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‘Journey – To tatou Kaveinga’ mural captures beauty and vibrancy of the Cook Islands

Tuesday 3 October 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Features


‘Journey – To tatou Kaveinga’ mural captures beauty and vibrancy of the Cook Islands
Airport Authority staff with artist Tuaine “Katu” Teiti at the unveiling of the “Journey - To tatou Kaveinga” mural at the Airport Arrival Terminal on Friday. MELINA ETCHES/23092906

A stunning mural capturing the beauty and vibrancy of the Cook Islands was unveiled at the Rarotonga International Airport on Friday, kicking off the Airport Authority upgrades and preparations for the 50th anniversary which will be celebrated in January next year.

The mural, titled “Journey – To tatou Kaveinga”, was created by talented local artist Tuaine “Katu” Teiti. It stands 11 metres wide and 4.8 metres high, and was completed in just four weeks.

The theme of the image signifies “a journey”. The kakaia birds, or Love Terns, represent visitors arriving to the Cook Islands to experience, explore, and exchange in the beauty of the friendly people, their vibrant culture, and natural environment. Abstract designs of bold colorful lilies, tiare taina (gardenia’s), anthuriums, tipani, and shells reflect the hospitality and peaceful lifestyle of peu Māori, the Cook Islands culture. The “manutai” motif design in the middle symbolises “Le voyage” (voyage), as well as the fluttering butterflies representing aviation travel.

Teiti said the “Journey – To tatou Kaveinga” has been his biggest, boldest, and most challenging piece yet.

Taoro Brown, chairman of the Airport Authority, and his wife, acting Prime Minister Vainetutai Rose Toki-Brown, revealed the piece in a small blessing ceremony on Friday.

“This design is something we can all admire,” Brown said. “The vibrant colours represent our people, we are friendly, colourful people. Our paradise, and our destination is one of the last havens of paradise on earth.”

“This here is the gateway, and this art work will offset the visitor experience.”

Brown said next January the country will be celebrating a milestone – 50 years of international aviation voyaging.

“We are proud of the many leaders who have led this country, who all had one vision to grow our economy with the values of our peu Māori,” he said.

“The next 50 years will be interesting times, and the art designs will change for the best as our next generation continue our journey.”

Nikau Tangaroa, Airport Authority chief executive officer, expressed he is “more than happy” with the effective mural that highlights the airport’s new vision of “Leading the Pacific Way in Airports” inspired by the unique culture, language, and warm welcome of the Cook Islands.

Tangaroa said although there were a number of edits to the painting, the best outcome was achieved through the “passion and persistence” of the artist.

The art piece is one of many surprises in the build up to the Airport Council International Conference that will be held in Rarotonga on November 2.