The youth of the Cook Islands consider suicide an urgent concern, and are taking steps to address it in whatever way they can.
Cook Islands National Youth Council (CINYC) president Nukutau Pokura says council members started discussing suicide as a priority before Christmas, but in light of recent tragedies have shifted it to the top of their list.
Pokura says the council has a view to establishing a suicide support group, but first wants to set up a task force to deal specifically with the issue of suicide.
She envisions recruiting trained professionals and people with a grasp of suicide and what drives it to sit on the task force.
We were talking about setting up a support group even before the holidays we decided to come back after the holidays and look at what we can do, she said.
But then we had these young people take their lives (recently) and it became even more urgent. In a sense we werent working fast enough.
For Pokura, it is vital that the Cook Islands establish some sort of awareness programme, an ongoing initiative thats sustainable rather than reactive.
Pokura says suicide is an issue which affects all generations and levels of society, and reminds the Cook Islands that the youth council needs the support of the wider community.
I feel personally that even though the age group doing this is young people this has got to be a whole community response, she said.
...There are root causes of suicide we need to delve into. We cant change peoples behaviours and choices overnight but by pulling everybody together by taking a coordinated approach we can establish a sustainable programme.
She says all sectors of society educators, church leaders and parents in particular need to play their part.
Pokura has spoken with some of the New Zealand High Commission staff, who suggested linking youth council members here with operators of a New Zealand youth helpline.
Its those kinds of services were interested in if we are able to support the coordination of that by all means we will. We are under-resourced but we will do what we can.
Pokura plans to meet with Prime Minister Henry Puna to discuss the pressing issue of suicide. After having a discussion with him she intends to call a meeting of all Cook Islands youth not just CINYC and its members.
To that meeting she intends to also invite parents and adults who are concerned about youth and want desperately to conquer the issue of suicide.
We can always look at the youth aspect of it but its a holistic thing. Parenting, religion, support services like mental health and counselling all those angles need to be addressed, Pokura said.
The deaths of two Rarotonga teenagers in the past fortnight has left Prime Minister Henry Puna heartbroken and looking for ways to combat suicide in the community.
Puna said the government was committed to helping youth and making the Cook Islands a healthy, fulfilling and encouraging country for young people to live.
He said the community needed to ensure that no more lives are lost to suicide and that young people in need of support have somewhere to turn.
Puna said the Cook Islands must challenge itself to inspire its young population and turn away from such a tragic and final option to escape the challenges they face in their young lives.
Whatever we do we must strive to create an environment where our young thrive and yearn to live a fulfilling life, Puna said while at a roundtable meeting at the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa.
In the past two weeks, two young Cook Islanders have taken their lives. Lives which should have been full of hope, excitement and an enthusiasm to live life to the fullest.
I am heartbroken by these recent events.
Our community needs to ensure that no more lives are lost in this way, and that those of our young who are troubled can turn to someone in dark troubled times.
The Cook Islands progress in building itself into a developed nation has come under scrutiny at a roundtable meeting between the government and its major developmental partners yesterday.
About 40 people joined the discussion, with at least as many looking on at the meeting, to examine how the Cook Islands has advanced its infrastructure and governmental structures and its plans for future development.
The day was not just about showing how successful the Cook Islands has been in carrying out and completing projects funded by foreign governments, inter-governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations.
It was also about trying to attract more funding from those groups, whose representatives travelled from across the Pacific, New Zealand and Australia, as well as Asia and Europe to join the roundtable.
No major projects were announced or agreed upon at the discussions. Those will happen in more private settings and in individual meetings.
Instead, the meeting was aimed at strengthening the ties between the Cook Islands and its most important developmental partners.
Representatives from New Zealand, Australia, the European Union, the Asian Development Bank, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, World Health Organisation, Food and Agriculture Organisation, the University of the South Pacific, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC), and United Nations Development Programme were present at the roundtable meeting.
The day included presentations and discussions on a range of topics central to the Cook Islands development.
Those topics included the National Sustainable Development Plan 2011-15 and its plans for education, health, tourism, agriculture and transport; a look at the public sector and the economic structures of the Cook Islands; advances and plans for adopting renewable energy; and, water and sanitation projects.
The Cook Islands received a great level of praise for its development under the Cook Islands Party government, led by Prime Minister Henry Puna, and for the processes it was setting up to ensure projects funded with foreign grants were carried out as promised and in a timely way.
Amanada Ellis, representing the New Zealand government, congratulated the Cook Islands for its structures and its practices in handling its finances including grants and donations.
But the Cook Islands also received some warnings of the future instability of the global economy and its vulnerability as a small economy.
Adrian Rutherburg, regional director of the Asian Development Bank, said the Cook Islands needed to diversify its economy to help protect itself from global fluctuations.
The biggest problem in the Cook Islands is its vulnerability to external shock, Rutherburg said of the economy.
Right now, tourism is doing well, but let it drop and you might see some trouble. You need to be prepared for when times are not so good.
Other representatives used the rare opportunity to get in touch with the Cook Islands and learn just how the country is using their development grants and aid.
In opening the conference, Minister of Finance and Economic Management Mark Brown said the forum was intended to enhance the delivery of development assistance and discuss the challenges assailing the effective use of government and grant resources.
Left: Marine resources secretary Ben Ponia speaking at yesterday’s roundtable meeting development partners.
The Ministry of Marine Resources has presented a marine house concept to the Cook Islands development partners at a roundtable meeting of high level officials yesterday.
The marine house, which would be situated at the new Avatiu harbour development, would house staff from marine services, border security and the ports authority.
In presenting the concept, marine resources secretary Ben Ponia said it was one development project that was being considered in the Cook Islands marine resources ministry.
Ponia was tasked with updating the Cook Islands development partners with the movements of the Cook Islands marine development and its hopes for the future.
Aside from the marine house, Ponia said the Cook Islands was planning to expand its tuna fishing using Penrhyn as a hub and Rarotonga as a centre for processing and exporting; continuing to rejuvenate the black pearl industry; development seabed mining; enhance marine tourism; expand marine reserves; and empower individual fishermen.
The crown in the jewel, though, would be the iconic, three-story marine house.
Hopefully one of the development assistance representatives have taken the bait.
| Above: A section of a slide shown to the roundtable
meeting and imagining the proposed “marine house”concept. 12013125
PM appeals for support of vision
Representing the government at yesterday’s roundtable meeting with development partners –from left, Deputy Prime Minister Tom Marsters, Prime Minister Henry Puna and Finance Minister Mark Brown and Financial Secretary Richard Neves.
About 40 people contributed to the roundtable meeting, with at least as many watching on at the Rarotongan yesterday.
The Cook Islands has its developmental roadmap, now it just needs some support in realising its ambitions, Prime Minister Henry Puna told the group of the Cook Islands major development and donor partners.
Puna yesterday led a push by the Cook Islands government that included a string of representatives from ministers to heads of ministries to those development partners aimed at selling the past successes of the Cook Islands as well as its future aspirations.
In his opening address at the roundtable meeting, Puna said the Cook Islands had the vision to guide its development and now needed the support.
Our culture arises from the spirit of our forefathers, the adventurous sea voyagers who centuries ago set out across the vast ocean guided by the stars in a spirit of adventure, he said.
I have imagined that our forefathers embarked on those journeys with a vision to find another island on which they could provide a better future for their children and their grandchildren.
Centuries on things have not really changed, for as the leadership then strove to improve the lives of their people so does the government I lead now today.
Just like our forefathers, my government is on a journey to help secure a better future for our people.
Our journey is one of enabling opportunities for our children to meet their potential, taking care of our vulnerable and maintaining the health of our environment.
Unlike our forefathers who set forth with only the stars to guide them into the unknown, we know our destination and we have far more navigational tools to assist us in getting there. While we would like to steer the ship to our final destination, we would also like those in the room here today to be our maps and GPS to help us along.
Our final destination is a country where our people will enjoy the highest quality of life consistent with their aspirations and which is in harmony with their culture and environment.
Our people have been heavily involved in developing this destination.
Te Kaveinga Nui 2011-15, or our National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) for the next five years, sets out eight mutually reinforcing goals which cannot be realised in isolation...
We have our NSDP to guide our development. We own it, help us implement it, Puna urged the group.
In doing so, remember the principle of alignment and the use of local systems.
Coordinate, simplify procedures and share information to avoid duplication as emphasised by the principle of harmonisation.
Always focus on the principle of achieving real and measurable results that brings about positive changes to peoples lives.
And lastly, may we the Cook Islands, and you, our development partners, practise mutual accountability for development results.
The meeting had a theme of sharing Atuianga Maoraora and Puna hoped the participants could find inspiration in this.
As our theme for this meeting implies, let us share our resources, our various competitive advantages, our combined wisdom to achieve the future that this country desires and deserves, he said.
Too much politicking Wilkie
Opposition Deputy Leader Wilkie Rasmussen.
A roundtable meeting between the Cook Islands government and its donor partners involved too much politicking and too little pledge-making, says Opposition Deputy Leader Wilkie Rasmussen.
As the sole representative of the opposition Democratic Party, Rasmussen said he was encouraged by the discussions being held and encouraged by the fervour being shown by the heads of ministries but disappointed in the lack of commitment being shown by the development partners.
The platitudes are there but I cannot see the commitment in terms of solid, concrete commitment that you are going to give to us, Rasmussen said.
On many of these types of meetings we often leave with the view that this was nothing more than a talk fest. I hope this is not one of those.
Rasmussen said his home island Penrhyn was suffering from depopulation, as islands throughout the Cook Islands are, and that was being caused in part by the lack of development reaching it. He said he wanted to see more of the Cook Islands development partners make decisive and tangible commitments to helping deliver projects to the outer islands.
Rasmussen, who described himself as a critic and a devils advocate by nature of his position in the opposition, said New Zealand, the European Union and the Asian Development Bank all deserved praise for the continuing support of the Cook Islands. He said other developmental partners should follow their lead, drop the politics of the roundtable meeting and take action.
There is a political purpose to it (the meeting), there is also an economic purpose. That needs to be broken down so the discussion is with full openness and full knowledge that that commitment is not something that will drag on for many years, he said.
Minister for Finance and Economic Development Mark Brown recognised the previous government and Rasmussen, who was the former minister for finance, for the work they had put into development in the Cook Islands.
Weve built on what has occurred previously and the minister here has played a key role in getting us to where we are today. So he has a right to be critical, he said.
Lucky Nooroa gets first grocery grab
| Grabbing free groceries for three full minutes –Lucky
Nooroa dashes down an aisle of the CITC Supermarket yesterday. Story
and photos, page 11. 12013118
Between the two of them, Rob McFadzien and Lucky Nooroa have enough corned beef, Anchor milk powder, Coke and Keri Juice to keep their cupboards full for months.
McFadzien learned on Monday afternoon that he was the winner of CITCs grocery grab which hed just entered two days before but was yesterday feeling ill, so nominated Nooroa to do the mad three-minute dash around CITC Supermarket.
At 1pm sharp, Nooroa was off, rushing around the supermarket as fast as he could, sweeping armfuls of chips and Milo into his shopping trolley, blocking out flashing media cameras and the cheers of CITC staff.
When three minutes was up, Nooroa had filled three trolleys with $1510.10 of groceries over 15 big bottles of Keri juice, over 25 1.5 litre bottles of Coke, Sprite and Fanta, 15 cartons of Just Juice, five 2.5kg tins of Anchor milk powder, over five big tins of Milo, coffee, chips, canned tuna and corned beef.
With the addition of an extra $250 worth of frozen goods, he managed to swipe $1760.10 worth of groceries all up.
Nooroa later said he was shocked when McFadzien nominated him as runner. Nervous about being in front of the camera and a cheering CITC staff, he said he had no strategy and just went for whatever I could.
Lucky for him, McFadzien is sharing the goods.
Ill share it sharing is caring, McFadzien said after the grab yesterday.
CITC intends to run two more grocery grabs over the next two months. Yesterdays grab was sponsored by Fonterra, and next month Watties is sponsoring another grab.
The third grocery grab of 2012 will be in March, courtesy of Palm Corned Beef.
CITC key brands manager George George says the grocery grabs are in line with the stores motto for the year CITC is bringing the best to you in 2012 and encouraged shoppers to enter another current competition to win an iPad 2 by submitting a till receipt bearing three Griffins biscuits, ETA snack foods or Nice and Natural Bars products.
It closes on February 10 and the draw will be at 12 noon on February 11.
It took four clerks to scan and bag the groceries Lucky Nooroa managed to swipe.
CITC key brands manager George George with grocery grab runner Lucky Nooroa.
Three trolleys, decorated with blue and white
balloons, were full of groceries Lucky Nooroa grabbed off CITC Supermarket
shelves yesterday. 12013113
A 17-year-old male was arrested for dangerous driving in Avarua on Friday night after he was observed speeding through town and overtaking other vehicles.
Cook Islands Police inspector Tere Patia said the youth was taken into custody after he was seen speeding around cars on the main road at speeds of about 60km/hr.
The speed limit for motorcyclists not wearing a helmet is 40km/h.
The youth has been given bail and will appear in court this week.
Meanwhile, police recorded two road accidents during the weekend with one woman taken to hospital with minor injuries as a result.
The 60-year-old was involved in a single-vehicle crash on Sunday just before 10am.
The woman was travelling west out of town when she collided with a power pole at Avatiu harbour. Patia said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
The woman was taken to hospital, suffering minor injuries to her knee and from shock.
In the other accident, two cars collided in front of the New Zealand High Commission about 8am on Saturday.
