A number of Cook Islands Business & Professional Women (CIBPW) presidents over the years attended. SUPPLIED/21101823
An organisation which works to support women and children who experience family violence is $5000 better off thanks to the fundraising efforts of a group of female professionals.
Islands Business & Professional Women (CIBPW) celebrated 30 years with a
combined party and fundraising effort supporting the work of Punanga Tauturu
The group presented PTI with a cheque for $5000 to
support their work at a Friday night function, held at Rehab on Rarotonga.
The theme of ‘I Am Not Your Rehab’ was about
“providing support to grow strong families, of which women are central”.
CIBPW is an organisation for working women of the Cook
Islands and prides itself on “networking, development and leadership in action”.
Its executive is made up of women in a variety of
fields in the Cook Islands.
About 100 people turned out “representing all walks of
society, both men and women”.
President Doctor Debi Futter-Puati, in delivering her
speech to the gathering, said while celebrating 30 years as an organisation, it
seemed “somewhat frivolous given the current financial climate” to just have a
“In this light the
executive decided to use this celebration to support an organisation that is so
important to the community and who constantly struggles for survival.
“PTI are a fellow
NGO who have, since 1994, supported women and children when they are most
“In fact, some of
you may be unaware that Dr Takiora Ingram and other founding members of Cook
Islands Business and Professional Women Association (BPW) assisted in the
forming of PTI due to the concerning level of violence in the community.
“And so, the
connect between our two organisations has a long history.”
Tauturu Inc co-ordinator Rebekah Buchanan said: “The event was extremely well done,
with the theme of ‘I Am Not Your Rehab’ that was modified from the New Zealand
movement ‘She Is Not Your Rehab’, to create more awareness about domestic
“We are very
thankful to BPW for their generous effort and selecting Punanga Tauturu as the
beneficiary this year.”
Futter-Puati said BPW
had, at its foundation, always been concerned with supporting women’s health,
equality and of course women’s rights.
“While some of
these have improved for women in the Kuki Airani, it is sad to say that 30
years later, there is still much to do to improve, in particular, equity and
women and children continue to be unsafe in our community.”
The charity event, held at Rehab on Friday, was attended by about 100 people. SUPPLIED/21101822
A 2014 Te Ata O Te
Ngakau: Shadows of the Heart study by Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health and the
National Council of Women provided evidence that more than 80 per cent of Cook
Islands women experience family violence, she said.
“We suspect at
this time, the statistics will be even higher given the stress many are under
due to Covid-19.
“The impact of
this violence is represented in the state of both women’s and children’s
pito’enua or wellbeing.
“Every week we see
the evidence of these acts in our community when reading the newspaper, and
very little progress has been made in rehabilitating the community from
“And so, for these
reasons we decided to use the theme of ‘I Am Not Your Rehab’ for this event.”
Futter-Puati said some
people had some difficulty understanding why CIBPW was using the theme and venue.
Using Rehab Nightclub
as a venue was a play on the theme of ‘I Am Not Your Rehab’ which had been
adapted from the ‘She Is Not Your Rehab’ movement in New Zealand, she
“We know in the
Cooks that some men are also the victims of domestic violence also (albeit far
fewer than women), so we modified the name to ‘I Am Not Your Rehab’ and decided
to use Rehab Nightclub as we want everyone to ‘check into rehab’.
“Most people will,
during their lifetimes, need some kind support to rehabilitate.
“The numbers are
pretty staggering, one in three people actually.
“There should be
no stigma or shame attached to seeking support or rehab so please check into
rehab with us all,” she told those gathered.
“We also know is
that this area has been the site of some alcohol infused violence.
“We wanted to be
in this space and use it peacefully, challenging the status quo and asking
Rehab to designed a signature I Am Not Your Rehab mocktail for the evening to
encourage people celebrating to have a beautiful non-alcoholic option, to
encourage responsible hosts, sober drivers, and respectful celebrations.”
Futter-Puati said the organisation also thought it was a good idea to move out of
its comfort zone.
“BPW is sometimes
considered an organisation for older expatriate women, we decided we needed to
take BPW to a site where younger people may feel more comfortable and perhaps
this might help some of us understand the discomfort that younger people may
feel going to spaces that have customarily been used by BPW.
“And besides, I
can finally say I spent a night out at Rehab to my own kids.”
thanked a number of past presidents in attendance.
“Thank you for
leading the way and serving the community alongside your executive members.”
She concluded by
thanking the current executive for planning this gala.
BPW patron Helen
Henry presented the Patron’s Award, which was instigated in 2011. The selection
of the honour is by the patron and the award does not have the endorsement of
It had only been
given three times previously to the late Te Tika Mataiapo Dorice Reid, Jolene
Bosanquet Heays and Pai Chambers.
“This year, 2021,
it is once again time to present the award to a stalwart member who has made a
significant contribution to the work of BPW over many years and continues to do
so,” Henry said.
“A woman who
constantly demonstrates, strong leadership skills, enthusiasm and dedication to
all the organisations she belongs to.
“She does not seek
publicity or acknowledgement of her efforts.
“In fact many of
you may not know of her extensive work in the community.
“She is a
successful entrepreneur working in the retail sector and also involved in the
inbound tourism and accommodation sectors of Rarotonga.”
Henry then presented the award to Dawn Baudinet, a former president who held the position for two terms.