HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

News in Brief

Nassau nuts to nowhere

Pukapuka and Nassau MP Tekii Lazaro said on Monday the people of Nassau are disappointed that their hard work had gone to waste.
It is understood close to 6,000 coconuts were collected and were to be shipped to Samoa on board the Samoan vessel “Lady Naomi” however there appears to have been a communication breakdown which has seen these coconuts sitting idle on Nassau.
It is understood the arrangements to ship the coconuts were made through the office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Once the goods from Samoa were offloaded, the empty bins were to be filled with the Nassau coconuts.
CEO of the DPM’s Support Office, Patrick Arioka said on Monday morning he did not know the pickup did not eventuate but that the agreement was made when the vessel was still in Samoa.
When the goods from Samoa were offloaded the crew on board the vessel advised the people that there was no paperwork or arrangements made to transport the coconuts to Samoa. These coconuts were to be used to make coconut cream.
Arioka said according to the arrangement made with the Samoan coconut cream company, those on Nassau interested in supplying coconuts would earn $500 a tonne.
The 6,000 coconuts collected are now sitting on a beach in Nassau.

Talking Salt
On Tuesday the Ministry of Health will be conducting a consultation on Salt. This is being facilitated by Jacqui Webster of the George Institute in Australia and a World Health Organisation (WHO) food safety officer based in Fiji. The workshop is to help educate people on salt intake and how it affects health.

Delegates to climate change conference
The delegation to attend the UNFCCC climate change negotiations conference in Bonn, Germany from the 9th-25th May (including Association of Small Island States - AOSIS meetings) will consist of Ulamila Wragg, Linda Siegele, Sandra Tisam (head of delegation), Diane McFadzien and Rerekura Teaurere.

Food safety workshop
The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Business Trade Investment Board (BTIB) will be conducting a “food safety” workshop for Rarotonga’s food vendors, from:
30th April – 2 May 2012 at 9.00am – 12noon and 4.00pm -6.30pm.

Packaging and labeling workshop
This workshop is to assist the quality of packaging and labelling to meet requirements to determine whether goods or products will be accepted by the international and regional consumers by following the strict guidelines to meet the criteria established by International Governments and Trading Institutional organizations. A time and date still to be set.

Spotted! ‘MFAI 3’ on the road in Rarotonga
Over the weekend a government vehicle with the number plate ‘MFAI 3’ was spotted driving around Rarotonga.
Patrick Arioka of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed to the Herald that this was one of three vehicles donated to the Cook Islands government by Korea. The other two vehicles carry the plates ‘MFAI 1’ and ‘MFAI 2’. However Arioka says the vehicles are not officially in use, they are being driven around to fulfill mechanical servicing requirements.
According to Arioka, the vehicles have been sitting on the wharf for approximately three months and are due for a service, however need to have run a minimum number of kilometers before the service. The mechanics who are servicing the vehicles will report if there are any issues with the cars, since the Koreans will be covering the cost of any initial issues that may be discovered.
The three cars are reserved for Foreign Affairs business, specifically for transporting international officials and VIP guests of the Ministry, including Ambassadors and High Commissioners. Arioka did add that the vehicles may be used at times for transporting Ariki to or from certain official functions.
The ‘MFAI’ number plates were used over the usual ‘GA’ government plates as Arioka says this is standard practice where vehicles are donated and not purchased by government. -Ngariki Ngatae

Identifying the hidden costs of Ministerial travel
When government Ministers travel to overseas meetings they sometimes attempt to ally the public’s fears about costs by announcing that all travel and accommodation costs are paid for by the overseas organizers.
However, what tends to be overlooked is the hidden cost which arises whenever Ministers are absent overseas. Few take that cost into account. Perhaps that’s because this hidden cost is often difficult to quantify or to attach a dollar amount to.
What are these hidden costs?
They are costs in time due to absence. For example it may not be possible to action some matters meaning delays are inevitable. Unlike government, in the private sector “time” is money. If a Minister is not available to sign papers, hold discussions or approve actions the private sector may be delayed in progressing a project. All officials relying on a Minister to sign documents, are also delayed in their work.
Some delays can be avoided if other Ministers take responsibility when a Minister is away. However, as anyone who has tried to deal with a Support Office when a Minister is away will tell you, this arrangement can also cause delays and confusion especially when more than one Minister is away. Overloading Support Offices only causes more delays.
When Ministers are absent, there is a bureaucratic process which requires staff to spend time making temporary arrangements regarding authorizations. This takes them away from their normal work.
Overseas travel also requires staff to spend time preparing a Minister’s papers. These may have to be circulated to Cabinet colleagues. Again more time spent on travel related work. -Charles Pitt

