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Newcomer says she has ‘nothing to lose’

Friday 27 May 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Newcomer says she has ‘nothing to lose’
Ngamau (Macan) Mere Munokoa provides freshly made scones, quiches and pies at her ‘Stacks’ café in Panama. Photo: Melina Etches/22052418

Nikao resident Ngamau Mere Munokoa will be hoping to continue her family’s iconic political dynasty when she contests in the upcoming general election for the Democratic Party.

Businesswoman Ngamau Mere Munokoa, commonly known as “Macan”, is a woman on the go, multi-tasking as she goes about her day on full speed.

Energetic and vibrant, she wants to bring the same positive attitudes into the political arena after announcing her candidacy for the Nikao Panama seat, contesting under the Democratic Party banner in the upcoming general election.

Macan is no stranger to the political arena. She is the daughter of well-known Ngamau “Aunty Mau” Munokoa OBE, a former minister in the Democratic Party government and Member of Parliament for Nikao Panama for 22 years. Aunty Mau lost the seat to current MP Vaine “Mac” Mokoroa of the governing Cook Islands Party at last general election in 2018.

Macan while explaining her decision to join politics said: “I have nothing to lose, I would probably be better off staying away from politics and making my money… but at least Nikao Panama have another option.”

“It wasn’t an easy decision because obviously I’m already busy with the business and my soccer… I had a good catch up with Mum, and I had to make up my own mind whether I would stand.

“People complain,” she said, “they complain about this and that and I don’t want to be like them just sitting in the corner complaining and not doing anything.”

In March, Macan was endorsed as the candidate for Nikao Panama. She felt “deep inside there is always that need we can see that help is still required for the village”.

Born and raised in Rarotonga, Macan attended Nikao Primary School and Tereora College before moving to New Zealand where she attained a Bachelor in Business and Accounting. She worked in New Zealand for 13 years.

In 2008, her mother underwent knee surgery in New Zealand and a year later Macan resigned from her job and returned home with her mother. “I’ve never looked back,” she said.

Macan helps take care of the family business, the Turamatuitui Bakery. Every morning her alarm rings at 4am – the start of a typical day, however for many years waking at 2am was the norm, she said.

She also bakes for her Stacks Café in Panama, does delivery runs, drives a trailer with a ride on mower which she uses, organises their workers, and is heavily involved in football – a sport she loves.

“We women, we multi task because we have to, not that we have to prove something, it’s just that we are able to and we just get on with it,” said Macan, who is also the president of the Nikao Sokattak Club.

“My mother has always encouraged that if you get into business you have to ensure you stay involved, don’t get to a point where you become too complacent. We’ve always been involved since the bakery started in May 1979.”

Macan is passionate about the wellbeing of the youth in her village and educating young children about the importance of eating healthy.

With not much “free” time on her hands, one of her favourite pastimes is to take her grandnephews to the movies.

In making the commitment to contest in the election, she has reshuffled her busy schedule.

“I will make the time and will just have to move things around,” Macan said.