This excursion is a recent innovation into the eco/cultural tourism on Aitutaki, an island rich in history, culture and living traditions. Your local guide will take you on an adventure into the past and present during the first part of your excursion. You will be driven in your transport vehicle to the Paengaariki marae temple. There, discover the results of the excavations and learn about the ancient religious practices enacted in the past. View the large upright stones representing ancestors; the sacred sub-incision stone to initiate young boys into manhood; and the tribal gathering ground or 'koutu'. Hear the stories of the great warrior chiefs as well. You will also be able to see the rare endemic lorikeet of the island, the kuramo'o, that is ultramarine blue!
Continue along the interior to arrive at a traditional Maori village, Punarei, reconstructed based upon the archaelogists' research to reveal an authentic image of the past. Stand upon the 'poaki' or welcoming stone that gives you the permission to stand on the land in respect of the people on the island. Enter the 'are nikau' (traditional welcome hut) and discover the surviving traditions of Aitutaki. Learn about the many uses of plants and storage of food in cyclone seasons and long voyages in the traditional cooking area.
There will be demonstrations of weaving mats and baskets from coconut fronds, as well as wood carving and tattooing to reveal the ancient arts. See the life-sized traditional god or 'tiki' images carved in local tamanu hardwood including the famous atua vaine or Aitutaki ' female goddess' with her unique tattoos.
Fresh fruits will be offered, all grown in natural ecologically friendly gardens around the site which you can visit as in ancient times. After visiting the village, participating in various activities and taking photos, continue the tour to Piraki for scenic shots across the turquoise lagoon and surrounding coral motus.
Please note: The excursion requires no physical exertion but bring a bottle of water and some insect repellant. Also, some money as some handicrafts may be for sale in the village.