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Cook Islands women making waves in maritime industry

Tuesday 14 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Features, Local, National, Technology, Weekend

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Cook Islands women making waves in maritime industry
Cook Islands women in maritime. From left, Arthur Jobard from the Pacific Maritime Safety Programme; Patricia Tuara, Director of Maritime; Amy Ngatamaine, Maritime Security Officer and maritime officer Merran Munro. SUPPLIED/24051301

Cook Islands women in the maritime industry will gather on Friday to recognise their achievements and presence in an industry traditionally dominated by men.

The celebration will be spearheaded by the Cook Islands Women in Maritime Association (CIWIMA) which aims to empower, connect, educate, inspire, and promote female maritime professionals.

International Women in Maritime Day, celebrated around the world on Friday, May 18, will focus on the theme “Safe Horizons: Women Shaping the Future of Maritime Safety”.

About 50 women are working in maritime or associated jobs in the Cook Islands.

The vision of CIWIMA is to be the leading network for women in the Cook Islands maritime sector.

This year, Ngamata Patricia “Pat” Tuara, director of maritime at the Ministry of Transport, joined the association as vice president.

Tuara manages the Maritime Safety Authority (MSA) staff and programmes within the Ministry of Transport.

As a regulator, they apply laws to ensure safe and secure maritime transport and protect the marine environment. MSA’s work includes legislation, licencing, compliance, inspections, search and rescue coordination, dealing with oil spills as part of a team, and maintaining good relationships.

With a fisheries research background, Tuara likes getting out from behind the desk and looking for opportunities that challenge her.

She enjoys working with others in the shipping sector such as boat owners, shipping agents, government and non-government agencies, school children, and the general public.

“Each day is full of action. There is no time to get bored,” Tuara said.

She encourages women who want to get into maritime or ocean-related activities to give it a go.

Tuara adds support from faith, family, and friends is important as work can be stressful; and courage and determination are necessary.

“The ability to switch off at the end of the day and just enjoy life is a must.”

The 2024 CIWIMA board elected at the Annual General Meeting held on April 30, 2024 are as follows. President - Mata Vainerere, Ports Authority; Vice President - Ngamata Patricia Tuara, Ministry of Transport; Treasurer - Bernadette Teremoana, Ports Authority; Rotana Howard - Maritime Administration Representative from Maritime Cook Islands and Member - Merran Munro – Ministry of Transport.

The executive aims to raise the profile of women in the sector and push for equal access to opportunities like training, decision making, etc.

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