Friday, March 11
The terrible Japanese earthquake and tsunami caused a tsunami alert here in Rarotonga.
The first wave from the huge 8.9 magnitude quake reached Rarotonga at about 8am local time but Rarotonga's small size, shape and surrounding reef means that usually tsunamis pass around us without generating big waves.
As this video shows, we had fairly low, non-dangerous rises and falls in sea level that continued for some time - this video was taken at about 10.30am.
Our little paradise is truly blessed.
Thursday, March 10
The two gyms on Rarotonga are now under the same management with the brand name ‘Fitness Revolution’. Fitness Cook Islands, near Rarotonga airport, is concentrating on various machines, Top Shape in Avarua township specialises in weights while fitness classes have increased in number, type and venues.
Some classes are still held in the Top Shape studio but you can find others in spots as widely different as the national auditorium, Trader Jack’s, Tupapa social centre, Turangi and Avatea school hall.
The aim is to get as many people as possible taking fitness seriously. Cook Islanders (and other Pacific islanders) are amongst the most obese in the world and this is not a record to be proud of.
Fitness classes include yoga, stretch, Zumba (based on Latin American dance), Hupa (local CI dance based), FightDo (martial arts themed) and Power (combo cardio and toning).
The Fitness Revolution instructors are also keen to help our local sports teams when they need to fundraise.
A recent session at the national auditorium featured Zumba, FightDo and Hupa to raise money to send our local rugby players to the Adelaide Sevens tournament.
Holding it at the national auditorium meant that more people could fit in and still have plenty of room to move.
This video shows some of the Zumba and, as you can see, it was all a lot of fun.
Saturday, March 5
The special relationship between the Cook Islands and New Zealand is genuine.
Cook Islanders have many friends and relatives living in New Zealand and Cookies are NZ citizens but it’s not just their own family they care about when disaster strikes.
The New Zealand government and private citizens have been quick to help us in the past after cyclones and such. Now it’s our turn to show we care. And the call to do something has come from the community – from the heart.
Friday 4 March was 'red and black day' on Rarotonga and other islands and atolls in the Cooks. Shops, offices, banks, schools and many individuals wore red and black - Canterbury colours - and raised money to be given to the Red Cross to help the victims of the Christchurch earthquake.
Cook Islands News reported on Saturday that organisers of the appeal were overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.
Counting is not yet finished but it will be a large amount.
And it’s not over yet. Some businesses asked to hang on to the collection boxes over the weekend to collect more donations and a big concert is planned by local artists next week with money to be shared by the Queensland flood and cyclone appeal as well as the Christchurch quake victims.