Friday, July 31, 2009

Cook Islands Tourism Awards - Winners!!!

More awards news!!!

We have just returned from Rarotonga
where we attended the inaugural Cook Islands Tourism Awards, held Friday night at the Hospitality Institute. The event was a big undertaking for the local tourism community - a 5 course dinner held outside in rather windy conditions. There was an awesome dance performance to start things off, and the usual speaches from politicians and sponsors Air NZ.

But enough details, down to the important stuff. Pacific Resor
ts took home a total of three awards - one for Raro and two for Aitutaki. Michael was delighted to accept the award for the Best Hotel over 25 Rooms, and even more delighted to accept, with Greg Stanaway and Thomas Koteka of Pacific Resorts, the Overall Accommodation Award for Best Accommodation in the Cook Islands.

It was a great night, and there were large hangovers the next morning. Each winner did an interview to camera for the local TV station after leaving the stage, which apparantly aired on Monday. We didn't see it, but plenty of people around Raro saw it and told us about it! I am trying to get a copy but as things do, it is going SLOW.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pacific Resort Awards

News today that Pacific Resort Aitutaki have taken a title at the CNBC Asia Pacific Property Awards, winning Best Small Hotel in the Asia Pacific Region. The CNBC Global Property awards will be held in San Diego in November, so fingers crossed (not for personal attendance of course, but a shiny trophy might be nice:-).

Secondly, nominations for the 2009 HM Awards (Hotel & Accommodation Management Magazine) have been released. Pacific Resorts are finalists in the following categories:
  • South Pacific Property of the Year - Pacific Resort Aitutaki
  • Environmental Program of the Year - Pacific Resort Rarotonga
  • South Pacific Manager of the Year - Greg Stanaway
Also nominated is Mizz Debbie Simister (Mrs Marcus Tait, for those who know her by her other alias), looking to retain her title as HR Person of the Year - on yah Debs!!! We are counting on you to have a glass or two of bubbly for us on the night (when we win)!

A Visit from Nana & Poppa

Well, a few recent e-mails, and a whisper in the ear from my husband, have reminded me that I have been quite slack with the news updates. As always there have been lots of things happening, the weeks fly by but there is still nothing to do...I'm not sure how that adds up but...

The big event was a visit from Mum & Dad for a week or so in mid June. The kids were beside themselves with excitement while they were here (and with sadness when they left). It was really nice just to have them around, and we had a pretty good time getting around the place too. We took in the sights, circumnavigating the island and finding some new roads to drive down (packed into my little 2 door!). We spent some time at school, at island shows (Jamie is a dancing fiend), on the lagoon and all too soon it was time for them to leave.

The day that they arrived was the interschool sports day (last Wednesday of each term). This term was Rugby and Netball, which Jamie was excited by, but Bailey not so keen. In fact Bailey was SO NOT KEEN that he got himself worked up into a state and walked backwards into a motorscooter, burning his leg on the muffler. A nice, blistered burn behind the knee, about 5cm long. So Jamie was left with the school and B&S & I went off to get litres and litres of water in bottles to tend to the leg. We arrived back to watch Jamie 'play' with the 5 and 6 year olds. We saw lots of random running around and chasing, a few "sit down's" in the middle of the field, and a few "mum, I can't get the ball" complaints, but he won a lot of points for trying. We left after the games were finished and waited at home (impatiently) for the plane to arrive. It was really wonderful and so exciting - the kids ran around and told EVERYONE at the airport that their Nana and Poppa were coming.

A highlight was certainly a trip on the lagoon with Bishops Cruises. Bailey is interested in weaving, so helped weave the platters for lunch. Jamie was a model for the coconut show and got his own sun visor out of the deal. Sienna just wanted to climb the coconut tree on One Foot Island to see if there were any crabs up there.

The weather was perfect, the beaches champagne and the breeze light. It was lovely to show mum and dad why the Aitutaki lagoon is so beautiful. The kids all come snorkelling with us and fed the fish. As you can see, Jamie is a total (flying) fish and can now swim on his own without water wings.

Mum left a few days after Dad, which was nice. She spent some nice time with the kids as it was school holidays by then. Nurse Nana pronounced Bailey's leg nicely on the mend though not without some surprise (due to the total absence of fruit and vegetables in his diet) .

It was sad to see them go, and I think that Sienna is still confused about it all as she won't let me out of her sight. Her trips to Tav's house during home school days have finished as she screams and screams, so Tav comes to our house now. Baby sitting is tricky, though she is slowly coming around.

Also in June we had a visit from the Greenpeace ship Esperenza, who arrived with Keisha Castle-Hughes to discuss the local impact of climate change. I happened to drive past Bailey's teacher's house as she came out and saw us, and Bailey was invited to go out to the ship (via tender, as the boat is too large to get into the lagoon) with a doz of the school kids to tour the ship and deliver gifts of fruit and things. What an awesome opportunity (and I can't imagine I would ever have sent Bailey off to sea past Kawau Island with a dozen other kids and 1 adult in NZ without inspecting the vessel and life jackets etc...but that is the way things happen here), so with a bit of encouragement (it is a SCIENCE boat, Bailey) off he sent on the back of the ute.

Unfortunately, the ute arrived back an hour later. The sea had been too rough to take the kids out so the kids showed the film crew how to climb coconut trees, had a muck around and then arrived home with a copy of the Whale Rider movie. Greenpeace had some pictures of their stay on their website with some of our students in them, so I printed them off and handed them around at school. It was nice to be able to do that.

We had a fun night on the Friday and Saturday just been. Friday was the inter-village rugby final. Unfortunately Amuri (us) went down to Tautu 12-0, but it was a good game and lots of fun sitting on the coconut tree benches on the sideline. As usual, the kids ran with the 'pack' and the adults alternately cheered and heckled the players - all encouragement seemed to come with an extensive belly laugh - and it was nice to be greeted by different people from around the island. After the game, Michael and I entertained 3 agents from USA at the resort and then went to Stephen and Poppy's to watch the AB's beat the Wallaby's (I confess I slept through a lot of it).

Saturday night was a fundraiser for the Aitutaki Hostel in Auckland, which is a cheap place for locals to stay if they don't have family in the city. It is a fantastic facility to have as all serious medical cases get flown back to Middlemore Hospital. It was held at the college hall (also the evacuation centre) and around 200 people attended. We were ushered up to the top table ("quick, the papa'a, the papa'a!!!"), invited to eat first, and drew the raffle as well. We had a big island feast, icecream and chocolate cake for dessert and the dance show was great. One of the little boys was amazing, getting way down low to the ground whilst knocking his knees - very tricky - and got the biggest clap of the night. The girls were awesome as always, and the men were hysterical, posing about the place - everyone was screaming with laughter.

Po'o Bishop, the deputy mayor, said that he wants the Island Council to pass a resolution preventing us from ever leaving! It was another occasion that told us that we have made an impact in the community and that Michael has a huge amount of respect from people all over the island. I was told this again this morning when one of the school mums mentioned that several of the entertainers and tour operators had said specifically that if Michael asked them for anything, they would provide it without question. So we saw lots of friends and aquaintences, and after sitting with Annie and Teina Bishop, with Sienna asleep in my arms, Papa Teina carried her to the car. It was a very nice night.

We are off to Raro this weekend for a well deserved break - Michael has been working 7 day weeks quite a few times recently and is exhausted. The property is very very busy over the next few months which is excellent. The new Food & Beverage Manager, Shane, has arrived which will take some of the load from Michael. So all in all things are good.