The hits and misses of 2019 - Sports review of the year

Tuesday December 31, 2019 Written by Published in Sports
Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles players and fans celebrate after claiming the premier title in the Raro Cars Rugby League. The Sea Eagles defeated the 2018 champs Tupapa Panthers 26-6 in the final. 19060222 Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles players and fans celebrate after claiming the premier title in the Raro Cars Rugby League. The Sea Eagles defeated the 2018 champs Tupapa Panthers 26-6 in the final. 19060222


It’s been a year of highs and lows for sports in the Cook Islands. While netball’s win at the Pacific Games in Samoa and Cook Islands return to the Rugby League World Cup 2021 brought joy to the sporting fraternity, there were other events which provided some good lessons to the athletes and the sporting federations as we head into 2020 …





Tupapa through to next round

After winning against Lotoha’apai United Tupapa Maraerenga booked their spot in the second stage of the OFC Champions League. However the side bowed out of the OFC Champions League 2019 after a dismal performance in pool competition.

Panthers claim league Nines title

Tupapa Panthers made a perfect start to the 2019 rugby league season after winning the Cook Islands Rugby League Nines tournament for the first time. They defeated Queensland Kukis 41-15 in the final.


Boxer Parker to visit Raro

Professional boxer Joseph Parker visited the Cook Islands as a special guest in an event in Rarotonga. The event presented in partnership with the Bank of the Cook Islands was held in aid of Cook Islands Boxing Association.




Dutch national to coach Cooks

A Dutch national Judith Kuipers was announced as the new head coach of the Cook Islands national women’s football team.


Kayakers win big in NZ

A team of 12 selected kayakers that competed in New Zealand Canoe Sprint Championships (NZCSC) returned with an array of medals to signify their accomplishments.  The NZCSC is the pinnacle of New Zealand canoe sprint events and was held at Lake Karapiro from February 15 to 17.




Beddoes smashes 400m record

Middle-distance runner Alex Beddoes smashed the Cook Islands national 400 metres record with a 49.19 seconds run in the Victoria State Championship meet at Lakeside Park Stadium in Melbourne


Netball names new coach

Netball Cook Islands has appointed former national rep Anna Andrews-Tasola as the new coach of the national team. In a statement, the national netball governing body said Andrews-Tasola joins the Black Pearls with a wealth of skills and experience.

Blacks Pearls finish second

The Cook Islands netball side collected a silver medal at the Pacific Nations Cup in New Zealand. The national side lost to Aotearoa Maori 31-33 in a closely contested final.





GAT, FBI win Touch titles

It was an exciting game between the two top men’s and women’s teams in the Bluesky Touch open finals at Nikao Field. Fighting for the top honours were GAT and Germinators in men’s. Both teams boasting speed and skillful touch players but it was GAT who won the title. FBI won the open women’s beating NIKS.


CIFA appoints technical director

Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA) has appointed Kevin McGreskin as the new technical director.  McGreskin’s previous experience at the national level with the Bahama’s FA and more recently working in Canada and South Africa.


Taea hangs up her spikes

Top female Cook Islands sprinter, 25-year-old Patricia Taea confirmed her retirement from the sport. Although Taea will no longer grace the track with her power and speed, she will remain active with the development programme of athletics.




Paniani, Fisher-Marsters win top awards

Bowler Taiki Paniani and swimmer Kirstein Fisher-Marsters won the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, at the Cook Islands Sports Awards 2018. Paniani was recognised for his effort in winning the bronze medal in lawn pairs that made Cook Islands history at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia Gold Coast. Fisher-Marsters had an amazing 2018 in which she achieved personal best times and set new national records. 

Kettle retains triathlon title

Defending champion Sam Kettle retained the Air New Zealand International Triathlon title.

The New Zealand triathlete, who won the annual event for the first time last year, finished ahead of fellow countrymen Graham Perks and Russell Smith.


Touch teams claim silver and bronze

Cook Islands claimed a silver and bronze medal in the ninth Touch World Cup which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The national mixed 30s managed a silver medal while the men’s 35 settled for bronze medal. The open men’s team was bundled out in the pool competition.


Beddoes wins Oceania Athletics award

Cook Islands middle-distance runner Alex Beddoes was surprised to find out he had been award the male Emerging Talent award at the Oceania Athletics Association (OAA) congress held in Australia.




Titikaveka reclaim netball title

Titikaveka claimed the premier title in the Rarotonga Netball Club Competition 2019. The jubilant girls in blue defeated defending champions Avatiu 49-43 in a closely contested affair at the Arorangi courts on Saturday.

Sea Eagles are the champs

Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles thumped last year’s champions Tupapa Panthers 26-6 to claim the premier league title. The Sea Eagles also finished the competition undefeated – a feat which no other team has achieved to date.

League after new name

The Cook Islands rugby league is looking for a new name. The team is called the Kukis by the local and international media but the Cook Islands Rugby League Association wants a proper name for the side.