Patia said the crash occurred when a person reversing out of a car park at the building failed to notice a car coming along the road. Both cars received some damage and no injuries were recorded.
In the weekends other incidents, police forebode one man from driving after he was stopped at a roadblock and were called out to intervene in a case of domestic violence in Matavera. Patia said there was no cases of burglary or theft recorded over the weekend.
All go and all happy at Avatea!
Ashton Wilkinson and his year 3 mates fill their school desks with brand new stationery ready for a year of learning at Avatea School.
Picking up rubbish, meeting new teachers and making new friends was the buzz at Avatea Primary School yesterday when eager students flocked back to the Nikao school for the first day of the 2012 school year.
The school is the second largest primary school on the island after Avarua School and on Monday morning there was a long queue of new students outside the principals office keen to enrol for the 2012 year.
There was an even longer queue outside the new entrants block at the school where first time primary school students clutched their mothers dresses and their dads hands as they waited to be enrolled into the school. There were even a few very confident new entrants students so fiercely keen on being independent they shooed their parents away after a quick kiss and cuddle.
An Avatea teacher told CINews that they were expecting over 300 students to enrol in the school and that the enrolling process could take all week as students get back into the swing of attending school daily and others returning home from holidays overseas.
Last year Avatea School had 301 students enrolled with the school capable of accommodating some 400 students.
Surprisingly there were no tears in sight from the new school students who were all dressed in tidy new uniforms clutching brand new school bags ready to learn and make new friends. After quickly picking up the rubbish around the school older kids busied themselves rounding up new friends and welcoming newcomers to the school.
One intermediate student was even joined on her first day back at school by her puppy who won her some new friends as well as worrisome looks from teachers who were still trying to figure out how to deal with the unusual situation!
Many hands make light work.
Students queue outside the Avatea principal’s office for their turn to be enrolled in the school.
There were some shy new starters but no tears at Avatea School on Monday.
Avatea student Vanessa Mana (middle) with her puppy Lockie who had joined her for the first day of school along with friends Kattrina (left) and Tehina.
Who knew picking up rubbish could be so much fun as this group of Avatea School students chat and laugh as they worked away.
Year 2 Avatea School students, in their second year of primary school, were all dressed smartly and ready for lessons at 8am on Monday.
First day at school exercises
Apii Nikao Maori pre-school students went straight into lessons on Monday
starting with star jumps and stretching to warm up the brain cells before
a fun day of learning.
Teenage boys death not suspicious
The body of an Avarua youth has been returned to his family with police and the coroner ruling out foul play in his death.
The 16-year-old male was found dead at his Avarua home on Saturday.
Cook Islands Police inspector John Strickland said police had closed the case and the coroner had released the youths body, having determined that he took his own life.
Strickland said that all such cases, where young people have died, go through a police investigation and require a report from the coroner as a matter of course.
He said that both police and the coroner have the option to hold a body until they are satisfied that there was no foul play involved in the persons death.
In this case, the youths body was released without delay.
The youths death follows just a week after another 16-year-old Rarotonga youth took her life.
That death, the fifth such case of suicide in six months at Rarotonga, prompted Te Kainga Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre director Mereana Taikoko to call on the country to do more to care for its youth.
She said there was a severe lack of funding for mental health services in the Cook Islands and called for more action in raising awareness of mental illness and on preventative action against mental illness.
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs of their intentions.
The best way to prevent suicide is to recognise these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.
If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.
Some signs of suicide include, talking about suicide, seeking out access to lethal means, preoccupation with death, no hope for the future, self-loathing, withdrawing from others and self-destructive behaviour.
Taikoko said anyone dealing with mental health issues or thoughts of suicide should contact Te Kainga on 20162. Similarly, anybody who suspects someone may be at risk of committing suicide can contact Te Kainga.
It should never get to that point
Suicide is a symptom of a deeper affliction, says youth leader Tony Feao.
Feao addressed the issue and explained that suicide is a reaction to life a cry for help that comes too late.
Feao, 32, and his wife Simone are leaders of 412, a youth ministry at Celebration on the Rock, and run their own cell groups or small groups for young people.
He says that from what hes seen, the young people who turn to suicide are those who have lost hope.
They lose hope they think theres no hope for a better way forward, he said. Their worldview gets so small and they think it will never get any better, and they feel suicide is a way out.
He says suicide is a last-resort attempt to find solace from pain.
It is one of many self-destructive means to fill a spiritual void, he says.
Somethings missing. Theres a need for something drugs, overeating, smoking, even video games to focus on, to put real life to the side for a while.
But I believe giving your life to Jesus and having a connection with God thats where we find true fulfilment.
...You'll never find warmth in sexual relationships, the bottle, drugs
that's false, short-term. But the fulfilment found in our Lord is 100 percent.
Feao says there have been times in his life hes felt cornered, like theres no way forward. But the difference is I could call upon the Lord.
Young people need to know there is hope, there is a future and a purpose for why we live here on earth. The Bible teaches us that Gods plan for us is to prosper, to give us hope, an awesome future and a full life.
Feao says that at the risk of sounding like a zealot, he firmly believes that the only place to find true peace is in the Lord.
After years of working with youth, he is convinced that the young people who have a strong relationship with God are much better-equipped to weather the storms of life.
The ones that prosper and are able to deal with catastrophe are the ones grounded in their faith in God they have someone to turn to them if they feel there is nowhere else to turn to.
Rather than talking about suicide after its happened, its important to encourage young people to find spiritual and emotional balance before they reach a suicidal point.
Having strong positive relationships in a young persons life gives give strength and support, this is part of the reason why we run cells for young people, a group where they can build friendships, faith and if needed find counsel for any issues they may be facing.
Suicide is such a thief such a destroyer. It should never get to that point.
New Empire market hangout planned
Organisers of a new night market are hoping to turn the carpark at Empire Theatre into a Friday night hang-out, where both locals and tourists can mingle and pick up a steak and mushroom roll.
Coordinator Piltz Napa says the idea is to give food vendors the opportunity to operate on a weekday and the public the option of a cheap, local dinner on a Friday night. We can see lots of vendors that are quite keen to sell food on days other than Saturday, he said. And it gives people an opportunity to come to town on Fridays and get affordable meals.
A trial run will go ahead this Friday evening, and Napa says if its successful he envisages expansion.
What well eventually do is were hoping to get some entertainment, live music, and if we have more vendors an opportunity might be available to have an indoor market inside cinema two, he said.
We could open up the door to the inside and people could wander into cinema two. We could set up garage sales, dry good sales inside and all the cooking stalls outside. Theres the potential to do a lot.
Napa says there are 12 stall spots available for food vendors. Because of space constraints, the organising committee is likely to only approve one vendor of each variety.
We cant have everyone doing steak and mushroom were looking for variety, like curries, steaks, seafood, sushi we want to make it attractive not only for visitors but for locals too.
Most of the applications he has received thus far have been from regulars licensed vendors who operate on Saturday mornings at the Punanga Nui marketplace. Napa will meet with selected vendors tomorrow or Thursday, and plans to tidy up the market space, decorating it with coloured lights and outfitting it with barbecue tables, before Friday.
On market day set-up will begin at 3pm, and vendors will start operating from 4.30. Napa envisions the market running until about 11pm.
Initially the market will run fortnightly, but if it is successful Napa says it could run weekly.
Visitors up 8%, bringing $315m
More than 112,000 tourists injected an estimated $315 million to the Cook Islands economy in 2011, according to the Cook Islands Tourism Corporation.
The government body recorded an 8 percent increase on visitor arrivals in 2011 when compared to the 12 months before that, pushing visitor figures to 112,446 for the calendar year.
The increase in visitors for the year is estimated to have brought another $12.8 million to the economy when compared to 2010.
In total, the tourism corporation puts the value of the tourism industry as being worth $315.9 million to the Cook Islands.
The corporations chief executive officer Carmel Beattie said 2011 was a busy year for the corporation, which saw the Cook Islands foreign marketing campaigns expand, its online presence grow and its media coverage swell.
Beattie said the corporation spent $2.8 million on its various campaigns and projects throughout the year.
She said its partnerships in agencies, media representatives and so on contributed a further $3.8 million of cash and value in kind.
Taking tourisms $2.8 million finance for 2011, the corporation spent about $25 on projects for each person who visited the island during the year.
Much of the in kind contributions has come from media coverage in travel articles and pieces on the Cook Islands.
The corporations brought 133 media personnel to the Cook Islands during the year, who in turn wrote and published articles that carried an advertising worth of about $3.7 million.
Online, the Cook Islands was making itself known on social media websites, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as growing its main hub.
At that site, cookislands.travel, the corporation recorded 30.6 million hits a 185 percent increase on 2010, with 2.75 million page views an 118 percent increase, and 244,000 unique visits for the year a 120 percent increase.
On Facebook, the Cook Islands page had 32,600 friends sign up to join conversations, receive updates and participate in the discussion. It is an explosion of growth recorded at a 293 percent increase on 2010.
On Twitter, the Cook Islands now has 1678 followers.
Beattie said tourism in the Cook Islands had enjoyed making a number of milestones both nationally and for individual organisations.
She said it was also important to acknowledge that these achievements would not have been nearly as impressive without the support of the tourism corporations partners namely the CI Tourism operators and a wide range of international partners including Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia.
||Number (visitors, sites, etc)
|Famils – educational visits by travel trade – agents and wholesalers
||133 media personnel
Equivalent advertising value of resulting articles: $3,671,610
|Trade event – Kia Orana Cook Islands
||51 wholesalers,4 media,11 reps ,5 speaker
Participants - 320
Free workshops -150
=B2B meetings - 26 CI industry met 40 wholesalers
||NZ:16, Australia:19 North America: 7 Southern Europe: 3 Northern Europe: 9 UK: 10
Plus 4 PR/promotional opportunities
Total - 68
||11 – trade
10 – non-traditional e.g. Te Papa, Visa, Roxy Surfwear
|Billboards – consumer direct with call to action
||NZ – 14 – 420 days
Australia – 6 – 212 days
US – 8 – 240 days
Germany – 131 – 3930 days
Eyes on i.e. viewed by - 83.13 million
||1 redeveloped in 2011
||Unique Visitors 244,000 – 120% increase on 2010
Visits 326,000 - 130% increase
Pages viewed 2.75 million - 118% inc
Hits 30.6 million - 185% inc
|Facebook & Twitter
||1 redeveloped in 2011
||32,625 ‘friends’ – 293% increase on 2010
Twitter – 1678 followers - 100% inc
|Destination Development Initiatives - events, product and place development
|Total CI Tourism Spend
|Total partner funding in cash and value in kind
Trochus harvest yields $83,000
Rima Mata of Aitutaki, cleaning her trochus in the lagoon.
Teuru Tiraa-Passfield, Richard Story and Kelvin Passfield have compiled a report on the December 2011 harvest of Trochus (Tectus) niloticus in Aitutaki. This is their five-page summary, which includes background and recommendations for future harvests.
Aitutaki is one of the better known of the islands that make up the Cook Islands. It is an almost atoll located about 260km north of Rarotonga, the main island in the Cooks group. It has a population of around 2000, and is a popular tourist destination.
There have been various second hand reports on the original introduction of trochus to Aitutaki. Some of these have indicated there was a single shipment of 300 shells from Fiji in 1957, though at least one stated there were only 40 shells in that original shipment. However, an old copy of the original type written report on the introduction by Ron Powell, the fisheries officer in the Cook Islands at the time has surfaced. He, along with with Ioaba Marsters, was a key figure in the introduction of the shells. This report has revealed the following facts.
In December 1956, 300 trochus were introduced by air transport to Aitutaki. Mortality was high, and it was estimated that only about 100 of these survived till they arrived in Aitutaki (Powell, 1957).
There would most certainly have been additional mortality after they were placed on the reef in Aitutaki due to stress related to the trip. Because of the poor survival rate of this initial shipment, Ron Powell and Ioaba Marsters, who were overseeing the shipments, conducted some research and found that transporting the shells in damp bags rather than in water actually increased their survival rate markedly. Another 300 were introduced in March of 1957, with about 220 surviving this time (Powell, 1957).
A survey was conducted in 1965 by scientists from the Smithsonian Institute, and a number of live trochus of various sizes were observed, indicating the trochus had survived and also successfully reproduced. A follow-up survey was conducted by Tom Wichman and Tom Marsters (now Deputy Prime Minister) in 1974 (Wichman and Marsters, 1974). They counted more than 14,000 trochus shells, though an estimate of total stock could not be found. The report recommended a commercial harvest at that time.
Despite the recommendation for a harvest in the Wichman/Masters 1974 report the first commercial harvest in Aitutaki wasnt until 1981, when an estimated 200 tons was taken over an extended period of 15 months. The last harvest in Aitutaki was in 2001, when approximately 37 tons was taken.
Overall, approximately 600 tonnes, with a value of approximately NZ$2 million, has been harvested during 14 separate harvests since trochus were first introduced.
The world price of trochus dropped after 2001, and in order to try and obtain the best return for the resource, the island council had not authorised another harvest for a number of years, as they were waiting for prices to improve. However, prices have remained comparatively low.
In addition, a number of harvest surveys have indicated that the population of trochus has not grown much, though why was not clear. It may suggest that there is some density dependent effect which is limiting the total shell population.
It was therefore decided that a harvest should be undertaken in 2011, in the hope that it may stimulate some revitalisation of the stocks, and also provide some additional income to the people of the island, especially as it was the Christmas season.
