Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Unspoilt Paradise Island

Mitiaro is An Unspoilt Paradise Island


Mitiaro is the smallest of the Southern Group and the least populated. It is of volcanic origin.


Getting There

Air Rarotonga offers two weekly flights, Monday and Friday.The Airport is located at the northern end of the island.



The current population of Mitiaro (as of October 2010) is 187. The island is four miles or (6.4 km) across at its widest point, 11 miles or 16km in circumference and rises only 9m above sea level.

Most of the interior are no higher than 3m above sea level and as such the interiors are mostly made up of swamp land and lakes.

Of the three cluster of islands in the southern group called Nga Pu Toru, Mitiaro would be the least visited by tourists. Not because it is any less beautiful than sister islands Atiu and Mauke, but simply that it is the least known.

The friendliness of the people of Mitiaro can be felt once you land at the airport, or when you are accommodated in homes belonging to local residents that induces friendships with the local population. The friendlyness is due to it's community retaining a way of life that is still and very Polynesian. Whatever the reason you will immediately begin to make new friends during your visit and be treated as one of the family, not as a tourist.


Mitiaro Accommodation:

If you're visiting Mitiaro and need a place to stay, then book what's (dubbed the Itiki Experience) at reservations@cookislandstours.co.ck








Mii OBryan's 3 Bedroom Unit - for reservations please call +682 36106

Community:

Community activities include fishing, especially during the Maroro (flying fish) season from the months of June until October, and there's sports, handicrafts and uapou, or village singsongs as well.

A fishing trip with a local fishermen in their outrigger is an experience not to be missed. At low tide you will find many people fishing from the edge of the reef.

Pretty and unspoiled, life on Mitiaro is refreshingly uncomplicated.

The island has four villages, located closely together on the western side, listed from north to south:

1. Taurangi (former village)
2. Atai (also called Arai)
3. Auta
4. Mangarei
5. Takaue

The high school is located in the principal village of Arai. Takaue is the second largest village. 


Crafts
Weaving is a craft perfected by the women of the Cook Islands, and on the island of Mitiaro you will find a small group of women weaving mats for weddings or other occasions. In the pic above from left to right are: Noopoti Tangaroa; Matatai Taia (Maemo); and Kimi Turangatira - These women, although they work part-time, will spend hours weaving mats on order, during their spare time...Weaving is tedious and backbreaking, will leave you cramped in the legs, but these women love what they do, and weaving is an old tradition which is still practiced by the older generation. We are hoping that the younger generation will bring back a revival of the old traditions. The almost finished product, below.


The Beach, Water Holes, and Lake Te Roto Nui

The beaches here are not as impressive in size as on Rarotonga or Aitutaki, however there are some nice small coves dotted around the island, and very seclusive and private. 

You can actually own one for a day without any intrusion from another human.  It is so peaceful, you can sit back and write a book.


There are many caves to explore on the island. The pools and limestone grottos offer the best swimming of all with their gigantic freshwater pools. These pools are fed by underground lakes.

Don't miss a visit to the Vai Nauri Cave (right) with its fern grotto and fresh water pool. Swimming in the cave is one of the favorite pastimes of the locals.




Vai Marere (above) is a sulphur water hole where locals bath, it is known for it's healing water.

The interior of Mitiaro is swampland, and contains two freshwater lakes, (Lake Te Roto Nui and Lake Te Roto Iti). They are full of itiki, or freshwater eels, and prawns (which are currently being harvested for suitability as of October 2010), and the imported tilapia from Africa where it is known as bream.


Mitiaro itiki are considered a delicacy in the Cook Islands.

The lakes are from time to time protected by a traditional raui, a prohibition on all fishing to preserve stocks.

Tour Guide
Julian Aupuni is the official island guide for Mitiaro - His contact number is + 682 36180.

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