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Planning a trip to Raro? Add Te Vara Nui Village to your itinerary. Their popular dance and music performance will leave you spellbound.
Travelling is an immensely personal experience, even when you’re part of a large group. Some prefer the standard tourist path, while others get a thrill out of exploration and cultural immersion.
Rarotonga in Cooks Islands is more than sparkling white beaches and vivid rainforests. In addition to world-class service at its resorts, Rarotonga offers you culture lessons with its leading attraction.
If you ever get a chance to visit this coral-reef encircled island, we recommend a short, day tour to Te Vara Nui village. Located at the eastern end of Muri Beach, this entertainment venue provides an authentic overview of Cook Island traditions and history.
What can you expect at this outstanding facility?
You get to interact with Maori inhabitants and learn more about their customs and lifestyle with a two-hour long Cultural Village Tour. Learn more about Polynesian history, time-honoured beliefs and ceremonies, mythology, traditional medicine, and ancient seafaring and fishing techniques.
Visit the sacred enclosure – Marae. Watch artisans at work. Try your hand at weaving, carving or cooking traditional meals. You’ll be picked up from your hotel around 3.30 p.m. and dropped back after 7 p.m. If you want to do it all, stay back for the dance performance and buffet dinner.
Tourists who don’t have the time to spare for both activities can attend the spectacular “over water” dance show and dinner. You will be picked up from your hotel at 6 p.m. and dropped back at 10 p.m. The lavish dinner buffet starts at 7.30 p.m. and is a lovely fusion of delicious western and local dishes. The live show starts around 8.30 pm, and goes on for an hour.
The cultural tour and dance performance take place three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. As travellers flock to Te Vara Nui for the pavilion show, book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment later on.
A performance to remember
This is a personal invitation from locals to visitors and allows you to experience a small part of their rich history and unique culture.
The graceful dancers in exquisite costumes match their hip movements and steps to the rhythm of drums, and act out a heart-warming tale from bygone eras. The dance performance on both floating and fixed platforms are performed against a colourful, moonlit backdrop. An impressive show by fire throwers adds to electric atmosphere enhances the performance. The show is over all too soon, even as you wish to see more of the elegant and energetic swaying to vibrant music.
More about Dance of Legends
The dancers enact the traditional tale of Tongaiti during the performance. According to legend, the warrior and his tribe set sail from a faraway land in search of a new home. After weeks at sea, Tongaiti spotted a “coconut” floating in the water. As they rowed closer to this floating object, it seemed to grow and grow… The coconut turned out to be one of “floating islands” – beautiful Tumu-Te-Varovaro, Rarotonga.
The tribe’s elation soon turned into despair as the natives of this floating island were hostile and unfriendly. They yelled and threw spears at the warrior and his people hoping to scare them away from their shores.
For many days Tongaiti sailed around the island while his family grew tired, hungry and weary. Finally, in a desperate gamble, Tongaiti requested his beautiful daughter to dance for the Chief of Tumu–Te–Varovaro. He hoped her beauty would soften the chief’s heart and his tribe would be allowed to set foot on the land. True enough, the Chief fell in love with the beautiful maiden, captivated by her dance and beauty. He welcomed Tongaiti and his family onto his island and celebrated his marriage to the maiden with feast and dance.
The exhilarating performance captures the important elements of this story in a powerful display of grace, beauty, passion, colour and excitement.
Come and be a guest of this beautiful island and experience the vibrant culture of the Cook Island Maori.