Added: Aileen Marcy - Date: 26.11.2021 10:41 - Views: 15691 - Clicks: 7568
They stayed with their friends Willy and Richard Barton who built their own little paradise in Arorangi, Manuie Beach, on Rarotonga, the main island of the Cooks. If you think Australia and New Zealand are situated in a remote corner of the world, think again when talking about the Cook Islands. First of all, they are again another km away from Australia. Furthermore, you pass the date line going back in time one day and when you arrive in the Cooks, you will find that the archipelago consists of 15 islands, scattered over an area as large as Europe with no more than 21,00 inhabitants.
Half of them live on the main island of Rarotonga. The Cooks are closely linked with New Zealand, from which they received self government in All major supplies have to come from here — a distance of some 2, kms. The islands are very well off, everybody lives in proper at a minimum weatherboard houses. There are lots of cars and motorbikes and the islanders are well travelled, many beyond Australia and New Zealand. There is no poverty, but sadly there is also very little self sufficiency because of the ease of New Zealand imports.
Surrounded by oceans where you can catch all kinds of fish with you bare hands, you will fined canned tuna imported from Australia. The soil on Rarotonga is so fertile that you can put a stick into it and 12 months later reap the fruits. But on the flight we arrived on from New Zealand I saw the cargo crew unloading boxes of fresh lettuce, imported from New Zealand!
But there is a wind of change on its way. The tourism potential is very large indeed. There is a large of people that would like to escape the overcrowded places in Europe and America, looking for remote, remoter and if possible the remotest tourist places on earth.
One of the beauties of the Cook Islands is that, despite their Western appearance, they have been able to keep most of the their social and cultural traditions. While Curvy Cook Islands looking for her missionaries within a short period of only two years were able to rob the islanders of their religion, the islands were too remote for any foreign government to govern and as such implant western way of life.
The New Zealanders sized the opportunity to include themself into the ranks of colonising nations. The way their representatives governed the Cook Islands has been appalling. Many of them were there only for their own profits and treated the islanders as dirt. Between andthe missionaries ruled the Cook Islands with an iron fist and while this regime has long gone, the islanders are most certainly still among the most religious Christians in the region.
When finally western colonising arrived, first from the British and later from the New Zealanders, the missionary fist was shaken off in favour of the traditional social laws that had been in place on the islands for hundreds of years. But only through their own determination where they able to maintain their own structures. This feudal structure evolved around tribal ownership of the land. Land cannot be sold in the Cook Islands. Heritage laws have divided the land over the centuries in small plots scattered all over the islands; but they still all belong to the same tribes, headed by the Ariki Chief.
It is obvious that such a system eventually le to many disputes. The main task of the local Ariki therefore is to rule in case of disputes. Extensive knowledge of the heritage laws is a must for any Ariki. The history and the power of the Ariki is shrouded in legends and religions. All Polynesian people come from the legendary land of Hawaiiki not the same as Hawaii. From here, they sailed the South Pacific. Around the yearthey settled in the islands now called the Cook Islands.
And from here the legends have it that they settled New Zealand around The people on the islands speak a language very similar to that of the indigenous people of New Zealand, called Maori. Both their languages are known by the same name. The same language is closely related to the language spoken by the people of Tahiti and Hawaii. Back to the Ariki. It is believed that in its origin this position of chief was established by the gods.
While heritage was, and currently certainly is, the major factor in the Ariki hierarchy, whether the Ariki was accepted by the people also depended on the magical power mana. But as Ina Nui, heir to the Mekea Ariki, told me, Arikis come and go but the mana stays with the land, indicating the importance of the link between the people, their land and their laws.
When the first Polynesian settlers arrived in Rarotonga, they first settled in the district of Takitumu. The ariki of this district is still distinguished by the title of Pa-Ariki paramount chief. Each group of people has a lower level of chief known as the Mataiopo. In the period following settlement, more districts were created, each with their own Ariki.
Disputes within districts sometimes led to the establishment of more arikis in one district or none at all. Rarotonga is divided into five districts but two of them are combined. In all, there are six Arikis on the island. Because in the past chiefs had many wives, the heritage lines are very complex indeed and disputes are common place, not only regarding the land but also regarding the heritage of royal status including the one of Ariki. The Arikis in the Cook Islands are consulted in a wide range of government activities.
