Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | March 12, 2010

missing Rarotonga

Kia Orana!

There’s an autumn chill in the air in Hawke’s Bay this morning. I miss Rarotonga.

It’s trying to rain and my lawns need mown. I miss Rarotonga.

There are dishes to be washed and housework to be done. I miss Rarotonga.

Work is waiting. I miss Rarotonga.

This past week has marked my first visit into the Pacific Islands – the Cook Islands to be exact. Two Wednesdays in a row on the way over and then no Tuesday on the way back – it’s only a four-hour flight from Auckland to Rarotonga but one that crosses the international date line.

Helped by beautiful weather, sunsets, scrumptious cocktails and a great group of friends, Rarotonga is now on my list of favourite places.


Rarotonga is so laid back (omigoodness no helmets on those scooters) and smiley and welcoming – especially the staff at the Edgewater Resort. Shall I mention the mean lady (think bad words) at the departure customs area who took my 12ml pink nail polish? The cow (I know, I know, only doing her job). She snarkily told me that I should have put it in a plastic bag. I mean really, if I have mixed explosives in it, what difference is a *%$” plastic bag going to do?! So I returned the snarky look and proceeded to put a coat of nail polish on my fingers on the counter in front of her before I would let her put it in the rubbish. (It was 3am afterall, I’m not really a morning person at the best of times  🙂 )

At least I wasn’t like my friend Sarah who absent-mindedly put her new bottle of duty-free rum (from the inward journey) in her backpack to take on the plane to save weight in her suitcase. We did contemplate drinking it then and there in the airport, but at 3am with at least another four or five hours in front of us, she made the heartbreaking decision to put it in the rubbish bin (again, think bad words, very bad words).

But don’t let an efficacious customs lady put you off the Cooks (Air NZ was great). Rarotonga is awesome.

A group of about 25 New Zealanders were there for a beach wedding – the groom is a Cook Islander who left for NZ in his late teens so it was very cool to have an extra special meaning in the venue.

What’s this? What does that mean? What’s the word for thank you again? (Meitaki maata.) Very handy having a local on board.

The most amazing thing for me, once I have finished waxing lyrical about the sun, snorkelling, cocktails and wonderful company, was the chance to try so many different things so close to home. (Did I mention the cocktails?)

Fish like wahoo, tuna steak and parrot fish. Fruits like pawpaw, guava, star fruit (my favourite), local bananas, coconut and mango. Speaking of coconut, my son said I had to try coconut milk so I bought one for $2 at the Saturday market and walked around sipping through a straw (like the kids in the photo below). Different, but not worth repeating. Sadly, the wedding was that afternoon and we were busy for the next day or so and I didn’t get a chance to break it open and taste the flesh inside. Next time! 

The hen’s lunch was at The Rarotongan where I couldn’t decide between the chef’s four signature dishes. Luckily for me, they also offered a medley of the four. So I sat and tried, to the amazement of some others: ike matua or raw fish marinated in lime and coconut (least favourite); green curry goat with naan bread and taro (YUM!); lightly curried octopus with fruity bits or something (nice)  and local wild roast pork with green leafy stuff like spinach which I can’t remember the name of (also rates a tick). As an aside, because I’m quite good at getting off topic, the wafting smoke of umu cooking and/or the burning of palm fronds was almost always noticeable around the island.

Here are some pics of my friend, the groom, buying some jakfruit for me in the market then cutting it up and what it looked like inside (you cut it in half and then almost turn it inside out). It was nice. Pungent, but nice. The other one (soursop or guanabana or graviola) looked and felt like a slime-chocker cross between tripe and oysters and had an extremely tangy taste. Tried it.





Feel free to look at some more photos of Rarotonga on 

Some other highlights I forgot to mention were visiting a Cook Islands Church service, seeing not one but two shooting stars while floating on my back in the pool on the first night (and yes, I have a witness) and getting to shake my booty (well, wobble uncontrollably perhaps) during the resort’s Island Night, which doubled as the wedding reception. And one can’t forget the couple of the day – my friends E&D and their kids (my god daughter and Sarah’s god son).

I am looking forward to returning with hubby and sprogs one day (soon I hope) to experience golf, fishing and the mountain walk. Hopefully we will also visit D’s home island of Mauke – alot more primitive than the main islands but more true, perhaps, to the way Rarotonga used to be.

Did I mention the cocktails? 🙂



  1. Well written Kate. Great photos too. Thank you so much for coming, we really enjoyed your compnay too!

  2. […] Missing Rarotonga GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "4b5d67"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "7f1d1d"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "e7eef6"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "526a74"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "food"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "general"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "all-blacks"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "rarotonga"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: