HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 577: 17 August 2011

News in Brief

Whale freed from rope
Three days ago a local man found a whale caught in the above rope. He approached and cut the rope from the whale which remained still while being freed. The rope was handed in to the whale center.

Manihiki pearl farms to be re-mapped
Back in Rarotonga for a two week break from her project in Manihiki is Ministry for Marine Resources Marine Biologist Georgia Langdon. The Herald spoke with her on Tuesday afternoon.
Georgia has been in Manihiki since 15 June 2011carrying out work associated with the monitoring of the lagoon and on her return she will be involved in re-mapping the pearl farms in the lagoon in preparation for farmers when they approach the Island Council to relicense their operations. She is based at the Marine Centre in Tauhunu.
Georgia told the Herald the monitoring involves application of three mechanisms.
There is the Monitoring Buoy which checks on water quality however it has not been in the water for some time. She cannot say when it will be put back into use. She confirmed the report by pearl farmer Rangi Mitaera, that the lagoon has been murky.
There are Temperature Probes which record water temperature every half an hour with the data extracted monthly. It has been in use since November 2010.
Then there are the water samples which she collects and sends to Rarotonga fortnightly for lab tests on bacteria and also temperature.
On her return to Manihiki her number one priority will be the re-mapping exercise. This was delayed because of the Te Maeva Nui celebrations. She hopes to complete this by the end of September.
Georgia will be back on Rarotonga about October for another two week break.
She says although there are few others on Manihiki in her age group she has adapted to local life without any major problems. So far the sharks haven’t troubled her. Modern communications means she does not feel isolated. From Australia, she is enjoying the work and when her project is completed she wishes to remain on Rarotonga.
Georgia has family connections on her father’s side to Mauke.
She heads back to Manihiki on 23 August. -Charles Pitt

$760,000 collected in fishing license fees
The first two months of the new financial year, (July/August) has seen Government reap $760,000 in fishing license fees. Secretary for Marine Resources Ben Ponia released the information to the Herald on Monday morning. He said almost all the quota of 40 licenses has been taken up. So far no exploratory licenses have been issued but that is expected to change. Ponia advised Minister Hon Teina Bishop has departed for China. He is expected to meet with representatives of the Chinese Fishing Association who were in Rarotonga recently for the signing of the MOU on exploratory licenses. The Minister departed on Sunday accompanied by his Ministerial Support Office CEO Mr George Turia and Josh Mitchell of the Ministry for Marine. He returns on 20 August. The Minister and his party’s travel have been fully funded by the Chinese. There has been no media release on the Minister’s trip to China and its purpose. -Charles Pitt

Superfund net investment gain under 10 percent
According to the Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund report issued recently by the Trustee to all members, the overall net investment gain for year ending 31 December 2010 is 9.03% compared to 18.1% last year.
This gain has been credited to member’s compulsory accounts.
The report says that $7.7 million was contributed by members and their employers. Benefit payments exceeded $900,000. The net asset value of the Fund grew by $9.5 million to reach $41 million.
Also 734 new members joined the Fund bringing the total membership to 6,191 by the end of 2010. - Charles Pitt

Overspending referred to PERC
The Financial Secretary has referred a number of government agencies to the Public Expenditure Review Committee – or PERC – for review, as a result of overspending their budgets in the 2010/11 financial year. Richard Neves confirmed this today following the Finance Ministry’s analysis of the figures for the end of the fiscal year. The following is the list of overspends along with the amounts, provided by the Financial Secretary:
Agriculture $20,113
Audit Office $103,433
Cultural Development $17,828
BTIB $20,708
Justice $69,639
Mangaia IA $41,701
Minister Brown Support $2,849
Minister Glassie Support $14,423
Opposition Wigmore Support $1,290
Neves has also mentioned that there have been instances of overspending in other Crown related expenses which have been approved by Cabinet under a Constitutional provision. These were for:
• Payments on behalf of the Crown to Air New Zealand to
underwrite the Los Angeles – Rarotonga route ($100,000);
• POBOC payments to Apex Agencies Ltd in line with the
profit guarantee ($200,000) ; and
• POBOC payments for the Aitutaki Cyclone recovery
Category 3 Homes and reconstruction ($320,000)
PERC is now expected to conduct reviews on the areas of overspend and make recommendations.

