An Astounding Atoll

One of the favorite songs in our season of music from Oceania and the Pacific Islands is a tune from the Cook Islands we call “Tipo Tipo,” a welcome song from Manihiki, a spectacular Pacific atoll. Manihiki’s atoll, which is essentially shaped like a triangle, is the top of a mountain that rises 13,000 feet from the ocean. Its primary industry is the cultivation of black pearls; the few tourists who visit can visit pearl farms in between stunning sessions of snorkeling or scuba diving. There is a small airport — a 3 1/2 hour flight from the nearest big island, the Cook Islands’ Rarotonga — but “Tipo Tipo” tells the tale of the one boat that would arrive weekly, bringing goods from other islands and, occasionally, visitors from distant lands. This video introduces us to Manihiki. Tomorrow we’ll sing.