Aitutaki's Secret Garden
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Sunday, 2nd October  2022 11:25:am

The Cook Islands, are an expanse of 15 islands dotted over 1,800,000 square kilometres of ocbill LongancvPetchSakornBill Tschan and his plantationean. Each island is enveloped by warm, turquoise waters. This string of islands consists of lush rain forests, freshwater lakes and limestone formations to name a few. Its weather systems can spit out droughts that last for months on end as well as torrential rains that have the natives scurrying to weatherproof houses. With a variety of extremes, the Cook Islands are still repeatedly described as one of the most beautiful places on earth, commonly referred to as “the last heaven on earth”. All these characteristics come together to create a magical combination of sultry islands, a place where many visitors find it difficult to leave, many falling in love and returning time and time again. One such visitor is Willy R. (Bill) Tschan, a Swiss National.

Originally seconded to Rarotonga to run an Orange-Juice canning facility, Bill has resided in the Cook Islands since 1968, on the island of Rarotonga where he met his beautiful wife Teetu, and raised his four daughters.

Aitutaki, the home island of his wife Teetu, is now home to the couple, and has been since 2002. Thus begins the story of the SECRET GARDEN.

The wedding gift of three acres of land in Tautu by Teetu’s father Tatira in 1974 is now the SECRET GARDEN and home to an impressive collection of flora and fauna. Borne out of a passion for gardening and a need to make use of this unused but overgrown fertile land, this garden today contains over 100 varieties of fruit trees which have all been grown by Bill from seeds. And all these fruit varieties are described in this volume. It is in his SECRET GARDEN where you will find Bill on any given day, looking after and nurturing his trees and plants. Bill has studied and researched every tree and plant he has growing there.

Aside from the wondrously exotic tastes and flavours these fruits provide, Bill has created a database to show the health benefits and natural remedies these fruits are considered to have for many common illnesses. There are fruits ripening from every corner of the world; starting with indigenous ones from the Pacific Area, Australia, South East Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and New Zealand.

“Fresh-raw fruits and vegetables are the richest available food source of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and should constitute at least half of your diet” according to Nutritionist Cherie Calbom in her book ‘Juicing For Life’. It is a well known fact that we need a daily supply of fresh and raw fruits and vegetables to lead a healthy life. The SECRET GARDEN contains a collection of fruit- and flowering trees seldom seen together in any Botanical Garden around the world.

Many years of care, hope and effort has gone in this project coupled with a great deal of love and commitment. Thus, visitors of Bill’s SECRET GARDEN will experience the diversity of the fruits of this world.

It is my hope that you will enjoy the sights and taste of all these unusual, tropical fruits.

Frank Sabatano

Friend and Resident of Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki Lagoon