The packed and beautifully decorated RSA hall gave everyone the opportunity to mingle during cocktails in the first hour
The catering was by Tiporo Caterers of Nikao, headed by Mac Mokoroa. Food included roast pork with Tuscan seasoning, roast chicken with honey soy marinade, island-style ika mata, rukau, mayonnaise, chop suey, varaoa karo, mitiore (grated coconuts, with chopped ariri “cats eye” shellfish, matured overnight), with taro and kumara and green salad. Dessert included fruit salad and Bombe Alaska. The excellent cuisine was praised by many. All guests were invited to help themselves to the plentiful leftovers and many were happy to accept.
And to the sceptics who accused our organisation and our RSA colleagues of organising a “booze party” and making that an excuse not to attend our annual dinner, we assure you that you were absolutely wrong.
Around 80 per cent of those in attendance do not drink, and of those who did, they are typically one wine glass or one beer-only drinkers. Not one single person got drunk at our function. Respectability, decorum and dignity is the name of our game. In other words, we have class. And to those who created excuses not to attend, worry not. There were so many good people present that we never noticed your absence!
The hit of the night was the presentation by guest speaker, New Zealand High Commissioner Peter Marshall. His speech was absorbing, eloquent and highly interesting.
His account of his career impressed many battle hardened retired ex-cops in the audience. Marshall suggested a good start in life for many young men and women would be to join the Police service. They could then go on to other career choices, he said.
Examples he gave included police officers who later became doctors, airline pilots, judges, coroners, lawyers, accountants and, of course, diplomats. He also spoke about the four years he spent as Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police, before taking up his post as New Zealand Police Commissioner.
Marshall is a living example of a tough cop whose conduct and integrity took him to the top. We added to his long list of credentials by appointing him an honorary life member of the Cook Islands Retired Police and Veterans Association. He is the first person to be honoured with the award.
Four toasts were called – the first by former Queens Representative Sir Frederick Goodwin in honour of Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of New Zealand and the Cook Islands.
The second, to the people of the Cook Islands and New Zealand, was by Agriculture minister Kiriau Turepu.
Potikitaua Taunga of Ngati Makeanui Anau Manarangi gave a toast to all living, absent and departed members of the association before RSA president Henry Wichman, presented the the customary ode to departed and fallen soldiers.
The association is grateful for all the help given by secretary Tearoa Tini, our ticket sellers, Ruta and Pauline for manning the door, Sir Fred and Ina Goodwin, the caterer, the band and the RSA.
Again we thank our guests for attending. Remember, next year our annual dinner will be at the same venue, with the same caterer, same band and the same gracious hosts on August 4.
As a footnote, despite the loss that of our national rugby team to the French side (note I didn’t say Tahiti), we were later to be comforted by the Crusaders Super 15 rugby team win against the courageous South African Lions.
First class rugby by our Canterbury cousins. However, I remain a hardcore Auckland Blues man -wherever they are hiding on the championship list.
Kua tamaki. Kua autu. Ka akangaroi. We fought. We won. We rest.
President, Retired Police and Veterans Association