After 33 years, the 10th of May marks the official end of a special era in eco tourism in the Cook Islands, and the beginning of a new one; Pa’s nephew Bruce Goldsworthy, with support from Renall Vogel, will continue the half-day treks in the unique style taught to them by Pa.
Pa’s life has been centered on all things natural; his popular treks have given him the opportunity to introduce visitors from around the world to the unique inner sanctum of Rarotonga’s heartland.
Pa refers to himself as a ‘proud son of Polynesia’. Unbeknown to many he is a former Ironman, competitive swimmer, and lifeguard. In 1985 Pa swam from Mo'orea to Tahiti in French Polynesia: “to connect to my ancestors”.
Pa’s characteristic appearance and manner is spiritual and welcoming. His distinctive personality has been a magnet to visitors and to the media during his long career as Rarotonga’s No. 1 trekker and eco-tourism pioneer.
Born and bred on Rarotonga, Pa was brought up in Matavera, where he lives today with his business partner and wife, Jillian Sobieska.
Jillian met Pa days after Cyclone Sally hit Rarotonga in 1986-7. Pa had been enjoying mountain and jungle walks almost daily for most of his life, but it was Jillian who convinced him to go professional with trekking, and history was in the making.
Pa has been the ‘rock star’ of Cook Islands tourism for more than thirty years, and his presence on the cross-island track will be greatly missed, but he is not entirely gone from the tourism scene; he will continue to conduct the less demanding yet popular medicinal nature walks through plantations and taro fields to the mountains.
Pa’s Treks have been a ‘must do’ experience for thousands of visitors for more than thirty-three years; the treks will continue to be branded under his name, but conducted by his younger disciples.
If you'd like to join Pa on his final trek across the highlands of Rarotonga, please contact Marei Nicholas at [email protected] for more information.