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LETTERS: Te Kukupa’s final hurrah

Friday 4 March 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Te Kukupa’s final hurrah

Dear Editor, can the Minister of Police and PM Mark Brown explain how much did the big booze up for the Kukupa at the Avatiu wharf last Friday evening cost the tax payers of this country?

It is totally irresponsible to do this when the rest of the country is suffering and finding it hard to make ends meet due to the economic downturn from Covid. This non-essential booze up is inappropriate and shows reckless spending by this wasteful Government.

Let’s wait to see if Government is transparent to inform us of this big booze bill paid by the taxpayers.

Frustrated Taxpayer
(Name and address supplied)

Response: PM Mark Brown – I am sure the Police (Trevor) will be able to provide a breakdown of the farewell ceremony which included a catering for the event. I do know that a number of former Te Kukupa staff and officers also contributed drinks for the crew and the event. It was a terrific farewell for such a grand servant of the country and deserved her final hurrah.

Response: Police spokesperson Trevor Pitt – This was by no means the extravaganza that your letter writer seems to think it was. From the outset, we considered the farewell of our patrol boat (of 33 years’ service) to be of national importance – given its significant value to the community, Outer Islands, and the agencies involved in its role over the years. We prepared budgets for a ceremonial parade and an evening cocktail. While the expenditure is currently being reconciled, I can confirm that the cocktail event came in under $3000. This covered drinks, food, and peripherals associated with the bar. Overall, we’re encouraged by having kept the expenditure below the original estimates. Taken with the official event at the wharf in the morning, we are looking at a total figure below $11,000. The catering was for 100 people at each event (ceremony and cocktail).

Nikao seawall mural

I wholeheartedly agree with the remarks by the writer to your paper on March 2 about local artists being ignored for the sea wall mural. Instead the work has been offered to a stranded foreign national who is taking the bread and butter from the mouths of Cook Islands artists who live here.

As soon as the Covid pandemic ceases Mr Gonzalo will be on his way and his bland art will stay behind him. None of his so-called ‘conceptual’ art even looks distinctly Cook Islands.

Does this foreign national even have a permit to work here? If not, does the Department of Immigration know he has been working illegally (for government departments like the National Environment Service) in this country for the past two years?

Government departments and other government agencies should be offering work to their own local artists first who can depict our Cook Islands culture more realistically.

Home is where the Art is
(Name and address supplied)

Editor – Rarotonga-based Mexican artist Gonzalo Aldana is painting the mural with local artist Katu Teiti. According to Marae Moana founder Kevin Iro, when completed the wall would showcase the ocean along with the unique things found in the Cook Islands. Iro said Aldana was gleaning off renowned carver Mike Tavioni and the Cook Islands Voyaging Society for historical motifs and for information on constellations relevant to certain islands. Aldana had been looking to do this project for a year and a half. The proposal was also supported by Cook Islands Investment Corporation (CIIC) board members and Cabinet. Cultural Development Minister George Angene is the focal point for the work at the seawall.