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Sheraton sign please!

Friday 30 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Sheraton sign please!

Dear Editor, If I had a dollar for every time a visitor to the Cook Islands has asked me what the story is behind the old Sheraton Hotel complex, I’d be a wealthy man and maybe have a castle in Poland.

After having lived on Rarotonga on and off for 10 years or more, I’m back for a short visit – and I’m still asked the question practically every day.

About 15 years ago I wrote a feature story for Cook Islands News relating the whole sorry tale. It was later picked up by the New Zealand Herald and other newspapers, who changed a few paragraphs and claimed it as their own. However, the story can’t have been as memorable as I’d hoped, as when people find out I’ve been lucky enough to be associated with the Cook Islands for more than 22 years, the questions keep coming. That’s especially the case now that the site has been substantially cleared, and some of the buildings renovated.

The site has always been shrouded in secrecy to one degree or another. At one stage it seemed destined to remain in ruins, perhaps as a monument to burglary on a grand scale (I’m talking about the steady disappearance of the about-to-open hotel’s furniture and fittings), and over the years I’ve witnessed multiple failed attempts to resuscitate the project. Meanwhile, all those old stories about a curse being put on the land, the alleged involvement of the Italian mafia in the original project and large sums of money disappearing, etc, etc, have become more and more exaggerated.

If the people responsible for the current work on the building were to put up a simple information board briefly explaining the history of the site, and what they’re aiming to achieve when they finish the project, it would make everything much clearer.

And curious tourists might quit asking me questions.

Medicinal Giant

(Name and address supplied)