Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Te Vara Nui Village

A highlight of our holiday was an evening at Te Vara Nui Village. Te Vara Nui is a traditional island village that was built to honour Mama Vara, who is now in her 80s yet was there to greet us at the entrance. The village itself had flooded earlier in the week after some very heavy rain, meaning that we couldn't take the tour but the over water show would go ahead as planned.

This is the scene that greeted us on arrival.

Entrance to Te Vara Nui Village
The tables are arranged on either side of this scene, meaning that everyone has a pretty good viewing point for the show which takes place on and around the water in the middle. Dinner was first; a huge island style buffet featuring all the usual suspects as well as a range of island cuisine to sample.

An island style buffet awaits

Since we were enjoying an island holiday, it seemed right to indulge in a cocktail. My dessert cocktail was appropriately named Island Love and was full of all the good stuff: Kahlúa, Baileys, Frangelico, Crème de Cacao, brandy and cream. With a table overlooking the water, I was all set for the show.

Island Love dessert cocktail

Now for the entertainment. As a family of entertainers, we were a bit skeptical, worried we'd be subjected to a heavily contrived performance then quickly ushered out, all the while being assured that we'd had a 'cultural' experience. What followed was a thoroughly delightful evening of music and dance that we'd highly recommend other visitors go and see.

The show tells the story of Tonga-iti, a legendary warrior whose arrival in the Cook Islands caused quite a stir among the locals many moons ago. The performers delivered a high energy celebration of this historical event through music, dance, costumes and lights. They cleverly used the 360° stage and surrounding pool so that every seat was the best in the house.

Here are a few action shots from a mesmorising evening.

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