Pacific Resort Hotel Group joins influential line up to present at AHICE conference in Sydney
Pacific Resort Hotel Group Deputy CEO and General Manager Finance & Strategy - Marcus Niszowhas joined the stellar line-up for the second annual Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) at the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney on September 2, 2011.
Around 30 influential hotel owners, CEOs and industry leaders have confirmed their attendance at AHICE, a conference firmly focused on the management and operation of accommodation hotels throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region.
With over 15 years of hotel industry experience accomplished senior executive Niszow brings comprehensive knowledge, experience and insight in across all areas of operations, sales & marketing, finance, development and information technology. Niszow is an avid advocator for social media and the important role it plays as part of the marketing mix for hoteliers. He will be sharing his insights as part of the Social Networking and Marketing plenary session covering topics including trends in social media and how hotel chains can maximise the online savvy traveller, social media as a mechanism to increase bookings and why LinkedIn has become a ‘must’ for hoteliers.
Some of the speakers confirmed include Patrick Imbardelli (Pan Pacific Hotel Group President and CEO) owners and investors Nigel Greenaway (Eureka Funds Management), John Hudson (Thakral Holdings Group), Graham Wilkinson (Retirement Assets Limited NZ) and Will Deague (Art Series Hotel Group), as well as Hoteliers Ashley Spencer (Hilton Worldwide), Bob East (Mantra Group), Paul Constantinou (Quest Serviced Apartments), Paul Fischmann (8Hotels), Stephen Burt (Mirvac Hotels and Resorts) and Simon McGrath (Accor Hospitality).
AHICE is being hosted by leading industry magazine HM (Hotel & Accommodation Management) and is expected to attract over 300 leading Hoteliers and industry executives from across the Asia-Pacific region and globally. During the day, delegates will be given a snapshot of the accommodation industry, from an overall outlook to specific topics ranging from social media to the MICE market, food and beverage trends, human resources issues and managing distribution channels.
Once again, AHICE will be held prior to the HM Awards, with the 2011 event also hosted by HM magazine on September 2. In other news Pacific Resort Hotel Group properties; Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Pacific Resort Rarotonga and Te Manava Luxury Villas & Spa have all been named as a Finalists in the 2011 HM Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence.
-Pacific Resort Media Release

