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Getting creative with Coco Brush

Saturday 28 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Art, Features, Go Local

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Getting creative  with Coco Brush
Participants showing their art works: Photo: Timothy Vaikai /23012707

A new Rarotonga art class – with an island inspired twist – allows participants to learn a few simple painting techniques in a relaxed environment with their glass of wine, without worrying about being the ‘next Picasso’.

Coco Brush “paint and wine art classes” will be hosting their next class on February 2.

Organiser Juanita-Louisa Karora says: “You don’t have to be a professional artist or the next Picasso, just pick up a brush and we guide you through the whole process.”

Karora and her three sisters, who are behind this venture, have a background in the creative arts from Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, New Zealand, before returning home to Rarotonga.

“We are all very close in age and work well together and we wanted to contribute to our local creative industry here in Rarotonga as a family.”

The sisters returned to their island home in 2020.


Coco Brush artist and student. Photo: Timothy Vaikai/23012709

Karora says a Cook Islander friend in Rarotonga encouraged her to continue her passion for art and creativity and offered her support.

“We both noticed that a lot of the tourist vendors were offering outdoor activities so we felt like this would set our idea apart.”

The name “Coco Brush” she says is an island reference (Coco) and highlights the versatility of the coconut.

“Just like our intention for Coco Brush. We saw a lot of people already using Koko or Kuki so strayed away from this spelling.”

“Brush” refers to painting. 

Karora says they intended for classes to start as soon as she got here in 2020. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country soon closed its borders and they put the plan on hold.


Karora Girls (left to right) Varnia-Brigette Karora (Artist assitant), Juanita- Louisa Karora (Head Artist), Olympia-Piage Karora (Artist Assistant). Photo: Timothy Vaikai/23012705

“We found that it wasn’t the right time for our team to start classes without a constant flow of people on the island.

“We had our whole operation put on hold.”

With borders now fully open and travel resumed, they are excited to offer these classes consistently.

“We know our restaurant venues are all up and running so it’s a good time to team up with them.

“At this time we are just enjoying being able to offer this opportunity to our local people and tourists visiting the island and offer something new and refreshing for people to enjoy.”


Mama Merianne Evans and Juanita-Louisa Karora. Photo: Timothy Vaikai/23012711

Classes can be enjoyed by all, says Karora.

“At our latest class we enjoyed a group with a range of ages which included local mamas, those in their 20s and 30s, couples, singles, male and female.

“So we encourage all above the age of 10 – as long as a parent accompanies the child or trusted adult.”

Karora says Coco Brush offers fun classes that are all about enjoying a relaxing moment with family and friends while in Rarotonga.

“We want to encourage all to enjoy a fun night. Come and give it a go.”

Meanwhile, the Coco Brush team, Juanita-Louisa Karora and her three sisters, will release a calendar of scheduled classes in the coming week.