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End of an era for Muri beach landmark

Tuesday 5 January 2021 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


End of an era for Muri beach landmark

After 32 years of operating Sails Restaurant on Muri beach, the Tierney family have announced the closure of the restaurant and look forward to a well-deserved change of pace.

The popular Sails Restaurant and Bar has transitioned through two generations of the Tierney family and after 32 years closed its doors for the last time on December 31, 2020.

From the outset the restaurant was a family affair with Anne and John Tierney, their children and families all contributing to its success. 

Reflecting on the last three decades, director and chef Tim Tierney says he and his family have seen a lot of growth, change and many challenges.

“Such a dynamic business teaches you to be creative and proactive to changing dining trends,” he says.

He credits the long-term survival of the restaurant to the Sails crew which encompasses more than 300 staff over the 30 plus years.  

A founding philosophy of the restaurant has been the employment and development of Cook Island chefs and front of house staff.

“We endeavoured to inspire our staff to create beautiful food, drinks and service to match our great location in the heart of Muri Beach,” Tierney said.


“Over the years, we have gained solid friendships and professional networks with our suppliers, entertainers and customers. I would like to personally thank each and every member of our Sails family past and present - it is really a team effort.”

The family have many highlights over the years that include, weddings, parties, sailing club functions, rugby matches, America’s Cup, comedy and live gigs.

For over 20 years Sails hosted the New Year’s Eve fireworks over Muri Lagoon in partnership with Muri businesses. 

The popular New Year’s Eve party on the beach was a ‘must do’ event for many. 

So how did the Tierney’s welcome the arrival of 2021?

“Well, we enjoyed being soaked by a passing rainstorm whilst eating sushi and drinking beer to celebrate John’s (JTs) birthday,” says Anne Tierney.

A far cry from the mad week of preparations of past New Year’s Eve parties and clean ups.

“We are all so genuinely happy to re-set our compass in a different direction and embrace new opportunities,” she said.

“It has been a pleasure to work on Muri Beach, in the Ngatangiia community and we wish our long term neighbours all the best for 2021 and beyond.”

The family send their gratitude, heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to the community of Rarotonga. Sailing continues as usual at the Rarotonga Sailing Club premises