Rani Ponini, a longtime employee at the Bounty Bookshop is “excited” they have found new premises. MELINA ETCHES/23011512
In the heart of Avarua, the iconic Bounty Bookshop and Pacific Supplies embarks on an exciting new chapter.
For two decades,
the establishment filled the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM)
building with literary bliss. Now, it has embarked on a new chapter, finding a
vibrant home on the main strip, right next to Cook Islands Tourism.
and Pacific Supplies, well-known fixtures on Rarotonga, have been selling
books, stationery, and packaging for around 50 years.
relocation not only marks a physical change but also symbolises the persistent
presence of literature and the dedication of its hard-working staff.
“It’s exciting for
us,” says Moana Tauira (nee Chitty), who runs the family business with her
sister Dawn Pureau (nee Chitty).
business hasn’t been good.
Tauira said they
had been told that when they had to leave the MFEM building, it would be the
end, with no place to go and no choice but to close down.
“But you know,
have faith and with God by your side … We all said, all our staff said ‘no we are
not going to close’ so I started looking for space last year to rent around
town,” said Tauira.
She acknowledged the
assistance they had received from the Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC)
who painted and prepared the building.
falling into place, we were so excited,” said Tauira.
The staff started moving
stock into the new premises in December.
“We have the
stationery supplies in the front shop and craft things and the rest will be in
here (the old Banana court).
“Many people have
popped in to say congratulations.
appreciate the help we have received.”
Pacific Supplies was
established by Brian and Nooroa Chitty in Arorangi. They now reside in Aotearoa
Brian Chitty arrived
to Rarotonga in the 60s when was in his 20s working as a lecturer at Teachers
Training College. He later moved to the Curriculum Department which was based
at the Nikao Side School.
Chitty also ran an
afterschool Christian group.
The business had
humble beginnings, starting from the family sitting room.
He started selling
encyclopedias and soon after people asked him to bring in Christian literature.
In earlier years,
the Pacific Supplies and Bounty Bookshop were
always housed separately. The first Bounty Bookshop shop was located in the old
Scott & Watson Gallery (which has been torn down) and was nicknamed the
“yellow submarine” because of its narrow shape.
The bookshop then
moved into Cooks Corner and the Warehouse was based in Panama.
When the new Bank
of the Cook Islands (BCI) building was completed in town, Bounty Bookshop moved
into its new mall area and was located downstairs next to ANZ.
The bookshop moved
back to Cooks Corner when renovations were being undertaken.
In the late 90s,
the Bounty Bookshop and warehouse moved into the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Management building, where they have operated ever since.
“When we moved to
the MFEM building we merged all the shops together under one roof,” said
Pacific Supplies has
also taken on the large space inside the old Banana Court next door. Staff are
still working through sorting out shelves and supplies.