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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.