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Empowering Pa Enua leaders

Thursday 21 September 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in National, Outer Islands


Empowering Pa Enua leaders
The Cook Islands Pa Enua Mayors. Front left: Lucky Vainetutai - Deputy Mayor of Mauke, Levi Walewaoa - Mayor of Pukapuka/Nassau, Makara Murare - Mayor of Mitiaro, Neti Tarau - Mayor of Rakahanga, Tekura “Poo” Bishop - Mayor of Aitutaki, Ngamata Napara - Mayor of Manihiki, Makitua Tutai - Mayor of Mangaia, Rangitava Taia - Mayor of Penrhyn, Nooroa Paratainga - Mayor of Atiu. The Pa Enua Executive Officers (EO)/Representatives. From Left: Royston Jones - Mauke EO, Pio Ravarua - Pukapuka EO, Anna Roi - Mitiaro EO, Toka Hagai - Rakahanga EO, Tuaine George - Aitutaki EO, Justine Williams - Manihiki Acting EO, Memory Moetaua Marsters - Palmerston Island representative, Puna Vano - Penrhyn EO and Maara Tairi - Atiu EO. Absent Anthony Whyte - Mangaia EO. MELINA ETCHES/23091910

The biennial Pa Enua Government Forum, held under the theme of “Akamatutu i te turanga o te Pa Enua – Empowering the Pa Enua”, brought together 30 key government officials in Rarotonga last week.

During the meeting which was previously known as the Mayors Forum, mayors, executive officers (EOs) and corporate service managers from the Pa Enua were updated on policies and processes within the public sector.

The theme of this year’s Forum, Akamatutu i te turanga o te Pa Enua, reflects on the transfer of responsibilities that involves the delegation of political, administrative, and fiscal powers to Island Governments as mandated by the Island Government Act 2012-2013.

Through this Act, the Pa Enua Government Leaders are empowered to carry out particular National Government functions in providing services to the communities.

It is the function of an Island Government to provide good, efficient and effective governance.

This forum provided leaders of the Pa Enua Government a multi-stakeholder platform to engage with the National Government in robust discussions primarily around strategic policy issues, budgeting and business planning.

Mia Teaurima, the Director of Island Governances, said the forum was designed to strengthen their capabilities and capacities in delivering those services.

“Prompting the leaders of their roles and responsibilities under the Act, this forum is an opportunity to ensure we are carrying out our services as expected,” said Teaurima.

“It further provides opportunities for participants to share their practices and exchange ideas on identifying key actions to address their issues and challenges.”

Ngamata Napara, mayor for Manihiki, said the conference was useful, adding the presentations about the new procedures expected from them were helpful.

“Moving forward I’m happy with what is expected to be done on the island, the challenges we have were addressed and the agencies on Rarotonga have identified the areas for improvement,” Napara said.

“Everyone is working hard on Manihiki carrying on with their daily lives, even though we do have challenges. We don’t just sit there and moan, we get on with it and move forward.

“The main thing for us is that the community is healthy, there’s plenty of fish and food on the island.”

Maara Tairi, executive officer for Atiu, said he was pleased to see the agencies addressing their issues and coming up with solutions that will benefit the Pa Enua.

“Kua mataoroa au, e uipaanga meitaki teia no te akaoraora i te manako o te Pa Enua no runga i te au manakonako o te kavemani, pera katoa o te local government e no runga i te akanoonoo anga o te akateretere o te angaanga o te kavemani i roto i te tuanga o te funding e te vaiatura te au tuanga o te project,” said Tairi.

“Ea mea tau ra, kia apaina mai teia kia akaoraora ia, no te mea te taui nei te tuatau, taui nei te au manakonako anga o te au Basileia vao ake ia tatou, e tau e kia aru katoa tatou i te reira akatau ia anga.”

The Pa Enua Government Forum was hosted at the Marsters House in Tupapa Maraerenga from September 11 to 15.

The Cook Islands Mayors and Executive Officers (EO) of the Island Governments in the Pa Enua are: Aitutaki - Tekura “Poo” Bishop (Mayor), Tuaine George (EO); Atiu - Tuainekore Samuel, Maara Tairi; Mangaia - Makitua Tutai, Anthony Whyte; Mauke - Vaine Aberahama, Royston Jones; Mitiaro - Makara Murare, Anna Roi; Penrhyn - Rangitava Taia, Puna John Vano; Pukapuka/Nassau - Levi Walewaoa, Pio Ravarua; Rakahanga - Neti Tarau, Toka Hagai; Manihiki - Ngamata Napara, Nimeti; Palmerston - Bill Tuakana Marsters, Arthur Neale.