A pre-harvest survey by the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) (Turua et al, Dec 2011) indicated that 18 tonnes of shells, equivalent to one full 20ft shipping container, could be harvested without over depleting the stock. After tendering the pre-harvested shell to select a buyer, the fishery was opened by a declaration from the island council on Monday the 28th of November.
Approximately 2000 individual 9kg quotas were issued for every man, woman, child and infant resident on the island. Each 9kg quota attracted a licence fee of NZ$2.
Not everyone chose to take up their allocated quota, so much of the individual 9kg quotas were given to other community members to use. In the end, there were 79 families involved in the harvesting, which is estimated to be around 17% of all households.
While usually only two to four family members were actually involved in the harvest in the lagoon, all able bodied family members usually got involved in the boiling and cleaning of the shells, and the extraction of the meat.
It was planned that the harvest be open for just one week. However, after surveying households the MMR staff determined that only about 12.5 tonnes had been harvested after the week.
This was most likely because the weather conditions were far from perfect, as well as the fact that many families had other commitments leading up to Christmas. In order to meet the quota, the harvest was extended for another week by the island council, until 13 December. By that date the quota was reached, and the harvest closed.
After harvesting, all trochus had to be cooked in order to get the meat out and the shell clean for shipping by the buyer. This was usually done by boiling in vats made by cutting 200-litre drums in half, and heating the water using firewood.
A survey of a number of harvesters found that it can be quite difficult to extract all the meat, and the gonad etc, from the upper twirls of the shell.
This was the case especially for the female trochus, as the green gonad coil at the top of the shell often breaks off and remains in the shell. This rots and makes the whole trochus smelly. In comparison, it is fairly easy to get the entire male out of the shells.
Different harvesters had several different methods of attacking the problem. Some recommended cooking the trochus in salt water for several hours, while others used fresh water with the addition of some baking powder, which they thought firmed up the gonad and made for more complete meat and gonad removal.
However, this method affected the flavour of the meat. No clear better method was determined.
After several days, most of the shells were cleaned and dried. Grading started on the 20th of December and lasted three days. Sellers were paid cash on the spot by the buyer, which would have been a welcome Christmas bonus for them.
In general, the shells were received in good condition, and most were A-grade. A few shells that were rejected due to smell were taken away for re-cleaning by the sellers, and then returned in good condition.
The buyer was impressed with the quality of the shell, and the way the harvesters had managed to target mainly A-grade shell.
A total of 18,830kg of trochus was graded and packed. This consisted of 12,249kg, or 65% of A grade, 4269kg or 23% of B grade, and 2,312kg or 12% of C grade.
Harvesters received NZ$5.50 per kilo of dry A-grade shell, and less for lower grades. Overall, an average price of $4.40 was achieved. The total pay out to the fishers was NZ$83,000.
Tag and recapture studies are an ideal method to determine more accurately the population of a single stock, such as the Aitutaki trochus population. A tag and recapture stock assessment was undertaken in conjunction with the 2011 harvest.
Prior to the harvest, a number of trochus were marked with a pencil mark inside the lower part of the shell. Any of these marked shells that were collected during the harvest were recorded on forms supplied to the harvesters. A future report will provide information on the results of this tag-recapture study.
The following recommendations are provided in order to try and improve future trochus harvests, both in Aitutaki and any other islands where harvests may occur such as Rarotonga.
Though minimal, there was some wasted effort by harvesters in collecting shells that were found to be outside the legal range of 8 to 11 cm.
This could have been avoided if accurate measuring sticks were made available to everyone by the island council. Although MMR staff did check and reject illegal trochus while they were still alive, it is not certain that everyone could be bothered returning them to the reef in good condition.
Most harvesters interviewed indicated that there was a lot of work involved in the harvest and cleaning process, and though they were pleased to receive the income at the end of the harvest, they were not sure they would do the same amount of work again for the same return.
Quite a few of the older harvesters gave up before they had reached their quota due to the amount of work involved, and gave their quota to others. Thus it is in the interest of future harvests to try and find faster and more efficient methods, particularly in regard to cleaning the shells, and also if possible adding value to the products, particularly the meat.
Before future harvests, it will be useful to experiment with a number of processing methods to determine the best method to facilitate easy extraction of the meat and cleaning of the shell, both inside and out.
A number of ideas have already surfaced during the survey of the processors. For example, it was reported that in at least one previous harvest in Rarotonga, a concrete mixer with some gravel and small amount of water was used to tumble clean the outer layers of encrusting algae and other material from the surface of the shell. This would be less labour intensive than the commonly used method of scraping the shell with a knife.
Some quality control would be needed to ensure all shells were properly cleaned, and they may need to still be finished off by hand. It has also been reported that in French Polynesia, people use a metal device to extract the meat from the shells without the need for boiling. These and other ideas need to be investigated and if possible trialled prior to the next harvest.
The Ministry of Marine Resources would appreciate hearing from anybody who may have information on improved processing methods, as well as any information on markets for trochus meat or opercula. In particular, information on how to fully extract the meat from the raw shell would be useful, as the meat may be more valuable as an uncooked product, leaving more options available for processing.
It is expected that MMR will continue to survey the trochus population on an annual basis and when a viable harvest quota is reached (the minimum often being one shipping container or 18 tonnes) or the world price is favourable, this process will repeat itself again. The history of trochus harvests suggests that a population can sustain a harvest every two years, or possibly more often, if the price is favourable.
Despite the difficulties encountered, valuable lessons were learned. This was considered to be a very successful harvest by all concerned, and the buyer reports that the container is now well on its way to Italy, where the shells will be processed and eventually end up as buttons on high-end Italian designer fashions.
The authors would like to acknowledge the comments on the draft by Ben Ponia, Ngere George, Koroa Raumea, and Ian Bertram. Tuane Turua, Ngere George, Koroa Raumea James Mata and Joe Katangi conducted pre and/or post harvest surveys, as well as the monitoring of the harvest, buying and grading. Tangi Toko and Mama Ina assisted with the grading of shells, and the Aitutaki mayor John Baxter and his council, provided valuable assistance and advice. Raymond Newnham provided additional information of the grading and marketing. Appreciation also goes out to all the harvesters for their cooperation during the study.
Appendix. Trochus harvests in Aitutaki, 1981 to 2011
NZD per mt
||Estimated Fishers Earnings (NZD)
||Av 4405 (5500 for a grade)
A local family harvesting trochus.
AMRC Staff measuring freshly harvested trochus, and separating out any under 8cm or over 11cm.
Villages new fishing boat blessed
Soko Roi, Munokoa Pita, MP Mark Brown, Daphne Brown, Unakea Kauvai and Ben Ponia at the blessing of the Tutakimoa Fishing Association’s fishing boat ‘Vaine Tutakimoa’ on Saturday.
The Tutakimoa Fishing Association (TFA) blessed its new fishing boat on Saturday naming it Vaine Tutakimoa. And the new owners wasted no time testing out the vessel during a fishing trip that evening.
The boat is the culmination of a collaborative effort between the Community Initiative Scheme (New Zealand Aid Programme) and the newly established Fishing Development Fund (FDF) set up by the Cook Islands government.
Funds from the Community Initiative Scheme covered the cost of building the boat which was done locally by master boat builder Tai Herman.
The FDF funded the cost and installation of the outboard motor.
The owners, Tutakimoa Fishing Association, are a community based group who took out a small loan to cover the costs for a radio, safety gear and start up costs for its members.
The Tutakimoa Fishing Association also received a large fish bin from the FBI Takeaways as a contribution from the private sector.
Chairman of the new association Munokoa Pita expressed his thanks to the parties involved for their contributions.
Special mention was made to boat builder Tai Herman for
his work which was over and above the cost and included
the construction of the boat trailer.
Member of parliament Mark Brown was delighted with the final product.
Tutakimoa is one tapere that is largely made up of outer island residents. Lack of access to planting land means that this community relies on the sea as its bread basket.
A local community fishing boat will allow the community to catch fish for household consumption and also for sale to food outlets or for the community market days that are held every month. He added that this was a good example of development funds actually reaching the grass roots level in the community.
The Minister of Marine Resources was represented by Ben Ponia who stated that this boat is capable of catching export quality fish with the gear onboard.
The TFA has also entered into an agreement with the ministry to allow the vessel to be used for training purposes on special occasions.
He explained that cabinet minister and minister in charge of the marine resources Teina Bishop was fully supportive of the project and was especially pleased that the first recipient of the Fishing Development Fund went to such an appropriate village project.
Each year an allocation of funds earned from fishing licenses goes into this fund to support local artisanal fishing organisations.
18 more names
The jubilant crowd after last week’s PR ceremony.
Last week, Cook Islands News published a list of people awarded with permanent residency status that was incomplete.
Eighteen people of the 74 that received their certificates of permanent residency at a ceremony at the National Auditorium on Thursday were not included on the list.
The error occurred during the production stage of compiling Saturdays newspaper.
New Zealander; Anne Mary REID New Zealander; Laura Lynne SOLOMON New Zealander; Robert John DAVIES New Zealander; Brian HUTCHINSON United Kingdom; Allison Rae MAREKO New Zealander; Janice Beryl AREORA Australian; Raymond Gordon ROBINSON New Zealander; Lynette Margaret SAMUELA New Zealander; Paul David SOOCHOON New Zealander; Malcolm Frederick JOHNSTON New Zealander; Knocker Lynton DEAN New Zealander; Elizabeth Ann NGAEI-TOU United Kingdom; Christopher David REYNOLDS New Zealander.
Related stories: PR the greatest honour; Irelands islander takes his time; Boxer flies CI colours; Cricket captain given PR; Double meaning; 74 spouses awarded permanent residency; Stay here and...stay married; 74 receive permanent residency; 14 to get PR in Aitutaki; 93 to pledge loyalty
Pacific Forum scopes Aitutaki for retreat
Locals with Forum Secretariat staff on One Foot Island yesterday – from left, Michael Henry, Harriett Kimiora, Alouise Kado, Mele Utoikamanu, Teina McKenzie, Desna Solofa, Carl Hunter.
Two high-ranking representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat travelled to Aitutaki yesterday to scope its potential for hosting a leaders retreat during the Pacific Islands Forum in August.
Forum secretariat staff, political governance and security programme director Desna Solofa and conference and protocol officer Mele Utoikamanu, accompanied Carl Hunter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Aitutaki for a day-long scoping exercise.
Forum secretariat secretary-general Tuiloma Slade was meant to travel to Aitutaki as well but fell ill on Sunday and yesterday elected to stay behind in Rarotonga.
Hunter says the reaction of the delegates to the island of Aitutaki was very positive.
In Aitutaki they were able to liaise with Michael Henry, who has been appointed the on-island coordinator of the Aitutaki leaders retreat.
They were here to look provisionally at accommodation arrangements, focusing on those needed for forum leaders, Henry said yesterday.
Henry says around 32 Pacific leaders will visit Aitutaki in August and that figure does not include international and regional media practitioners, which could number well over 100.
Now weve got an idea of numbers were looking at the main party somewhere around 32 and associated with that, but not covered by our country, will be as many as 100 media.
Henry said the people of Aitutaki are looking forward to hosting as few as 150 people from around the region.
Some may only fly in for hours we dont know yet.
Secretariat staff did not confirm any arrangements nor did they commit to any venue, but approved of the following sites Motu Akaiami, One Foot Island, Aitutaki Lagoon Resort & Spa, Tamanu Beach Resort and Pacific Resort Aitutaki.
(All) got ticks as suitable for the event, but the decisions on whos going where and when are for our team on Aitutaki to confirm, Henry said.
Hunter was clear that dates and details are yet to be confirmed.
But were starting the scoping exercise now because the earlier we start the earlier we can tie it up, he said.
What is development assistance?
The Cook Islands is today hosting a major roundtable meeting with its developmental partners today to discuss the future of the countrys development and reflect on projects completed in recent years.
Officials from the government gather with representatives from foreign governments, donor programmes and multi-national organisations, to attempt to bring more development assistance to the Cook Islands.
The Office of the Prime Minister has offered a cheat sheet for those wanting to know more about development assistance and what is means for the people of the Cook Islands.
What is development assistance?
Development assistance is a term now used instead of aid or donor funding.
Simply put, development assistance involves working with our development partners on an equal footing to help meet the needs and priorities identified by Cook Islanders, which builds on our existing leadership, resources and strengths.
These national priorities are set out in the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) 2011-2015 which was recently confirmed by government after significant community consultation.
Development assistance can be provided in three ways as a grant, a loan, or as technical assistance where skills or materials are provided to the Cook Islands.
How does development assistance work?
In the past, funding had often been targeted at short term projects mainly controlled by the donor and not always aligned to national priorities.
These initiatives sometimes failed to recognise that local people knew best what they needed and had potential skills and knowledge to contribute what we might describe as an outside looking-in approach.
Today, the Cook Islands government is striving to build strong relationships with and between its development partners so they are based more on collaboration, mutual benefit and understanding, openness, respect and support, and which recognise and build on the potential and capability that already exists here.
The aim is to make sure that development assistance leads to greater self-reliance by fostering opportunities for local people to provide services and increase skills and experience by participating in all stages of development initiatives.
Who is involved in development assistance in the Cook Islands?
Our development partners are countries like New Zealand, Australia, the European Union (EU) China and UN agencies.
At present we hold bilateral discussions and roundtable meetings with our partners to decide where development assistance might be targeted in the Cook Islands in the short and long term to best achieve our national goals and objectives.
A development partner can also be a national organisation, like a womens group, an environmental group, a government department like the Ministry of Education, or a private interest group like the Tourism Industry Council.
