ABOUT THE ISLAND OF AITUTAKI

 

 

With it’s spectacular lagoon and motu (small islets) showcasing a unique Polynesian culture, Aitutaki’s reputation as a ‘must see’ stopover in the South Pacific is richly deserved.

Old Aitutakians Chiefs

Arikis – Chiefs
Date unknown

Akaiami Theal Wharf

Theal warf on Akaiami
1952

Flying Boat

Flying boat
Aprrox. 1952

Legends

Aitutaki is the ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world but there are also some gentle activities one can pursue, scuba diving, snorkelling, lagoon cruises, walkabouts or a visit to the church to name a few.

Legend has it that the Island was first discovered by the Polynesian voyager Ru. It seems certain this great Polynesian navigator and his entourage were the first settlers of Aitutaki a thousand years ago.

Disenchanted with the leadership of his home island, thought to be Tubuai in the Society Islands, Ru with his party of young men and their consorts navigated the large twin hulled vaka Ngapuariki, through days and nights of Pacific storms in search of a new homeland.

History

Centuries later and under the command of Captain William Bligh, Aitutaki was sighted from the HMS Bounty on the 11th of April 1789, just a few days before the infamous crew mutiny led by Fletcher Christian.

During World War Two several thousand American servicemen descended on Aitutaki changing the landscape with the construction of a coral runway to provide an easterly route between Australia and Hawaii to avoid the advance of Japanese Forces. An American war correspondent wrote of Aitutaki at the time . . .

“You can’t over describe it. After the peace the War Department will have to send troops there to drag those guys home . . . it’s a soldier’s dream.”

Today

The 1950s and 60s saw Aitutaki as a stopover for TEAL Solent flying boats on the romantic ‘Coral Route’ en-route to and from Tahiti.

Travel on the Coral Route was expensive during a period when most international passengers still went by sea, and many of the worlds rich and famous stepped off onto the sands of Akaiami while the giant aircraft re-fuelled en-route between Samoa and Tahiti.

Today, Aitutaki has the modern conveniences of our era. However the stunning lagoon and availability of arable land means that every child still learns to plant and fish. Famed as the entertainers of the Cook Islands, Aitutakians still present spectacular Polynesian dances, drumming and song as they have done for centuries.

Planning a visit?

Aitutaki.net, the online travel store where you can book and pay for accommodation, tours and activities for your stay on one of the World’s favourite islands.

Their website also features packages, specials & last minute deals with accommodation, tours and activities. Some packages or last minute deals may include discounted air fares from Rarotonga flying with Air Rarotonga – the Airline of the Cook Islands. We recommend you check their website frequently as these are added regularly.