This is where "Perfumes of Rarotonga" started out in 1999 in what was called a "garden factory"...because it was quite literally in a garden in Matavera on the east side of the capital island. They're now in a more conventional building you can visit near the airport. But everything is still made by hand using natural products and sustainable packaging. And if you're wondering about testing, the staff do that...on themselves!
BORN IN A GARDEN
The device above left is the closest they get to machinery. It's a 50 year old hand operated press for moulding soap
Many of the staff have been with the business for years and have a lot of traditional knowledge in making healing products like Mauke Miracle Oil (great for bites, stings and sunburn), coconut soap with Noni and Mauke Mataoi Body Oil
The leaf of Pandanus tree or Rouara is one of the natural products used for packaging. It comes from the northern group island of Penrhyn. The business supports the community by purchasing pandanus leaves and baskets from the islanders. As there's no regular air service between Rarotonga and Penrhyn, the islanders bring the goods with them every time they travel to Rarotonga on the boat (about every 6 months)
Left to right: The premium product - a real Cook Islands black pearl from Manihiki is inside the perfume bottle. A cologne for men created from the root of the pandanus tree. The scent of frangipani will bring back instantly memories of the islands. A selection of concentrated oils with wonderful scents
If you're in Rarotonga, take a "factory" tour and also visit the neighbouring Pacififc Weave store where you can view and buy genuine crafts from the region. Or you can call into the Perfumes of Rarotonga shop at Cooks Corner in town (Avarua) near where the buses depart and arrive. And you don't even have to visit Rarotonga (shame if you don't though) to capture the scents of the islands. Perfumes of Rarotonga have set up their own web sitewhere you can browse and buy but unfortunately they can no longer ship perfumes
...or how to take the Cook Islands home in a bottle