Snowbird Laundry up for sale
The only commercial laundry business in the Cook Islands is being offered for sale as a business going concern by its owners with an asking price of $1.5 million plus stock at valuation.
“We are in three locations in Rarotonga: one in Arorangi in the west; a second in Muri in the east and the third in Avatiu town in the north,” says owner Matthew Grierson. “And all three are for sale.”
Grierson says the laundry business was purchased about three years ago because he and his partner needed an excuse to stay “in paradise” before their visitor permits expired.
He says the business would suit a variety of possible owners including a tradesperson or builder who is able to undertake a lot of maintenance themselves. “This could be an electrician, engineer, carpenter, gasfitter, handyman - anyone with a good hand at repair and maintenance.”
A person with experience in management or administration or a company executive would also be a suitable owner. “With a staff of 20 employees it is a great skill to have.”
A group of people having all these skills could also find the business attraction, Grierson says.
“There is cash through the till every day, which will pay the wages from the first day. Someone who is able to come up with half the purchase price, and who could borrow the rest from the bank, could well be able to afford this business.”
Grierson says he has it on reliable authority Snowbird’s big laundry in Arorangi is bigger than even some similar enterprises in Fiji while the smaller operations in Avatiu and Muri are more compact. Avatiu is the newest branch of Snowbird Laundry having opened on June 13 this year in Avatiu, in the commercial centre of the island.
The business services include: commercial and domestic laundry, dry cleaning, wholesale detergents and sanitary hygiene service. Snowbird has 12 washers in the main branch in Arorangi, up to a capacity of 50kg and the latest dryer has a capacity of 66kg.
“Every day we go around the island to pick up and deliver laundry, twice per day. Our customers choose if they want to use our linen or their own and chances are that most visitors to Rarotonga would have slept in our sheets.”
Grierson says domestic washing “walk ins” are welcome at Snowbird. “Our door is always open to help out with the washing and when it’s raining we are happy to help out just with the drying only.”
Snowbird has the only dry cleaning machine in the country which jumps into action every Wednesday. Clothes for dry cleaning are dropped off until late on Tuesday and are ready to pick up by noon on Wednesday. Delicate fabrics can be steam pressed on any day of the week.
“Since we have such a great relationship with our detergent suppliers we thought we would offer their products to the rest of the island,” Grierson says. “We sell dish washing and clothes washing detergents, fabric softeners, disinfectants, outdoor cleaners, and a range of other products that are needed by restaurants and hotels. Wherever practical we source, use and sell phosphate free products.”
Grierson says the Cook Islands may well have been the last civilised country without a sanitary hygiene service. “But that changed about a year ago when we started offering a regular service with Disbin, the one solution that makes sense for a small island like this. And the yachties like the Disbins, too.”
Grierson says the reason for selling such a successful business relates to New Zealand’s superannuation rules.
“New Zealand’s national superannuation requires that the super-annuitant resides in the country for five years between the age of 50 and 65. If not – then it’s no super. I’m a born and bred New Zealander and have already paid for 30 years into the superfund so I need to return to New Zealand to become eligible for superannuation.”
He says he and his partner regret leaving Rarotonga after just three years of wonderful sunshine, beautiful shores and friendly people
“But doing it sooner rather than later leaves the option for us to return and do it all again.”
Prospective purchasers can contact Matthew Grierson by phone 00 682 20952 or by email: laundry@snowbird.co.ck
-NZ Herald 15 August 2011

Public Health begin Chlamydia treatment programme
The Cook Islands ranks as the second worst country in the Pacific for chlamydia, especially among the youth (Samoa is the worst). According to recent surveys, 37% of people under the age of 25 have the Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). It’s even worse for youth aged between 15 and 19 - about 56%. To help combat the spread of chlamydia and other STIs, the Health Ministry launched a treatment programme on Tuesday that targets the workplace. The team visited Pitt Media Group where staff received the treatment. People aged 12-50 are being given a dose of two pills. It’s not preventative - it’s only a treatment but Health is advising everyone who is in a relationship to take it as one partner can still spread the infection.
The health team warns the public that there may be short side effects to taking the pill such as headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and dizziness, which passes under an hour. The team would also like to ask people who have been treated to encourage those they have a sexual relationship with to get treated as well so it will not be easily passed on.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia can damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur “silently” before a woman ever recognizes a problem.
Under-reporting is substantial because most people with chlamydia are not aware of their infections and do not seek testing. Also, testing is not often done if patients are treated for their symptoms. An estimated 2.8 million infections occur annually in the U.S.
Chlamydia can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Chlamydia can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth.
Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection. Because the cervix (opening to the uterus) of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured and is probably more susceptible to infection, they are at particularly high risk for infection if sexually active. Since chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex, men who have sex with men are also at risk for chlamydial infection.
Chlamydia is known as a “silent” disease because the majority of infected people have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.
In women, the bacteria initially infect the cervix and the urethra (urine canal). Women who have symptoms might have an abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. Some women still have no signs or symptoms; others have lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods. Chlamydial infection of the cervix can spread to the rectum.
Men with signs or symptoms might have a discharge from their penis or a burning sensation when urinating. Men might also have burning and itching around the opening of the penis.
If untreated, chlamydial infections can progress to serious reproductive and other health problems with both short-term and long-term consequences. Like the disease itself, the damage that chlamydia causes is often “silent.”

