We discovered amazing artistic talents on Atiu. While chatting to an elderly couple at the local store, Nga and Paiere Mokoroa, we were invited to visit and see Nga’s exquisite heritage tivaivai (a type of patchwork quilt developed in the Cook Islands). We also visited Andrea Eimke, a German woman who set up Atiu Fibre Arts studio in cooperation with local craftswomen, and has a wonderful range of tivaevae, as well as tapa, jewellery, installations, lace work, clothing, …and modern patchwork quilts (Tanya treated herself to this one…)
Charmaine’s thoughts on Atiu music
We went to the Cook Island Christian Church for the Sunday service. There were about 60 adults in the huge building, but their powerful unaccompanied singing of old multi-part chants, psalms and hymns was spinetingling. And the choral festival the following night – the five villages competing with two items each – was by turns riotously funny, musically beautiful, deeply moving, and put on entirely for their own enjoyment, not for the four tourists in the audience. I’ve heard lots of Pasifika music, in Aotearoa and on several Pacific islands, but this was the most intricate and powerful and ancient musically that I’ve ever heard. Apparently the Tahitian missionary sent by the London Missionary Society to change the Atiuan pagan ways with music and dance found them both to his liking, and encouraged the continuing of their traditions!