Jean Tekura Mason

Poet, writer and conservator Jean Tekura Mason is one of two people running the library and museum in Rarotonga. This private organization was opened in 1964 and is "dedicated to the preservation of the history and culture of the Cook Islands."

Jean Mason's poem published in 'Mana, 50 years of Cook Islands creative writing', USP Press - Click for high res

Many of the country's artefacts had been destroyed by overzealous missionaries who arrived in the 1820s, or some of the more interesting artefacts had been taken to Europe, where they are displayed in overseas museums. Ironically, it is also common for foreign museums to have been diligent in polishing objects of the Cooks in their collections and to have to ask the Jean Mason for advice on how to restore the original patina to these objects!

Jean Mason attaches great importance to the conservation of the Māori language, particularly etymology of Māori words, folklore, legends and myths.

The wall on the street side has a beautiful mural by the English artist Sue Trayler. It depicts the birds of the sea and voyaging traditions of Polynesians. But Jean came up with the idea of stories emanating from a book, with Father Sky and Mother Earth, Rangi and Papa separated by their children, and the story of Maui slowing down the sun.

The Cook Islands Library and Museum


Click for high res