Approximately 700BC, Polynesian voyaging canoes moving from the Western Pacific made their first Rarotonga landing at Avana Harbour. Local historians say these canoes arrived from Tahiti and Samoa.Many years later, perhaps 700 years ago, Avana harbour was the departure point for another great migration, this time to Aotearoa, or New Zealand. 

The first European ship (the Cumberland) also made its first landing (in 1814) in this harbour. It subsequently became a regular stopover for whalers in the South Pacific.

Many tours stop at Avana to share the rich history of this 'ava' (opening in the reef). The great voyaging canoes are remembered there. Their names forever immortalised on the stone monument laid there by our people. Many that visit, especially those of New Zealand Maori heritage, experience a deep sense of connection to Avana. The names of these great canoes are still acknowledged by Maori in New Zealand Today. 

 Today Avana is the home to Marumaruatua, a traditional voyaging canoe that is operated by the Cook Islands Voyaging Society.

Discover more about the historical significance of Avana.