National Museum – Runanga Pakau


The Cook Islands National Museum was opened on October 14th 1992 as an institution to display, educate and preserve the cultural history of the Cook Islands. We are not specifically a Museum of Art, Anthropology, Ethnology, Marine Biology or Natural History, but it is a museum with general descriptions encompassing our visual and material culture. […]

EXHIBITION – 50 Years of Painting in the Cook Islands

50 Years of Painting in the Cook Islands” is a retrospective exhibition that focuses on early modern painting in the Cook Islands. It celebrates a specific time period in which this genre emerged and came to be locally regarded as art. It acknowledges the artists who visited these shores and the visual legacy that was […]

Taipiro . . . and “The Cave of Sleepers”

Here is a story from Howard Henry . . . Taipiro was a twelve year old boy who belonged to the Ngati-Tane Tribe of Mangaia in Pre-European times. One day he joined fishermen of a neighbouring tribe in a fishing expedition. When they finished fishing and began to devide the catch, there was no portion of catch […]

Oral Traditions of the Rarotonga Land Court Records

Mathew Campbell published an article in Volume 37, No2, 2002 of the” Journal of Pacific History” entitled : “The Oral Traditions of the Rarotonga Land Court Records”. To view this article in full go to : Oral Traditions of the Rarotonga Land Court Records

Ethnology of Manihiki and Rakahanga


The traditional history of Manihiki and Rakahanga tells us that the human discoverer was Huku. He had sailed into these waters from Rarotonga on a fishing expedition. When he came to a part of the ocean referred to as “te tukuanga i Whaka-hotu” he noticed an upgrowth of rock or land (tapua whenua) projecting from the sea bottom but not high enough […]

Traditions of Aitutaki by Drury Low


Drury Low lived on Aitutaki for many years in the early 1900’s. He wrote extensively about the history of this island and was published several times in The Journal of the Polynesian Society. Included here are several of his articles . . . Traditions of Aitutaki by Drury Low – Part 1 Traditions of Aitutaki […]

Turtles and their habitats on Mauke

cook islands turtle

Cook Islands Turtle Project : Mauke Report 2012 By Phil Bradshaw B.Sc. and Nerissa Bradshaw This Turtle Survey on Mauke was undertaken from 4 to 11 June 2012 to assess the abundance, distribution and population status of marine turtles. This involved beach surveys to evaluate the habitat and categorise its suitability for nesting, recording all […]

The Sacred Space of Cook Islands Christian Churches


Maria Kecskemeti submitted a thesis to the Victoria University of Wellington in 2012 as her fulfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Anthropology. Her thesis was called “The Politics, Poetis and performance of Space : The Sacred Space of Cook Islands Christian Churches”. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest […]

History and Traditions of Rarotonga


TE ARIKI-TARA-ARE of Rarotonga, wrote extensively in the early 1900’s about the “History and Traditions of Rarotonga”. Some of his writings were later translated by S. Percy Smith and printed in various publications. The article included here was published in “The Journal of the Polynesian Society” Volume 29. 1920. To view go to : History […]

The Mysterious Starling of Mauke

Mysterious Starling

The Mysterious Starling or Mauke Starling (Aplonis mavornata) was a species of starling found on Mauke. This bird is now extinct. The only known specimen (BMNH Old Vellum Catalog 12.192) was shot “hopping about on a tree” by Andrew Bloxam, naturalist of the HMS Blonde, roughly between 2.30 and 3.30 PM on August 9, 1825. The island was not […]