 James, Rotana win Raro Open titles

James Herman pulled off a major win in the men’s open at the Rarotonga Open Golf Championship course. Rotana Howard won the women’s title.




Moanas in the World Cup

Cook Islands Moanas are one of the eight teams to make the cut in the Rugby League World Cup women’s tournament in 2021.


Swimmers banned from competing in Games

Four Cook Islands swimmers – all medal contenders – were banned from competing in the Pacific Games. Papua New Guinea challenged the eligibility of Bede Aitu, Kirsten Fisher-Marsters, Malcolm Richardson and Noah Vilisoni-Heather to represent the Cooks. Cook Islands swimming team manager Romani Katoa reacted angrily: “It’s sad because compared to the other countries competing here, we’re the little guys,” he said.


Team Cook Islands win five gold medals

Team Cook Islands managed 18 medals – five gold, five silver and eight bronze medals at the Pacific Games in Samoa. The gold medals came from athletics (two), swimming, lawn bowls and netball.




Cooks rugby chief resigns


Cook Islands Rugby Union has appointed Simiona Teiotu as the interim president following the resignation of Sean Smith. Local lawyer Smith, who took over the reins of the national rugby union body in April last year, stepped down citing personal reasons


Iroa appointed new Sevens coach 


Andrew Iroa has been appointed the new Cook Islands Sevens coach. Fiji-born Iroa, the former national Sevens and 15s rep from 1998 to 2004, has taken over the rein from Vaivase Samania, who stepped down citing family commitment.




Running hot!

Australian runner Steve Isles is back home now with a holiday souvenir he won’t forget – the 2019 overall Round Raro Road Race. Not only did he take out the overall 31km round Raro race in a cracking time of 2 hour and 46 seconds, but also won his men’s 40 to 49 age category trophy.

Panthers retain rugby title

Tupapa retained the Bond Store senior men’s club rugby championship trophy, beating the Avatiu Eels 15-5. In front of a large grand final crowd of visitors and locals at the Arorangi Raemaru Park sports grounds, the Panthers’ impressive defence withstood the Eels’ intense attack in what was an evenly contested match.


Kukis restore pride in league


Cook Islands’ historic win against Tonga in the World Cup Nines has restored pride in the national jersey, says Charles Carlson. The Kukis stunned Tonga Invitational 30-7 on day one of the Nines tournament on Thursday in Sydney. The Tony Iro-coached side lost to Samoa in the second match 4-17 before beating Fiji 12-10 yesterday to finish second in their pool


Apii Avarua retains athletics title


Apii Avarua retained the Prince of Wales Primary School Athletics Championship title.

The school managed 1033 points to finish ahead of St Joseph/Nukutere on 690 and Apii Nikao managing third place on 628 points in the championship held at the National Stadium on Wednesday. Apii Avarua scored 66 points in the preschool division, 311 in junior, 305 in intermediate and 351 in senior to get the top placing.




South Africa wins Rugby World Cup

South Africa won the 2019 Rugby World Cup title beating England 32-12 in the final in Tokyo, Japan. The Springboks became the first side to be crowned champions after earlier losing a pool match.

Three years in a row

Tupapa Matie Bar won the Raro International 7s title for the third consecutive year after beating Avatiu Eels in the final. In the women’s division, Rarotonga Brewery Raro All Stars also achieved a similar feat after winning all their three matches against the Vaine Mauke.


Kukis seal World Cup qualification

The Cook Islands have qualified for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup after beating the USA 38-16 in their final play-off clash in Jacksonville, Florida. The Kukis ran out comfortable winners to secure their third trip to a Rugby League World Cup and first since 2013.


Local clubs triumph at Vaka Eiva

Local clubs claimed the main titles in the Vaka Eiva 2019. Ngakau Toa Vaka (NTV) won the men's and Te Tupu o Te Manava won the women's title in the Round Rarotonga races.




Cricket history

Tupapa and Turangi were no match to the Matavera outfit in the Rarotonga men’s and women’s finals. Both teams succumbed to heavy losses as Matavera claimed a rare double, becoming the first club to win both divisions in the same year. Matavera were also undefeated throughout the season – a feat which will be hard to replicate in the domestic competition.



Mermaids claim netball title 

Local side Muri Beach Club Mermaids won the open women’s grade at the 2019 Netball in Paradise tournament. Muri Beach Club Mermaids finished on top after overcoming Waka, the Western Australia Kuki Airani team, 25-23 in a close and exciting final. Team Maketu from the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand finished on third spot.

Historic wins for Tupapa

The Tupapa Maraerenga premier men and senior women were victorious in the CIFA cup final on Saturday, while Puaikura made it two for two in the U14’s boys and girls divisions.  The Tupapa Maraerenga senior women and premier men’s teams have secured the round and CIFA cups, making it the first time in Cook Islands football history that one club has managed to claim both cups in both division in a single year. As well as that, Tupapa won the CIFA cup for the second year in a row. Tupapa men’s side also made it through to the OFC Champions League Qualifiers.


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