"It's time to forget time - Sometimes you remember very simple moments in your life and this could be one of them"
(Patrick Jouin, interior architect)
It may be the middle of winter here on Aitutaki, but the temperatures are around the mid-twenties. It is very pleasant and our guests are enjoying everything Aitutaki has to offer, including delightful sunsets right here at the Villas. So, if it is too hot or too cold where you are, come and enjoy perfect Cook Islands conditions and revitalize yourself – our specials can be found at the end of this Newsletter… the team looks forward to welcoming you back.
NEWS FROM ETU MOANA
The Beach View Villa Number 4 now sports a new thatched roof; Nick, Vili and Endes spent a few days up high clearing off the old and replacing the new thatch. Villa Number 6 is next for a refreshed roof.
Generally the ‘lads’ outside have been busy around the property painting, strimming, pruning, weeding, varnishing, sanding, fixing, tweaking, repairing, waterblasting, and more, in their quest to maintain the place.
The Housekeeping team are very pleased with their new trolley – and so is Ten the Cat – as Nick fitted special pneumatic wheels and it makes for a noise-free, smooth ride.
Maori Myths, Legends, Proverbs & Traditions
When you stay with us at Etu Moana, each day you will find a small piece of paper tucked into the ‘pate’ (or wooden slit drum), sharing a great local anecdote: myths, legends and folklore passed down by the ancient Cook Islanders over many generations. Versions vary from island to island. Many of these legends were recited through ancient songs and chants. These myths and legends have similarities to general Polynesian mythology, which developed over the centuries into its own unique character.
Some involve elements of cannibalism and spirit worshipping – we focused mostly on the legends of warriors and lovers; myths of Gods, Chiefs and Heros, people of the underworld and the mighty Ru who founded Aitutaki. Apart from these wonderful tales from the past, we included a few interesting ‘traditions’ and some island proverbs.
Commitment to the Community
Tertiary Institute’s Graduation & A1 Meitaki Award
Managers Pip & Nick attended the Tertiary Institute’s 2018 Graduation and 2019 opening, at the old Amuri School (the new CITTI campus) on Aitutaki. A few staff who took the Kia Orana Service 2 Course last year were awarded their certificates plus Etu Moana was one of 11 recipients of the A1 Meitaki Award. The Award recognizes efforts in providing exceptional customer service and doing our part in encouraging a Kia Orana spirit! The Prime Minister and Lady Puna were in attendance.
Staff – New Arrivals
Last month we welcomed ‘Endes’ to Team Etu Moana – Endes was born on the island and has a long family history on Aitutaki – recently returned from Australia, he is loving being back on his native land, fishing, and catching up with friends and family when he is not swinging the garden rake, manicuring lawns and generally being Groundsman Number One. He has a laugh you can hear from one end of the Villas to the other, which is infectious! Welcome Endes.
Other staff news
Vili Sucuinawaqa took the title of ‘Etu Moana’s ‘STAR OF THE QUARTER,’ in June. All the team felt this honour was awarded to the right person – Vili being clever, calm & conscientious – and super cheery! He is a top team player helping out Housekeeping with maintenance issues and turning his hand to most any job – technical or physical. Meitaki atupaka Vili.
Samuel Turns One
A party fit for a King – little Mr Samuel Sucuinawaqa had the whole of Tautu & Vaipae villages – along with most of the rest of the island - blowing up balloons, decorating a hall, cooking up a mighty feast, baking birthday cakes and turning up dressed to celebrate in true Cook Islands style, last week.Here he is with his on-island ‘surrogate’ Grand-Mother, Mama Mii, along with Mum Judy.
History - the coral route
We recently set up a small ‘reference’ Library in Reception which features books especially on the region and the Islands. There is a particularly excellent book by Howard Henry which features many stories – one of which is that of the historic Coral Route – landing in Aitutaki in the 1950s. What started as a mail boat evolved into a passenger service; as one enthusiast said; “a scheduled air service, flying boats linking islands scattered over thousands of miles on the South Seas; silver craft putting down oh-so-softly in tropical lagoons … was just too appealing.” The seaplanes seated up to 45 passengers over two decks, and included a five-strong crew, including a chef. Passengers enjoyed a full silver service on board, with fresh linen tablecloths and meals cooked to order. The airline’s two Solent boats cruised at speeds of around 170 miles per hour, in decadent sky-high surroundings. Each guest had paid £30 for their transit, about a third of the annual U.K. salary in the year the service began.
On one occasion the Solent Flying Boat had engine troubles and had to off-load its passengers at Akaiami in the Aitutaki Lagoon. While the plane was repaired in Tahiti, the passengers ended up on Aitutaki for a week – of course in those days there were no hotels, no cash at the bank and the island was ‘dry’ – quite a story. A ‘must-pick-up’ to read on the sun-lounger during your next stay.
In the midst of Te Maeva Nui
July and August are a very special time for the people of the Cook Islands – when they celebrate ‘Te Maeva Nui’ – which translates literally into ‘The Big Celebration’ – and the people of the Cook Islands know how to do just that.
