A national committee, chaired by Rarotonga astronomer Phil Evans, organised a web-based competition to give local names to the star, IAU designation HD122787 and its planet HD122287b.
The winning entry was “Poerava” named after a large mystical black pearl of utter beauty and perfection for the star and for the planet “Pipitea”, a small, white and gold pearl found in Penrhyn lagoon in the northern group of the Cook Islands. The entry was submitted by Brian Mason.
First runner-up was “Rama” - the night fishing lamp used to catch the flying fish for the star, and “Maroro” - the ever-thriving flying fish, available all year round as food for the community for the planet.
The name was submitted by Jean Mason.
Second runner-up was “Tupuna” for the star named after ancestors, forebears and grandparents and always remembered by the descendants, without whom they would not exist. For the planet the name chosen “Potiki” - the child or grandchild. This planet is the child of “Tupuna”. The entry was also submitted by Jean Mason.
Evans said while he was disappointed the local contest had received only a third of the number of entries anticipated, the committee was very pleased with the high quality of the majority of entries.
The selection of winning entries was made by the seven-member committee by independently grading each entry on a score of 1-10.
In recognition of the UN 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, speakers of indigenous languages were also encouraged to propose names from those languages.