Movies were hugely popular in the Cook Islands from the early part of the twentieth century. By 1911, Rarotonga had four movie theatres, which screened a double or triple bill every night except for Sundays. Westerns were among the most popular genres, and soon it seemed that every young Cook Islands man wanted to live like his on-screen heroes. According to New Zealand historian Dick Scott, ‘overseas visitors were startled to see roving bands of cowboys in full costume (no Indians) rising through the palms hitching scrub ponies to the trading store and walking stiff-legged to the counter’(1).
1. Dick Scott, Years of the Pooh-Bah: A Cook Islands history, Cook Islands Trading Corporation with Hodder and Stoughton, Rarotonga, 1991, p. 17.
- From New Zealand Photography Collected by Athol McCredie, Te Papa Press, 2015.