Memory Lane

Mutiny on the Vaka? The story of unescorted Mangaian sea voyage

Saturday 3 April 2021 | Written by Rod Dixon | Published in Features, Memory Lane

Almost 30 years ago, a Mangaian vaka set sail for Rarotonga with no electronic or navigational aids, no captain and no escort vessel. The vaka was ‘missing’ for two days and a night and mounting concerns for the crew’s safety sparked an air and sea search. Here the vaka’s navigator, the late Ma’ara Peraua, and crew member Maire Kareroa record their memories of the voyage, while extracts from Rod Dixon’s 1992 diary describe reactions on the ground in Mangaia.


Christchurch earthquake, ten years on: The trauma, chaos and the compassion

Saturday 27 February 2021 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Features, Memory Lane, Weekend

A decade ago, on February 22, 2011, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch at 12.51pm, causing widespread damage across the city, killing 185 people, in the nation’s fifth-deadliest disaster. Cook Islands News columnist Ruta Mave had just dropped her children at school when the incident happened.


From hunters to watchers – whaling in Raro waters

Saturday 6 February 2021 | Written by Rod Dixon | Published in Features, Memory Lane

Commercial shore-based whaling began on Rarotonga in 1865 with the help of Rarotongan whaler Jimmy Pi’i and members of a Ngāpuhi family from New Zealand. With whale numbers already in decline, it soon became clear a commercial industry was not viable. Yet a local taste for whale-meat meant opportunistic whale-hunting continued off Rarotonga and Aitutaki for almost another century.


The day ‘the Don’ and ‘Phar Lap’ visited Rarotonga

Saturday 12 December 2020 | Written by Rod Dixon | Published in Features, Memory Lane

Zane Grey “the father of the American cowboy novel’ was one of the many celebrities who visited Rarotonga on the Union Steamship Company’s trans-Pacific liner service. Others included the English novelist D.H. Lawrence, the composer Percy Grainger, several All Blacks squads, the Australian cricket legend Don Bradman, the actor Peter Lawford, the 1932 New Zealand Olympic Team, and the great New Zealand-born Australian racehorse Phar Lap.


The Flying Nicholas Brothers of Ruatonga: Pt 2

Saturday 21 November 2020 | Written by Rod Dixon | Published in Features, Memory Lane

This second of two articles, concludes the story of two courageous brothers from Ruatonga, Tatio and Marama Nicholas, who flew with Bomber Command and the Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Second World War. By Rod Dixon.


The flying Nicholas brothers of Ruatonga

Saturday 14 November 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Features, Memory Lane

Tuaine Kaitara Nicholas of Ruatonga and his wife Ngatuaine had four boys and three girls. Three of the boys enlisted in the Air Force in WWII and a fourth was directed by his brothers to the Army. In the first of two articles, Rod Dixon tells the story of two of the courageous Nicholas brothers, Tatio and Marama.


‘Cook Islanders have served bravely and with distinction’

Thursday 12 November 2020 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Features, Memory Lane, Weekend

Local war veterans were remembered at the 102nd Armistice Day commemoration in Rarotonga on Wednesday November 11 - the day when an armistice was signed to end the Great War.


Jim Marurai: The unexpected prime minister

Saturday 7 November 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Features, Memory Lane

Former Cook Islands prime minister Jim Marurai passed away peacefully at the age of 73, in his Ivirua home on the southern island of Mangaia, where he was born and raised. Veteran journalist Florence Syme-Buchanan pens a poignant tribute to the former leader.


Rarotonga doctor was unsung hero of NZ’s worst bus crash

Saturday 31 October 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Memory Lane

Last week, Cook Islands News told the story of Dr James Maoate Rennie, a Ngatangiia -born doctor who served as a medic with the Eighth Army in North Africa. After the story was published, Cook Islands News was contacted by Dr. Rennie’s son Bill, who lives in Titikaveka.

Memory Lane