Te Maeva Nui is the annual National Event commemorating the rich Cook Islands cultural heritage. It is also a time when the Cook Island people can reflect upon the journey their pioneering leaders took to attain the right to self governance. We look forward to the spectacle and the spectacular. See more in our next Newsletter.
The Resort grounds are very lush in tropical greens at the moment. Flowers are few and far between except for hardy colourful hibiscus. There are over 200 types of hibiscus and this wee gem is the spider hibiscus also known as the Japanese Lantern, coral hibiscus and fringed rosemallow. So delicate.
As mentioned previously, Aitutaki is in the midst of a solar energy project and last month we had a few power outages (although with our own generator guests were not affected), while they changed over from diesel to solar energy for the first phase – we are now officially partially Solar powered, and with our own solar water heating, that is fantastic progress – for a small Pacific Island.
We also progressed our anti-plastic regime by introducing new aluminum water bottles. These are not only perfect for guests to use during their stay, filling up with our pure filtered Aitutaki water, but what a lovely memento to take home. All the staff are proud not to be using plastic too.
Etu Moana Villas are also very proud to be the FIRST (and only for now) property on Aitutaki to receive ‘Mana Tiaki Certification’ – this is a new framework for best practice, celebrating and recognising those going above and beyond their ‘green’ efforts and ensuring sustainable practices.
The Mana Tiaki Eco Certification (often referred to as eco or green accreditation) is a joint project between the National Environment Service through the Ridge to Reef project, Te Ipukarea Society our local environmental NGO, the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council and the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.
We assessed every aspect of our operation from water usage to recycling and reusing, conservation, coastal and foreshore protection and so on – uniquely relevant to the Islands and Etu Moana has the Mana Tiaki TICK. There is more we can do – and we will.
Our tropical breakfast is a feast for the eyes, especially the fruits. Local fruits vary from season to season, we are now at the end of starfruits, coming up soon is mango season, the passionfruits and pineapples are juicy and there is a steady supply of the 4 varieties of Pawpaw (Papaya), along with bananas & fresh coconut being a daily ritual.
‘Waffles’ are enjoyed on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with home baking of tropical loaves and muffins on the other days. We have recently had gluten free and vegan guests challenging the baker! We are starting ‘Savoury Sundays’ – the first offerings were home-made basil pesto and local spinach muffins.
We have added hot chocolate and a wide range of teas along with our fresh roasted coffee beans. The coconut water ‘Nu’ is available daily, nutritious and delicious! Any further offerings you would like to see – do let us know.
Terangi and Alone look forward to serving you.
DID YOU KNOW?
15 Islands and a lot of sea...
The Cook Islands are actually comprised of 15 islands, 13 of which are inhabited. Although the islands make up only 240 square kilometres of land, the ocean area in and around their borders totals 1.8 million square kilometres! So you’ll need more than flippers and a snorkel to get from one to the other!
Tripadvisor - Still at the top:
A big Meitaki Atupaka to you, our guests, for taking the time to write delightful things on Trip Advisor, sharing your wonderful stories and praises for our lovely team of staff. The quality of the villas and our unique property features regularly, along with – of course – the island – sunsets, turquoise lagoon and all things Aitutaki.
We are extremely proud to be in the top 2 ‘traveller ranked’ properties on Aitutaki – there is a little rivalry with our friends and neighbours, the Aitutaki Escape – who have knocked us off our number 1 perch a couple of times and we come smiling back up.
We love sharing our stories and pictures on social media too – whether it be the doom and gloom of concrete highrises or the vast arid desert that surrounds your daily view, or perhaps the frustrations of sitting in traffic jams and shopping in massive malls - take time to reflect on your Aitutaki stay. Check out the views around Etu Moana and the island. Aitutaki Dreaming. Thank you for being part of our Facebook community.
We like to make things easy – after all, you are coming from far off shores, looking for rest, romance, culture and adventure.
We put it all together for you, hot off the press...
Five nights in a Beach View Villa
with a few attractive additions across 3 main packages:
Passion in Paradise – calling all lovers
The Land, Lagoon & Legends – the best of Aitutaki
Pearls of Paradise – embrace the sea with fishing and snorkeling
If you have your own package in mind we will endeavour to create a tailor-made-one.
Fly to Paradise (On Us)
We know you need at LEAST a week at Etu Moana – by the time you unwind you do not want to be winding back up again too soon. Book an Absolute Beachfront Villa or Beach View Villa for 8 nights +, and your return flights from Rarotonga to Aitutaki are on us. (Applies to new bookings; not valid with any other discounted tariff).
Either email firstname.lastname@example.org directly or make an online booking and use the promotional code ‘Fly to Paradise’ (Subject to availability).
Book a stay over December 2nd to 6th and enjoy 20% discount on your room rate along with free entry into Aitutaki’s premier event on Aitutaki Lagoon, the Motu2Motu Outrigger Canoe race.
15% discount for direct bookings
We decided to keep our favourite special open for 2019 as well so you, our direct guests benefit from the best discount. Our beautifully located Beach View Villas (number 2 and 4) receive a 15% discount on the room rate.
Kia Manuia from All of the Staff here at Etu Moana.
Pip & Nick Goodhew