Through wide consultation, the NSDP outlines the countrys key priorities which are designed to benefit all Cook Islanders, both on Rarotonga and in the pa enua.
Recent examples of development assistance include:
Staff and financial support to improve maternal health and community efforts to raise awareness of and reduce non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes;
In the pa enua, the Aitutaki Recovery Programme saw homes being rebuilt after Cyclone Pat. A project is underway to construct a cyclone shelter in Pukapuka;
Community Centred Development Planning has seen Mauke and Mitiaro create their own Village Sustainable Development plans to address their unique needs and priorities;
Revitalising the Cook Islands pearl industry; increasing electricity generation from renewable energy; and providing support for vocational and trades training for people to gain skills and qualifications as electricians, carpenters and plumbers.
How do we know that development assistance is being used effectively?
The Cook Islands government is keen to ensure development assistance is organised and managed better.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) is working to ensure that the countrys finance and reporting systems are more accountable and transparent.
Approaches to development assistance must also serve the diverse needs of the Cook Islands, especially in the pa enua.
How can I have a say or get involved in development assistance?
The government is always keen to hear your views on development assistance and there are a number of ways to have your say for example when there is consultation on the NSDP, and consultation held on the design, impact and resourcing of initiatives.
The Cook Islands has a National Overseas Development Assistance Policy which gives citizens more say and involvement in the development of the Cook Islands.
Opportunities are also advertised for you to express your interest in development assistance offered at the community level or to tender your products and services.
If you want to know more about opportunities to partner with the government and our country development partners, go to www.mfem.gov.ck
Who's attending today
||ADB Country Officer to the CKIS
||Director, Polynesian/Micronesian Section
||First Secretary (Political)
|Jean-Philippe de Jong
||Head, Regional Office
|Dr Abdoul-Aziz Mbaye
||Head of Delegation
||Attach, Social Sectors
||Consul, Econ & Commercial
||Spouse of Ms Cao
|John Carter QSO
||NZ Aid Programme Manager
||Dep. Secretary, Intern Dev't Group
||Dep. Director, Intern Dev't Group
||Deputy Director General
|Dr Russell Howorth
||UN Resident Representative
||Spouse of Ms Noble
||Director, Dev't, Marketing & Communications
|Dr Rod Dixon
||Director, CKIS Campus
|Tuiloma Neroni Slade
||Political Issues Advisor
||Second Secretary, Indian HICOM
|Dr Baoping Yang
|Dr Viliami Fakava
||Plant Production & Protection
||Wahines Aihe (NZ)
EU funding signed over
Minister of Finance and Economic Management Mark Brown and European Union Head of Delegation Abdoul-Aziz M’Baye signing a funding agreement for the Pukapuka Cyclone Management Centre.
The new Pukapuka cyclone management centre is due to be officially opened in March.
The European Union and the Cook Islands government signed a deal yesterday that has guaranteed the EUs 600,000 euro (NZ$920,000) commitment to the Pukapuka Cyclone Management Centre project.
Until now, contractors have been working with a guarantee from the Cook Islands government that underpinned funding for the project, which is 85 percent funded by the EU and 15 percent funded by the Cook Islands.
The construction, which started in June, is now nearing completion and the whole project is expected to come in under budget and ahead of schedule.
At the signing yesterday, Fiji-based EU Head of Delegation Abdoul-Aziz MBaye described the project and the ongoing partnership between the EU and the Cook Islands as very, very successful.
MBaye said he was pleased to see how efficiently the Cook Islands had administered the project and utilised the EUs contribution.
He said he was particularly pleased to see the speed and efficiency of the projects progress and that locals in Pukapuka were employed as part of the construction work.
This is what development is all about people building their own future, he said.
Minister of Finance and Economic Management Mark Brown said the Pukapuka cyclone project was part of the Cook Islands commitment to improving the hardiness of the pa enua.
This important project will be completed in March 2012 and fulfils the governments goal of building resilience to natural disasters in the outer islands, Brown said.
Ahead of the signing ceremony, Brown and MBaye said the funding follows a favourable mid-term review of the Cook Islands EU programme in 2010.
The government wishes to express its appreciation of the EUs commitment to outer islands development and looks forward to continuing its fruitful partnership with the EU through general budget support, Brown said.
A technical cooperation facility has and will continue to assist the country make the transition from the prevalent project approach to general budget support.
The EU has provided development funding to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries since 1958 through the European Development Fund.
The Cook Islands signed up the agreement in June 2000.
From 2003 to 2007, the country received 3.5million euro for outer islands development.
Under its latest agreement with the EU, the Cook Islands also has water and sanitation as its focal sector with an allocation of 3.3million euro in two envelopes from 2008 to 2013.
Minister Brown said the signing with the EU models the emphasis that the Cook Islands government is placing on fostering effective partnerships with development partners as reflected by its hosting of a second donor roundtable meeting this year.
Bilateral discussions explained
Members of the Cook Islands government and representatives from its most important development partners will gather at a roundtable meeting today.
The meeting will build on bilateral discussions held one on one yesterday between the government and these organisations.
The Office of the Prime Minister today offers a break-down of all the terms and jargon associated with the meetings, detailing their importance, who is involved and what will happen once theyre finished.
What are bilateral discussions?
Bilateral discussions (or bilaterals as they are known) involve two parties (often countries) meeting to discuss current issues and priorities that are important to both.
Prior to the roundtable meeting, the Cook Islands government held bilateral discussions with representatives from Australia, New Zealand, China, the European Union (EU) and the Asian Development Bank. These discussions will occurred yesterday, Monday, January 30.
What is a roundtable meeting?
After the bilateral discussions, representatives of each country and organisation invited to the roundtable meeting will come together at one big meeting, sitting around a table to discuss the Cook Islands priorities for development assistance.
They will look at ways of working in partnership with each other and with the Cook Island government to address those priorities.
Why are these discussions and meetings important?
The bilateral discussions and roundtable meeting are important opportunities for the Cook Islands government to explain the needs and priorities of the country and for development partners to respond by deciding where and how they will be able to work with the government to address those needs and priorities.
In 2012, the Cook Islands government will place considerable emphasis on renewable energy and water as the two key priority areas for cooperation with its development partners.
Who is involved in the bilateral discussions and roundtable meeting?
Prime Minister Henry Puna and ministers are involved in these events and are supported by key ministries and other agencies of government.
In addition to other governments with which the Cook Islands has a close cooperative relationship, other regional and international organisations are also present at the roundtable meeting, for example those from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Pacific Regional Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme, World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Discussions between the Cook Islands government and its development partners will continue until the details of where and how assistance is to be provided are finalised.
This can take several weeks, however it is likely that key outcomes of the roundtable meeting will be made known shortly after the roundtable meeting concludes.
Graduates and scholars named
Former Cook Islands News cadet journalist Peka Fisher after receiving a scholarship to study a bachelor of communication studies at AUT. 4
One hundred thirty nine graduates and 28 new scholarship students were honoured with a ceremony held in the National Auditorium last Friday. Fifteen people graduated from the Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre (HTTC), 32 from the Cook Islands Trades Training Centre (CITTC), 14 from Cook Islands Sports Academy (CISA), eight from community services, two from a CITC retail tutors programme, 50 from Tertiary Awards Programmes (TAP) and 18 other graduates, bringing the total to 139. Toward the end of yesterdays ceremony, recipients of scholarships for the 2012 academic year were announced. Fifteen people received Cook Islands government scholarships to study in-country, four received government scholarships to study overseas, three received New Zealand Aid Programme/AusAID regional developmental scholarships and New Zealand Aid Programme development scholarships went to six Cook Islanders, bringing the total scholarship recipients to 28. Cook Islands News presents the list of graduates and new scholarship students here.
Cook Islands Hospitality Tourism Training Centre (HTTC) graduates
Mii Mataio, Witamahame Metuakore certificate in food and beverage level 3, diploma in food and beverage level 4
Xenia Tamara Art Kae, Marthalayne Tuaputa, Deana Paiti - certificate in food and beverage level 1, diploma in food and beverage level 2
Janine Sally Nookura, Rhys Munro-Manu, Gemma Firmston, Kevin Tunui Varu Wichman, William Teuru Rima, Lavanisha Raajendran, Rachel Kakino certificate in food preparation and cooking principles level 1, diploma in food preparation and cooking principles level 2
Southern Institute of Technology graduates
Eileen Mary Turepu, Kaiariki Louis national certificate in adult education level 5
Cook Islands Sports Academy graduates
Raina Wichman, Clarke Ngaau, Tamarua Browne, Zephaniah Hoff, Mana Ngaau, Basil Matapo, Timote Tangirere, Stanley Tobia, Mathew Rairoa, Leon Paniani, Ben Daniel, Boaza Atetu, Teariki Sword, Teararoa Bishop NZ national certificate in sport level 2
Cook Islands Trades Training Centre graduates
Timeti Nubono, Roro Taia, Tamatoa Emile, John Paul Tuara, Itama Tuatoru, Ngametua Areai, George Taikakara NZQA Cook Islands electrical service technician
Tongata Tengere, David Roimata Rouru, Trainee Maea, Jodicee Leeroy Caine Reremoana, Teina Nootai, Christopher Kareroa, Apororahi Jnr Papahu, Vakiki Muokoa Araipu, Nootai Henry, Mikaere Nubono Tebano, John Patrick Fortes, Gerard Taero, Takeremarama Rongo NZQA national certificate in motor industry (entry skills) level 2
Tangaipu Oaariki, Junior Leon Ariinui Tarau, Tuakana Aue-Metua Moetaua, Tennessee Mataio, Taipakoko Paepaenui Toko, Jason Temanu, Koroa Jnr Raumea, Mokoha Johnson, Giovanni Marsters NZQA BCITO pre-trade carpentry
Jesse Iete Totini, Lucky Nooroa NZQA Cook Islands telecommunications certificate year 1
Carl P Glassie NZQA Cook Islands telecommunications certificate year 2
National Certificate in Community Services
Marlene Wulf, Ngatokorima
Maine Tangatapoto, Corrina Shelton, Mataiti Mataiti, Ngaire Lynda Tua,
Valarina Tokoara, Jannet Kimipapa Ruatoe, Teitirua Nubono
Tertiary Awards Programme
Cook Islands government in-country student assistance fund (SAF)
Matapakia George, Sela John Varu, Tupuna Makakea, Vaineturou Oti, Minora J Strickland, Piriangaroa Tauakume certificate in early childhood education
Kathleen Numanga Wearing -- certificate in law (criminal and civil)
Michael Papatua, Temarangi Paratainga Bachelor of education (primary)
Teremoana Ave, Peter College, Susan V Ngatokorua, Linda Savage-Dun, Teina Tearii, Moearanui Teipo, Nooroa Teipo, Kairangi Thomson Henry, Tereapii Upokokeu, Anna M Katoa postgraduate diploma in education (leadership)
Pasha Carruthers, John Hosking, Rimmel Poila, Elizabeth A Ponga postgraduate diploma in international affairs
Eirangi Marsters Masters of business administration
Teina Rongo doctor of philosophy (biological sciences)
Cook Islands government in-country tuition awards scholarships
Munokoa Purea Bachelor of arts (management and accounting)
Teokotai Nooapii Bachelor of commerce (economics and management)
Takau Daniel, Moekapiti Tangatakino, Teina Tearii Bachelor of Education (primary)
Naomi M Albert, Topa Julian, Syaka T K Tairi postgraduate diploma in education (leadership)
Karen Tairea postgraduate diploma in science (human nutrition)
Cook Islands government scholarships
Krystina Kauvai Bachelor of commerce (management and information systems) Dan O Rasmussen Bachelor of science (geography)
Alexandrya Herman -- Bachelor of commerce/bachelor of law (law honorus and economics)
Mary Kata -- Postgraduate diploma in nursing
NZAID/AusAid Regional Developmental Scholarships (RDS)
Engara Gosselin -- Bachelor of Arts (Tourism & Hospitality)
Nimerota J Brown -- Bachelor of Arts (Management & Psychology)
NZAID Short Term Training Awards (STTA)
Teariki Purua, Andrew George -- Certificate in Prison Officers Initial Course Napa Napa -- Certificate in Patisserie Level 4 Ngatokoa Teinangaro -- Graduate Diploma in the Theory of Addictions Level 7
Moana Bates -- National Certificate in Drainlaying Level 4
Priscilla Maruariki, Frances Topa Fariu, Dallas Young Certificate in Pacific Executive (PACE) Program
Joyce Matamaki -- Certificate in Australian Leadership
Graduates under World Health Organisation (WHO) scholarships Administered
by the Ministry of Health
Kirianu Nio -- Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Tereapii Nimerota -- Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health
Deacon T W Teapa -- Master of Medicine in Surgery
Lagaau Uele Vaevae -- Master in Public Health
Graduates under United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Scholarships
Administered by the Ministry of Health
Rangi T E Tairi -- Certificate in Sexual & Reproductive Health Management
Administered by Ministry of Education
Donald Jnr Beer -- C.Is Trained Teachers Diploma (Secondary)
All other resident Cook Islands graduates
Stephanie L Puiri -- Diploma in Early Childhood Education
Teruatu A Ringi -- Diploma in Management
Tuaine Manavaroa, Kairangi J Samuela, Heather J Webber-Aitu, Ulamila K I M Wragg -- Postgraduate Certificate in Diplomacy & International Affairs
Josephine Kue Ivirangi, Engia Pate, Vaeruarangi Unuka -- Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Leadership)
Ana Tiraa-Passfield -- Master of Science (Natural Resources)
Ana File -- Diploma in Counselling
Ngatokorua Ngatokorua, Marie Francis -- PGDip Legislative Drafting
New in-country and overseas scholarship students
Cook Islands Government In Country Full Tuition Scholarships (ITAS)
Metuamaru Apera -- Bachelor of Commerce (Business Studies)
Manarii B Etches -- Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems
Edward T Herman -- Chartered Accountant studies
Miller J Kurariki -- Bachelor of Commerce (Hotel Management)
Nora Lazaro -- Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
Marianna Mataio -- Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education)
Tangi M Mataio -- Postgraduate Diploma in Public Administration
Helen Maunga -- Graduate Diploma in Occupational Safety & Health
Inano V McMurchy -- Bachelor of Natural Medicine
Sandra R Tisam -- Master in International Affairs
Vaeruarangi Unuka -- Master in Educational Leadership
Stephanie P Vaiimene -- Bachelor of Commerce (Hotel Management)
Tania Wichman -- Diploma in Management Studies
Jonah Tisam -- Doctor of Philosophy
Teata Purea Rangi Ateriano -- Bachelor of Education (TVET/Food & Nutrition)
Cook Islands Government Scholarships (CIGS)
Mihimana Ioapa -- Bachelor of Hospitality Management
Valentino Wichman -- Bachelor of Art/LLB
Regina Mustonen -- Bachelor of Health Science
Teuru Passfield -- Bachelor of Science in Ecology
NZAID/AusAid Regional Developmental Scholarships (RDS)
Aleena Paula Dyer -- Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting/Management)
Veia J Teipo -- Bachelor of Arts (Official Statistics/Geography)
Claytoncy Taurarii -- Bachelor of Environmental Health
New Zealand Aid Pacific Scholarships (NZPS)
Ricky A Bishop -- Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
Harriet K Tuara -- Bachelor of Communication Studies (Journalism/Public Relations)
Mervin M Brown -- Bachelor of Applied Science (Energy Management)
Allanah K Edgar Herman -- Bachelor of Business Analysis
Related stories: 139
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Swing set donated to Blackrock
Kalani Campbell with his dad Donal and mum Rachel (all standing right) shares the fun of climbing and swinging with his friends at Blackrock Apii Potiki.
