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All that’s good about ‘island time’

Monday August 11, 2014 Published in Letters to the Editor
‘Island time’ is... sitting outside Palace waiting for your order, chatting at the tables with friends. 13121640 ‘Island time’ is... sitting outside Palace waiting for your order, chatting at the tables with friends. 13121640

Dear Editor, In light of the recent letters regarding the interpretation of ‘Island time’ in Rarotonga I thought I would add my view of what I see ‘island time’ as being ... from the perspective of a returning Cook Islander.

After chasing the goals and dreams of the world outside of the islands, coming back to the Cooks is a decision most of us make in order to get us some real ‘Island time’  This is where the pace of life is slower, not slow and behind the world but a pace that takes in the view.

‘Island time’ is... a maximum speed of 50km on a bumpy road, not 100-110km on a four lane motorway. ‘Island time’ is... peak hour traffic in the mornings where we are all going 50km for 20mins max to get to work not stop, start at 10km in  five km traffic jams. ‘Island time’ is... leaving for work 15 minutes before start time, not  two hours early to miss the traffic jam on the motorway. ‘Island time’ is... sitting behind the old mama in her white church dress doing 20km on her scooter so her hat or ei katu doesn’t fall off.

‘Island time’ is... sitting outside Palace waiting for your order, chatting at the tables with friends. ‘Island time’ is... stopping to eat an ice-cream after shopping in Foodland. ‘Island time’ is... stopping to chat to friends in the chiller room while shopping. ‘Island time’ is... having a girl’s night out during the week, because visitors are in town on holiday. ‘Island time’ is... church running 40 minutes over time due to notices and sermons and tourists hungry for morning tea. ‘Island time’ is... waiting for the dogs to move off the road, slowly. ‘Island time’ is... shops closed lunchtime on Saturdays. ‘Island time’ is... no retail trading on Sundays. ‘Island time’ is... Sunday is a day of rest. ‘Island time’ is... the movies starting when everyone has their ticket and bought their popcorn and 1.5 litre of Fanta.

 ‘Island time’ is... the car will be fixed when the part arrives on the boat. ‘Island time’ is... a quick beer after work, is never quick and is never one beer. ‘Island time’ is... watching the whales pass by the reef on the way to school.  ‘ Island time’ is... waiting for 5pm on Sunday for the hot bread to be delivered.  ‘Island time’ is... listening to the band while waiting for food at the night market.  ‘Island time’ is... stopping to buy a nu from the kid under the umbrella after school.

‘Island time’ is... walking home from school after a game of football on the field. ‘Island time’ is... planting sticks and watching them grow into food. ‘Island time’ is... waiting for the mango to turn yellow on the tree so you can pick it. ‘Island time’ is... the roosters crowing at 2.30am and 4.30am. ‘Island time’ is... sitting in the lagoon watching the sunset in summer.  ’Island time’ is... sitting in the bus shelter with your scooter waiting for the rain to stop,

‘Island time’ is...sometimes frustrating when building or dealing with contractors. ‘Island time’ is... sometimes frustrating when there is no flour left on the island and you have to bake cakes for the school fundraiser. ‘Island time’ is... a reminder of life and living in the present moment, taking time to smell the tipani and enjoying the journey.

‘Island time’ is... why I came back to Raro with my children so they could experience ‘Island life’. 

Ruth Horton


  • Comment Link Lovecuba Tuesday, 19 August 2014 12:45 posted by Lovecuba

    Have to agree with all above. Just spent 7 days experiencing Ísland Time' and love the place.

  • Comment Link Eddie Willson Monday, 18 August 2014 13:01 posted by Eddie Willson

    As first time tourists " island time" is why we will be back as often as we can. Loved it.

  • Comment Link Nga Kairua Friday, 15 August 2014 00:26 posted by Nga Kairua

    Island time - is when you're half-way through doing something .....and there's always "apopo" to finish - after all, the mangoe juice can't wait!

  • Comment Link Arti Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:28 posted by Arti

    As a german guy moving from a rush hour live downtown to the 'island time', it's quite a change, but a positive one.
    I really like the relaxed atmosphere ... it took me a while to get used to it.
    It's totaly worth it!!!

  • Comment Link KukiLover Thursday, 14 August 2014 09:37 posted by KukiLover

    Thank you for this...beautiful and I agree with all of it. Island Time is also making plans to see friends that day, not checking your iphone for an open spot 6 weeks from now. Island Time...waiting for a package from overseas that takes 3 months to arrive. Island Time...waiting for the sun to shine to hang your laundry and not worrying about it until then...:)

  • Comment Link clara kiikoro Wednesday, 13 August 2014 13:06 posted by clara kiikoro

    Island time is going to the local shop to buy a Christmas present and be told the boat will arrive day after tomorrow which is day after Christmas day...so by the time the boat arrives and stuff unloaded off the boat taken up shore, unloaded and into the shops its way past Christmas day...hehehe

  • Comment Link William Wednesday, 13 August 2014 00:32 posted by William

    Well put Ruth, totally enjoyed reading it. Just a pity that depopullation did not follow island time. Now that would have been really island time.

  • Comment Link Jahz Tuesday, 12 August 2014 17:59 posted by Jahz

    "Cook Islands 'Island Time' is surely pure Unique. Kia vai Ruperupe e Kia Manuia ua rai to tatou ipukarea"

  • Comment Link June Hosea Tuesday, 12 August 2014 10:02 posted by June Hosea

    Thank you for your wonderful commentary on "Island Time" Ruth. Cook Islanders are so blessed to have a place like ours to call home...a place that they can escape to when life gets a big too hectic in the "Big Smoke"! A place where you are the tangata enua and not a guest....there certainly is no place like home. Yes it has its disadvantages and frustrations, but in terms of quality of life....nothing can beat it. Home is where the heart is - and my heart is 100% Kuki Airani!!

  • Comment Link Tony Tuesday, 12 August 2014 02:30 posted by Tony

    The best thing about 'island time' is, there is 'no time' to rush you around on your feet, you just take it easy, relax and 'go with the flow'. No one will boss you around.

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