Cook Islands souvenirs


The black-lipped pearl oyster or parau (Pinctada margaritifera) is abundant in the Manihiki and Penrhyn lagoons. Islanders say they're the finest in the world 

More about Manihiki

More about Penrhyn


The wonderful floral smells of the islands are captured and bottled at Perfumes of Rarotonga. Visit them at their new "factory" near the airport or their shop at Cooks Corner in town (Avarua). Everything is hand made

Find out more


The PAREU is a screen printed or tie-dyed piece of fabric with which Islanders seem to be able to work miracles! Just by tying them in different ways, they can be turned into strapless or halter neck dresses, shorts and even a beach jacket.
I've tried....it's not easy, but it's still a great souvenir which can be relatively inexpensive
Photo: Ewan Smith

The pate (par-tay) is something you're likely to see if you go to an island night of music and dance. It's an instrument carved from wood and beaten in a similar way to a drum. You can get plenty of tacky versions (more than likely made in the Far East or China) in local shops. But if you have a look round the weekly cultural market, you can find the real thing to annoy your friends and relatives with when you get home!!! 


If your budget doesn't stretch to black pearls, Tokeraua Jim has beautiful items which he carves from black pearls and their shells.  His family come from Manihiki which is the heart of pearl farming and he carves  beautiful works of art like this one. I paid him a visit at his stall in the weekly cultural market in Rarotonga and bought one of his superb pendants. He also has a shop on the left hand side of the road out of town near Muri. 

You don't have to travel so far though... Have a look at his website and marvel at his craftsmanship. You can order via the site too. And he has a Facebook page which has more pictures of his work 

Tokerau Jim's website