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Te Kukupa II set to arrive in Rarotonga in July

Monday 13 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National

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Te Kukupa II set to arrive in Rarotonga in July
Te Kukupa II. Photo: SUPPLIED/22060901

The new police patrol boat Te Kukupa II will depart Australia for Rarotonga via the north Coast of Australia next month and plans to arrive here on July 20.

The vessel was formally handed over to Prime Minister Mark Brown by the newly sworn in Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel Matt Keogh in Perth Western Australia last week.

PM Brown said: “The signing ceremony with Hon Matt Keogh represents a significant milestone, with the official handover of the vessel to the people and government of the Cook Islands. It was a very special day for the Cook Islands to receive Te Kukupa Il – our new patrol boat will no doubt be an invaluable asset and continue to serve our nation. Te Kukupa II will strengthen surveillance, help us monitor, police, search, and rescue, and protect our waters, our Marae Moana.”

“The Cook Islands gifted a unique stone from Tuoro Blackrock and it was carved and presented to Commander Inspector Tepaki Baxter, it will be a permanent fixture on Te Kukupa II, and will hold mana representing our people and a constant reminder of our ancestors.

INSET: Prime Minister Mark Brown with the newly sworn in Australian Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel Matt Keogh in Perth Western Australia last week. Photo: Supplied/22061202

“Te Kukupa II will be embraced and treasured by our nation as demonstration of our strong partnership that we hold with the Government of Australia, as we did with her predecessor over the last 30 years. I thank the government and people of Australia and Australian High Commission, Cook Islands and we will continue to work closely together in the pursuit of a resilient and prosperous Pacific.”

The Australian High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Christopher Watkins also attended the event.

Watkins said: “It was a very moving ceremony. The rain came down on our marquee, which Prime Minister Mark Brown explained to Minister Keogh was an auspicious sign. Local first nations elder Matthew McGuire gave a moving welcome to country. Representatives of the Perth Cook Islands community sang an uplifting hymn and the Te Kukupa song. There was a lot of warmth and emotion. The crew performed a haka with incredible passion, clearly immensely proud to be formally taking over the boat. We all felt privileged to be there.”

The Australian Government is two weeks old, and Prime Minister Brown is the first Pacific Island Country leader to conduct an official visit. He is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Prime Minister Albanese this week.