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Letter: ‘Kata is a national treasure’

Friday 9 June 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: ‘Kata is a national treasure’

Dear Editor, Kata is a national treasure of the Cook Islands. The political wit and astute observations of our social fabric combine to provide a near Dickensian ledger of our country, warts and all over the years of our democratic development.

I found his Tuesday column to be hilarious and typically astute. This may come as a shock to those within the cultural elite of public employ, but those of us low down on the hierarchy or completely outside of it, actually find the many ceremonies and speeches and general worship of whoever’s in power to be depressing. Kata provides light relief. We can laugh about the ridiculousness of ceremonies for new doors or as per Tuesday, a prime minister doing his job. We can cheer on our PM in his noddy car behind the big boys of the developed world with joy. Kata captures moments of our time from a perspective that makes you think a bit differently using that unofficial language of we, the Cook Islands people: humour.

McKay and Ponia, stop being the fun police. You have nice jobs, good salaries plenty of travel opportunities and you can’t let the rest of us have some light hearted representation while we chip away on minimum wage or sweat with our bodies to feed our families?

That’s offensive, not the cartoon.


A Cook Islander woman

(Name and address supplied)


Office of the Prime Minister’s Ben Ponia has taken offence at the Kata cartoon lampooning our Prime Minister’s welcome home performance, as if the PM of our tiny nation had just achieved world peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Apparently all that was missing from the performance were the fire trucks shooting water across the front of the aeroplane. This writer thinks our PM is a pretty tough cookie and capable of laughing at himself. If the PM does not offer to buy the original artwork for his wall, I’ll buy it for mine.

In a world of disappearing newspapers, we are lucky to have one that seems to be thriving. We are lucky to have a newspaper that is not afraid to publish letters to the Editor that can be critical of the newspaper’s biggest advertisers.

And Ben, is arse kissing a “sexual act”?

(Name and address supplied)


Freedom of speech and open media is what makes our democracy healthy. There’s nothing wrong and offensive with Kata’s cartoon. It how one interprets it.

It looks like every time the PM returns from overseas, you will have a bunch of diehard Ministry government supporters greeting him in the VIP lounge. What a waste of time and money. Kata should focus on the cost of the PM’s business/first class fares paid by the taxpayers since 2014. Estimates it may well be over a million dollars. The PM’s travel allowances alone will be well over a quarter million dollars.

Now, we are talking big money here. Compare that to the peanuts wage increase of 50 cents that government and the PM recently approved, that’s the kind of hypocritical situation we are living in? Not forgetting the massive pay increase the PM, Cabinet and MPs gave themselves.

Chief of Hypocrite Office

(Name and address supplied)


Maria Poila on 16/06/2023

For ages, satirists and comedians have provided some of the most powerful forms of social commentary, from Aristophanes and Mark Twain to Richard Pryor and Woody Allen. But there is a fine line between humor that points out society’s foibles and gratuitous insults, name-calling and even bullying masquerading as critique. Regrettably enough, we are seeing more and more of the latter, at a time when the rise of the internet, cable talk shows, and reality TV seems to have eroded our collective sense of decorum and, in turn, rewarded loud, outlandish and even cruel verbal jabs and behavior from attention seekers, whether they're average folks or celebrities.