Cowboys Corner
Welcome to “Cowboys Corner”, 15 a-side rugby has another week off for pre season 7’s before kicking off again next week of which the Reds will host the Cowboys at the valley.
Last Wednesday afternoon, the Cowboys U17’s selection hosted the “Faaa U17’s rugby team” from Tahiti with a game of hard “Polynesian style” rugby and a post match feast to suit. The game was hard and fast running... with the visitors showing their matching strength up front in the forwards. There were a few Faaa players that showed skills that will one day do very well for Tahitian rugby. The Cowboys played their style of rugby keeping things tight and swinging the ball out wide when the opportunities arose. In the end the obvious differences between the teams were the intensity of the tackles where the Cowboys selection had obviously adopted a “Manu Samoa” (or Rob Heather Snr) style of tackling that simply rattled the bones of our “Polynesian cousins” and forced many errors. Although after 60 minutes of rugby, the visitors were unable to put points on the board they will take with them a wealth of “rugby experience” compliments of the Cowboys.
Speeches at the post-match function reiterated the benefits and values of a Club to Club partnership with Faaa Rugby and this message was echoed throughout the evening between the executives from the two Clubs. Both Clubs still have a lot to learn in terms of junior development rugby and truly understand its importance to the longevity of the Club and sport. Cowboy’s administration would like to acknowledge and thank T & M Heather and the honourable Teariki Heather for the excellent umu they put on for Faaa Rugby Club and the many people, families and local businesses that contributed to the table at the post-match function. A big Meitaki maata to all that assisted.
We have released the draw for the final week of pre season 7’s; this week’s competition will be hosted by the Takuvaine Reds and will kick off this Friday at 4:00pm with the U13’s and the U16’s. The games will then continue on Saturday starting at 12:00 noon with the U19’s and the senior grade.
The Cowboys Rugby Club will be holding a major fundraiser this Saturday 20th August starting at 7:00pm... this will be a “Quiz night” and teams have started registering. If you are interested in registering a team, please contact our “$$$ man”...Henry (Ali) Napa on 54-004.
This week, we acknowledge T & M Heather for their “never-ending” support of the Arorangi Cowboys Rugby Club.
Next week, we will bring more rugby news from the Cowboys Rugby Club 2011 campaign and acknowledge another supporting sponsor of Cowboys Rugby. Good luck to all our teams this weekend.

Family violence prevention speaker
Jude Simpson an anti violence in the home campaigner, arrived last week to assist local police in getting the message out to schools, businesses and the community about preventing family violence in homes.
New Zealand Police brought Jude to Rarotonga to assist a Cook Islands Police. When she was here in 2009 for the “Say no to Family Violence” campaign, she said there were a lot of people who did not want to acknowledge or embrace that there is family violence in their homes or that they should change the way they discipline their children.
“ Yesterday I was driving in my car and I stopped at a stop sign behind another car and there was a bumper sticker on it that said Stop the Violence, I was so happy it gave me sense that the awareness is starting to be raised here,” said Jude. “It might have been small steps but steps are being taken.”
Jude will be going to Mangaia and Aitutaki this weekend to spread the anti violence message. - Tiare Ponini

Cook’s goalkeeper looks toward game
The Cook Islands football ‘selection’ goalkeeper, Tony Jamieson who resides in Wellington arrived yesterday in Rarotonga in preparation for the one off match against New Zealand’s champions Waitakere United FC.
The match is scheduled for Saturday 20 August with a kick off time at 3.30pm at the CIFA complex in Matavera.
After settling in, Jamieson went straight into training with the local players to familiarize himself with the team.
“I am looking forward to the game against the New Zealand’s champions Waitakere, this is an opportunity for the Cook Islands ‘selection’ to play against a top team from New Zealand,” said Jamieson.
Knowing that Waitakere United is one of the top teams in New Zealand Jamieson believes this game will be good preparations before heading off to the Pacific Games in New Caledonia from 27th August to 10th September 2011. It is also an opportunity to prepare us for the World Cup Stage One qualifiers which will take place in Samoa from the 21st – 25th November 2011.
He also mentioned that he expects high quality football from the Waitakere team and hopes that the local players give it their best shot.
“It will be a busy game,” says Jamieson.

