HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 574:27 July 2011

New immigration policies attractive to Kiwis
Tourism promoters now have the advantage of enticing Kiwi travelers to the Cook Islands with new immigration policies, which come into effect as of 1 July. As of that date, new concessions kick in with New Zealand citizens eligible to stay in the country as visitors for 90 days, upon arrival. According to Immigration, New Zealanders can apply for an automatic grant of an additional further three months of stay (under fee conditions). There are no changes to the current 31 day visa-free stay for non-NZ citizens.
In addition, retirees from New Zealand and their partners may be granted a stay of up to 12 months (with fee conditions). Non-NZ citizens must still meet the normal visitor extension requirements.
The new policies for immigration have been approved in the context of honouring commitments under the 2001 Cook Islands-New Zealand Joint Centenary Declaration, signed by former country leaders Dr. Terepai Maoate and Helen Clark. In the spirit of the close working relationship and the further warming of relations with the Key Government, the Cook Islands has agreed to be more cooperative in providing concessions to New Zealanders.
Prior to the recent Joint Ministerial Forum with Foreign Minister Murray McCully, the government had indicated its willingness to take on more of a ‘giving’ role rather than an ‘asking and receiving’ position as may have been perceived in past years.
Immigration has already instituted concessions, which apply to Permanent Residency, as well as travel documentation. The eligibility for New Zealanders to apply for PR now carries a residential qualification of three years – and this is reducible to one year at the discretion of the Minister. For non-Kiwis, the residential qualification period is 10 years, reducible to 5 years on the say-so of the Minister.
In terms of entry as visitors, NZ citizens are no longer required to hold a return ticket (as of 2008) and may enter the Cook Islands on a passport that is valid for seven days beyond the intended length of stay. For non-Kiwis, travelers must hold a return ticket and a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended period of stay.

New arrival card questions state of health
Foreign Affairs has recently advised that the new print of arrival cards are now starting to come through with passengers and that it should be running on all cylinders by July 1st, including the new Government policy to NZ passport holder’s entitlement of free 90- days-residence. The new card also has a new Health question for arriving passengers relating to infectious diseases. Arriving passengers are to answer yes or no to the question, “Are you suffering from any infectious disease?”. Customs border officers have been regularly briefed in the last two weeks what to do when passengers declare they are suffering – the passenger is not to be allowed entry without having the written permission of the duty health officer. Customs powers may apply to advise the airline carrier to take the passenger back on the same flight.

$5000 prize for biggest loser
Exercise guru Puai Wichman of Fitness Revolution is putting up $5,000 as prize money for the biggest loser! Of body fat, that is. In a “Mind and Body” challenge to be launched next month, the gym owner is running a 12 week programme of fat-reduction for better health and fitness. Sign up now and lose - to win!

Market suits Mary
On a good day Mary Reremoana can take home up to $300, all thanks to selling her very own produce, from her backyard. This year Mary noticed that she had a lot of fruit on the trees surrounding her house and a garden overflowing with vegetables, such as lettuces and tomatoes, so she decided to sell, where? At the Punanga Nui Market from Mondays to Thursdays on week days when she is open from 8am to 3pm and on Saturdays from 7am to 12pm. Mary sells her products together with two other growers. “Sometimes I won’t have any paw paw to sell so I’ll ask someone who has some and would like to sell theirs that we could share the table, because I get a lot of people coming around for paw paw, especially tourists and I don’t like to disappoint them, so I try to provide it whenever I can.” “I like selling my fruits and Nu drinks and vegetables here because everyone gets along here, there’s no bad vibes between us sellers so it’s a good environment to work in.” commented Mary.

The Biggest Loser
When we think ‘Biggest Loser’, we think about a television show broadcasting overweight contestants attempting to lose the most weight in a fight for a cash prize. There are different variations of the Biggest Loser around the world, however, the contestants always have the same goal: to lose the highest percentage of weight (or most weight) to become the Biggest Loser.
At Tereora College a league of enthusiasts have signed up to an 8 week ‘Biggest Loser’ program – encouraging each individual to lose weight weekly and to reap a weekly cash prize for the one who loses the most in a week and a major prize at the end of the 8 week program. A week to go to the final and major prize the highest a contestant has lost within this program was 3.2 kg in a week. For most of the enthusiasts; it is a turning point to adopting a healthy lifestyle, creating positivity and feeling good about oneself. The program consisted of structured daily workouts as well as healthy meal choices to help them make their choices to assist with shifting the scale weekly. From the program itself it has created mutual friends and workout groups to motivate and push each other on to reach everyone’s ultimate goal.
It is great to see so many health challenges and crazes such as ‘Vaevae Challenge’, Zumba and Fitness challenges out in our local community. These programs like the Biggest Loser are programs which when we take seriously, hopefully we should see a healthy population for a healthier future.

Tahitians set to send strong team
On Tuesday the Cook Islands Amateur Boxing Association (CIABA) announced that Tahiti is to send a very strong boxing team to Rarotonga about the middle of July for a tournament against a Cook Islands team.
All the Tahiti boxers have had over 70 fights each compared to our most experienced international boxer Eddie Daniel who has had less than 30 fights in Rarotonga, NZ, Australia, Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti.
Of the 12 boxers coming from Tahiti, 3 won gold medals at the last Pacific Mini Games, 2 won silver medals at the PMG and 1 has won a silver medal at the Oceania Boxing Champs.
Cook Islands National Coach Tom Marsters believes our boys will give a good account of themselves. When the Tahitian team last fought in Rarotonga before a crowd of around 800 boxing fans at the National Auditorium, the honours were shared, 2 -2. The Tahitians took home the trophy.
At that time our boxers were very inexperienced. Our best then was Vengi Hagai whose reputation was well known to the Tahitians.
The fight night at the Tupapa Youth Centre on Thursday will show which local boxers have the fitness and power to take on the Tahitians.

