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19 July 2022

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PM attends handover ceremony for Te Kukupa II

Friday 10 June 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Local, National

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PM attends handover  ceremony for Te Kukupa II
Austal, the Australian-based global ship building company and defence prime contractor, launched 15th Guardian-class patrol boat Te Kukupa II estimated to be welcomed to Rarotonga, around 21 June 2022. Austal/22012151

Prime Minister and Minister for Police and Foreign Affairs and Immigration Mark Brown is in Perth, Australia, to attend the Handover Ceremony of the Guardian Class Patrol Boat – the Cook Islands Police Patrol Boat (CIPPB) Te Kukupa II.

The handover ceremony was scheduled for last night at the HMAS Stirling, Garden Island, Western Australia where the Cook Islands Maritime crew led by Commander Inspector Tepaki Baxter of the Cook Islands Police Service have been based for three weeks of Collective Sea Group Training with the Royal Australian Navy. 

Prime Minister Brown will receive, on behalf of the Government and people of the Cook Islands, Te Kukupa II from Matt Keogh, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister for Veteran Affairs, on behalf of the Government and people of Australia.

“I am delighted to be able to attend (yesterday’) handover ceremony for Te Kukupa II,” said Prime Minister Brown said in a statement before the handover ceremony.

“CIPPB Te Kukupa II will be embraced by our nation as enthusiastically and professionally as CIPPB Te Kukupa I was more than 30 years ago.  The CIPPB programme is a cornerstone of our relationship with Australia and speaks to Australia’s commitment to supporting the Cook Islands and our Pacific’s security.

“I’m aware our Police Maritime Division has been strengthening its own capacity to accept the CIPPB Te Kukupa II. Crew members have increased from 13 to 25 and in country training has been conducted in Rarotonga to bring skills levels up.  I understand the Command and crew have performed well in the work up on to the new vessel here in Freemantle in recent weeks and I look forward to standing proudly with them later this afternoon (yesterday) to receive Te Kukupa II on behalf of our government and people.”

According to a statement, the new Guardian-class Patrol Boat replaces the original Te Kukupa, a Pacific-class Patrol Boat gifted to the Cook Islands in 1989 and recently decommissioned, under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project.

Te Kukupa II provides the Cook Islands with a much-improved naval asset to carry out border patrols, regional policing, search and rescues and many other operations domestically and internationally, said the statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration.