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LETTERS: ‘Barking up the wrong tree’

Friday 15 July 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion


LETTERS: ‘Barking up the wrong tree’

Dear Editor, very lately and surprisingly our news media has been bombarded with a stronger and incorporate voice calling for a moratorium against any seabed mining.

Or any form of activities that might cause harm, damage, disturbance and endanger any deep ocean marine life and biodiversity with high powered discussions in progress right now at the United Nations level and even at our very own regional Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji. No greater concerns or threats are being expressed than the fear of climate change, environmental impact concerns and while still amidst the unsolved ongoing impact of Covid-19 pandemic upon the less fortunate and weaker populations of the world.

All such high powered talks still amounts to no more but big time failures to address the real issue at hand thus still remaining blind, deaf and insensitive to the cries of dying Ukrainians mercilessly murdered and displaced from their homes at the brutal hands of one such tyrant as president Vladimir Putin and his war crime against humanity Gestapo type regime. All seem to be deviating and veering off and lifting their foot off the pedal of pressure from the very root cause that has literally done more destructive and devastating damages to our ozone layer and thus scientifically and evidently proven beyond unreasonable doubt causing the real cause for climate change and environmental dilemmas beyond repair if not drastically reduced or put at a stop immediately.

Our celestial, terrestrial, maritime and deep ocean world would still remain pure, clean and full of life if focus and direct actions has been or still more emphatically aimed at major industrial gas emission control, but foremost at our own selves, the uncivilised and ignorant human litter bugs uncontrollably spreading their own messes, garbage, plastics, cans, bottles, whitewares and wreckers in outer space, on land, in rivers, lakes, oceans and everywhere – who else are we to blame, God? Why are rallying moratorium guns all of a sudden aiming at an effort to stop countless years of prayers and hard work at trying to do first and right thing first which is Research and Exploration Expeditions only and within our very own Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) expanse of ocean? Where is the progress of science and education if no dissemination of knowledge, information and more scientific data are being brought to the laboratories and classrooms like NASA shows the world the latest news, images and videos from America’s space agency, pioneering the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and so forth? Or is this just another typical inferior fearful type down syndrome complex ‘na tatou rai tatou e akavaavaa, tapu, taupeperu I te maroiroi o tetai papaki I te kimi ravenga noatu meiea mai kia puapinga te katoatoa rava’ (despicable type of negative attitudes to stall, delay, stop the advancing efforts of some progressive few diligently seeking for potential economic values wherever possible so as with God’s help to benefit all). 

Our first research vessel, the ‘MV Sea Surveyor’ chartered by CIC Limited is already in port to do precisely only and just that – research and exploration. As our Prime Minister Mark Brown on many occasions has re-emphasised the importance of making wise decisions based on science, knowledge and information than on speculation and blatantly or brutally halt to a standstill progressive effort to diversify our economy. He further reminded the hardship and economic struggle our country came through during Covid-19, sure was a call for our nation to be more proactive at looking beyond tourism which its fragility and instability also showed.

Must I also assuredly say, as chairman of our Cook Islands Seabed Mineral Advisory Board, we have this God-sent, uniquely deposited mineral in our own territorial waters and nowhere else and in fact, the densest mineral deposit like nowhere else, just waiting for whoever shall be first to get there. Shona Lynch, CIC’s country manager clearly explains, the research and exploration which shall be carried out over the next five years not only shall enhance the understanding of minerals not lying below but above the seafloor that definitely won’t require blasting, dynamite and explosion as many gets misinformed once they hear the word mining, such acquired knowledge from research and exploration certainly will also assist us in learning more about deep-ocean environment and biodiversity in general. This is your time, your hour, your own gift, pray and trust more in you becoming Master of your own destination and inheritance, be grateful to all our overseas partner agencies aiding and assisting us in this first phase of research and exploration only.

God bless the Cook Islands.

Bishop Tutai Pere

Chairman of the SBMA Advisory Board

‘Covid vaccine saves life’

Serena Hunter once again misses the point wonderfully (‘It’s time to move on from Covid’, July 13, 2022).

It’s true vaccination doesn’t prevent spread of the virus. That’s well recognised and inarguable. It just stops you dying, which seems like a good outcome.

Cook Islands is one of the best case studies in the world. The extraordinarily successful strategy has resulted in near universal vaccination. Perhaps two thirds of the population have been infected but with zero hospital admissions. That is the vaccine doing its work. (There has been a single pre-hospital death in a seriously comorbid unfortunate victim).

The sole reason for restrictions, mandates, lockdowns and border closures is to allow time for the unvaccinated to get vaccinated.

Every society has a recidivist group of antivaxxers adhering to their own flawed reasoning. In Cook Islands this group is mercifully tiny. It is small in New Zealand but larger in the US, especially among Republicans. That country has suffered a million Covid deaths.

(Novak) Djokovic can hit a tennis ball well but has many odd medical theories and is hardly an exemplar of rational thought. He’s best described as eccentric.

The only tools in the toolbox we have include distancing, masks, moderately effective antivirals like Paxlovid and the brilliantly effective mRNA vaccines. They are all in use so I agree it is time to open the world again.

What we are witnessing is “caution fatigue” where basically everyone is over it. You will hardly see a mask in Sydney, London or Paris. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. This thing is far from over. For example, Australia has had over twice as many deaths in the last six months compared with the previous two years.

New variants like BA.4, BA.5 and BA2.75 (which is rampant in India) seem able to escape immunity to varying degrees. We may be able to tweak the vaccine to help. In the meantime, we are forced to restart all the various national economies by opening travel, trade and movement and just being as careful as we can.

Kia manuia

Assoc Prof John Dunn


Sammy Mataroa on 19/07/2022

Was that letter really written by Bishop Pere?