Prime Minister Henry Puna said the nation can be thankful that a man of Marsters’ calibre and lengthy public service continues to perform such an essential role in our democracy, legislature and country.
Marsters has been the representative of the Head of State since 2013 and was reappointed again in 2016. He was knighted as Bachelor Commander of the British Empire in 2018 by His Royale Highness Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall, at Buckingham Palace. A ceremony was held at Government House last month to recognise his third term as Queen’s Representative.
Marsters also recently received a $15,000 pay rise along with members of Parliament which set his tax free salary at $110,000 – most of which are allowances.
“The QR faces many of the same issues as MPs in terms of responsibilities and commitments in the community. Like many MPs the QR is expected to attend many official and public functions and many community and private events where cash or other donations or commitments are expected,” stated the Remuneration Tribunal report which recommended the pay increase.
Sir Tom Marsters’ reappointment, says Puna, extends what has been a long and illustrious career as a servant of the Cook Islands, be it in the political sporting or community sphere. It exemplifies Marsters’ life of service and sacrifice for his country, he added.
In his role as Queen’s Representative, Marsters has summoned Parliament to convene the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th meeting in the 48th Parliamentary Session and was awarded Queen’s medals to outstanding Cook Islanders for services to the community in 2014 and 2015.
Marsters was born on the Island of Palmerston on August 4 1945 and is married, with children and grandchildren. He was educated at Avele Agriculture College in Samoa and the Grimsby Institute of Technology in England and is an active member of his local Arorangi Cook Islands Christian Church.
His Parliamentary service has also been longstanding – he was first elected as a Member of Parliament in a by-election in 1991; re-elected in the general elections of 1994, 1999, 2004 and in 2006, during a snap election.
Marsters’ ministerial roles included deputy prime minister, associate minister of Finance, Works, Tourism, the Public Service Commission, Environment Services, Energy, Youth, Sports and Recreation, Police, Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Transport (Civil Aviation and Shipping) and Seabed Minerals.
He has presided in numerous Executive Councils for government as chairperson from 2013-16. Among the noted events he has attended are the 90th Anniversary of the School of Agriculture of the Pacific in Samoa in June 2014; the Rarotonga ANZAC Dawn and Morning Parades; the 20th Commonwealth Games Official Opening in Glasgow in July 2014; the Annual Coronation Celebration of the NZ Maori King Tuhetia in August 2014; the NZ 100th ANZAC Commemoration of the Great War in Wellington in April 2015; the Closing 100th Memorial Ceremony of the Great War in November 2018, and numerous community events at home.
Marsters began his career in the public sector as an agriculture officer, and went on to become the director of Fisheries, clerk of the House of Ariki, chief administration officer of the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries and deputy secretary of Agriculture.
He has also served on a number of government agency boards, serving as a member of the Cook Islands Teachers’ Guild and member of the Public Service Appeal Board as well as a stint as the harbour master. He notably led the government as the attachment to the Russian Deep Sea Mineral Exploration and led our seabed minerals legislation and engagement.
Marsters was also director of the Cook Islands Development Bank and chairman of Telecom Cook Islands, the Cook Islands Investment Corporation, and the Cook Islands National Research and Development Institute.
Politics has been a realm where Marsters has contributed solidly with his involvement having started at the inception of our democracy says the Prime Minister’s Office. It says this was demonstrated by his time as secretary general of the Cook Islands Party 1968-1999, and his long service as an MP for Murienua.
His time in politics also saw him take the roles of deputy leader of the Cook Islands Party as well as deputy leader and leader of the Opposition.
Marsters is also an avid sportsman and has represented the Cook Islands in boxing, rugby and golf. He also excelled in cricket, tennis and lawn bowls. But it was martial arts where he found a real passion and was an exponent in the Japanese Art of Kei-Shin-Kan.