As a young man, Bill Tschan left his Swiss homeland and his work as an accountant to see the world. Departing on his great adventure from London by ship, he headed for the antipodes, spending two years in New Zealand before moving to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands in 1968 where he assisted in running an orange and pineapple juice factory.

Bill married Teetu in 1974 and they have four daughters. In 2002, he sold his business and moved to the island of Aitutaki, Teetu’s traditional home. Bill ‘retired’ to Aitutaki where he now relentlessly pursues his hobby of planting and working the soil, striving to be self-sufficient with what he and his family eats.

Bill and Teetu had received a 3-acre property as a wedding gift. Left unattended all those years, Bill set about converting the ‘jungle’ property into one of the foremost collections of rare tropical fruit trees in the Pacific. His ‘secret garden,’ now boasts over 100 varieties of fruits from around the world including the Philippines, South East Asia, South America, South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand. Bill acknowledges the help he received from the USA’s Rare Fruit Society and many of his business friends around the world.

Bill has lovingly written and illustrated a comprehensive book that is very close to his heart and his passion: Willy R. (Bill) Tschan’s, Secret Garden of Aitutaki – Cook Islands. A Collection of Rare, Tropical Fruit-trees is destined to become a collector’s item. It comprises a series of colourful photographs of the fruits and the trees alongside informative descriptions, including comments on the natural treatments of various illnesses with these plants and fruits. Bill is a self-taught expert on natural remedies.

If you are simply an amateur gardener with a few fruit trees, or if you plan to take tropical fruit growing more seriously, Bill’s book will provide you with the definitive stimulation to advance your interests!

Talk to Bill whilst during one of his personalised tours of ‘The Secret Garden’ and he will tell you that the Cook Islands has great potential to return to being a significant grower of fruits and vegetables in the region.

Guided tours of ‘The Secret Garden’ in Aitutaki last around two hours and take place just about daily.

Willy R. (Bill) Tschan’s Secret Garden of Aitutaki – Cook Islands.

A Collection of Rare, Tropical Fruit-trees is available from the Bounty Bookshop in Rarotonga, or by contacting Bill on or calling + 682 31 010 or + 682 57 517. Use the same email and phone contacts for ‘The Secret Garden’ tours.

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