Sharing is caring that was the message for students of Blackrock Apii Potiki on their first day back at school on Monday.
Students arrived back at school to find a new swing and climbing set donated to the school by Donal and Rachel Campbell of Pacific Cars.
The couple rigged up the new plastic swing and climbing set in the Blackrock Apii Potiki school yard during the holidays ready for kids to use at the start of the 2012 school year.
The couples four-year-old son Kalani is in his last year at the early childhood education centre.
Rather than put up the swing set at home, we decided to bring it here to the school so that all the kids can share the enjoyment of using it, says Rachel.
It didnt take long for the 45 students of the school to clamber over the new swing set and share the fun of swinging and sliding from it.
The new swing set is one of a number in the small school yard and Blackrock Apii Potiki Principal Stephanie Puiri says she is extremely grateful to Pacific Cars and the Campbell family for their generous donation.
She says that not only is their yard choka-block with fun swings and climbing frames for the kids but so is the small schools roll for the year.
Church service for start of Avarua school year
The Avarua School community welcomed in the new school year with a packed-out
church service on Monday. Young students filled the Avarua Cook Islands Christian
Church, sitting alongside their teachers and parents from the school community.
Teava Iro accepts a CITC gift package on behalf of winner Koti Iro.
Proud winner of an Xbox 360 Kinect Te Ava Alexander.
Some CITC shoppers were lucky enough to enjoy a second Christmas last week.
The term was coined by shopper Tepori Rongokea, who likened receiving a $1000 prize pack from the CITC Avarua Christmas Campaign to celebrating a second Christmas.
We felt it was important to have all the winners receive their prizes personally before the announcement as there were a couple away overseas, Marty Rere of CITC said.
All winners were surprised and ecstatic with some being first time winners.
CITC extends its congratulations to the winners of the Christmas Campaign, and says it is committed to bringing its customers the best in 2012.
Douglas Tou won the Christmas Bonus, Courtney Papatua won an iPad 2, Te Ava Alexander won an Xbox 360 Kinect and the following people won $1000 packs Teuspoko Glassie of Nikao, Miabella Tamangaro of Atupa, George Maoate of Titikaveka, Tepori Rongokea of Arorangi, Christian Mata of Titikaveka, Koti Iro of Titikaveka, Dominique Putere of Nikao, Adrianna Akava of Arorangi, Enua Aporo Dean of Kiikii and Tangi Amataiti of Black Rock.
Mato lands Pacific trade role
2010 sports award presenter Mona Mato (second from right) with guest speaker and former All Black Josh Kronfeld (centre) and son Cassius, fellow awards presenter Janette Browne and then minister of sports Apii Piho and wife Mehau.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs bids farewell to its trade policy officer and the country to a prominent community personality next week.
Teremoana Mona Mato has been offered a job as a trade and export promotions officer with Pacific Islands Trade & Invest, an Auckland-based agency that facilitates exports, investment and tourism promotion within the region.
Pacific Islands Trade & Invest is one arm of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, with four branches around the world in Auckland, Beijing, Sydney and Tokyo. Its aim is to create opportunities for exporters and investors in the Pacific region, and ultimately to improve the livelihood of Pacific people.
Mato will be responsible for promoting and facilitating trade and exports between 14 Pacific Island nations and New Zealand on the one hand, finding markets for Pacific businesses and developing export enterprises in the Pacific, and on the other working on projects involving both trade and investment.
He will also be responsible for developing strategic partnerships between his agency, the private sector, government and non-government organisations in the Pacific and New Zealand.
Mato will be based in Auckland for three years, but his job will require him to pay frequent visits to the 14 member nations of the Pacific Islands Forum.
He was approached by a representative of the Auckland Pacific Islands Trade & Invest office at a regional meeting in Fiji last year, and agreed to apply.
Its one of those things where you put your name in the hat and you dont think much of it, he said.
Three weeks later he learned he and four other applicants had been short-listed. Following a telephone interview, he was told hed made the final three and flown to Auckland for a final interview.
In November of last year, Mato was confirmed as the successful applicant.
It has always been a career plan of mine to get the opportunity to work in a regional organisation but I didnt think the opportunity would emerge so soon. When it did come, there was no hesitation to accept the offer of employment, he said.
Pacific Islands Trade & Invest chief operating officer and head of investments Manuel Valdez says Mato will be a valuable asset to the organisation.
He will be a help to our organisation because of his wealth of experience in the Cook Islands, (given) we want to increase the trade between the Pacific Islands countries and New Zealand, Valdez said this week.
Mato will be doing a high-profile job here in our organisation, Valdez said.
Matos background and experience with trade in the Cook Islands was a selling point for the interview panel, which recognised his understanding of regional trade policies and the border protocol pertaining to the movement of goods and services around the region.
For years he was a trade marketing manager with the-then Development Investment Board (now BTIB), working to establish international markets for Cook Islands exporters. In 2007 he went back to school to earn his Masters of Business Administration and a postgraduate diploma in management studies from the University of Waikato, and since returning to Rarotonga has been working as the trade policy officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.
With Matos imminent departure the ministry loses its trade officer, and the government loses its token master of ceremonies. Mato says playing emcee has allowed him to grow in a lot of ways, and in particular remembers hosting the Pacific Economic Symposium in Auckland in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup.
He looks forward to the challenges of a new job and a new place.
Its a job where I walk in as a Pacific Islander to ensure I exercise impartiality amongst the 14 Pacific Island countries but at the same time, the heart will always own up and say, I am a Cook Islander at heart.
Other than studying at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, I havent actually lived in New Zealand, so it will be a bit of a challenge not waking up to Muri lagoon every morning. But I suppose with every new chapter in life, there are pages of challenges, he said.
He will miss his family, friends and the Cook Islands tropical climate, but encourages local people to visit him in Auckland.
I wish I could say the same about our tropical weather paying a visit during the winter months of New Zealand, he joked.
Mato is grateful to God for his blessings, families and friends for love and support, former work colleagues for the opportunity to learn from and my Ngatangiia community, he said.
I leave knowing that my small contributions to our community are highly appreciated as a result of the farewell receptions I have been blessed with.
He flies to Auckland on Monday morning and starts his new job the following week.
Moana Herman returns home to Avarua
For Teremoana Herman, becoming principal of Avarua School wasnt like taking on a new job it was more like coming home.
Herman has moved from the deputy principals job at Tereora College to replace Gelling Jack as Avaruas principal.
Jack worked in the role for 17 years, bridging the gap from when Herman last worked at Avarua, covering her tertiary education in New Zealand and time working at Titikaveka College and later at Tereora, to her return this year.
Jack retired from education at the end of the year and will be running rental properties in the Cook Islands.
Herman last worked at Avarua as deputy principal in 1993, the next year Jack took over as principal. Before that, Herman was also a student at Avarua.
Now, 17 years on from the last time she worked there, Herman said it was fantastic to be coming home.
For me it really is like coming home I am a product of Avarua school, she said.
Students will be returning to class on Monday, following a church service starting at 8.30am.
Herman said the school was changing its regular assembly routine for the first week back so it could start off with a service in church.
Parents are welcome to attend and are asked to begin assembling at the Avarua CICC from 8am for an 8.30am start.
On Friday, the school will also hold a beach day to help everyone bond together at the start of the year. Parents are also welcome to come to Muri for the day, too.
Herman is one of six changes to school principals in the Cook Islands.
At Titikaveka College, Mata Hetland will take over from acting principal Dale Wells. Hetland is a former teacher and deputy principal of Titikaveka College and former teacher at Tereora College.
She also has overseas teaching experience in Fiji and New Zealand and most recently, in 2011, held the position of school review officer with the Ministry of Education and then ICT teacher at Tereora College from August 2011.
At Aitutakis Araura College, Tarona Daniel, a Cook Islander, is returning from New Zealand to head the school, bringing teaching and management experience in New Zealand schools.
At Tereora College, Bali Haque will take on the head role.
At Nikao School, Terangi Elika has been appointed principal from a role as acting principal of the school.
At Penrhyns Tetautua School, Teina Tearii, a former teacher at Avarua School in its senior classes will become principal.
139 graduates, 28 scholarships
Graduates and scholarship winners after the Department of National Human Resource Development ceremony on Friday. 6
One hundred thirty nine graduates who last year studied under Department of National Human Resources (DNHRD) schemes and 28 new scholarship students were the guests of honour at a ceremony held in the National Auditorium on Friday afternoon.
The DNHRD runs the ceremony annually to acknowledge those Cook Islanders who successfully graduate under DNHRD-arranged scholarships, and to announce a new batch of scholarship recipients.
The ceremony was attended by such public figures as New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter, deputy leader of the opposition Wilkie Rasmussen, president of the House of Ariki Travel Tou Ariki, Koutu Nui president Maria Henderson, Sir Frederick Goodwin, finance minister Mark Brown, culture minister Teariki Heather and executive dean of Weltech Julia Hennessy.
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Scholarship winners Teuru TiraaiPassfield and Peka Fisher. 5
Mother Agnes Strickland was there to congratulate her daughter Minora Strickland for graduating with a certificate in early childhood development from USP. 0
Josie Rattle being covered in ei after graduating from HTTC. 4
Napa Harry Napa receiving lashes of praise from aunty Tia Napa-Bergin at the National Auditorium on Friday. 5
Mihimana Ioapa being congratulated by family for winning a scholarship to study a bachelors in hospitality management at AUT. 3
Carpentry student Koroa Raumea waiting to be presented with his graduation certificate. 9
HTTC graduate Kevin Wichman, centre, with grandmothers Matangaro Taripo and Rangi Pitomaki, mother Teremoana Tunui and aunty Haumata Manavaroa. 9
All in the family – Matangaro Taripo, Kevin Wichman, Josie Rattle, Teremoana Tunui, Marlene Wulf, Haumata Manavaroa and Nola Wulf, holding baby Joseph, after the Department of National Human Resource Development graduation ceremony. 8
Cook Islands Sports Academy’s Ben David with New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter at the Department of National Human Resource Development graduations. 7
Tertiary students new and old gathered at the National Auditorium on Friday for the annual graduation ceremony and to receive scholarships. 1
Rousing speech at graduation
Keynote speaker Doctor Teina Rongo. 8
Dr Teina Rongo gave a powerful, rousing speech at Fridays Department of National Human Resource Development (DNHRD) graduation ceremony.
Dr Rongo, who recently earned his PhD in marine biology from the Florida Institute of Technology was chosen to be the ceremonys keynote speaker.
He began by thanking DNHRD and other funding organisations for sponsoring his academic pursuits and those of his Cook Islands brothers and sisters.
Rongos education was primarily self-funded, and HRDs contribution was the partial tuition reimbursement through the Overseas Student Assistance Fund (OSAF) for Cook Islanders who have privately pursued tertiary studies overseas and have applied for partial assistance for tuition fees on a reimbursement basis.
To the new graduates, Rongo said: You can now pat yourselves on the back for a job well done but dont let your achievement today be your last.
Dr Rongo pointed to two defining moments in primary school as those that set the foundation for the rest of his academic career.
I stand before you as a doctor of philosophy in the field of marine biology but getting here has not been easy, he said.
He talked of a spelling test in grade four during which he spelt tree as tiri and the as ta, prompting his teacher to read his answers aloud.
Everyone laughed and I ended up cryingbut it pushed me to work harder, he remembered.
He then recounted the vision of an adult mentor at Avarua School, who told him he would grow up to be a scientist.
