He will be supported by an experienced team: Katrina Tanirau, herself a former newspaper editor, is stepping up to the role of associate editor.
Long-serving Cook Islands journalist Melina Etches has taken up new responsibilities reporting on the villages and puna; Losirene Lacanivalu will be both reporting and editing the website. Emmanuel Samoglou rejoined the paper this week, as senior journalist and online director responsible for the roll-out of a new website this coming month.
Together, the five have nearly 19 years’ experience reporting at Cook Islands News.
Kumar said the paper had a long legacy of producing robust, high-quality journalism at community and national level. “The newspaper is guided by principles that promote fair, accurate and balanced reporting.
“I am excited to lead a talented group of journalists and looking forward to working with them in maintaining the high standard of journalism that my predecessors have produced over the years.
“I would like to thank departing editor Jonathan Milne for his guidance and the quality and professional journalism he brought to this newspaper. He has set a high standard.
“I would also like to thank owners John and Liz Woods for having faith in me and trusting me with this opportunity.”
Tanirau said working at Cook Islands News had reinvigorated her passion for journalism, “especially in a community where looking out for one another is authentic and what is most important. The privilege of telling people's stories is one I don't take for granted and I’m grateful to those who have already shared their worlds with me and I look forward to getting to know more of the iti tangata who make Cook Islands the magical place it is.”
Samoglou said: “I have always had fond memories of working as a journalist in Rarotonga, and it's a unique twist of fate that this pandemic has brought me back. I’m looking forward to playing a part in rolling out the new website, as well as building and enhancing the paper's digital offerings.”
Publisher John Woods acknowledged the new appointees. Kumar had given the company exemplary service for five years – his second stint after first volunteering to help report the Pacific Mini Games in 2009.
Tanirau brought a strong background in te Reo and tikanga Maori in New Zealand. And Samoglou had previously served as the paper’s political reporter before going to the United Arab Emirates where he specialised in digital news media.
Kumar succeeds Jonathan Milne, who is moving with his family to New Zealand, to take up a role as editor of Newsroom Pro. “One of my enduring memories of my time with this team at Cook Islands News will be their principled journalism and their deep engagement with this community,” Milne said.