drawn back to the island because, “We love the people, their hospitality and the Celebration Church we go to. It’s like a second family.”
The two don’t hire a car. “We walk everywhere, or we use the buses. We know all the bus drivers. When you walk, you meet a lot more people and see a lot more things.”
They have probably stayed at most of the accommodation businesses on the island, staying somewhere different each time they visit.
At home in Warkworth, Ruth works for Shadze of Lace, a designer women’s wear company, and Bill has retired from Telecom (now Spark).
Sorry to say goodbye to the island, Bills says “It’s not too hard this time though, because we’re coming back twice next year, once for a 60th birthday, and also for a 50th anniversary.”
Asked if they would change anything on the island if they could, Bill says, “Yes”.
“Extend the residency criteria. We would love to live here.”