Learn more about Cook Islands arts and culture and you'll be delighted by the authenticity and originality you'll find. Galleries in Rarotonga display the work of artists, photographers and quilt makers who have been inspired by the colours and forms of the island. Cultural experiences help tell the story of a warm and welcoming Polynesian people.
Make this gallery your first stop to check out a range of artworks by emerging and established artists from the Cook Islands and New Zealand. Located in Rarotonga's main township of Avarua, the gallery presents an exciting program of exhibitions, from colourful handmade tivaevae quilts to abstract watercolour paintings to symbolic sculptures and more.
The Art Studio Gallery
The Art Studio Gallery, in the village of Aorangi on Rarotonga, was established by husband-and-wife artists Ian and Kay George. While Ian works mainly in acrylic on canvas and board, Kay is a visual mixed media artist with a special interest in hand-printed fabrics.
Cook Islands Library & Museum
Run mainly by dedicated volunteers, this quaint little library and museum does a great job of preserving valuable old books and artifacts. Curated displays explore aspects of the region's history, from the journeys by canoe to Captain Cook's arrival and modern-day Polynesian politics.
Aitutaki Punarei Cultural Day Tour
Learn how to weave palm fronds into baskets, discover the story of the island's first inhabitants, prepare a traditional umu feast and tour a cultural village's huts and crops on this award-winning small-group tour.
Walk with a guru
Pa is a blonde-dreadlocked septuagenarian legend in Rarotonga and his famous nature walks offer guided exploration of the island with expert commentary. Listen to Pa's decades of knowledge about bush medicine and Polynesian culture.
Te Vara Nui Village
Learn about the fascinating history of the Cook Islands, local legends, Polynesian culture and more as you tour the Cultural Village. A spectacular Over-Water Island Night show presents the islands' best dancers in an unforgettable cultural performance paired with a feast of local delicacies.
Takitumu Conservation Area
Take a nature walk around this beautiful inland area that has been lovingly developed by dedicated volunteers eager to see local flora and fauna protected and preserved. Keen bird-watchers will spot Rarotonga flycatchers and fruit doves.
Tumunu 'bush beer' experience
Cook Islanders have been brewing "bush beer" since long before missionaries outlawed it. Fruit (banana and orange are common) is left to ferment with sugar, malt and hops, then the potent drink is shared around during communal tumunu experiences. The island of Atiu is home to some of the best bush pubs.
Cook Islands Christian Church
Even if you're not keeping the faith, a Sunday morning visit to hear the local parishioners make a joyful noise is sure to stir the spirit. Locals dress in white and wear straw hats adorned with flowers; visitors are requested to dress modestly. Churches can be found throughout the islands, a legacy of missionary times.