Stall owner Harry Tamarua attends to a customer. 22101413
Hordes of people flood Terevete Park to get their hands on fresh local produce at the World Food Day event.
The international event spearheaded by the agriculture arm of the United
Nations was celebrated locally on Friday.
One of the stalls was Matavera Farms which
sold tomato paste, free range eggs and honey.
Matavera Farms marketing
Martishar Tautu, who was manning the stall, says the business had been making
honey for two years which started originally as a hobby.
“We’ve seen the potential and we’ve seen the market
here in Raro grow,” Tautu says.
Matavera Farms was launched in 2020 when Covid-19 closed
the Cook Islands borders. The business started by going to the Saturday market
to sell produce but it wasn’t financially sustainable until they put to market
a weekly $20 vegetable pack delivered to homes – which is still in operation.
Tautu recognises honey, free range eggs and the
value-added products they have for sale is different to what a lot of other growers
“For us we didn’t want to be competing with other
farmers so we had to try and use our intuitive to think of some other way to
make money,” Tautu says.
In the middle of the field is Papaaroa Adventist
School with produce grown by the students.
School principal June Hosea sold the goods on behalf
of the students, who are on holiday, and says the school came on board to teach
students to be more self-sufficient.
“We want to encourage our children to learn how to
plant and grow their own food rather than rely on someone else to plant their
food for them,” Hosea says.
“We found they appreciate spending time outside of the
classroom and it makes going to school more fun.”
Papaaroa Adventist School originally was a boarding
school with farm land backing on it. Back then, Hosea says students would
“Now it’s a day school and we still want our students
Hosea says she wants the students to learn other parts
of Cook Islands life, like carving and the history of their ancestors, and
growing was part of that.
Hosea hopes it will teach students to appreciate what
“So they won’t always think that the grass is greener,
because I’ve lived in New Zealand, I’ve lived in Australia, I’ve lived in Papua
New Guinea and honestly there is no place like home, and our children need to
learn to appreciate and utilise what’s here.
“That’s why we’re doing this to get them away from the
screen, they spend so much time on their gadgets and don’t realise there’s a
whole world out there waiting for them.”
Ina Tuatai was selling succulents, herbs, vegetables
and garden plants at her stall with her daughter in-law, daughter and
Tuatai started planting only after Covid-19 started.
“I was injured in an attack and stopped working, it’s
kind of been a little bit of therapy and it’s just taken off from that,” she
Tuatai was selling pottery at her stall which started
as a form of therapy, she says.
Selling particularly well were the rosemary and
strawberry plants, Tuatai says.
At one of the ends of Terevete Park, Margaret
Tangimetua was selling lettuce, capsicum and flowers on behalf of her sons.
“He started planting plants and flowers during the
Covid period, during that time he didn’t have much work so he got into
planting,” shares Tangimetua.
“So something great came out of that Covid, something
Harry Tamarua has been a grower for over six years and
felt the brunt of the Covid-19 related border closure.
“We had to reduce planting,” Tamarua says.
“Selling wise we had to go and take the product to the
Now Tamarua says it’s busier but he still mainly sells
“It’s fun planting, at the end of the day you get your
result on the table people are happy and I’m happy.”
The theme for this year’s World Food Day
is “Leave no one behind. Better production, better nutrition, a better
environment, and a better life”.
Ministry of Agriculture head, Temarama
Anguna-Kamana told Cook Islands News: “All the global challenges that are
surrounding us there’s going to be an impact on farming imports. There will be
an increase in the cost of imports and it could affect our trade with regards
to food that is imported into us, so for us it’s like, let’s stand together,
support the farmers and the people involved in the bringing of food from
“We need to stand together and ensure
that we always have food available.
“We just need to look out for each other
and ensure that no one suffers malnutrition or hunger.”