Mātini is the story of Cyclone Martin, told through the eyes of the people who were there, who watched as waves tall as the coconut trees broke over Manihiki — a remote, sea-level atoll in the northern Cook Islands.
On 1 November, 1997, Martin generated a sea surge that flattened two villages and stole 19 lives. The cyclone remains the Cook Islands’ most tragic weather event in recorded history, but the story of what happened that night has never been told.
In 2014, some Manihiki people formed the Cyclone Martin Charitable Trust with the aim of fundraising for, and commissioning, a book about the cyclone. They wanted to preserve incredible stories of survival and resilience and courage, but also to document lessons learnt in order to better disaster response and management in the Cook Islands and the greater South Pacific. The trustees teamed up with Cook Islands News, entering into a partnership agreement with publisher John Woods that would carry Mātini from concept to completion.
Mātini represents nearly 150 long, emotional interviews, which journalist Rachel Reeves has used to form the basis of a moving narrative. The book memorialises those who survived Cyclone Martin, and those who didn’t. The stories in it will make you cry, give you hope, remind you to count your blessings, and inspire in you a great respect for the island people.
The author is not collecting royalties from book sales; proceeds will go to the cost of printing and then to the island of Manihiki via the Cyclone Martin Charitable Trust.