Rarotonga Carving

On the largest of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga, art is an integral part of local culture. Rarotonga is known for its carvings. Originally these were made from the wood of native trees such as Pacific Rose, Cordia, or Coconut, to produce bowls, spoons, tables and Tumunu, a container for brewing beer, or to make agricultural and fishing equipment. Tiki statues of Polynesian Gods were also produced. These humanoid carvings were usually made from ironwood or stone for ceremonial purposes, some were as tall as 49 feet (15 m). Christian Missionaries destroyed many of Rarotonga’s Tiki’s in the 19th century. Today a handful of local artists work with wood, which is mostly imported, to make traditional utensils as well as Tiki sculptures and replicas of artifacts found on the Cook Islands.