RAKAHANGA
Through a visitor's eyes

"Rakahanga was a beautiful little jewel to discover"   

Kerry Harding

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 grateful to Kerry for allowing me to share with you some of his fantastic photographs and memories

"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."

And 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!

"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"

The stunningly unspoiled beauty of the motus in the lagoon

The island meeting hall which is the focal point for community activities

"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" 

The Cook Islands Christian Church and the interior which was lovingly restored by Islanders in 2000. A chandalier and the United Kingdom's Union Flag hang from the ceiling

Above: ‚ÄčA lonely stretch of beach; one of the motus which dot the lagoon; the island meeting hall which is the focal point for community activities

"A SPELLBINDING EXPERIENCE"

This was Kerry's view of the Island as he departed
At the time of his 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"

And if you want to be spellbound by Rakahanga, you might want to think twice after seeing this...it's the inter-island boat Kerry travelled in to get to the island

Discover the sister island of Manihiki

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