If I were principal for a day
Shucks, if i were principal for a day, I’d make a whole heap of changes. The very first thing I’d do would be to scrap the present dress code. Everybody should be able to express themselves through the way they dress. They shouldn’t “suppress their fashion sense”. Although, there would be certain limitations (you can’t wear anything too exposing. That would be too OMG) but everybody could wear something crazy just for the heck of it. I’m a cool principal, so I would allow it.
The next step to take would be the junkfood rule. No proper teenager could survive without their Twisties of their Fanta. C’mon, man. Banning us from junk is just cruel and unusual punishment. Kids aren’t suppose to be without junk for too long. It does things to your brain. I mean, one extra day wouldn’t hurt, would it? Everybody would be moaning that the canteen doesn’t sell anything tasty, so I would use my common sense and give the canteen a much needed makeover. Chips and pies galore and they’d be selling at a reasonable price too. Every item in the canteen for a dollar, tikae!
Kids are really picky about their timetable too, so I would make them choose their favourite subjects and let them attend it. This is a good thing for the teachers too, as it gives them a break from a bunch of rowdy kids and maybe gives them more time to catch up on their work. I know for a fact that half of the school’s population would choose Physical Education as their favourite subject, so that would be the area to target. I want to be a fair principal, so I’d go ahead with whatever the kids say.
The computer rooms will be open for everybody to use (with the exception of the teachers) and everybody will be able to use the internet to their heart’s content. (Let the real principal worry about the internet bill.lolz) All the students will attack the computers, so I will make sure that there is law and order and everybody will get a turn. (Yeah, two minutes for each person.lolz) and nobody will have to abide by the “Rules and Regulations of the Computer Room”. As long as you don’t wreck the software and you keep the room nice and tidy like good children, the students will make me a happy principal.
There are so many things that I would want to change in school. Changes that would last only for a day and no longer, because if it did, there would be chaos in the school, and that’s not something a good principal would want for her students. Yeah, I hear kids complaining about the school rules every day (I should know. I’m one of them) and yes, it would be nice to change them, but in the real world, you got to suck it up and live by the rules. - Norma Mgatamariki

Week 18: Nutritional Program
Kia Orana all and welcome back to another week of updates on the Nutritional Program.
Well last week we did okay in terms of the Mind & Body Challenge, our team, Team Determinators did extremely good with our first group weigh-in as we had led the week and we were awarded with a prize at the first group activity last Wednesday, then hello come Saturday, for us on the program it wasn’t as great, as 3 of us ended up adding to our weights!
In a way it was kind of good because It made us well sort of ‘wake up’, so since Saturday it’s been more of a watch what we’re eating sort of thing – I mean the temptation is there, it’s just really our body telling our mind and our mouth’s – NO!
The first group challenge was exciting, it was great to see a lot of our local people at Te Atukura last Wednesday, and quite surprisingly, the ‘circuit’ itself was challenging and fun too. I must admit, I was so proud of a lot of teams, as teams were made up of families and workmates, Team Determinators did extremely well last week, we managed to walk away with our first prize for the only team with a total weightloss and no penalties from the weigh-in the Saturday before, Kura Turepu also snatched up a prize for best effort, but I must take my hat off to Apollina, Kura, Puru, JB and Kara, seeing them do the kind of things like press-up’s, star-jumps, sit-up’s was impressive as not either gave up and did the best they could and did well.
Well since Wednesday’s are our group challenge days, we’ll give you an update next week on how well we did, we are expecting our penalties to be given to us because of our not so good weigh-in’s last week, mainly from us already on the program in which should be leading by example really, so now that we’ve regrouped and doing things together more as a group we should do ok come Saturday.
Till then keep up the good work for those who’ve taken on the M&B Challenge and for those who are already on the nutritional program.

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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