Firstly a little insight into how it all came about, ten years on. John’s father was a Cook Islander, and as all land in the Cook Islands is owned by families, when he died his children succeeded him through the court. Hence John was given a piece of family land in Rarotonga.
All land is on a 60 year lease and when the piece of land that Makayla Palms in Titikaveka became John’s we had a decision to make. We were school teachers in New Zealand – did we want to go on teaching or have a complete change?
We decided to make a complete life style change and build a small tourist accommodation. A brave move on our part knowing very little about building, tourism, business or marketing! However we forged ahead, didn’t look back and now nearly ten years later we can look back with pride at what we have achieved.
It has been an interesting journey along the way, meeting people from all walks of life and from different countries. We have strived for excellence, and in the two yearly Air NZ Tourism Awards in 2013 Makayla Palms won both the self catering villas category and the Customer Care Award.
We manage the business ourselves, along with Fred and Loving who are locals and an integral part of our team. Loving is our housekeeper and Fred is our gardener and minor maintenance man. They are very proud to be part of Makayla Palms and go the extra mile for us.
Fred and the family put on a local traditional umukai when the guests want to have one and the little girls dance – much to the delight of the guests. Often this is the highlight of their stay.
For us living in Raro is such a contrast from our former lives in NZ. The pace of life is slow, there is little traffic, great food and the locals are such delightful people. The sun shines, there are great markets and local products, vibrant dancing and drumming, and the simplicity of life here among the locals compared with the stresses we put on ourselves is a lesson learnt.
What is there not to like? We live in paradise…