HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Harriette returns home
Harriette Kimiora is the newest member of the Central Policy and Planning Office (CPPO) within the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). At just 29, Kimiora is the Small Island States (SIS) Pacific Plan Desk Officer, a role funded jointly by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as well as the Cook Islands government. “The purpose of my role is to create a link between the Cook Islands – which is a Small Island State – and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. I report back to the Forum on the progress of the Cook Islands in regards to the Pacific Plan.”
Born to Aitutakian parents in New Zealand and raised all of her life in Auckland, Kimiora completed a Bachelor of Commerce in which she majored in International Business and Economics. She went on to complete her Honours year specialising in International Business. After completing her degree, Kimiora worked part-time for Air New Zealand while she began work on her thesis for her Masters. “I wanted to stay with the airline but I was a bit torn because I hadn’t really started a career with my degrees. I wanted to get into policy or international business and most of the opportunities in New Zealand are within Wellington, but I wasn’t prepared to move to Wellington.”
Her supervisor at university suggested that she return to the Cook Islands and try to get a job within government here. For her thesis topic, Kimiora had planned to look at customary land in the Pacific and how that can be a barrier to foreign investment, so the idea of living and working within the Cook Islands appealed to her on many levels. “I think what was hard being in New Zealand is that I was separated from the actual environment that I wanted to write about, which is the Cook Islands… my homeland. Being here and gaining that experience in-country and understanding how the land system works here would play a huge part in my writing.” She plans to return to writing her thesis in the future. As well as tracking the progress of initiatives within the Cook Islands against the regional Pacific Plan, one of Kimiora’s main priorities with CPPO will be assisting with the monitoring and evaluation of the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), once the framework for that has been developed.
Outside of her professional life Kimiora has enjoyed getting involved in various activities, including playing touch with the OPM’s touch team (who play a semi-final against the Rebels today), as well as dancing with the group that will travel to England for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations in May. She also continues to work part-time for Air New Zealand. It is this community involvement that she says has helped ease her transition moving away from her immediate family who all reside in New Zealand. Her first visit to the Cook Islands was in 2008, where she also met her grandparents for the very first time. She says of that visit, “We went to Aitutaki and I really felt like that was home.”
Kimiora expressed a real pride and “appreciation” for the Cook Islands and the ability shown to govern itself and remain independent, despite the small population. “It’s been pleasantly surprising for me to move back here and to see the opportunities that are available for our people.” -Ngariki Ngatae

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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