It was that day I decided I wanted to become a scientist and that became my dream, he said. As adults, educators and parents we have to be mindful of our words and actions because they can influence our childrens futures.
Dr Rongo noted that his journey to achieving a doctorate was an arduous one. He joked that after earning his degree he was wary of returning home, where scientist was a technical way to sayidiot.
But in all seriousness, Dr Rongo said, he returned to a Cook Islands facing a major crossroads.
He referred here to the decisions being made about the countrys marine resources in particular with regard to deep sea mining, the use of our fisheries and the concept of the marine park.
Are we making informed decisions? Do we have the most qualified individuals in place to be making those decisions? he challenged the Auditorium.
He said there is a fine balance between exploitation and conservation, and to maintain it these are fundamental questions we must ask ourselves.
Dr Rongo noted that being educated means being able to differentiate between what you know and what you dont know.
To the graduates who are likely to go on to become leaders of the Cook Islands, he said: Be informed and know your limits.
Dr Rongo then talked of the need to create job opportunities for educated people.
He said when he embarked on his academic journey he knew he was committing career suicide, and expected that he would be driven to find work overseas.
The excuse was always youre overqualified and we cant afford to pay you, he said.
He urged the Cook Islands to find ways to accommodate its educated workforce.
Are we going to continue to harbor this mentality and watch our qualified people leave our shores? I hope not.
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139 graduates, 28 scholarships
Nara Lazaro, who received a scholarship to study a bachelors of commerce and accounting at USP, with her two-year-old Kura. 2
One hundred and thirty-nine graduates who last year studied under Department of National Human Resources (DNHRD) schemes and 28 new scholarship students were the guests of honour at a ceremony held in the National Auditorium yesterday afternoon.
Fifteen people graduated from the Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre (HTTC), 32 from the Cook Islands Trades Training Centre (CITTC), 14 from Cook Islands Sports Academy (CISA), eight from community services, two from a CITC retail tutors programme, 50 from Tertiary Awards Programmes (TAP) and 18 other graduates, bringing the total to 139.
Toward the end of yesterdays ceremony, recipients of scholarships for the 2012 academic year were announced.
Fifteen people received Cook Islands government scholarships to study in-country, four received government scholarships to study overseas, three received New Zealand Aid Programme/AusAID regional developmental scholarships and New Zealand Aid Programme development scholarships went to six Cook Islanders, bringing the total scholarship recipients to 28.
Yesterdays ceremony was attended by such public figures as New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter, deputy leader of the opposition Wilkie Rasmussen, president of the House of Ariki Travel Tou Ariki, Koutu Nui president Maria Henderson, Queens Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin, finance minister Mark Brown, culture minister Teariki Heather and executive dean of Weltech Julia Hennessy.
Carter spoke on behalf of the New Zealand Aid Programme, commending the graduates who will undoubtedly make their wonderful country a more wonderful place.
Following his speech was an address from DHNRD minister Teina Bishop.
This graduation ceremony provides the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the commitment of Cook Islanders to further their skills and education in a range of fields, Bishop said.
For the Cook Islands to develop and grow we must reduce our dependence on imported labour and develop the skills and knowledge of our own people.
He issued a challenge to the graduates to transfer the skills and knowledge they have gained into the Cook Islands workforce.
You all have an important role to play in the future of this country dont sit back and wait for opportunities to find you. Seek them out.
He continued: If you dont use what you have learned it will become a distant memory and your studies will (have been) in vain.
Bishop wished the graduates well, and extended his congratulations to the new scholarship recipients.
To those scholarship recipients about to embark on their academic adventure, he said: Work hard with your studies but dont forget your rootsenjoy your time away but never forget where you come from and where your loyalties lie.
Dr Teina Rongo, who recently earned his PhD in marine biology from the Florida Institute of Technology on a government scholarship, was the keynote speaker. A report of his address will be published on Monday.
Following Rongos speech was a song by the Gosselin sisters, and then the awards ceremony began in earnest.
HTTC head of school Tony Tou presented awards to his students certificates in food and preparation and culinary arts levels three and four, distinctions in food preparation and cooking, certificates in food and beverage service levels three and four and distinctions in food and beverage.
Eileen Turepu presented national certificates in adult education level five, Kevin Iro presented CISA awards and CITTC head of school Boyd Ellison presented NZQA Cook Islands electrical service technicians certificates, NZQA Cook Islands certificates in telecommunications years one and two, NZQA national certificates in motor industries level two and pre-trade certificates in carpentry.
Donna Smith presented Cook Islands national certificates in community services, and Ngarangi Tangaroa presented TAP graduates with their certificates.
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Email crank named today
Business people in the Cook Islands have slammed one mans plans to ruin the countrys tourism industry and overthrow its government through an online crusade, describing him as yet another angry, anonymous internet user with a personal grudge.
The man whom Cook Islands News believes to be an American author named Rick Johnston who writes under the penname Muhammad Goldstein is threatening to bring down the Cook Islands through no less than 25 separate websites covering topics from the monkey, tribal government to mufflers with holes in them.
On his website, which he uses to sell his book on the shortfalls of the American government, Johnston says he cannot return to his homeland due to a number of threats on his personal safety.
My book is more serious than I am, he writes. For that reason I am hiding from the Jews, Arabs and Christians, the United States government, the blacks, Mexicans, CIA, FBI, NSA, IRS, China, the United States Military, the Supreme Court and the entire judicial system, queers, the Pope... every Democrat, Republican and all Red Necks with guns.
Johnston spent some time in the Cook Islands late last year until just recently and he had several run-ins with locals.
It appears he left the country in an unfavourable way and decided he would try to use the internet to seek vengeance.
In an email sent to various people in government, Cook Islands Police, restaurants, hoteliers and the media, Johnston warns that a series of internet websites will soon be launched to bring down the Cook Islands and its tourism industry. He claims to have used eight investigators to visit every hotel and restaurant in Rarotonga to form opinions. He said five were currently on the island. Privately, the email has had Cook Islands officials in disbelief and pitying the man.
Publicly, almost none have wanted to make comment on the email, choosing not to give the man more coverage than he deserves.
Cook Islands Tourism Corporation has publicly spoken out against Johnstons crusade, saying his threats were best ignored and the Cook Islands best suited to going back to being a welcoming tourism destination for visitors.
From a technical point of view, Cook Islands web developer John Beasley said Johnstons plans would not work to launch a series of websites under the a wider TouristAdvisor umbrella corporation.
If he plans on operating under TouristAdvisor, he has already failed. There is no way people will find his site with a Google search, as they will be simply pushed to the well established TripAdvisor website, Beasley said. The actual domain TouristAdvisor.com is already being used by a non-related company epic fail.
His email comes from an anonymous email provider, not an actual companys URL. This is not what you would expect from a supposed credible company with a good reputation so again, fail.
My advice for the local man affected by this is to simply ignore him; it isnt worth the effort of a retaliatory online character assassination.
PR the greatest honour
Sharyn Paio gave a response on behalf of all the people who received permanent residency status, congratulating all those who received the certificate alongside her.
By awarding 74 spouses of Cook Islanders with permanent residency this week, the government has not only reassured those receiving the status of their future here but given hope to Cook Islanders who may be considering returning home.
Thats the message given to the Cook Islands leaders at Thursdays permanent residency ceremony by Sharyn Paio, who spoke on behalf of all those receiving the status.
Paio described it as an honour to be addressing the auditorium on behalf of the spouses, who had been given the greatest honour that of being awarded the status of permanent residents of this beautiful country.
Paio, the secretary of education, said she wholeheartedly applauded the governments move to award the spouses with a permanent residency for giving them and their family a better guarantee of their future here.
By awarding us permanent residency today, you have encouraged our husbands and wives to remain here and continue contributing to the Cook Islands, she said.
You have also made it easier for other Cook Islanders, who may be married to non-Cook Islanders, to consider returning to their homeland in the knowledge that this government and cultural leaders recognise the contribution of spouses, regardless of their nationality.
Paio said none of the 74 should take their newly found status for granted and all had a duty to make a significant, positive contribution to the Cook Islands.
Winston Churchill once said We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Let this be our mantra as we enjoy this new status so generously afforded us today, she said.
... On behalf of all recipients, I extend a sincere and heartfelt meitaki maata to you all for accepting us as nationals of the Cook Islands.
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Irelands islander takes his time
Paddy Lynch, happy and proud to be accepted by the people of the Cook Islands.
Paddy Lynchs claim to permanent residency in the Cook Islands has been 55 years in the making and this week it finally occurred.
The question of why it took so long is pretty straight forward, though Lynch hadnt thought to apply until recently.
I dont know why it took so long for me to apply, Lynch said at Thursdays PR ceremony.
But Im so happy it has, Im so happy and so proud to be accepted by the people of the Cook Islands.
Before the ceremony at the National Auditorium, Lynch was promising to kiss his certificate of permanent residency up on stage as soon as he received it.
And thats exactly what he did, to the cheers and applause of the audience.
Lynch held the honour of being the longest serving spouse of the 74 gathered at the auditorium who were set to receive their PR this week.
Lynch married Luina, of the Ngati Tinomana Napa family, in 1957 and has raised six children with her, three of which currently live in the Cook Islands.
He has been living in the Cook Islands at Blackrock on and off for 17 years.
Paddy and Luina met at a Friday night dance in Wellington in 1956, where they were both working.
At first sight, Lynch knew she was the one and proposed the following Wednesday, just six days later.
They were married on March 2, 1957, in a church on Parnell Rise, Auckland, and had their wedding photos taken at the Parnell Rose gardens, which are still a popular wedding photo spot.
Luinas parents and family attended the wedding. But being a new migrant to New Zealand, Lynch had no family in the country, so had only an Irish friend as his best man.
Perhaps the Cook Islands most famous Shamrock resident, Lynch is well known in Australia through his appearances each year at the Melbourne Cup.
Dressed as a leprechaun, an omen of good luck, photographers covering the cup for Melbournes newspapers as well as a national publication seem to gravitate towards Lynch.
As well as a slew of high-heeled racegoers looking for some of Lynchs luck to rub off on them for the day.
Now the Cook Islands can properly claim the man in green, after he finally applied about two years ago for PR status.
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Boxer flies CI colours
National boxer and rugby sevens representative Mathew Titoa pictured here with his wife Doreen and two girls Caramia and Vaimoana can now represent the Cook Islands in all regional and international sporting events thanks to his new PR status.
After representing the Cook Islands in boxing and sevens at a number of international events including the Commonwealth Games Samoan born boxer Mathew Titoa can finally represent the Cook Islands at a Pacific Games.
As a Samoan passport holder, Titoa, who has lived and worked in the Cooks since 2006, has never been able to represent the country at the regional Pacific Games but after receiving his PR on Thursday the boxer is looking forward to competing for the Cooks in all sporting events.
In 2011 Titoa represented the Cook Islands at the Commonwealth Games in India but at the 2009 Mini Games hosted by the Cooks the boxer wasnt allowed to take to the ring to fly the Cook Islands flag.
Titoa was joined at the PR ceremony by his Cook Islands wife Doreen who is of the Heather, Kavana and Pera families, and their two beautiful girls Caramia (four and a half) and two-year-old Vaimoana.
Also proudly celebrating the young boxers new status was boxing coach Tom Marsters and Team Cook Islands chef de mission George George.
For me, it is wonderful now that Mathew can box for us, said a thrilled George George.
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Cricket captain given PR
National cricket captain Hori Miller after receiving his PR certificate with his wife Maryanne and two of his three kids Ferguson (8) and Josie (12).
Glen Hori Miller is the celebrated Cook Islands national cricket captain but it wasnt until Thursday that Miller could truly call himself a Cook Islander.
Married to Cook Islander Maryanne of the Te Makeu clan, Miller and his family have been living and working back in the Cooks for the past five years.
Miller is a huge Titikaveka Bulldogs fan and has spent a few seasons getting bruised up on the field for his village and team in both rugby league and rugby union.
Recently Miller lead the Titikaveka Titans to an historic club cricket win against cricket giants the Muri Creeps.
Miller, who has three children with Maryanne, is also a passionate artist and recently branched out into his own sign making business known as Hori Signs.
His proud family watched on as Miller received his PR certificate but there was little time to chit-chat with the busy sign writer who had to return to work to finish creating a few more new and bright business signs.
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Australian Angela Brooker at the National Auditorium, where the permanent residency ceremony coincided with Australia Day.
Australia Day is the most popular day for new nationals of the country to undertake their citizenship ceremonies.
So for Australians who lined up to receive their certificates permanent residency at the National Auditorium on Thursday, the ceremony held an extra special meaning.
Six Australians were listed among the 74 spouses of Cook Islanders and permanent residents of the Cook Islands to receive their certificates of permanent residency at the ceremony.
Angela Brooker said she did not realise that the day would be occurring on Australia Day until the eve of the event.
Nonetheless, she said it was a nice, quirky b-side to the days events and another reason for it to stand out in her memory.
Brooker, a former Sydney resident, has spent a wonderful 10 years living in the Cook Islands, married to Willie Tuivaga.
The couple has three children, including two born here in the Cooks.
Brooker said it was a joy and a privilege to become a permanent resident of her new home country.
Tuivaga and Brooker said the ceremony was a special day for all those involved and all deserved congratulations for being selected to receive their permanent residency.
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74 spouses awarded permanent residency
New Cook Islands permanent resident Lynne Hagai and Rakahanga husband Willie Hagai.
Seventy-four spouses of Cook Islanders and permanent residents of the Cook Islands received their permanent residency status this week.
