9 Nov 2017

Cultural centre planned to replace Raro’s whale centre

6:35 pm on 9 November 2017

A whale and wildlife centre in Rarotonga has closed, but the landowner hopes to use the space as a cultural centre for Cook Islanders.

Humpback Whales near Rarotonga

Humpback Whales near Rarotonga Photo: Rick Rosenthal

The Cook Islands Whale and Wildlife Centre opened in 2000 and displayed exhibits about whales and other marine life.

Mike Tavioni said he and his family had nothing to do with the sudden closure involving researcher Nan Hauser, who set up the centre as a base for the Cook Islands Whale Research Project.

Mr Tavioni said he was eager to have an educational institute in place, but with a different focus.

"The key point is that we own the land and I think we have given her project more than enough time and it has made her famous and in regards to the Cook Islands, I don't think we have benefitted at all."