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Public bid final farewell to police vessel

Friday 25 February 2022 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Economy, National

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Public bid final farewell to police vessel
Papaaroa Adventist School preschool students get a tour of Te Kukupa at Avatiu Harbour on Thursday. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22022401

Members of the public got the opportunity to get up close to Te Kukupa at Avatiu Harbour for one last time on Thursday as she prepares to say farewell to the Cook Islands for good.

An open day was held yesterday where guests were guided around the vessel by crew who gave briefings on its specifications and its responsibilities in the Pacific.

Papaaroa Adventist School preschool students were particularly enthusiastic as they were led around Te Kukupa and shown the call sign flags, accommodation, living quarters and bridge.

October marks the anniversary of the arrival of Te Kukupa at Avatiu harbour in 1989, under the Australian Pacific Patrol boat programme, and she is set to be officially farewelled in a ceremony today.

Her crew of 20 will sail her to New Zealand on Wednesday where they will stop to refuel before sailing on to Australia where she will be disposed of.  

Last month Police Commissioner James Keenan welcomed the launch of Te Kukupa II in Australia, expressing gratitude to Australia for the significant work and assistance with completing the new Guardian Patrol Boat - Te Kukupa II.

Since the announcement by Australia of the replacement programme for the patrol boats around the region, there’s been a steady increase of excitement, particularly over the past couple of years as the Cook Islands’ vessel took shape in Perth. 

The crew of Te Kukupa are scheduled to take part in about three months training aboard the new vessel in Western Australia after they deliver Te Kukupa.

Te Kukupa II is estimated to be welcomed to Rarotonga, around 21 June 2022.