Dr Thomson, in his Story of New Zealand, quotes a Maori tradition, published by Sir George Grey, that certain islands, among which it names Rarotonga, Parima and Manono, are islands near Hawaiki.
The distance from Rarotonga to New Zealand is about 2000 m., and, with the aid of the trade wind, large canoes could traverse the distance within a month.
Thus it would seem certain that the Maoris, starting from "further Hawaiki," or Samoa, first touched at Rarotonga, "nearer Hawaiki," whence, after forming a settlement, they journeyed on to New Zealand.
Rarotonga and Mangaia, in the Cook group, and Niue or Savage Island are the largest of these; Penrhyn and Suwarrow, though but small coral atolls, contain excellent harbours.
Rarotonga is hilly, well watered, and very beautiful.
Murray a number of native teachers from the Loyalty Islands Rarotonga and Mare settled on the island.
John Williams himself removed in 1827 to Rarotonga and from there influenced Samoa, the Society Islands and Fiji.
Williams met his death at Erromanga in 1839, but he had established a training school on Rarotonga, and bought a ship, the " Camden," which was of the greatest service for the work.