Wichman, who has also been a member of parliament and has worked as an economist around the Pacific region, celebrated her last day as president on Thursday at the council’s biennial meeting at the Atiu Hostel.
She said of all her roles, it was as president that had given her the most wisdom.
“The challenge for me was to be a leader where everyone in the community came together, as they are leaders in their own right,” Wichman said.
“So the challenge has always been to move with them, not ahead of them. And I’ve learned to listen, particularly to what they don’t say.”
Wichman said the council had spoken in showing their confidence in their new leader.
“She has a long background in law enforcement, and spending a long time working alongside her grandmother, Tinomana Ruta Tuoro Ariki has prepared her well to take this role.
“I’m impressed with the decision that the council of women have made today.”
Although she is stepping down as president, Wichman will still be on the executive council in the role of treasurer.
In celebration of her final day, Wichman was on the receiving end of a traditional gift-giving ceremony, which she said was very humbling.
“To receive it, I feel I’m not worthy. Really, we all should be receiving these gifts to all the woman here. But I do feel very honoured.”
Hosking-Ellis said that she felt blessed and honoured that the women had put their trust in her.
“I’ll be a servant to them, and I’m going to tackle this role with passion and commitment,” she said. said.
Hosking-Ellis is currently the Internal Affairs national children’s policy coordinator, after serving nearly 33 years in the police force.
She said that it was her grandmother who had prepared her for the huge undertaking at the CINCW, and she wants to get started as soon as possible.
“Mothers are the pillar of the society, but a lot of our woman they back off; they’re too afraid to say something because they think it’s the wrong thing. I’m going to be their voice,” she said.
“On some of our islands it’s customary for some women not to speak, and we’re going to change that.”
At this stage Hosking-Ellis wants to achieve two primary goals.
The first is for Cook Islands women to be heard, and secondly for legislation to be written for a “ministry of women’s division”, which would be a government ministry just for women.
“There’s one in Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu. They’re all around the Pacific. We will humbly ask the government for this, as I think this will be our pillar to help our woman.”
Hosking-Ellis thanked the Australian government who provided the funding to bring women from the outer islands to the meeting and the Social Impact Fund which paid for the venue and the meals. She also thanked internal affairs senior gender officer Ruta Pokura.
Newly elected executive council:
President – Rebecca Hosking-Ellis, vice-president (south) – Henrica Wilson, vice-president (north) – Pati Ravarua, secretary – Nukutau Pokura, assistant secretary – Pauline Rangi, treasurer – Vaine Wichman, assistant treasurer – Rose Emile, patroness – Nga-Teao-Papatua.