The Mooring Fish Café at the Avana Fishing Club near Ngatangiia has permanently closed. 2201119
A landmark eatery on Rarotonga has closed its doors amid a long-standing land dispute.
The Mooring Fish Café at the Avana Fishing Club near
Ngatangiia closed shop for good this week following notification from the Cook
Islands Investment Corporation.
The saga goes back to 2017 when Government agreed to
surrender a lease to the landowners.
It is understood the lease had stipulated the land be
used for public purposes and the matter dragged on as more landowners were
brought on board in an effort to address wider concerns about the Avana Harbour
and surrounding area.
The Crown reached out to landowners who raised
concerns the land in the vicinity of the Avana Fishing Club was being used for
In July 2021 the matter went to court as the Kainuku
family, through their lawyer Catherine Evans, sought to negotiate surrender of
The family advised the Crown they would accept the
surrender, but only on the basis of the Moorings Café being removed.
The Avana Fishing Club was allowed to stay on.
A notice to quit was served to the Mooring Café on
December 2, 2021.
Cook Islands News understands the Cook Islands
Investment Corporation, who have been represented by lawyer Tim Arnold, met
with Moorings Café representatives in August 2021 to further discuss the
While the owners of Moorings Café did not want to
comment on the matter, co-owner Jill Kavana confirmed they plan to reopen when
they find another location.
Kavana has been operating the eatery for the past 12
years, and was packing up the operation when Cook Islands News approached her
An email supplied to Cook Islands News confirmed a
final decision regarding the lease was “made some months ago”.
The Crown had advised the High Court that it was
moving “with speed to surrender this land to the Kainuku family.”
“The Kainuku family, through their lawyer have advised
the Crown that they will accept the surrender but only on the basis of the
Moorings Café having been removed.”
A notice to quit served on the café was “a direct
response to the assurances that CIIC has given to the court and to the
The café has been given notice that CIIC refuses
permission for any trading and calls for Moorings Café, “as a matter of
urgency, to remove itself from the land”.
“This matter is one that needs to be resolved, and
Stephen Newman on 15/01/2022
This is terrible news. The top rated restaurant on Rarotonga by a mile on Tripadvisor closed because reading between the lines there was a petty squabble. If you want to rebuild the tourism industry Rarotonga sort these things out and quickly. In the meantime, where's the second best fish sandwich on the island?