Easter Fishing competition on Manihiki

The Manihiki Fishing Association got together again and organised another successful fishing tournament. A $500 money tag was moved in the meeting for the heaviest Wahoo. The wahoo must weigh 25kg+ to be in for the prize and that was the key to a successful tournament. 16 boats registered, eventhough there was a shortage of fuel. Meitaki korereka to
the Manager of the Manihiki Marine, Tangi Napara and the Ministry of Marine, Papa Ben Ponia for the drum of petrol. The drum of petrol was distributed to the 16 boats that registered (10 litres per boat).
The morning started off with the usual 4:30am devotion by the Rev Ngarangi Tuakana. The president Toka Toka encourages everybody to enjoy the day and reminded everybody to be mindful of the rules.
At sea, the amount of long line put in by the fisherman was so many and caused lots of traffic jam especially those that were trolling. There were the ones that went for downline which shows their skills in catching fish.
According to one observer the whole tournament is really a family oriented day….wifes waiting patiently for their husband to return, mothers waiting for their sons and daughter with their floats ready. It is customary in Manihiki that floats will be thrown to any return fishing boats with no fish.
The shape of the float symbolise “zero” fish.
However the Papa’s and some ladies make sure that there was NO float thrown. The tournament was opened to any age and genders too.
Papa Solo, the weigh master could not believe himself the amount of fish caught at Easter. His result showed that 616.5kg of fish caught, 32 Wahoo (12kg average), 15 yellow fin Tuna
(15kg average) plus other odd species.
Meitaki Korereka also to all the supportive Mamas for helping out with the big BBQ and lots of food.
It was a great day and everybody on Manihiki enjoyed it. The amount of fish caught was huge. To all the members; there will be another tournament coming up very soon so keep your eyes on the notice boards and open your ears.

A memoir of life in the Cook Islands 1932-1942 – Charles Frederick Cowley

The name Charles Frederick Cowley might not ring a bell with Cook Islanders today.
But flick through this book from the reference section of the Cook Islands Library & Museum and one will find – like many other books written by expatriates in the last century – interesting observations of life in the Cooks during the 1930s and 40s.
Apparently Cowley, who was born in 1893, wrote up his memories when he was in his late eighties until just before he died in 1989. But nevertheless his memoirs, which were researched and compiled by a relative Sally Cowley, provide a fascinating insight into the lifestyle and culture of the time – a time when the Depression had set in worldwide, and just before World War II broke out.
Honest, down-to-earth and with a sense of humour, Cowley paints a picture of contented life in the isles and reminisces on his experiences from encounters with ‘tupapaku’ to attending garden parties and being involved with VIP visits.
Cowley was initially appointed from Wellington as a sanitary engineer to supervise and carry through a soil sanitation scheme throughout the islands in the Cooks from 1932-34. The scheme involved implementing methods to combat tropical health problems (hookworm, typhoid etc), and provide fly-proof privy (toilet) accommodation on all islands in the Southern group. He also oversaw the extension of the water supply on Rarotonga and engaged in a number of related projects in the outer islands. Cowley was the government engineer from 1936 until the time he left in 1942.
However during his three stints in the Cooks it didn’t stop Cowley being involved in all sorts of tasks around the country. He helped start the building of the roadway through the Mangaia makatea with the help of explosives; made surgical instruments; helped with transporting bodies to and from the Rarotonga hospital; supervised the building of a small electric power station and an x-ray unit in a special theatre at the hospital (on his second trip); laid a concrete platform to improve landing for small boats to Atiu; built the first concrete chimney stack in Rarotonga, and also repaired the bellows of a church organ on Mangaia, with goatskin – just to name a few.
He also recalls many interesting snippets during his stays like the Mangaian man who paid for his purchases at a local store with gold sovereign coins; the encounter with a ghost in his boarding house on Aitutaki; fishing in Mauke with dynamite; the visit of the HMS Achilles (after her role during the Battle of the River Plate in December 1939); being a witness at the post-mortem of a murder victim; taking photos of carved ancestral gods hidden in a cave in Mauke, and watching the removal of a three-bedroom weatherboard building to a another site 100 metres away, by pure manpower!
Cowley was based on Rarotonga the same time as Resident Commissioner Judge Ayson, chief medical officer Dr Ellison, the London Missionary Society’s resident ‘orometua’ Rev Robert Challis and Captain Andy Thomson.
Cowley says that the two hardest decisions he ever made were to leave his family behind when he first left New Zealand to go to the Cooks in 1932, and then leaving a special part of him in the LMS church graveyard when he left Rarotonga in 1942.
Crowley brought his wife and four youngest children (all boys) upon his return in 1936. Three years later their youngest son Maurice had been playing with friends in one of the cargo sheds by the wharf when he had an accident from which he wouldn’t recover.
After visiting the grave in Avarua, he boarded the ship and threw an ei into the water “signifying that one day I would return”.
“Sadly that has never happened.”
“I stood on the deck, a lone figure bidding goodbye not only to the island but also to my son Maurice, laying where we, his mam and I, our hearts broken, had placed him, facing the east so for him there would always be the sunrise, the beginning of that great light of day.
“As the island receded below the horizon, I had a feeling that I might never return to see our son’s grave again but now as I write [some forty years on], who knows that God-willing and for His purpose, I may yet do so.”

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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