Iconic Rarotonga eatery and watering hole Trader Jacks is on the market.
Trader Jacks director Chris Douglas is calling it a day after more than 35 years in the Rarotonga business.
His business partner of decades, Jack Cooper, passed
away on June 1.
The pair worked closely together in building the Trader
Jacks brand from 1986.
Douglas, 66, said they had been looking for interested
parties for some time.
The operation, including Traders, Bamboo Jacks and
Blue Pacific Food is for sale.
“It’s time to sell, move on,” Douglas said.
“Let some new people come in with new ears and eyes.”
Douglas said there had been some local interest, and
enquiries from New Zealand.
“There wouldn’t be many restaurants in New Zealand
that lasted this long.”
Douglas said he is hopeful for retirement and that he will stay on Rarotonga.
“I have spent half my life here, I would rather live
in a small house on the beach than a big house in the city.”
He said Traders is doing better numbers as visitor
figures pick up following the border reopening.
“We have managed to stay open and retain our staff.”
The operation employs about 40 people.
“There have been a lot of friendships over the years,
a lot of return visitors.
“This could be a great opportunity for someone with a
Trader Jacks opened in 1986.
In January 1987 Cyclone Sally visited, bringing winds
of up to 190kph and waves up to 12-metres high, 80 per cent of the buildings in
Avarua were either destroyed or badly damaged.
Trader Jacks sitting directly in the path of the storm
was one of them.
The business was insured but it took the insurance
company 15 months to pay out.
While the Trader Jacks location right on the Avarua
harbour is stunning, Sally demonstrated its vulnerability and it became
That issue would manifest itself 18 years later when
Cyclone Meena, followed by three further cyclones in four weeks, struck
Rarotonga and the restaurant again.
Meena was devastating and cost a million dollars to
Once again tenacity, planning and perseverance took
over, and Trader Jacks rose out of the debris again.
Many live local and international bands have played at
Traders such as New Zealand singer-songwriters Tim and Neil Finn with Dave
Dobbyn, and Ardijah.
Trader Jacks has also attracted many interesting
patrons over the years, including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
who visited the Cook Islands for the Pacific Islands Forum in 2012, former deputy
prime minister of New Zealand Winston Peters, former and current All Blacks and
nearly every visitor who has landed on the shores of the Cook Islands.