Drawing on science (particularly research related to Blue Zones), scripture, and stories, Lokal seeks to validate local wisdom. The United Nations considers it a “grave risk” that around the world, traditional knowledge is being lost, and with it important tips for living healthfully and sustainably. Lokal is about using local resources and values to create healthier and more sustainable lives.



Sam Ataera is a graphic designer born and raised on Rarotonga. After living and working in New Zealand and Australia, he returned home in 2013 with a much deeper sense of appreciation for his island and its blessings. 

Rachel Reeves is a journalist and author with roots and reporting experience in both California and the Cook Islands.

In 2014, Sam, Rachel, and an editor from Los Angeles named Mark McDermott had the privilege of working together on a book about a tragic storm that devastated Manihiki, a sea-level atoll more than a thousand kilometres away from the commercial world. What emerged often in discussions that followed long days of edits and layout was the native wisdom shared by the people who were interviewed for the book. Over whiskeys they talked a lot about what’s wrong with the world and how the health of people and the planet are related and the people of the Cook Islands knew that a long time ago. 

For two years Sam and Rachel worked on the publication, taking time out of their freelance work and eating from the garden. Their creative family members and friends agreed to contribute long before there was money to pay them. People agreed to give time and talent because they believed in the mission.

Lokal Magazine was eventually funded by the United Nations’ Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, the Cook Islands National Youth Council, and the Cook Foundation, as well as private donations.

The first issue, a 90-page, ad-free, and free publication, was released in January 2018. Click here to see photos of the launch event at the National Auditorium, which featured local food, entertainment, arts and handicraft, healing, and education. Copies were eventually distributed around Rarotonga and in the outer islands, with help from Air Rarotonga. Lokal got taught in local schools.

Another lot of funding from UNESCO and the Cook Islands government’s Social Impact Fund is making the production of another publication possible. Follow the Lokal journey on Facebook and Instagram.


Before you go…

This project is not-for-profit. If you’re interested in supporting another issue of Lokal Magazine, this is how you can donate.