Political candidate profiles

Friday May 25, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
Political candidate profiles

Here is the next in our series of profiling candidates in next month's general election.

Candidate profiles

William “Smiley” Heather

Democratic Party

Constituency: Ruaau

William “Smiley” Heather was born in Rarotonga on July 7, 1958.

He attended Arorangi Primary School and Tereora College on Rarotonga before spending the last two years of his schooling at Onslow College in Wellington, New Zealand.

Heather played both rugby and rugby league and coached for the Arorangi Club from 1986-2000.

His passion for the game saw him play internationally for the Cook Islands and as leader on the field, he captained for both his village and for the Cook Islands National Side against the NZ Maori All Blacks.

In 1978, he was a business partner to Chris Vaile in the company Mitiaro Trading. His experience in the heavy machinery industry then saw him take his first position as a public servant with the Ministry of Works, Energy and Physical Planning (MOWEPP) in 1992.

Heather progressed through the Ministry and in 1997 was appointed as Director of Road Works. 

Heather was first elected to Parliament as a member of the Democratic Party in the snap election of 2006.

Following the election, he was appointed Democratic Party whip and in December 2009 was appointed to Cabinet as the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure & Planning; and Energy. 

Heather was re-elected in the 2010 and 2014 elections. In the latter, he was assigned the position of deputy leader of the Democratic Party.

In June 2017, Heather was elected as opposition leader a position he still holds.

Heather represents the seat of Ruaau in the Cook Islands Parliament.

Heather is married to Tereapii Tama Tetava and together they have five children and eight grand-children. Heather attends the Arorangi CICC Church and has held the position of Church Deacon since 2008.

Heather also serves as a board member for both the National Environment Services and Marae Moana, the country’s planned marine reserve, which will occupy a large part of the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Tamaiva Tuavera

Democratic Party

Constituency: Ngatangiia

Tamaiva Tuavera lives in the village of Ngatangiia, the place he calls home.

He raises his family and operates his business there. He says it has always been an ongoing privilege to represent Ngatangiia, and he has worked hard to always be actively involved in all local issues, to always be accessible and available to support those communities in need and continue to speak out on issues affecting local residents, businesses, organisations and infrastructure. He actively supports and sponsor sports in Ngatangiia. Tuavera says he is focused on putting people first to ensure communities are properly consulted and involved in decisions affecting their village, such as the improvement of community services eg: the health of our young and elderly people, safer roads, cleaner streams and parking areas.  He wants to improve the living conditions of senior citizens in their homes and on the environmental front, protect the foreshore by ensuring it does not continue to be eroded by man-made coastal structures. And he is continuing to look at the most constructive and productive ways to save Rarotonga’s lagoon from further degradation.

Finally, Tuavera says he wants to ensure a resilient community by helping people prepare for emergencies through the dissemination of correct information, while ensuring they are connected to their neighbours and community and working with non-government organisations such as Red Cross and State services.

Willie Pareura Katoa

Democratic Party

Constituency: Pukapuka-Nassau

Willie Pareura Katoa describes himself as “a builder of communities” on Pukapuka, Penryhn, Palmerston ,Manihiki, and Rakahnga.

And he really is a builder in every sense of the word, constructing buildings from ground to completion and doing everything from tile and block laying to plumbing and drain-laying.

He constructed a hospital in Manihiki and has built water tanks, Sunday school halls and machinery shelters.

He has also performed maintenance work on buildings on the five islands and on Rarotonga.

A community man, he was a school committee chairman, an island councillor, an orator for family and a deacon for the CICC church.

Katoa was educated in Nassau, and Palmerston at Araura primary school on Aitutaki  and Avarua school on Rarotonga, before returning to Nassau as a young man.

He says the biggest challenge in life is to stay happy, work hard and not give up on anything.

“Being true to yourself about your strengths and weaknesses is another challenge,” he says.

“You have to overcome all the criticism and keep learning.

I wish to contribute to the growth of this nation and make it strong and dynamic.”

Katoa says experience has helped him understand things better, and is equipping him for his journey in the future.

Tangata Mouauri Vavia

Democratic Party

Constituency: Mitiaro

Tangata Mouauri Vavia was born in Mitiaro on the 8 September 1949 and is married to Linda Powel of Tutakimoa.

Vavia was first educated at Tematangarengare School in Mitiaro, then attended Avarua School, Nikao School, Side School and Tereora College on Rarotonga. He was employed at the Public Works in Arorangi in 1969 and joined the Police Department in 1970.  He entered politics in 1994.

Vavia became a Minister in 2000 under the Demo Party. He held the Justice, Energy, Transport, CIIC and Police portfolios. He contributed to infrastructure developments on Rarotonga and the outer islands between 2000 and 2008.

Vavia was responsible for the establishment of solar energy as the best renewable energy out of many other energy proposals for the Cook Islands. He says he would like to concentrate on economic development in the outer islands.

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