Training to prepare Police for violent situations
Over the next four weeks, members of the Cook Islands Police Service will be undergo the newly introduced Staff Safety Tactical Training program. This training is being conducted by an Instructor and advisor from the New Zealand Police assisted by two Cook Islands Police Service Instructors who have undergone the New Zealand Police Instructors Course and are qualified to deliver such training.
This training is part of the overall plan to build the capacity of Cook Islands Police officers under the program of Assistance between the New Zealand Police, NZAID and the Cook Islands Police Service. All sworn officers from Commissioner to the newest recruit will be required to undergo and qualify in this training. This training is most important as it provides officers the opportunity to learn new skills and to use new tools not only to protect themselves but most importantly to protect members of the community who may find themselves in violent, difficult and life threatening situations.
Police officers who successfully complete the training will be authorised to apply empty hand tactics, apply handcuffs, use batons and apply a particular hold to apprehend and detain offenders who are violent and difficult to handle.
Up until now, our officers have not received such training and handling violent situations have always been risky. Fortunately, we have not had many violent situations and most of our people are cooperative, law abiding and supportive of officers in such situations.
The first group of trainees which included Commissioner Tetava graduated on Friday afternoon. Commissioner Tetava described the training as a very relevant and necessary. This course has been two years in the making and I am very pleased that it is finally underway and our officers will be better prepared to handle violent situations going into the future. This is not the end of it as all police officers will be required to undergo a re-certifiaction course every six months to ensure that their skill and competent level is maintained to the highest level.- Cook Islands Police media release 27 June 2011

My kopu ariki, my mataiapo, my rangatira is my strength
On Monday evening, 27 August 2011 snuggled in the corner of Vaimaanga at the humble abode of Pa Marie Ariki, a close knit of dignitaries, family and friends were only too honored to sit beside one of Takitumu’s paramount chiefs to celebrate twenty one years of Pa Tepaeru Teariki Upokotini Marie Ariki’s reign on the title of Pa Ariki of Takitumu. It was a hearty event that was complimented by the cool evening breeze with the echo of gestures, whispers and subtle laughter. Also known as Pa Ariki or Pa Marie, Marie Peyroux Napa succeeded her late mother Pa Tepaeru Terito Ariki. Pa Marie is the 48th Pa Ariki of the Takitumu tribe and with much rift and rivalry in the past by family members – she still remains her ‘kopu ariki, the 32 mataiapo as well as her 14 rangatira’s choice as paramount leader in the Vaka taunga of Takitumu. “I can only say that my family – my mataiapo, my rangatira, are my strength.” She had more admiration and rejoicing for her mataiapo and rangatira through the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ that have helped her to be a stronger person. This time she played host and as ‘Queen’ – served guests with welcome cheers and thanked everyone who attended. There was no list of achievements and successes at the quiet event – only small talk shared with an array of mouth-watering island food and stories of laughter. While limping after surgery to her knee, she is determined to complete two projects – the palace in Ngatangiia and the “Sheraton” hotel. “Kia karakia ki o rongo”.

Nursing school furniture blessed
The blessing ceremony on Wednesday for the new tables and chairs for the nursing school marked the first steps for the Ministry of Health towards reinstating the nursing school at the Rarotonga Hospital in Nikao. The ceremony was attended by Doctors, nurses, medical and hospital staff. The Nursing school was closed after its last intake graduated in 2009 because of the need to upgrade to New Zealand Standards, though the aim to bring back the school will not be realized until 2012 because of limited funds. The Ministry is handing out applications and will also be accepting applicants from the outer islands. “The candidates would at least have to have 42 credits NCEA from year 12 and 11 in certain subjects relating to the Health field.” Says Peta Ngari, Director of Nursing. The recruiting age is open to women and men willing to join from 17 years of age and over, and to take 21 subjects to complete the 3 year diploma is compulsory. “The program is to bring what us Cook Island people expect to find here in Rarotonga, professional local nurses, this course is for those who do not want to leave the Islands but still wish to pursue in a career.” Adds Peta. The blessing was Ngari’s last official function as Wednesday was her last day as Director of Nursing. The Herald understands that Liz Iro is to be appointed the new Director however this is still to be officially confirmed.

Students visit Museum
Students from Papaaroa College and St Joseph School attended a presentation of traditional rocks and their uses at the National Museum on Wednesday. With Makuiti Tongia a former lecturer at Wellington University as a guest lecturer for the day, the school students found it very interesting and very enjoyable answering quizzes and tough questions from Tongia. “This is the first time we have gotten a lecturer for the museum, it has been very interesting to see how things turned out, but I have to say that it is been a success with the kids and has been a lot of fun for myself as well.” Said a staff member. “The kids have been doing research and essays on the traditional rocks and their uses as part of their curriculum but they never saw for themselves what type of works were used for until today,”
“I have never seen rocks like these around my house or anywhere, so I think it is really cool to see them here.” Says Marise Noovao a school student from Papaaroa College.

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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