The Cook Islands Sport and National Olympic Committee team. 21122108
Cook Islands Sport and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) have had a big year of bringing the community together through numerous sporting events.
The organisation is looking ahead to challenges and fun in 2022.
Like everyone else, the team at CISNOC is getting ready to wrap up as they reflect on the big year that was 2021, as it was for those who took part in at least one of their multiple sporting events throughout the year.
Even as they get ready to settle down for the festive season, the team spent yesterday morning taking part in a beach cleanup in Nikao.
This year began with the biggest edition of
the Rarotonga Beach Games CISNOC had ever seen.
With the borders closed to tourists, the local
community spirit was very much alive following the 2020 Cook Islands Games.
The organisation then prepared for the Tokyo
Olympics, which Owen Lewis, secretary general for CISNOC, said was a challenge
Lewis said it had been a “very up and down year”.
The Olympic team got stuck in New Zealand
under lockdown for four months while the hardworking team back home on
Rarotonga continued to pull through with school holiday programmes, working
with different federations, and keeping people active.
They also worked a lot with the disability
sector, holding their first Ability Games, including the less able in Olympic
The first Youth Games proved to be very
“This was a very positive thing,’’ Lewis said.
Much of the committee’s team has been pulled
apart in the past two years with border closures, as many have left to find
work in New Zealand, leaving the committee operating with skeleton staff.
Lewis said he was proud of the team for undertaking
each event and programme in 2021.
He also shared his appreciation for the helpfulness
of two volunteers who arrived from New Zealand to fill in the gaps.
In 2022 they are looking forward to a more
stable, but equally busy year with the Pacific Mini Games, Commonwealth Games,
and Cook Islands Games all lined up.
Two new sports, squash and gymnastics, will be
added to the list of sports for the Cook Islands Games.
With fewer people on the island, he said the
Beach Games commencing on January 10, 2022, will be a good indication of how
many people they will be working with in the New Year.
“We have a lot of our community that don't
usually get that active, but the more programmes that we are doing, and having
less people from overseas coming has actually been working positively for us,
and we are getting a lot more people who wouldn’t usually participate take
“That can only be good for the country and
certainly good for people’s health.
“I think it unites the country and makes us
that much tighter which we need in these times,” he said.
He said CISNOC will continue to follow the
advice of Te Marae Ora regarding Covid-19 safety restrictions and vaccinations
regarding sports and sporting events.
“Following the advice of TMO is the safest
thing for us to do.
“Having said that, if you are unvaccinated
there may be some consequences, but we will seek the advice of TMO surrounding
“Everyone has got a right to choose what they
want to do but they have to accept the consequences of those choices.”
Lewis said that above all, he had enjoyed
seeing the sense of community in sports climb higher since the 2020 Cook
With the borders reopening to New Zealand in
January, he said they would like to see a couple of overseas teams participate
in events such as Beach Games to raise standards and allow locals an
opportunity to compete against new teams for the purpose of improvement.
He added that the local dynamic of events such
as the Beach Games and the Cook Islands Games was what made it so successful,
and he hope that would be preserved in some way.”
On behalf of the CISNOC team, Lewis thanked
the community for a great year of sporting events.
“We wish everyone a safe festive season and a
happy New Year.”