the Cook Islands
Paradise: Drums of Our Forefathers,
Sunset Cultural Show and Feast
out Highland Paradise Pictures
heard a lot about the award-winning Highland Paradise Drums
of Our Forefathers show we decided to head along and check it
shows are held on Wednesday and Friday evenings and include
pick-up from your lodgings, a village experience, a marae visit,
a good feed and a very fine cultural show.
you arrive at Highland Paradise you are sorted into groups,
each with a leader, and you are taken around the "lost
village site is 600 years old and was home to the Tinomana tribe.
When the islanders converted to Christianity in the early 1800s
it was abandoned so the people could move closer to the coast.
the Pirangi Family, decendants of the first High Chief Tinomana,
have rebuilt and rejuvenated their tribal village.
is in an amazing spot and is situated on a mountainside midway
between Arorangi and Rutaki on the western and south western
part of Rarotonga.
Highland Paradise we were led around by a guide who told us
the history of the village, about its leaders, their customs,
medicines, warfare and justice system.
you can see from the pictures the Cook Islanders had some very
interesting costumes in the old days and their unique look brings
visual interest and authenticity to the tour.
does the little punishment area where they have two very large
rocks - that offenders had to carry around the village as punishment
- and a very nasty-looking execution stone.
and make sure you've got some insect repellent on as the mosquitos
will eat you alive.
will be told about native medicines made from local vegetation
and, if you have an ailment, you can have some applied.
is a large marae, or meeting place, at Highland Paradise and
this is really special. Unlike NZ Maori marae, the Cook Islands
ones are areas of stones where tribal chiefs would sit and gather
to make decisions. The one at Highland Paradise is large and
tiered so the High Chief sits above all the others and so it
goes down the hierachy.
go into the marae area there is a tapu-lifting ceremony performed
and it is rather moving.
survived the mossies it is now time for the umu feast. An umu
is an underground oven, very much like the Maori hangi, and
the food is very tasty.
buffet service was orderly and the food excellent and plentiful
- I have to recommend the breadfruit salad (better than potato
salad) and the ever delightful Ika Mata (raw tuna marinated
in lime juice and coconut milk).
it was show time and the Drums of Our Forefathers is a terrific
show to watch.
takes you on a journey from the earliest times in the Cook Islands,
through to the missionaries and up until the opening of its
said it before and will do so again, Cook Islands music is fantastic
and this show will wow you with both the dancing and the drumming.
it you get to learn just how the drums, or pate, are used and
orchestrated and this is surprisingly complex.
it would be remiss of me not to mention the fabulous dancers.
The men are all energy and the lovely girls are graceful and
delicate. And boy can they move their hips!
Drums of our Forefathers is excellent and should be on your
list of things to do while on the Cook Islands.