MEET MITAERA NGATAI TEATUAKARO
MICHAEL (MIKE) TAVIONI
aka: Papa Mike
Mitaera Ngatai Teatuakaro Micheal (Mike) Tavioni
is a Cook Islands cultural icon and founder of Gallery Tavioni and Vananga.
His artistic career spans over fifty years with a repertoire which includes tattooist, poet,
writer, orator, composer and painter. He is renown across the Pacific for being a traditional master carver of stone, shell and wood and builder of ocean-going outrigger canoe or vaka
with the rare ability to carve out and ready a vaka in one day.
Mike recalls, in his younger days, that Cook Islands artists would hang their art on the
trees through Avarua town (the capital of Rarotonga). This was their only option to exhibit and sell their art works. It was during this time that Mike had the dream to one day build his own gallery so that all Cook Islands artists could come together to collaborate, exhibit and sell their art works.
Over time, Mike's dream of having a gallery evolved to include teaching others about
Cook Islands culture and traditional practices through different artistic mediums.
It is from Mike’s passion for his heritage, his tupuna, his people and future generations
that Gallery Tavioni and Vananga was born.
It is with the help of volunteers, supporters, family and friends – that the legacy has been able to grow and continue to develop.
Today, Gallery Tavioni and Vananga is a cultural arts center, a creative workshop,
an education facility, a hub for artists, friends and family.
Come connect and create with us.
Connecting generations to our Cook Islands Heritage.
Mike & Ollie Carving
Perpetuate, practice & protect traditional life skills
Cherish your origin.
Mike & Awhitia carving
Make use of today.
Stay the course for tomorrow.