Raemaki Karati

Born in 1957 and bred in the village of Takuvaine in Rarotonga, Raemaki has travelled extensively throughout the Pacific and other parts of the world to promote the Cook Islands in Government, culture and sports. He hails from the Islands of Rarotonga, Mauke, Atiu, Manihiki, and Rakahanga and is a descendant of the Ngati Makea Tribe of Rarotonga, Ngati Tararo of Mauke and Te Faingaitu of Manihiki / Rakahanga.

He left Rarotonga for New Zealand in 1976 and founded the Hillary College Cook Islands Culture Group while he was there and who competed and won the Cook Islands category in the first-ever Polyfest held here in Auckland that involved the Pacific Islands for the first time in 1977.

He returned to the Cook Islands in 1983 and co-founded top Cook Islands dance team, Orama Cultural Performing Arts Group in 1991 and first got involved with Te Maeva Nui, the Cook Islands most prestigious cultural competition in 2000 when he formed, tutored and led the Nikao Oire dance team to victory in that years Te Maeva Nui Competition. The team won the competition again the following year. He also tutored Vaka Te Au O Tonga in later years before moving back to New Zealand in 2008.

He has tutored and led Mauke Enua to win the first-ever Akirata Competition, a competition similar in status to the Maeva Nui, here in New Zealand in 2013. Along with his passion and significant contribution to Cook Islands Culture over the years, Raemaki is also a renowned Composer of Cook Islands music having composed a few top hit songs in recent years. The first song he wrote, E Moemoea, featured in the Cook Islands Composers Competition organised by the Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development in 1996 became an instant hit in the Cook Islands and Tahiti. He was also involved with writing and choreographing the first Cook Islands Musical Once upon a Reef here in New Zealand in 2010.

Raemaki was also a top sportsman having represented and coached the Cook Islands in Rugby and Rugby League as well as golf. He was a gold medallist in Rugby during the 1985 South Pacific Mini Games held in Rarotonga.

His composing skills are still much sought after to this day and he continues to help Cook Islanders here in New Zealand, the Cook Islands as well as Australia through the compositions he provides them for various cultural festivals and family functions.

Raemaki’s accomplishments and dedication to his culture haven’t gone unnoticed. He was presented the Reo Kuki Airani Language Champions Honour, “Taunga Kamaatu” in August 2022 by the Honourable Aupito Williams Sio. Raemaki is still happily married to Ngaire nee Kavana and they have 5 children and 10 grandchildren.

Biography sourced from SOUNZ.ORG.NZ