Introduction / History Manihiki and Rakahanga Atolls are situated in the south pacific and are 2 islands out of 15 within the northern part of the Cook Islands.
The natives are Polynesians and not only live on both of these beautiful islands as well as main Island (Capital) Rarotonga but have also migrated to New Zealand and Australia leaving few of at least 400 people altogether on both islands.
Manihiki and Rakahanga, atolls 25 miles apart, are occupied by a people sprung from one family of settlers. The whole population once lived on one atoll at a time and moved back and forth from one atoll to the other when forced to do so by depletions of the coconut and puraka (species of taro) supplies. Manihiki and Rakahanga are so low that one atoll cannot be seen from the other, but from a point halfway between them both are visible. The people, in going from one atoll to the other, used the Magellan clouds (Na Mahu) as guides. The voyages were made in fleets of double sailing canoes, and the Whakaheo ariki(Island Chief/King), because he was believed to control the weather conditions that insured a successful voyage, took command. Now and again the voyagers were unexpectedly overtaken by storms, but such disasters did not deter the people from making their inter-atoll voyages, for they were impelled by an important need, the urge for food. The occasional loss of life was regarded merely as the natural toll of the sea which the ancestors had paid from time immemorial. It remained for outside influence, in 1852, to use the loss of life as a means of dividing the population into permanent settlements on each atoll. Thus, though Manihiki and Rakahanga are two atolls, the culture is one. References in this text to the culture of either atoll may be taken to apply to the culture of both areas.
Where are they located? Manihiki and Rakahanga are atolls now politically included in Cook Islands, but, together with Tongareva (Penrhyn), Pukupuka, Nassau, Suvarov (Suwarrow), and Palmerston, they are not geographically part of Cook Islands. References in the text to Cook Islands apply to the geographical division unless it is otherwise stated. Manihiki lies 650 miles north of Rarotonga. Rakahanga is 25 miles north northwest of Manihiki. The two atolls are south of latitude 10° S. and west of longitude 160° W.
What are their lives like? The natives live very island like lives as they did before the missionaries arrived on there somewhat unspoiled atolls. Very dedicated to Religious Beliefs and Family Responsibilities the People of Manihiki and Rakahanga also carry on with most of their traditions where few inter grade with religious aspects and are indeed in touch with their culture and native language but also are quoted to speak fluent English and have adopted few of the western trademarks.
Manihiki though is the center of the Black Pearl Industry for the cook islands therefor boosting the nations rating in black pearls with the farming industries booming along the island
What are their beliefs? The main church and religion of both islands are that of the C.I.C.C (Cook Islands Christian Church), Catholic, SDA & Mormon.
What are their needs? Help with Cyclone Awareness, Cheaper flights to Manihiki, Spring clean Manihiki Lagoon, Pray for survivors and those who passed away in 1997 Cyclone Martin, School supllies for children of Rakahanga, Water supply on both Islands.