04 March 2008

Archival Photographic Collection

1890s - woman and child infront of a huge pile of coconuts
near a copra shed, Avarua; photographer unknown.

We have over a thousand archival photographs in our collection. These photos are available, subject to certain requirements, to the public, for a fee.

Circle Island Tour

Early 2009 we hope to be incorporated into the above tour as a stop off point for the benefit of cruise ship passengers that call in to Rarotonga every 2 weeks. We have been negotiating with DMCK, a local tours management operation, to provide this service. We'll be opening Sundays too, just for the cruise ships. Watch this space.

The Library has a New Roof

Pictured are Land Holding's boys installing the new roof on Monday 25th February 2008. Thanks to Bill Doherty, proprietor of Land Holdings, for providing his work crew at a hugely discounted rate. The work took just one day. Luckily the weather was fine throughout.

05 February 2008

The late Sir Thomas R.A.H. Davis, former Prime Minister of the Cook Islands

"Learning never ends. They add to your personal worth
and what you can do for your community and the world",
(on acceptance of an honorary doctorate in law from Otago
University, New Zealand, in 2004).

Sir Thomas Davis, KBE, the former CookIslands prime minister and famous traditional Polynesian canoe (vaka) voyager, was patron of the Cook Islands Library and Museum Society at the time of his death. He was serving his second year in what was his second time as patron (the first being in the late 1980s). Sir Thomas Davis died on 23 July 2007 at Rarotonga Hospital after a brief illness.

Papa Tom, as he was known locally, was born on Rarotonga on 11 June 1917.
He was the first CookIslander to graduate from a university and was also the first Cook Islands doctor in 1945. He was also the first Cook Islander to get a novel published internationally - 'Doctor to the Islands', in 1954 - which was reprinted many times in USA, UK, France, Sweden and New Zealand. His autobiography Island Boy was published in 1992. In all, he published 4 books and he authored or co-authored over 25 scientific reports and articles. He was also a regular contribitor, in the 1990s, to the local daily newspaper, Cook Islands News.

In 1952 he entered Harvard University for postgraduate studies and also worked at NASA on the space programmes before returning to the CookIslands to enter politics in 1972.
He was prime minister between 1978 and 1986 and in 1981 he was knighted.

In the 1980s Papa Tom introduced economic reforms that saw the Cook Islands enjoy unprecedented growth, something he ranked amongst his greatest achievements.

Present Patron of the Cook Islands Library and Museum Society, Professor Ron Crocombe, in
his obituary referred to Papa Tom as a classic 'Rennaissance Man' with achievements across a wide spectrum of activities in various countries.

Amongst many things, the late Sir Tom Davis was keenly interested in sailing, designing and building voyaging canoes. A sailor since his youth, Sir Tom began by designing and building three small sailing craft. In 1989-90 he constructed, in his backyard, the vaka Takitumu, which he named after the legendary vaka from the district of the same name on Rarotonga.
In 1993 he sailed Takitumu to Tahiti, Moorea, Huahine, Raiatea, Taha'a, Bora Bora and returned to the CookIslands.

In 1994 he began construction on vaka Teauotonga and sailed her in 1995 to Raiatea, Tahiti, Marquesas, Hawaii, Molokai and Oahu. He sailed Teauotonga to Samoa to the 7th South Pacific Arts Festival in 1996 and then on to Tonga and New Zealand and returned to the Cook islands.

In 2003-05 he built various voyaging canoes in American Samoa
and in New Zealand.

Papa Tom is survived by one of his three sons, Tim Ito Davis, whom he had by his first wife Lydia, a New Zealand actress, and his 5 grandchildren and their children.

Aere ra, Papa Tom.

"The keel of a boat is its heart. Without that, everything that is a part of it..., cannot sustain itself" (from the definitive book on canoe voyaging, 'Vaka', by Sir Thomas Davis).

22 January 2008

New Books

The Society Coordinator has returned from her Christmas holiday in New Zealand with 8 cartons of new books. Our grateful thanks to Air New Zealand which carried the books to Rarotonga free of charge.

There's a wide range non-fiction and fiction to cater for all tastes:
  • Opera for Lovers - Kiri Te Kanawa
  • Spicy Wok Cooking;
  • Healthy Heart Cook Book;
  • Meditation: The Inner Way;
  • The Good German - J. Kanon;
  • Bergdorf Blondes - Plum Sykes;
  • Posh and Becks - Andrew Morton;
  • The Astrological Book of Baby names;
  • The Ultimate Encyclopaedia of Cricket - P. Arnold & P. Wynne-Thomas;
  • The Complete Stories of Katherine Mansfield;
  • Ya-yas in Bloom - R. Wells;
  • Trying to Save Piggy Sneed - John Irving;
  • Championship Bowls - Bill Irish;
  • Angels of Death: Inside the Biker's Global Crime Empire;
  • Alien Abductions - P. Brookesmith, etc...

New Roof

Through the kind assistance of UNESCO we have obtained $26,000USD, which will enable us to partially re-roof our building. The building has sported the same original roof since its construction 44 years ago.

Many attempts have been made over the years to plug up various leaks in the roof but as fast as one spot is closed up another develops elsewhere. Not good for books.

The roof has been a bane for the consecutive councils of the Society on account of the huge projected cost outlay, both for materials and labour and the lack of local funding assistance (though we hope to change that by sourcing the remaining $30,000 through the sponsorship of several local businesses).

Ross Holmes, barrister and solicitor of Auckland, New Zealand, kindly assisted with reducing the cost, by $1,000, of the pre-cut roofing iron which was imported from New Zealand.

Pictured: Our soon-to-be new Roof!