The island through the eyes of a New Zealand visitor
I dubbed Rakahanga "the undiscovered country" because so few foreigners visit.  But around the end of 2000, Kerry Harding was researching the languages of the Cooks and, while on neighbouring Manihiki, he was given the chance of a day trip. He says he jumped at it, because there are no flights to the island, or even regular boat trips. I am extremely grateful to Kerry for allowing me to share with you some of his fantastic photographs and memories
"Rakahanga was a beautiful little jewel to discover"  Kerry Harding

Old wharf
"This is an old wharf where the old boat planes used to anchor.   As we got off at this rickety old wharf and ventured a few metres inland, the trees opened up to the old airstrip."

This is the only school on the island, and Kerry recalls it was the first sight as he neared the island.  Rakahangans have to walk through the cemetery to get to it!
Rakahanga school
Te Kainga motu
Left:  "This is the fabled motu (islet) called Te Kainga where many of Rakahanga's pre-contact history took place.  A place much endeared by the Manihiki and especially the Rakahangan communities on the island, and in Rarotonga, Australia and New Zealand"
Right:  The stunningly unspoiled beauty of the motus in the lagoon

Rakahanga lagoon
CICC, Rakahanga
The Cook Islands Christian Church and the interior which was lovingly restored by Islanders in 2000
Lonely beach
Left ro right:  A lonely stretch of beach;  looking towards the shore; the island meeting hall which is the focal point for community activities
And below: Kerry's view of Rakahanga as he departed the island

At the time of Kerry's visit, Manihiki was playing host to Rakahanga for some sports competitions,  and their conclusion gave rise to a lasting memory...

"On our way back, to Manihiki,  the next day, the competitions had finished on Manihiki and the Rakahangan residents were making their way back to their island around the same time we were leaving Rakahanga. The reason we knew that was because about a kilometre or two away we could see their boat heading in the opposite direction! I found this to be fascinating,  as the oral histories of our forefathers traveling the immense Pacific Ocean from island to island in seach of new lives flooded my head and I was left spellbound"
Rakahanaga wide shot
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Inside Rakahanga CICC church
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And if you want to be spellbound by Rakahanga, you might want to think twice after seeing's the inter-island boat Kerry travelled in to get to the island
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