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Thursday 10 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National
The Cook Islands National Heritage Park Suwarrow rangers Harry Papa’i and Teina Vakapora returned to Rarotonga this week. 22110910
Papa’i is a seasoned caretaker of the uninhabited
island having lived there several times each year. The latest trip was his 10th
season. For Vakapora, the “amazing” experience was a first.
“Suwarrow is just so beautiful, it has been such a
wonderful experience,” said Vakapora.
Papa’i and Vakapora are happy to be back on Rarotonga,
reuniting with their families, reconnecting to the outside world and enjoying
fresh fruit and steak meals.
Each year the National Environment Service sends two park
rangers to Suwarrow for up to six months. They are returned to Rarotonga every
November when cyclone season starts.
The rangers play a key role in ensuring that the National
Park remains protected particularly with the visiting yachts travelling through
our waters and wish to make a stop in Suwarrow.
No yachties were permitted to land on Suwarrow during
this season, however a few yachts anchored inside the lagoon to attend to
Suwarrow, its reef and a six-kilometre area around it,
are totally protected under Cook Islands law. Yachts require special permission
before visiting the island.
In the early 80’s I came across a copy of Tom Neale’s book “ an island to myself”
You two are fortunate to be able to spend time there.
Relieved to see you both home safe and sound. Looking happy, very bronzed up and sun kissed. Well done, Teina!