Approximately 700BC, Polynesian voyaging canoes moving from the Western Pacific made their first Rarotonga landing at Avana Harbour. Local historians say these canoes arrived from Tahiti and Samoa.Many years later, perhaps 700 years ago, Avana harbour was the departure point for another great migration, this time to Aotearoa, or New Zealand.

The first European ship (the Cumberland) also made its first landing (in 1814) in this harbour. It subsequently became a regular stopover for whalers in the South Pacific.

Today Avana is the home to Marumaruatua, a traditional voyaging canoe.