A new museum has recently opened in Muri on the island of Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Te Ara Museum is quite an eye-catching, one-of-kind tourist attraction. It is a huge building that is painted white with massive, colourful frangipanis covering its outer walls.
The museum is modern, industrial and promises to wow tourists. There is also a shop that only stocks items made locally from Rarotongan ingredients and a café that sells food and drinks made from local produce. If that is not enough, the center will be a business incubator that will help drive economic development for Pasifika. A conference room is on the second storey of the building.
Te Ara Museum is the brainchild of partners Stan Wolfgramm and Julie Smith and they are excited that their vision became a reality. Within its walls the museum features the story of the Cook Islands from pre-colonial times through to the present day and then on to the future. “It’s about capacity building in Pasifika, – that is giving people skills for economic development, business development, using culture as a driver of economic development and Pasifika as a driver for economic development,” Wolfgramm says.
He and Smith say they have worked in that sector for 30 years. “We’ve seen there is something missing on the island and that is the historical story from vaka migration to the modern day,” said Wolfgramm. “Te Ara Museum offers that and is an attraction that will bring buyers in, the tourists in.”
Wolfgramm added, “There’s nothing on the island like this. It tells the story of the Cook Islands. The final piece at the end is that the future lies in the people, the ocean and the land. This is an asset important to this country. We’ve sat with Tourism and had meetings. They think it will be an amazing asset and they say there’s nothing else like it in the region.”
If you plan to visit the Cook Islands in the near future, make sure to add the Te Ara Museum to your itinerary.
You can get more information about the museum from their Facebook page. Simply type: Cook Islands Museum of Cultural Enterprise -TE ARA.