A fusion of tradition and entertainment, Te Vara Nui Village on Rarotonga Island is a visitor attraction that showcases the local Maori culture through stories, history, dance and music. Named for a former Raratongan entertainer, Vara, who performed throughout the Pacific. This purpose-built village is an opportunity to glean an insight into island heritage and the traditional way of life.
Located on the picturesque Muri Beach, Te Vara Nui Village is comprised of village huts and entertainment and dining areas. Two experiences are on offer: the two-hour Cultural Village Tour (NZ$39 for adults, NZ$19 for children aged six to 11 years and free for kids aged five and under), and 2.5 hours Spectacular Over-Water Night Show and Buffet Dinner (NZ$99/NZ$45). Both attractions are also available in the Combo Extravaganza Package for NZ$119 for adults and NZ$59 for kids. The Cultural Village Tour includes return transfers and a glass of bubbles on arrival and a shell neck Ei and traces the history and culture of the Cook Islands through various interactive huts traversing cannibalism, legends, traditional medicines, warriors, as well as traditional crafts, costumes and cuisine. Visitors are greeted by a warrior and escorted through various huts including the sacred Marae, Witchdoctors Hut and Cooking Hut. The village itself is set among lush gardens, volcanic rock, waterfalls and a large fishpond with many of the cultural artifacts created by family members related to Vara herself.
The Spectacular Over-Water Night Show utilises floating stages against a tropical, waterfall garden backdrop where dancers and musicians act out the mesmerising tale of the 'Legend of Tongaiti'. You can't help but be swept up in the pulsating drum rhythms and hypnotic hip-shaking dance moves illuminated by flaming torchlight of this energetic cultural showcase, complete with a buffet spread of island and Western delights served in one of three thatched-roof Arekai restaurants. You can get return transfers to your accommodation for a small extra fee.
Tickets to Te Vara Nui Village can be purchased onsite and through their website. The attraction is located on Muri Beach close to the resorts.