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LETTER TO EDITOR: Traditional vs contemporary

Friday 16 December 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTER TO EDITOR: Traditional vs contemporary

Dear Editor, Totally agree with you on that (Authenticity of culture promoted in tourism industry questioned, Cook Islands News, December 5). It’s a global trait, culture is becoming an entertainment commodity, to win hearts, tourists etc. Sadly, there’s little that can be done to reverse this evolution.

We are culturally influenced by this modern society, technology and social conditioning. It is brutally affecting and changing our culture/cultures. It’s a battle between traditional versus contemporary.

Turike Tairea


Got to adapt with the changes, if we go authentic then no more going to the shop to buy lipstick, dolling up, getting clothes, food, transportation. Our culture was to hunt for food, kill it and put it in the umu. Travel by feet, horseback, vaka, clothed with kiriau, rauti, rau'au or run with the wind.

I don’t think anyone is in a hurry to going back to be authentic. Our culture is not only dancing, it’s also in our day to day living. But you do drive a good point. Question to anyone, if you wore makeup, would you go back to being and authentic Cook Islands women/msn?

Christine Isamaela


Before moving to Raro, we used to bring seniors tour groups over from Australia. The very first tour back in 2010 we included an island night, the only one, we as travel agents, knew about from over there. Whilst our clients enjoyed the evening, I wondered how authentic the show was ... so did some research while in Raro and found out about Highland Paradise, which we included on the next tour. We never looked back for 10 years till we sold to come live here. Real, raw and authentic! I’ve always loved it as it’s the only island night which is located on the site of an original tribal mountain village, before the chief embraced Christianity and brought his people down to dwell beside the sea, now Arorangi.

Now blessed to live here, I am privileged to promote this authentic experience to visitors at the markets, and Australian wholesalers and retail agents, and enjoy sharing my own experience how I came across it years ago.

Visitors who come here looking for more than a tropical island beach holiday want real cultural authenticity, not fabricated entertainment devised simply for entertainment value.

While I’m not of Cook Islands descent, I am passionate about my adopted forever home, and feel strongly that visitors, like myself years ago, are not fed fabricated entertainment. In whatever sphere we’re considering – entertainment, arts etc, - let’s remain true to Cook Islands’ history, heritage and culture ... it’s certainly NOT boring and doesn’t need to be added to for the sake of the tourism dollar.

Just my personal thoughts, from an ex Pom/Aussie travel agent now blessed to call Raro home!

Claire McErlane