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Wednesday, 17th August  2022 10:47:pm


news10Aitutaki resident Bill Tschan with a prototype copy of his book titled “Secret Garden of Aitutaki – Cook Islands”. The exotic tropical fruit gardens of Aitutaki resident Bill Tschan are set to come to life through a new book currently in the works.
Tschan, a Swiss national who came to the Cook Islands in 1968, settled in Aitutaki in 2002 and soon began toiling in his "Secret Garden".
Over a decade later, Tschan's gardens are filled with over 110 varieties of rare, tropical fruits from places such as the Phillipines, Borneo, continental South East Asia, West Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
"I've always wanted to have as many tropical fruits as possible, to provide my family with healthy food," he said.
Indeed, many nutritionists and health experts would agree, as fresh fruits are generally regarded as some of the most nutritionally-rich foods on the planet.
But Tschan's gardens are more than that, as his eclectic collection of plants deliver beautiful colours and, of course, sweet and unique flavours.
While his book - titled "Secret Garden of Aitutaki – Cook Island"s' - won't communicate the taste of the fruits, vibrant photographs and detailed descriptions bring his abundant gardens directly to the reader.
Designed as a guidebook, the book sheds light on diverse and natural treats such as longan fruit, loquat, santol, ugly fruit, abiu, ackee, rambutan, along with six different varieties of custard apples.
Or take the miracle berry, which Tschan said when eaten, has the effect to alter one's tastebuds for a couple of hours and change the flavour of foods dramatically - making beer taste like shandy, for example.
A prototype of the book has been produced, and publishing and printing details are currently being worked out, he said.
Tschan, who originally came to the Cook Islands to run an orange juice canning facility, ended up marrying wife Teetu and raising his four daughters here.
A wedding gift of three acres of fertile land in Aitutaki by Teetu's father allowed his "Secret Garden"dream to become reality.
Aided by a number of rare fruit societies in California, Maui, and Bangkok that supplied seeds, Tschan – along with his passion for gardening – did the rest.
"All I did basically is dig a hole in the ground ... God did the rest," he said.
Reflecting on a bygone era when he arrived in the Cooks in 1968, Tschan said Rarotonga had "huge" plantations of tomatoes, with large yields of limes, peppers, and pineapples being grown in the outer islands.
He thinks the country still has the potential to boost production of fruits and vegetables to those levels.
"It's just a matter of people getting off their backsides and doing something for a change.

Written by Emmanuel Samoglou published in Ourter Islands, Cook Islands News
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 23:44 posted by Stuart Lynette Jeffs
Brilliant!! Bill's garden tour was one of the highlights of our visit to Aitutaki. Bill is very passionate about his garden and we were very grateful for the time he spent showing us around. We look forward to being able to purchase his book.

stop pressGreat news! Bill Tschan's book has now been published. Supplies are available now from the Publisher in Auckland, Pohutukawa Press, 6 Hunterville Court, Ellerslie, Auckland, 1051 either in hard copy or on DVD. For enquiries contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The hardcopy and DVD are also available from Bill Tschan on Aitutaki.

You can also obtain a downloadable version by clicking on the link below.

You can order and pay online now. To order on line click here

Aitutaki Lagoon