Books About Aitutaki and the Cook Islands

Mr. Cheyenne Morrison is the owner of a real estate agency dealing exclusively in the sale of private islands. He is, as you might guess, an islomane of the highest order.

He wrote this letter to the members of islomanics group on Yahoo, and I thought it was worth sharing, because he recommends some excellent books about living on islands, particularly An Island to Oneself, by Tom Neale, which is one of my all-time favorite books.

Hi all Islomaniacs and Survivor 13 fans.

If you want to read about Aitutaki and the Cook Islands I suggest you see my friend Taori's labour of love about the Cook islands…

If you want to buy books about the Cook Islands these are my best suggestions…

Tom Neale

An Island to Oneself: 16 years alone on Remote Suwarrow Atoll, by Tom Neale

Buy E-Book. Images. *Please* buy this version, not any on Amazon etc. They are being sold without paying his family royalties.
Part of the proceeds of the E-Book go to his family.

This is the book that made me an islomaniac! I must have read it 20 times.

Of the hundreds of beachcombers in this century, none pursued his quest with greater determination and success than Thomas Francis Neale, a drifter from New Zealand. He took as his life's motto Thoreau's words of wisdom, "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." For the better part of sixteen years he lived a relatively idyllic life alone on his tiny atoll, 200 miles from the nearest inhabited land. He became a legend, a man known throughout the South Pacific simply as the Hermit of Suwarrow

Long after the last page of An Island to Oneself is turned, even after Tom Neale's name is forgotten, the story of his isolation, hundreds of miles from the nearest inhabited island, will continue to enrich the lives of all who read his book. In his youth an ordinary seaman, and for years a shopkeeper among the Cook Islands, Tom Neale was in his fifties when he turned his back on society and went into his lonely retreat on a South Pacific atoll named Suvarov. With him he took nothing but a couple of cats and some bric-a-brac to tie and bolt his meager dwelling–in case of hurricanes.

The miracle of his story is in the telling. There are heroic moments in battling the elements: the furious hurricane that engulfed the coral islet; five desperate hours in a stormy lagoon with a cripplingly strained back; even a reluctant bit of blood-letting on wild pigs and a mammoth sea turtle. But the real power of the book comes from the calm, ordinary things Neale does. Building a chicken coop; baking with banana leaves; brewing a cup of tea; taming a wild duck–these details blend into a kind of domestic poetry and become as compelling as a good suspense story.

Neale's yearning for a cigarette, his dreams about killing his pet duck to satisfy his meat craving (he didn't); the delight he draws from his first sip of brandy–all of this enduringly renews the reader's appreciation for the too accessible ingredients which we take for granted in our own lives.

Tom Neale was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but his family soon moved to Greymouth, S.I., where his father became paymaster to the state coal mines. Eventually the family settled in Timaru. At 18½ Tom Neale signed on as an apprentice engineer in the New Zealand Navy, where he spent four years before buying himself out in order to wander among the South Pacific islands, clearing bush, fishing, preparing copra. He later settled on Moorea, where he learned to speak Tahitian. In 1943 he accepted a job as store-keeper in the Cook Islands, and from here he sailed to Suvarov.

DVD documentary about Suwarrow

Talks about Tom Neale with footage of his home, and his daughter Stella is interviewed.

Te Digital Factory



PH: +682 23 633

Fax:+682 23 634


Manihiki Island: Our Paradise, by Renee Hollis

In the book you will see photographs of the islands beautiful people, the stunning lagoon, black pearl farming, seafood, fishing, religion, craft, nature, ship day and much more.The book MANIHIKI ISLAND: Our Paradise includes a brief history on the island of Manihiki in Cook island Maori and English, information about tivavevae, tradition food practices, Hurricane Martin etc.

Manihiki Island: Our Paradise is 154 pages long, its full colour, A4 landscape. It includes over 300 photographs with text and information about the photographs.

Background to the book:

In 2005 I lived and worked as a teacher in Manihiki. During my time there, I took over 5,000 photographs of the beautiful island, culture, tradition and its people. Many of the photos taken, have been acclaimed by the locals as being 'true to their culture'. I have support from the Manihikian community and the people are very proud of the way I have reflected their lifestyle through my photography. I have created a book that Manihikians and all Cook Islanders can be proud of. This book will be a vital way of connecting the Manihikians to the outside world. Manihiki is a beautiful paradise but is extremely isolated and expensive to get to. It is an intense desire of mine to see Manihikians re-connect with their island. The photography book MANIHIKI ISLAND:OUR PARADISE has made history by being the first photography book produced on the island of Manihiki in the Northern group of the Cook Islands.

If you would like to buy a copy of Manihiki Island: Our Paradise, by Renee Hollis

Post a cheque of $49.95 (per book, including postage and packaging in New
Zealand) with your postal address to;

Renee Hollis

79 Panorama Drive



New Zealand

or direct credit $49.95 (per book) to;
ASB, Rotorua Branch, New Zealand, R. J Hollis 12-3219-0217662-00

Return to One-foot Island, by Graeme Lay

$18.95, Paperback, ISBN 0141313706, 04 Sep 2001, Puffin

This is junior fiction set on Aitutaki, and has great descriptions of the major spots that will be used in Survivor 13. But it it's a keeper.

The Book of Tetaura-Raru

A Fascinating history of Aitutaki since ancient times.

From: Sovereign Pacific Publishing Company

P.O.Box 101569, North Shore Mail Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

Papa Mike's Cook Islands Handbook, by Mike Hollywood.

ISBN 0595294006. Published by iUniverse. Recommended retail price $15.95.

Travel to the far corners of paradise. To the islands of beautiful beaches and the friendliest people in the world. The Cook Islands offer the visitor a glimpse of South Pacific life that has changed little in the past century. The author survived a hurricane to enlighten the reader to the special places that are Rarotonga & The Cook Islands. This guidebook is written in a relaxed style, full of helpful information, presented with a touch of humor and the author's personal opinions. You will enjoy the lighter side of this well researched guidebook as you discover the natural beauty of these islands. Soft cover, 162 pages. Published in 2003.

The Cook Islands: The definitive pictorial coffee table book, by Ewan Smith, text by Graeme Lay.

New Zealand $129 (Approx. USD$70)

Includes Packing and Airmail worldwide

ISBN: 982 9002 00 4

150 Pages Hardcover, Dimensions 300 mm x 300 mm x 23 mm

From: Island Image





Postal address

PO Box 568,



Pacific Island Books

You can phone us on (303)-920-8338 or Toll Free on 1-888-49-BOOKS

Our fax number is (603)-368-6628

Pacific Island Books

2802 East 132nd Circle

Thornton, CO 80241


The Lagoon is Lonely Now, by Ronald Syme

Millwood Press Ltd, Wellington 1978

Isles of the Frigate Bird, by Ronald Syme

Michael Joseph Ltd, London 1975

Autobiography (Expatriate Brit, interesting)

Sisters in the Sun – The Story of Suwarrow and Palmerston Atolls, by A.S. Helm and W.H. Percival

Robert Hale and Co, London 1973

Yours Respectfully

Mr. Cheyenne Morrison – Broker/Owner

Coldwell Banker Morrison's Private Islands

International Private Islands Specialist

PO Box 478, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia 4877

Phone: +61-7-4099-5957

Cell: +61-439-757-966