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Showcasing Cook Islands in Japan

Thursday 29 December 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Features, National, Travel

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Showcasing Cook Islands in Japan
Filming takes place for the World Summer’s Resort special on the Cook Islands. 22122821

The Cook Islands will be shown off to an audience of millions in Japan, thanks to a travel show series.

Travel show World Summer’s Resort will focus on the resorts and tourist activities of Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

Coordinator Kana Daniel, who has lived in the Cook Islands for nearly 20 years, said the filming took 11 days.

Cook Islanders Tiana Haxton and Terena Koteka-Wiki were chosen as presenters for the show.

Daniel said there was a potential audience for the project of up to five million. It will be screened on Japanese television on February 4 and February 11.

Film crew including Cook Islander Tiana Haxton assemble themselves at Muri Beach for the Cook Islands episode of World Summer’s Resort. 22122823
Film crew including Cook Islander Tiana Haxton assemble themselves at Muri Beach for the Cook Islands episode of World Summer’s Resort. 22122823

“There’s a lot of interest overseas about the Cook Islands,” she said.

Haxton, a presenter for Cook Islands Television, said she enjoyed learning some Japanese words during the shooting.

“I found reading Japanese a little bit easier because I can speak Māori. The syllables and vowels are very similar,” Haxton said.

“They would write up the script, which was marked accordingly. Once you got into the language it was really fun.”

Haxton said it was interesting seeing the tourists’ perspective compared to that of the locals.

“It’s nice to have that perspective. You learn what beaches are more popular with the tourists, and they’re not necessarily the same ones the locals go to,” she said.

Koteka-Wiki said she enjoyed the Aitutaki experience.

“I’ve been there a handful of times, but it was a humbling experience, everyone in the hotel was very kind,” she said.

Tiana Haxton goes out and about amongst the Cook Islands community as filming takes place on World Summer’s Resort. 22122822
Tiana Haxton goes out and about amongst the Cook Islands community as filming takes place on World Summer’s Resort. 22122822

“You learn to get out of your shell a bit more. It was an opportunity to promote the islands that was really special.”

Koteka-Wiki said the shoot made her more eco-conscious about the island.

“You need to be mindful of your waste, especially in lagoon passages with marine life. You need to be conscious about what you’re doing,” she said.

 “You can see these big landfills firsthand on a small island. I think it’s becoming more obvious that we need to do something as we’re heading into the climate crisis.”

Haxton said the small size of the islands made everyone more environmentally conscious.

“In bigger places, it’s more ‘out of sight out of mind’, but here you see the effects of waste right in front of you,” she said.

Koteka-Wiki said it was a great learning experience.

“I would definitely be involved in something like this again. You get to promote your country, if you ever get an opportunity like this, you should always make time. You become really passionate about your country and its growth,” she said.

The episodes were directed by Yasufumi Wantanabe, while Mitisuo Akaogi was the camera operator.

They landed in Rarotonga on December 17 and departed on Wednesday.

“A lot of work goes into a project like this, especially if the weather isn’t great. If it’s not blue skies, you have to adjust. It’s impressive that the crew was just a two-man team,” Koteka-Wiki said.

“On top of learning some Japanese language, it was a cool experience to learn how all the recording equipment works.”

Haxton said she hoped the viewers in Japan would see the Cook Islands as a relaxing place.

“I think the main audience watching it in Japan will be feeling quite stressed with work. I hope they do get the message that the Cook Islands is a great place to relax,” she said.