People of 12 nationalities were represented in the list, with some married to their partners for more than 40 years and others for a minimum of five.
Today, Cook Islands News publishes the names of all the people who appeared at Thursdays ceremony. The list is compiled in the same order that people appeared on stage.
Another 20 people have been granted with PR status and are able to receive their certificates of permanent residency.
Fourteen people at Aitutaki, one at Atiu and another at Mangaia are included in the remaining group. The people at Aitutaki will have their moment in the spotlight on Thursday, February 9.
Alan John ANDREWS, New Zealander; Betty Jean WILLIAMS, New Zealander; Heather Joy WEBBER New Zealander ;Tofiga Injimo AISAKE Fijian; Bettina Sue AKANIA Australian; Susana Conesa AYLAGAS Spanish; Oliver Trevor BRIDER New Zealander; Angela BROOKER Australian; Kelly BULLIVANT New Zealander; Rachel Jane CAMPBELL New Zealander; Victoria Helen DEARLOVE United Kingdom; Dudley Richard EDWARDS New Zealander ; Boyd ELLISON New Zealander; Jo-Anne Shona EMILE New Zealander ; Donna Susan ENGU New Zealander; John Kauata FATIAKI Fijian; Vicki June FORTES New Zealander; Debbie Marie FUTTER New Zealander; Joshua Eden GODDARD Australian; Siosifa Manu HAFOKA Tongan ; Lynette Alison HAGAI New Zealander; Lucy Jane HALL United Kingdom; Stephen HAPP Australian; Afato IOANE Samoan ; Elizabeth Jane KOTEKA New Zealander; Simon Maxwell LAURIE New Zealander; Lori Gayle LOWRY Canadian ; Mark Peter LUSBY New Zealander; John MACLENNAN New Zealander; Glenn James MILLER New Zealander; Robert Anthony MURIWAI New Zealander; Karen Nathania NGAMATA New Zealander ; Sharyn Audrey PAIO New Zealander; Kelvin Dale PASSFIELD Australian; Rosalinda PORTER Filipino; Stephanie Louise PUIRI New Zealander; Steven Douglas REDDICK Canadian; Lavenia Lotu ROKOIKA Fijian; Jackalyn Liu RONGO American; Natalie Christiane ROSSETTE-CAZEL - TIERNEY French; Sheryl Vera Rihi SAMATUA New Zealander; Lorraine SAMUEL New Zealander; Jean-Marc SHAN SEI FAN French; Rochelle Elaine STRICKLAND New Zealander; Temo SUKUNAIVALU Fijian; Mark TATAM United Kingdom; John Ioela TAULU New Zealander; Jasmin Santiago TEOKOTAI Filipino; Anna Sophie TEURA New Zealander; Mathew TITOA Samoan; Kevin Peter WARD New Zealander; Mariah Talei WHIPPY-SAMUEL Fijian; Sharon Anne WILLIAM New Zealander; Elizabeth Joy WOODS New Zealander; Robert Wallace WYLLIE New Zealander; Mary Ann TEREI Australian
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Pathway programme returns to Rarotonga
The Pathway programme returns to Rarotonga for the eighth time next month.
The programme has been set for Tuesday February 28 and Wednesday February 29 from 9am to 5pm. The two-day event will take place at Te Uki Ou School in Ngatangiia. Ten people have already confirmed their intent to attend.
The focus of the Pathway programme is creating success and balance in four key areas of life health and fitness, career and finances, family and relationships and personal development.
Motivational speaker Paul Kernot, who heads the Rarotonga Pathway conference, has coached over 15,000 people across the region. He has logged 10 years of business experience in London and two decades in sales and as a motivational speaker, and is a keen sportsman, competitive swimmer, soccer coach and martial arts student. He also has a diploma in hypnotherapy.
Kernots programme focuses on personal development and teaches participants to set and achieve goals, gain self-respect, become positive thinkers and hone their skills for long-term use. More than 100 people in Rarotonga have attended Pathway programmes in the past.
Among them are employees of Telecom, Westpac, BCI, Edgewater Resort & Spa, CITC, Island Craft, Cook Islands General Transport, Budget, Island Hopper and Te Aponga Uira.
Having now worked with the majority of the larger companies on the island and had a fantastic response, I feel the programme has achieved an enormous amount, Kernot said via email.
In New Zealand and Australia tickets to the two-day event go for $795 plus GST but because Kernot enjoys working in Rarotonga, has always offered a local rate of $500 flat. For more information, visit Kernots website at www.paulkernot.com or contact him at email@example.com
Mental health stats shocking: Te Kainga
More needs to be done to combat mental illness in the Cook Islands population, says Te Kainga Mental Health and Wellbeing Centre, with figures showing Rarotonga in particular is recording a severe rate of suicide.
When recorded per capita, Rarotongas suicide rate among its male population overshadows those recorded in Australia and New Zealand.
Te Kainga reports that the Cook Islands is recording a suicide rate of 30.5 people per 100,000. It is a figure one-third higher that New Zealands rate recorded by the World Health Organisation (20.3 men per 100,000) and more than double that of Australia (14.9 men per 100,000).
Te Kainga director Mereana Taikoko said it was a shocking statistic for the Cook Islands, especially when considering that the recorded number of suicides may actually be higher than that.
Taikoko said the figures given by Te Kainga were based on suicides that are both reported and confirmed. She said there were other deaths that could be possible suicides, so the number would most likely be higher.
Rarotonga officially recorded three suicides for 2011, with two of those male. Its a figure that is not dropping, with two men each year officially reported as taking their own lives since 2008.
Taikoko said that when compared to the population of Rarotonga, that figure was disproportionally high compared to neighbouring countries Australia and New Zealand.
The World Health Organisation does not have any official recordings from Pacific Island nations.
Taikoko called for more action from government in raising awareness of mental illness and on preventative action against mental illness. She said there was a severe lack of government support for mental health services.
She also said the Cook Islands community must take action against suicide.
There is very little support from government and there is a stigma about mental illness, she said.
People are not offering help if they suspect a person needs help... we need to know about those people so that we can help them.
Taikoko said that for every successful suicide attempt, it was estimated there were 20 failed attempts. She said every failed attempt was a chance to stop someone from actually succeeding one day.
Most suicidal individuals give warning signs of their intentions.
The best way to prevent suicide is to recognise these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them.
If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved. Some signs of suicide include, talking about suicide, seeking out access to lethal means, preoccupation with death, no hope for the future, self-loathing, withdrawing from others and self-destructive behaviour.
Taikoko said anyone dealing with mental health issues or thoughts of suicide should contact Te Kainga on 20162. Similarly, anybody who suspects someone may be at risk of committing suicide can contact Te Kainga.
NGOs advised on money laundering
Countering international money laundering and cutting pathways for terrorist funding remains a high priority for the Financial Intelligence Unit.
The unit, also known as the FIU, has been holding a series of workshops this week to raise awareness among the Cook Islands non governmental organisations of money laundering and how they can ensure they are not being misled to handle laundered money.
The three-day workshop, held from Monday to Wednesday this week, brought together representatives from some of the 100 active non-government organisations in the Cook Islands.
FIU head Bob Williams said the information sessions were funded by the FIU and based around the international Financial Action Task Forces policies on money laundering and terrorism financing.
Williams said every NGO in the Cook Islands had the responsibility to ensure it was not dealing with crooked financiers and donors.
These nights are here to make NGOs aware that there are requirements that they must abide to, Williams said.
One such requirement, he said, includes NGOs knowing the identity of every donor that supplies them with funding as well as the identities of those that the NGO passes funds on to.
Another requirement states that NGOs must keep records of their flows of funding for at least six years.
The FIU has brought in representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Cook Islands Police and the Financial Supervisory Commission for the seminars, which have been conducted with in cooperation with the Cook Islands Civil Society Organisation.
This weeks workshop is part of the Cook Islands efforts to maintain its part in the global fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.
The Financial Action Task Force has a list of countries it deems non-cooperative in this fight.
Fifteen countries, including the Cook Islands, were included on the list when it was first released in June 2000.
The Cook Islands was officially removed from the blacklist in 2005.
Future of yacht Bonny unclear
The yacht Bonny remains moored in Avatiu harbour, with questions of its ownership still unanswered.
The future of the yacht Bonny, which has been moored in Avatiu harbour since its skipper disappeared in Cook Islands waters early this month, remains unclear as police work to determine its true ownership.
The yachts owner said through a friend that the 61-year-old Auckland resident who was skippering Bonny when he disappeared off Rarotonga on January 3, took the yacht without his permission when he left New Zealand late last year.
The skipper fled New Zealand without a passport and while on bail, facing 26 charges of sex-related offences against a minor. Included in the allegations are three charges of raping a girl under 12 and one of raping a girl under 16.
Cook Islands Police commissioner Maara Tetava this week said police were still waiting for a reply from New Zealand about the ownership of the yacht.
Police reported they had made contact with the skippers next of kin and were awaiting their plans to determine the destiny of his possessions.
The owner of the yacht, an Auckland man, declined to speak to New Zealand media when contacted earlier this month.
But a friend of the owner, who did not want to be named, said he understood the yacht was taken without permission and sailed it to the Cook Islands.
The friend of the yacht owner said Bonny had been listed for sale on online auction site TradeMe and the missing skipper had been in negotiations to buy it with an agreement where he would pay for the boat over time with $20,000 still owing.
The man said the skipper made alterations on Bonny and said he would pay what was owed once he had sold his Henderson house. The sale went through in late December, but no more money was paid to the yacht owner.
He basically didnt show with the money and the boat was gone, the friend said.
I didnt like the guy ever since I met him, he seemed a bit odd and he just didnt seem very genuine to me. So Im not completely surprised that somethings happened but this is a lot more than what we expected.
The skipper went missing about 20 nautical miles off Rarotonga on January 3 after complaining of heart problems.
He had earlier spent time in Rarotonga Hospital after being cleared by customs to receive medical treatment.
He was believed to be on his way to Tahiti when he began experiencing heart troubles while travelling by Mangaia.
Police patrol boat Te Kukupa found Bonny intact but with no one aboard when it made contact with the yacht on January 3.
Stay here and...stay married
In total, 94 people will receive their permanent residency certificates in the current round of approvals.
The security and comfort of becoming a permanent resident (PR) of the Cook Islands should help add to the development of the nation and its populace, says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration Tom Marsters.
At yesterdays permanent residency ceremony, where 74 spouses of Cook Islanders were presented with their PR certificates, Marsters said he hoped everyone there would be encouraged to continue living in the Cook Islands.
By becoming permanent residents of the Cook Islands, Marsters hoped that the spouses and their families would feel more assured about their future in the Cook Islands.
The granting of permanent residency to you now, should give you secure comfort in the stability of your residence here, so you and your spouses and families can feel confident to securely live, work and invest your time, talents and efforts for the good of our nation, Marsters said.
Government welcomes and supports your decision to declare that you have made the Cook Islands your home. So my encouragement to you all is to stay here, andstay married, he joked.
Marsters said the ceremony was a special moment for the Cook Islands and its people, being the first PR ceremony to focus solely on spouses of Cook Islanders and people who already have PR status.
Marsters went on to say there was no difference in his eyes between a Cook Islander and a permanent resident who lived here he said anyone who permanently called the Cook Islands home should be treated the same.
Personally, let me make myself abundantly clear here, that from now on when I say spouses of Cook Islanders, I am using that phrase to mean all of you here before us spouses of both Cook Islanders and permanent residents, Marsters said.
Because I know that your spouses, and you together, have all made and declared the Cook Islands to be your home. So, in my mind, you are all spouses of Cook Islanders.
Marsters called on his own heritage and the history of Palmerston Island to underline the magnetism of the Cook Islands to foreign people.
Since early European contact in the early 1800s, the unique warmth and culture of the beautiful people of the Cook Islands has been a source of great attraction to many people from overseas. They were in search of the magical dream of the South Seas.
Love blossomed as it does and then many successful and productive marriages have been forged between Cook Islanders and people from other countries, since those early days.
My own forebear, William Marsters, an Englishman, was one of those early visitors to come to our islands in the 1800s. He came and never left.
He was attracted to stay, and found, like so many others, that his future was then tied forever to the people of our islands.
He lived a full life and is buried on Palmerston Island. And his legacy continues to impact the Cook Islands today.
My own Marsters family, like many other families here, today are living proof of that. As you will be, in the future, for the Cook Islands.
Related stories: 18 more names; PR the greatest honour; Irelands islander takes his time; Boxer flies CI colours; Cricket captain given PR; Double meaning; 74 spouses awarded permanent residency; 74 receive permanent residency; 14 to get PR in Aitutaki; 93 to pledge loyalty
Seventy-four people walked the stage at yesterday’s permanent residency ceremony as Siosifa Hafoka did.
Deputy Prime Minister Tom Marsters and other dignitaries welcomed the Cook Islands’ new permanent residents at a ceremony held at the National Auditorium.
Anne Reid and Laura Solomon were among 74 people to receive their certificate of permanent residency at a ceremony held yesterday.
Sharyn Paio gave a response on behalf of all the people who received permanent residency status, congratulating all those who received the certificate alongside her.
Traditional and political leaders including Joseph Vakatini Ariki, ministers Mark Brown, Teina Bishop and Teariki Heather at the special permanent residency ceremony on Thursday.
Lynnete Hagai and her Rakahanga family.
Nathalie Rossette-Cazel-Tierney greeting her family off stage.
Angela Brooker and her husband Willie Tuivaga following the permanent residency ceremony yesterday.
There were congratulations all round at the National Auditorium on Thursday as 74 people received their Cook Islands permanent residency certificates.