Some arikis, however, see this as a way of control by the Government of their power. The power of the Arikis re-emerged in the late 19th century when the Mekea a powerful Ariki on Rarotonga went to New Zealand and was treated as a queen. Her unexpected visit and her fame made headlines around the world. Her visit eventually led to the protection of her people by Britain and New Zealand against semi-slavery activities from Chilean and French Tahitian traders for cheap plantation labour.
On the first day of our arrival, the Pa-Ariki Marie celebrated her 42nd birthday. Friends and family had organised a small surprise birthday party. Richard and Willy Barton, together with visiting friends us were invited to participate. It turned out to be a very special occasion.
First of all because of the impact of the western way of life — old traditions tend to disappear — and this was for the first time in many years that such a party had been organised. She had died only two years ago in New Zealand during the ing of the Treaty of Waitiki. She was a very hard person to follow up. Some people were invited and apart from one other white person, the four of us were the only whites.
Most people present belong to the tribe of the pa-ariki. But also two other Arikis from Rarotonga attended the party both female as well as representatives from some of the other islands and even one from Tahiti — all of whom speeched at the occasion. As all of the speeches were in Maori, we were very grateful for the translation by Padre who works for Richard at the Brewery.
One of the Arikis had an emotional collection of the Pa-ariki and the representation of Tahiti put a lot of emphasis on the function of the Pa-ariki as a ruler for her subjects.
He also spoke about the band between her and Jesus Christ. After the final presentation, delicious food was presented buffet style and we experienced the first flavour of the most important elements of Cook Island tradition — song and dance. Something that would be repeated in one way or another on every single day we spent on this Pacific Paradise.
Polynesian religion was not without fear. Some 71 gods dwelled through 12 heavens. Tangaroa was one of the most important gods, distinctively male, he still is the most popular god of the islands. Spiritual powers existed all over the island and there were and still are many sacred sites called Marae. Cannibalism to obtain spiritual powers from the defeated was widespread. Within a few years this was totally wiped out by the early missionaries who arrived in Unfortunately also sacred places were destroyed, religious carving banned and Christian churched erected.
Without any legal control the missionaries ruled the islands for some 60 years. They had their own police force informers like the East German Stasiprisons and punishments not much better than the Spanish Inquisition in the Middle Ages. The British resident, Frederick Moss, put an end to the power of the missionaries and the by that time also well established island trading companies. Unfortunately the good work of Moss was not continued by his succeeders.
In the meantime Christianity had been so enthusiastically embraced by the Cook Islanders, that it has become a part of the Cook Island culture. It is a real treat to visit a church on Sunday. The friendly atmosphere is there, women folk are all dressed up with the most beautiful hats and there is of course the singing. When we went to church there were two distinct choir groups amongst the church goers and in turn they took the lead in singing.
At times swinging but there were also very moving soft sung hymns. Cook Island Christianity has nothing to do with dull religion, it is alive and Cook Islands traditions are firmly embedded. More indication of culture integration can be observed in the beautiful gardens along the ro on the island.
Many passed away relatives are buried in graves next to the house.
For the islanders, the spirits of ancestors are ever present and are not feared as in some other cultures. The marae sacred sites even while most of them are destroyed, are still used by the Ariki for special occasions.
No longer are they used for religious purposes, than they were tapu taboo for other earthly beings. When we were at the Cook Islands, the age old Marea behind the palace of the Makea was once again in use. The Ariki of Te Au Tonga which includes the capital of Avarua hosted a ceremonial welcome to warriors from Tahiti who had come by canoe vaka to Rarotonga for the Art Festival later in October. The Cook Islanders have quite a reputation for their song and dance.
Louise and I were already, since the mid-eighties, convinced that they were the best. But even among their own Polynesia peers their dances are regarded as the best. And these people do have the possibility to make comparisons as they all share the same dances in honour of their main God, Tangaroa. This male God has very fertile powers.
And in his full penis glory he is well featured on stamps, coins, T-shirts and virtually every other Cook Island article.Curvy Cook Islands looking for her
email: [email protected] - phone:(215) 427-9375 x 3431
Cook Islands T-Shirts