Self-catering from the slim pickings at the grocery stores – largely tinned and frozen food – is the most reliable eating option. Ask George Mateariki about his regular Sunday afternoon ‘Restaurant at the Beach’.
Christian missionaries took to eradicating kava drinking among Cook Islanders, so ‘Atiuans developed home-brewed alcohol, and the tumunu (bush-beer drinking clubs) were born. Men would retreat into the bush and imbibe ‘orange beer’, made from fermented oranges and malt extract. Tumunu are still held regularly on ‘Atiu; the tumunu is the hollowed-out stump of a coconut palm traditionally used for brewing beer. Tumunu retain some of the old kava-drinking ceremonies, but these days the vessel is likely to be plastic.
Most tours of ‘Atiu can also include a visit to a tumunu, or ask at your accommodation. It's customary to donate $5 per person to help pay for ingredients for the next brew. Traditionally, it’s for men only, but the rules are relaxed for tourists, and males and females are both welcome. Be warned – ‘orange beer’ can be pretty potent stuff, but it's actually pretty tasty with a subtle effervescence.
The ‘Atiu Tumunu Tutaka, when there is a hard-fought competition and taste-off to find the best tumunu of ‘Atiu, is held occasionally.