More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Prime Minister gets ceremonial welcome home

Wednesday 7 June 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in National, Politics


Prime Minister gets ceremonial welcome home
Prime Minister Mark Brown touched down on Sunday, after completing a busy overseas travel schedule. Photo: Cook Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration.

Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown got the full welcome when he arrived back in Rarotonga.

The Prime Minister touched down on Sunday, after completing a busy overseas travel schedule.

Brown and his wife, Daphne Brown, were greeted by members from Cabinet, the Ui Ariki, Senior Heads of Ministry, and staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) - receiving a special welcome that included a traditional prayer and remarks from Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Tepaeru Herrmann.

The Prime Minister's arrival back in Rarotonga concludes a programme of engagements coordinated by MFAI over the past couple of months, where Prime Minister Brown as Cook Islands Prime Minister and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), attended the 56th Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting in Incheon, South Korea; the 79th session of the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand; the Group of Seven (G7) Leaders’ Summit held in Hiroshima, Japan; the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and the Korea-Pacific Island Leaders’ Summit held in Seoul, South Korea.

Cook Islands News made enquiries and was told numerous government departments were given late notice of the PM's arrival, and the request from MFAI appeared to be in line with ceremonial welcomes of the days of old.

An MFAI spokesperson said: “Sunday’s welcome home PM was a spontaneous decision taken by DPM and Secretary Herrmann on Saturday evening for what has been notable high-level missions undertaken throughout the end April to May by the Prime Minister in his capacity as Pacific Islands Forum Chair, a role he assumed in February”. 

“The only other time the Ministry has extended welcome home gathering on the PM's return from travel duty was in March 2021, more than two years ago, following the very first high-level mission by the Prime Minister for bilateral talks with New Zealand which secured the Covid--vaccine program of support from NZ, Covid response and recovery financial package and confirmation of the date for the resumption of two-way international travel,” she said.

“It is significant to note that for India, US and Korea Summits – for the first time, the Pacific Islands Forum participated in those engagements in co-Chair capacity, through Prime Minister Brown – for Korea, this is the first Leaders’ Summit since the establishment of Korea Meetings over a decade ago.”


Edna Dashwood on 08/06/2023

It's far more misogynistic to presume a woman at the top of her field is incapable of handling political criticism simply because she happens to be a woman. The assumption there is one of latent inferiority on the basis of gender. Political critique is part of the job and a part of a healthy democracy. A man being an author of a piece that includes a female figure does not by default equate to misogyny. The  cartoonist comments equitably based on position, not gender and has done so for a number of years.  I don't see misogyny in Tuesdays cartoon. I see a politically subservient ministry head and similarly subservient entourage, depicted as oiling the political wheels with excess flattery to the most powerful politician in our nation, with the inference that it serves no purpose to the public interest. It is an accurate reflection in my view of politicking in general and not a gender issue. Furthermore, not all of us are necessarily very experienced with political relationships. Perhaps ceremonies that look to the average person of ordinary intelligence like a complete waste of time and money are somehow necessary to morale of the public service. If that is so, good leadership would take the commentary, pinpoint the assumption and explain to the taxpaying public why efforts like this are expended. Alternatively, it may well be ignored as irrelevant. Political criticism is an excellent opportunity for leadership to thrive. Let's not automatically label free speech as misogyny without anchoring it to something substantively in support of the accusation. To do so makes a mockery of women genuinely afflicted and further enforces the stereotype that professional women are incapable of constructively managing criticism, something I think we are far more adept at doing than we give ourselves credit for.

Maria Poila on 07/06/2023

I hope that you will not post the shocking Kata cartoon associated with this story and published on Tuesday 6 June. A shocking misogynist excuse for journalistic satire and a travesty of your own Charter .