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Lewis takes helm at CISNOC

Thursday 9 May 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Other Sports, Sports


Lewis takes helm at CISNOC
Cook Islands basketball rep Keziah Lewis is the new CISNOC secretary general. CIB/24050805

The daughter of the outgoing secretary general has been named the new head of Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) following a ‘comprehensive selection process’.

National basketball rep Keziah Lewis was yesterday confirmed as the new CISNOC secretary general. The 29-year-old is the second female since Rosie Blake to take on the role in the sporting organisation.

Lewis, daughter of the outgoing secretary general Owen Lewis, who resigned last year to take up the Secretary for Education role, will officially take on the role on Monday, May 13. Owen remained in acting position “unpaid” since handing in his resignation in January this year.

CISNOC president Hugh Graham said the decision was made after a comprehensive selection process involving multiple stages and external officials.

It was earlier reported that CISNOC received 11 applications for the position after the role was advertised in February.

The application process for the position was coordinated by the organisation’s senior vice president Romani Katoa.

Katoa said a vetting panel was established with him as the chair and a member each from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management (MFEM) and Public Service Commission (PSC).

“This panel meticulously vetted applicants against the minimum requirements outlined in the Expression of Interest (EOI) and Terms of Reference (TOR).”

Subsequently, four compliant applicants were referred to the Evaluation Panel for further assessment and interviews, Katoa said.

The Evaluation Panel, composed of four CISNOC Board members, with Katoa as chair, “undertook a thorough evaluation process”.

After careful consideration, Katoa said the final three applicants were referred to the entire CISNOC Board for the final selection decision.

“As per our protocol, CISNOC is unable to disclose additional details until the Final Evaluation Report has been completed and forwarded to key Cook Islands Government stakeholders, including MFEM, Audit, and PSC, for their review and acceptance.”

In a statement, CISNOC president Graham said Keziah brings to the position a distinguished background both as an athlete and as a professional in sports administration.

He said Keziah has been a vital part of the CISNOC family since 2019, serving as the Funding and Planning Manager, and has played a pivotal role in various developmental projects within the organisation.

“Having represented the Cook Islands domestically, and as an international athlete, she has extensive experience that will be invaluable in her new role.”

The statement further said that Keziah studied Economics and Accounting on a basketball scholarship at Kent State University, Ohio and is completing her Master’s degree.

Keziah, who is of British and Cook Islands (Rarotonga and Manihiki) descent, also worked in significant roles at MFEM and various positions in New Zealand, CISNOC said.

According to CISNOC, as an athlete Keziah has had a remarkable career, having been a key player in Cook Islands basketball, including victories in the Polynesian Cup and medals at the Pacific Games.

Upon accepting the position, Keziah expressed her gratitude and excitement saying she is honoured to be selected for the role.

“Having been deeply involved with CISNOC since 2019, I am inspired by the transformative power of sport. I look forward to contributing to our next phase of growth and ensuring that the Cook Islands continues to excel on the sporting stage,” she said.

“I am committed to leveraging my experience as an athlete and administrator to drive forward our national sporting agenda.”

A federation member, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they wished her all the best, adding they were pleased that a decision had been made.

“Hope that we can now get some better focus on what needs to be done for the benefit of all the member federations,” they said.

Julieanne (Julz) Westrupp, rugby league player and former Cook Islands Touch president, said she shared a room with Keziah at the Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands last December.

“I found her to be a team player and got on well with her basketball team. She is no stranger to sport and those that strive along with her to grow sport in the Cook Islands,” Westrupp said.

“Being a female is icing on the cake for me and other fellow female sports women. I know she will make us proud.”