In the president’s report, Vaine Wichman made reference to the development support received over the years from New Zealand, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Commonwealth Local Governance Forum, and the Government of the Cook Islands.
In particular she highlighted the achievements in progressing the maternity protection clauses in the Employment Relations Bill, and the significance afforded to promoting women in decision making in the country’s gender policy.
Going forward she encouraged all council members to continue to build bridges and optimise their strengths in the conditions of rapidly dwindling populations in the Pa Enua, and the triple burdens now being felt by women and men alike to ensure home, community, employment, and island obligations are continuing to be met.
She thanked the members and her executive for their support over the last two years.
The meeting closed on Thursday with the biennial general meeting opportunity to review the council partnership with the gender and development division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in implementing the national gender equality and women’s empowerment policy 2011-2015, and to elect new executive members to lead the council for the next two years.
The election of new office bearers showed the confidence the council members placed in Wichman, by returning her for the next two years as their president.
To assist her, the vice president’s elected were Teina Etches and Mii Quarter, the general secretary is Peka Munokoa George and the treasurer is Maria Taripo Teaurima.
Island members elected their own representatives to represent them in monthly council meetings.
Minister of NGOs Mark Brown provided support in delivering the prizes for the handicraft display. The Aitutaki Konitara Vaine Tini and the Mangaia Konitara Vaine Tini did well in the display sweeping up most of the main prizes, while Manihiki and Rakahanga Vaine Tini in the north maintained the key prizes for the rito and weaving handicraft that they are well known for.
The re-elected president in her acknowledgement speech humbly thanked the members for their trust in her to take their presidency for the next two years, and encouraged all members to work for the betterment of our women and their families.
She acknowledged all the past leaders of the council and their supporters and the agencies through the ages that have trusted, believed and invested in the council. She thanked patron Rongomatane Ada Ariki, for travelling to attend the meetings from Atiu and to all members and friends and supporters for their marvellous effort throughout the week.
She made special mention of the many supporters and backers of the council over the years.