2019 marks the fourth year of A1 Meitaki Award presentations to worthy tourism operators in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. What is special about the Awards is that the only reward the individual or business receives is public recognition and a certificate. Recipients can only be designated by visitors filling in a nomination form, either at a Cook Islands Tourism Information Office, or at the airport departure hall at Rarotonga Airport.

The master of ceremonies and driving force behind the A1 Meitaki Awards, Metua Vaiimene, who is Cook Islands Tourism’s Director of Destination Development, said at this year’s Rarotonga presentation ceremony:

“We gather to acknowledge the people in the tourism industry and the Rarotonga community who provide authentic customer service to our visitors. Through their friendly and professional engagement with our visitors, members of the community continue to ensure that any of our visitors can access the wonders of our little paradise.

“Cook Islands Tourism encourages Tupuranga Tangata or ‘development of our people’ as one of the principles of our Mana Tiaki values under the Kia Orana Values programme. Kia Orana, Mana Tiaki, and Tupuranga Tangata: These values and principles have been adopted by the tourism industry. This means that we will all celebrate, acknowledge, and reward those members of our industry that work with passion to show our visitors how we love our home – the Cook Islands. Tupuranga Tangata means that we will reward and recognise the skills, knowledge, talent and passion in our people in the tourism industry.

Today, we recognise and acknowledge particular members of our tourism industry, some are individuals, and some are businesses that have shown this exceptional customer service to our visitors. The A1 Meitaki Awards is one way that we can give that recognition to those members of the industry who show passion in the way they look after their guests and clients”.

The Prime Minister Henry Puna, who is also Minister for Tourism, was unable to make the presentations at this year’s awards so he nominated Kia Orana Ambassador, Aunty Nane Papa to present the certificates on his behalf.

This past year there were over 500 nominations, however only the top 35 individuals or businesses for Rarotonga are presented with an A1 Meitaki Award certificate.

This year A1 Meitaki Award recipients in Rarotonga were:
  • Ikurangi Eco Retreat
  • Cook Islands Library and Museum Society
  • Tumutoa Tours Ngametua Mamanu
  • Villis Burger Joint
  • Desiree Palomo from Avana Waterfront Apartments
  • Kura Happ
  • Muri Beachcomber
  • Matutu Brewery
  • Danny Mataroa
  • Chad Hicks of Destination Cook Islands and formerly of Hawaiki Villas
  • Louisa Charlie formerly of Club Raro
  • Paul and Michelle of Castaway Resort
  • Captain Tamas Lagoon Cruises
  • Café Jireh
  • Steph Jansen of Raro Reef Sub
  • Sunset Palms Rarotonga
  • Dr. Nick Stephany of the Ministry of Education
  • Caroline Parel of Pacific Resort
  • Little Polynesian Resort, Kiikii Motel
  • Antonia Poa of Captain Tamas Lagoon Cruises
  • Chantal Napa of Chantal’s Concierge
  • David Putairi at the Rarotongan Beach Resort Hotel
  • Alone Aumaro formerly of Shipwreck Hut Beach Bar and Aroa Beachside Inn
  • Lagoon Breeze Villas
  • Coral Sands Apartments
  • Josephine Jessie formerly of Ikurangi Eco Retreat
  • Charlie’s Café and Beach Hire
  • Thomas Ngauru of Cook Islands Badminton
  • ...and Kokastaff members also placed in the top 35 this year: Marthalina Opuariki, Tony Fe’ao, Ani Katu, Lydia Nga, and Nane Papa.

There was also an A1 Meitaki Award presentation in Aitutaki, the 2019 recipients being:

  • Arerua ‘Ali’ Maao-The Vaka Cruise
  • Vaikoa Units
  • Aitutaki Village
  • Etu Moana Resort
  • Aitutaki Lagoon Resort
  • Bubbles Below
  • Elaine Savage-Aitutaki Village
  • Teumere Koteka-Heather - Aitutaki Escape
  • Paul Turepu-The Vaka Cruise
  • Andrew Rave-The Vaka Cruise
  • Pacific Resort Aitutaki

“Meitaki Ma’ata Prime Minister’s representative and congratulations to all the individuals and businesses who have been recognised today,” concluded Metua Vaiimene

See Gallery below featuring some of the Rarotonga-based recipients:

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