HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

Firemen honoured for outstanding service

At a special function on Monday evening at the Palace of Tinomana Ariki in Arorangi, Certificates of Appreciation were presented to two senior Firemen attached to the Puaikura Volunteer Fire Brigade, Rex Cooper and Barry Hill for outstanding service over the past 10 years.
Both men, together with William Heather Snr, have been instrumental in establishing and building up the volunteer force to the well trained and better resourced brigade that it is today. Thanks to their efforts in harmonizing training with NZ Brigades, the Puaikura Brigade now enjoys a high level of respect and good reputation with NZ colleagues.
The presentation ceremony began at the Palace at 6.30pm with a prayer by Arorangi Cook Islands Christian Church Orometua Reverend Patia. Puaikura Member of Parliament and Minister for Infrastructure Hon Teariki Heather welcomed the two men, five members of the volunteer Brigade and guests.
On behalf of the Puaikura community, Paramount Chief Tinomana Ariki presented both men with their Certificates of Appreciation.
Heather then spoke of the outstanding and tireless service by Cooper and Hill over the last 10 years which has seen the Puaikura Brigade take possession of two fire tenders in that time and also receive a variety of equipment. He expressed the appreciation of Paramount Chief Tinomana Ariki and the Puaikura community.
Rex and Barry he said were the backbone of the Brigade and Heather spoke of their long association with William Heather Snr which he described as a “long journey.”
Heather then presented both men with gifts of a large Tivaevae each, made by Mama Tokerau. Heather explained the significance of Tivaevae, the manual effort involved in its crafting and how it was a fitting way for the community to express its appreciation.
In reply, Rex Cooper said his involvement with the Brigade had been a challenge and it had been hard work initially. He thanked the community for the gift which he will treasure. He said the NZ Fire Service cannot do enough for the Puaikura Brigade. The NZ instructors enjoyed training the Cook Islanders. He said that at the recent conference of Pacific Fire Chiefs, other Pacific nations envied the Puaikura set up which he said was a “model” to follow. He was very proud of the brigade and what it had achieved.
Barry Hill told the guests the NZ Fire Service held the Puaikura Brigade in high regard. There was no hesitation he said in supplying equipment needed by Puaikura, some if it quite expensive. He pointed to the recent provision of 3 pairs of boots which cost $300 a pair. He said that when in NZ for training, Puaikura Brigade members spend 4 days attached to a busy Brigade. He said the Cook Islands crew would be welcomed by any Brigade in NZ or Australia. He said his time with the Puaikura Brigade had been a challenge and they were a great crew. He also thanked William Heather Snr for getting the Brigade going.
Minister Heather mentioned that he was seeking provision in the upcoming Budget for some funding for the Brigade as it also serves as a backup to the existing Crash Fire Tenders based at the International airport and all of Rarotonga.
Orometua Patia conducted grace and this was followed by a sumptuous island style feast which included roast pork, roast chicken, fish cooked in coconut cream, rukau, taro, kumara, mayonnaise and salad.
It was an evening thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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