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Culture and Religion in
the Cook Islands

Captain Tama's Lagoon Cruises, Rarotonga

Family Burial Plots
Check out Highland Paradise Pictures

If there is anything guaranteed to get my fingers tapping on a table it is the infectious rhythm of Cook Islands drumming.

The relentless beat is hard to fight and the skills of the drummers are just astounding.

So, when we went to Rarotonga one thing high on the list of things to do was to see an island cultural show.

There are plenty of them, most of the resorts have their own, and there are two specialised attractions Te Vara Nui Cultural Village and Highland Paradise's Drums of Our Forefathers.

We went and saw High Paradise's "lost village" and show and were very impressed. Check out our review.

The Cook Islanders clearly love their musical and cultural heritage and it is not hard to see why.


The Cook Islanders are a religious people and they take their beliefs seriously.

Unlike many peoples colonised by Europeans, most Cook Islanders are very happy to have been subjected to Western influence.

They appreciate the missionaries who converted them as they turned the islands from being places of war and cannabalism to a peaceful land where they can practise Christianity.

When travelling there be respectful in what you do and how you conduct yourself. On tours we were asked to bow our heads, take hats off, and close our eyes as they said Grace before a meal.

I hadn't been part of Grace for a very long time and - it has to be said - there was something very nice about being grateful for what we were about to eat.

Sundays are special days in the Islands and most shops are closed, but you can get along to a local church for a service.

We didn't get to one, but others who did say they are something amazing to witness.

There are many churches and denominations around Rarotonga from the Cook Islands Christian Church, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventists and Mormons.

Be prepared to enjoy some great singing and get your best clothes on.

Oh, and we should point out that Cook Islanders don't appreciate having fleshy bits on too much show.

Very brief clothing is frowned upon and topless or nude sunbathing is a big no-no.

If you have a problem with that - don't go to the Cook Islands.

- Richard Moore


Copyright 2011 RICHARD MOORE