Lots to do, eat and see at market

Saturday March 23, 2019 Written by Published in Local
Lots to do, eat and see at market

During one of my weekly Saturday trips to Punanga Nui Market in downtown Avarua I visited a hut named Mokoero Arts and Crafts, owned by Sharon and Henry Tavioni, located near the stage where the island show is performed every Saturday. 


The shop is named after a family marae in Atiu. Carver and artist Henry Tavioni was still at Avarua Primary School when he first became enchanted with the carvings in the Cook Islands Library and Museum. 

When he was older he had to go to New Zealand to get a trade, but his passion was carving. In New Zealand Henry did pattern making and upholstery at AIT, now AUT, staying for 22 years, where he met his wife Sharon. When his mother celebrated her 80th birthday, Henry and his family came back to Rarotonga, and stayed.

Henry and his brother Mike, who is also a carver, make traditional blocks for printing, along with other traditional and contemporary carving. 

His work is really a hobby as he gains so much enjoyment from it. However, he says he has never worked so hard in his life.

Henry gathers his materials from family land, and if anyone needs a tree chopping down or a branch, they call him. Henry’s wares are sold, including pate drums, tangaroas, paddles, spears, nautical circles and many more different carvings, along with his oil paintings and screen printings. 

Sharon makes the coconut soap, coconut oil, kikau brooms, coconut shell bras and more.  They also sell a few crafts made by other people. 

All the crafts sold in the shop are locally made.  

Mokoero is open from 10.30am until 2pm weekdays and 8am until 12.30pm on Saturday.  Orders can be taken for custom made carvings.

 The market is open from 8am to  noon on Saturdays and a few stalls and huts are also open during the week. 

BSP bank has an ATM there on Saturdays and Bluesky has a stall where tourists and locals can top up their mobile phones. 

An island show sponsored by Highland Paradise is held at the market every Saturday and usually starts around 10.30am.

                - Susan Tealby

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