Home-Pacific roots in Porirua

Our Own Pacific Stories

Our Pacific Stories

We began our exploration by thinking about our own stories and whanau. We all have family links to the Cook Islands and wanted to find out more about our links and how we came to be in Porirua. We thought about what we'd like to know and wrote 5 core questions to ask our parents and extended whanau.

1. Who in our family was born in the Cook Islands?

2. Have you been to the Cook Islands?

3. If so, what do you remember?

4. Where in the Cook Islands are our family from?

5. Why did our family move to New Zealand?

Pacific Explorer: Shannen (Shannen's Mum responded)

1. Who in our family was born in the Cook Islands?

My mum, Tiarere Vaea, was born in Rarotonga. My dad, Aerenga Samuela, was born in Mauke. Mauke is one of the Southern Group of Islands in the Cook Islands.

2. Have you been to the Cook Islands? Yes

3. What do you remember?

My first and only trip so far was 23 years ago. It was in late August, early September for two weeks. The weather was like our summer. My parents went to the Cook Islands for a holiday seven years earlier and mum died and was buried next to her mum and grandparents in a place called Muri. This trip in August was a chance for my brothers and sisters and me to visit her grave and to meet the family. Everyday there were bananas, coconuts and pawpaws to eat. There were nine of us, so we stayed in a hotel right on Muri Beach. I remember hiking up to the Needle, the tallest mountain in Rarotonga, swimming in the lagoon around Muri, walking at night time looking for coconut crabs, and going to the markets in Avarua. My parents never taught us the language so dad was our interpreter. We flew to dad's island, Mauke and stayed with the family in a big warehouse with six big wrought iron queen-size beds. The family took us around the island. I remember swimming in the harbour, freshwater caves, and hearing the story of the whale rider. I've forgotten most of the story now. I will always remember dad grabbing an octopus with his bare hands and climbing a coconut tree. Not bad for a sixty year old. The kids loved to follow us around because we were seen as tourists. My aunties and uncles mostly spoke to dad because of the language. My cousins thought we were rich because we were born in New Zealand.

4. Where in the Cook Islands are our family born?

Mum was born in Rarotonga, I think in Ngatangiia, Avarua. Dad was born in Kimiangatau, Mauke.

5. Why did our family move to New Zealand?

I'm not sure why my parents came to New Zealand. They met and got married in Wellington and moved to Porirua. They were young adults when they left the Cook Islands.

Pacific Explorer: Leah (Leah's Nana responded)

1. Who in our family was born in the Cook Islands?

My nana Ei.

2. Have you been to the Cook Islands?

Yes, I grew up there.

3. What do you remember?

First my nana went to Araura school. After she finished school she went to Rarotonga. She was 15 when she went to Rarotonga. She also worked and lived in one of the hotels in Rarotonga. Years later she joined a dance group and travelled to New Zealand. She firstly lived in Rotorua for a year and then travelled to Porirua near Wellington. Now she lives at Westmeath St in Waitangarua.

4.Where in the Cook Islands are our family from?

Aitutaki.

5. Why did our family move to NZ?

To start a new life and see what New Zealand was like.

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