Sea Scouts log sea time
The Avarua Harbour Sea Scouts prepare to board Southern Cross.
Avarua Sea Scouts take their stations.
Fourteen youngsters and two of the leaders from the Avarua Harbour Sea Scout Group boarded the Southern Cross moored in Avatiu Harbour for a two-hour sailing experience on the largest vessel the group has yet boarded.
The boys and girls aged 10 to 16 years were briefed on the wharf by Deep Sea Scout Ron Bird about the purpose of the voyage, what was expected of them and the use of their life jackets. On board they were given a safety briefing by Southern Cross captain Paul Green, who is very experienced in blue water sailing in the South Pacific. Green took the Sea Scouts from the Pitcairn Island Sea Scout Group out for a training session when he was visiting that remote island.
Once the lines were let go it was to the sailing stations with three of the older boys being sent aft to steer the vessel and another group being assigned look-out duties on the bow sprit and a third group put in charge of sail handling.
Once clear of the protection of the harbour it was out into the ocean swells which caused some shouts from those on the fore deck with the bow rising and falling in response to the swells.
With Bird, who has over 35 years working on the sail training ships operated by the Spirit of Adventure Trust in New Zealand, on the fore deck providing navigational instruction and safety guidance in the conditions and Paul overseeing the young helmsmen it was off to the west. Next was a look back at the island to observe various key places which could be used for transit positioning, a very basic method of plotting a position on a chart without instruments and calculations, just a straight edge and a pencil on a local navigation chart.
Then it was time for the older Sea Scouts to observe the electronic chart located in the main cabin which plotted the vessels position using GPS. This gave the youngsters a better idea of position and depth of water underneath the vessel.
The vessels course changed and this made for a smoother ride and a chance for the older Sea Scouts on the helm to steer using the compass.
Rounding up off Avarua Harbour and the boiler it was time to head back towards Avatiu Harbour and a chance to use the two leading marks two triangular beacons situated alongside and behind the Ports Authority building.
Once in the harbour a person overboard drill was carried out after a briefing. Using a life jacket as a stand-in for a person overboard, the Scouts successfully completed the drill in 3 minutes and 25 seconds using a Williamson turn method.
Once the sails were stowed and the Southern Cross back alongside the wharf the Sea Scouts assembled on deck where one of the girl members thanked Captain Paul.
Both parties hope that this will be the first of similar training sessions for these youngsters. One proposal is a demonstration of emergency flares once official approval from the authorities is obtained.
This will ensure that the Sea Scouts know what these look like if the see one out at sea.
Gear and goods donated to fire brigade
Puaikura Fire Brigade’s Nia Remuera, John Koteka, Trish Barton and Asaeli Vunibaka with Clive Lennox (fourth from left) and his sons Andrew (third from left) and Jamie (second from right) who donated some fire-fighting gear to the volunteer brigade.
The Puaikura Volunteer Fire Brigade will be better-equipped to combat fires thanks to a donation from some New Zealand counterparts this week.
Clive Lennox and his sons Andrew and Jamie, who are all volunteer fire fighters in New Zealand, donated boxes full of fire-fighting gear to the brigade on behalf of the Taranaki-based Hawera Volunteer Fire Brigade this week.
The donation means the Puaikura fire-fighters wont only be better equipped to fight fires once they happen they will be able to beef up their preventative work, too.
The package delivered to them at training on Monday night included educational tools as well as fire-fighting gear.
Along with helmets, overalls, gloves, flash hoods and breathing apparatus, the Puaikura brigade was also given educational posters, magnets, stickers and bookmarks to distribute to local schools.
Puaikuras Trish Barton said donations like this were invaluable to the brigade which had relied entirely on community donations until last year, when it received its first governmental grant.
Barton said the brigade owed its thanks to Hawera Volunteer Fire Brigade and its volunteer support officer Warwick Stewart from bringing up the gear.
She also gave her thanks to Air New Zealand and its Cook Islands manager David Bridge for having the gear shipped via airfreight to Rarotonga at no cost.
Lennox said he was mightily impressed with the Puaikura brigade and how it operated under such trying circumstances.
Lennox is a former Cook Islands resident and married to Cook Islander Michele Lennox nee Boyd. Their children were born in the Cook Islands.
Lennox and Barton had been in communication for some time working on a wish-list of items for Puaikura.
Happily, all the things Barton and the brigade wished for came with Lennox on his journey to Rarotonga.
Barton said the brigade was always looking for new members and anybody who was interested in joining its ranks could come to the Puaikura station during training sessions from 6pm on Mondays or give her a call on 55102.
Egg farm survey still under wraps
The Ministry of Health is meeting with Scotts Farm owner John Scott tomorrow to discuss the results of a survey and inspection conducted earlier this month.
Director of community health services Dr Rangi Fariu says he met with public health nurses and senior ministry staff yesterday to compare and analyse data collected during a residential survey and a site inspection both of which were prompted by public criticism of the odour wafting from the poultry farm.
Ministry of Health and National Environment Service officers surveyed homeowners in the vicinity of Scotts Farm, asking questions about their medical histories and those of their families. They also surveyed farm employees and visited the premises twice to examine its waste and drainage systems.
Dr Fariu says ministry staff compared and analysed collected data yesterday, and drew up some recommendations for Scott as far as management of the property is concerned.
He can refuse them, but weve made some recommendations and given him some time periods (in which) to put things right, Dr Fariu said.
He declined to discuss them further until Scott had been consulted.
It is only fair he is there for us to go through each of those recommendations with him, but after the meeting (the findings) should become public knowledge.
Dr Fariu is planning to discuss the results of the survey with secretary of health Tupou Faireka today.
He says that he is still committed to making the information public despite unkept promises to release survey results immediately afterwards but out of courtesy does not want to release any results until all relevant parties have met and discussed the ministrys recommendations.
As Ive promised I will get all the information out once I get the okay, he said.
Guten Tag Berlin
Papua New Guinea showing off its culture at ITB Berlin 2011.
More than 170,000 people will have access to the Cook Islands at the worlds leading trade show for the international travel industry in March and the tourism corporation is looking for representatives to join them.
Cook Islands representatives will join tourism industry members from Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa and the South Pacific Tourism Organisation at ITB Berlin 2012, which runs from March 7 to 11.
ITB Berlin will attract about 170,000 journalists, travel agents, wholesalers and the general population from the United Kingdom and continental Europe to the German capital for the event.
Some 7000 journalists will attend the event, with organisers estimating representatives from 94 countries will be present at the event.
The first three days of the event will be trade days dedicated entirely to wholesalers and travel agents. The next two days thereafter will be open to general consumers.
The Cook Islands Tourism Corporation is seeking expressions of interest from the local tourism industry in joining the show.
They are asking anyone with an interest to get in contact with them by this Friday, January 27 by 4pm.
The Cook Islands is joining a 20-square-metres booth as part of the South Pacific Pavillion organised by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.
The cost for individual participation is NZ$7000 this is a subsided price and will include the provision of one table, four chairs, WiFi access, lighting, displays, meeting refreshments and cleanup services.
SPTO will take care of all participants daily coach transfers and entrance fees.
Business appointments at ITB 2012 are the responsibility of the participating company.
All Cook Islands industry partners will be required to arrange their own accommodation and airfares.
Anyone interested in joining the event should contact Cook Islands Tourism.
Six tips on taking control of your future
USPs message for Back to School is addressed to senior school students, many of whom will be leaving school later this year, and may yet be undecided where theyre heading.
Begin mapping out your post school education and employment plans now in fact, it might have been better to start as early as age 14.
Make sure youre studying the right combination of subjects for the vocational or university programme youre planning post-school if you want to be a mechanical engineer, make sure you have physics and maths; if you want to be a doctor, make sure you have chemistry and biology; and so on;
Give close consideration to vocational as well as academic studies schools sometimes place higher status on academic and professional studies but in reality many professionals are feeling the pinch and a plumber, electrician or mechanic can often earn considerably more.
Be pro-active in seeking work experience and post-school internships with local employers to help you decide on your future work prospects.
If you plan to travel overseas to continue your studies, explore the pros and cons of taking a gap year to get some real world experiences. These may help clarify your future work and study opportunities.
Explore with USP and HRD opportunities for study once you start working and waste no time getting your first qualification. Were here to help.
Meanwhile, for those of you who left school some time ago, its never too late to restart your education and skill-up for you current job or for an entirely new career.
USP can help you explore your options. Call in at our Takamoa office or contact Tevai Matapo or Rod Dixon on 29415.
Uni studies galore offered by USP
Delivering on accelerated in-country programmes has been a key focus in the Cook Islands by the University of the South Pacific.
USP Cook Islands has a full course schedule this year.
It is offering both undergraduate courses (in accounting, agriculture, biology, chemistry, computing, economics, English, education, geography, geomatics, law, marine sciences, mathematics, management, physics, psychology, sociology and hospitality and tourism) and postgraduate courses (in public sector management, information systems, international affairs, education and climate change).
All are distance learning courses, for which USP provides tutor support and course materials. Some like law, journalism and Pacific studies require students to have regular computer and internet access.
No new courses are being offered this semester.
Undergraduate distance learning courses include preliminaries like accounting, biology, history, chemistry, economics, geography, physics, mathematics, cultural anthropology, technology and pre-tertiary English.
Then there are foundation courses in subjects like like agriculture, accounting, microeconomics, Pacific history and geography, computer literacy, communication and study skills, communication and language, society and culture and technology. Vocational courses include English language skills, introduction to library systems and services, building and maintain the library collection and organising the library collection.
Degree courses are, of course, more specific.
Among those on offer are financial management, animal and human nutrition, soil fertility and plant nutrition, pathogens and pests of crops, pest and disease management, monetary economics, world history, biogeography, sociology, tourism, statistics, tourism in less-developed countries, ethics and governance.
Education courses include early childhood development, principles of assessing student performance, educational decision-making, non-formal education, educating individuals with emotional and behavioural disorders, educating individuals with learning disabilities and educational leadership and supervision.
Legal studies courses include courts and dispute resolution, contract law, criminal law and procedure, property law, equity and trusts, constitutional law and company and partnership law. In terms of Pacific-themed subjects, there are courses on the history of Fiji, Pacific history contact and response, Fijian oralture/literature, Pacific thought and philosophy and ethics, Pacific policing, society and culture in the Pacific and Pacific worlds.
USP is also offering courses in sustainable Pacific fisheries, ocean resources management, coastal fisheries management and ocean governance and policy. For writers, there are creative writing and journalism courses.
Semester one starts on February 20 and lasts 15 weeks.
USPs Cook Islands campus is also going through a major re-model. To accommodate its student numbers and its newly-introduced postgraduate programmes, the campus is adding a computer lab, lecture room and postgraduate study rooms.
Part of the computer lab will be designated for iMac machines, and the study rooms will accommodate postgraduate students and those working on research for doctorate degrees. The re-model is expected to be completed on February 17, just before semester one starts.
Scholars and graduates to be honoured
Jacquiline Urlich and Kurai Foster received in-country scholarships for further study and were recognised in a past DNHRD graduation ceremony in 2010.
The Department of National Human Resource Development (DNHRD) is putting on a ceremony to honour recent graduates and scholarship recipients tomorrow.
The ceremony, which is in its fourth consecutive year, recognises 139 recent graduates and those who have received scholarships for study in 2012.
It honours Association of Cook Islands Tertiary Institute (ACITI) graduates, scholarship recipients and those who were last week notified that they have received scholarships for the coming year.
The ceremony will take place at the National Auditorium from 3pm tomorrow, and graduates are being asked to turn up at 2pm. A turou for graduates, DNHRD minister Teina Bishop and new scholarship students will precede the singing of the Cook Islands national anthem, which marks the start of the ceremony.
Queens Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin is scheduled to arrive at 3pm.
Head of the Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre (HTTC) Tony Tou will be master of ceremonies, and will welcome the invited guests and their families and friends.
Orometua Ngatokorua Patia will say an opening hymn, and the Avarua CICC choir will sing a hymn.
New Zealand High Commissioner John Carter will give a speech on behalf of the New Zealand Aid Programme, and following will be an address from Bishop.
The keynote speaker is Dr Teina Rongo, who recently earned his PhD in marine biology from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Following his speech will be a presentation of ACITI awards.
Tou will present HTTC awards certificates in food and preparation and culinary arts levels three and four, distinctions in food preparation and cooking, certificates in food and beverage service levels three and four and distinctions in food and beverage.
Eileen Turepu will present national certificates in adult education level five, Kevin Iro will present Cook Islands Sports Academy awards and Trades Training Centre (TTC) head of school Boyd Ellison will present TTC awards NZQA Cook Islands electrical service technicians certificates, NZQA Cook Islands certificates in telecommunications years one and two, NZQA national certificates in motor industries level two and pre-trade certificates in carpentry.
Donna Smith will present Cook Islands national certificates in community services, and Ngarangi Tangaroa will present Tertiary Awards Programme graduates with their certificates. The next batch of students to be honoured will be graduates who received in-country student assistance funds, Cook Islands overseas student assistance funds, Cook Islands government in-country full tuition scholarships, Cook Islands government scholarships, New Zealand Aid Programme/AusAID regional developmental scholarships, New Zealand Aid Programme developmental scholarships and short-term training awards.
The final announcement will be of those people who have received in-country and overseas scholarships for 2012.
The DNHRD runs this ceremony in January each year.
Related stories: Graduates
and scholars named; 139
graduates, 28 scholarships (2); Rousing
speech at graduation; 139
graduates, 28 scholarships