HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

News in Brief

Cracks and fractures in government
The decision by the Prime Minister to nominate Mrs Nikki Rattle as the new Speaker of Parliament may not be as straight forward as people would think. The process is for the PM to table the name of the nominee in Parliament and for the members to elect the speaker. The constitutional provision that prescribes this process is actually one of the strangest that I have ever come across. It says that only the Prime Minister’s nominee can be elected. In other words, the House is not required to vote but to endorse because no other MP can nominate a Speaker.
I and Members of Parliament in the Opposition would like to congratulate Mrs Nikki Rattle for her eventual appointment as Speaker of Parliament and we wish her the best in the future.
I would like to extend our commiserations to the MP for Mauke who had been an able Deputy Speaker for some time now. I would also like to extend our commiserations to all the backbench MP’s in Government in being overlooked and slapped in the face by their leader the PM who is literally saying with this decision that he has no confidence at all in his team.
The Opposition is very surprised by the PM Henry Puna’s decision because it appears illogical and ill conceived that he would choose a non MP (which the constitution allows) to hold the post. Normally, a speaker from outside would be chosen so that the Government would not sacrifice the vote of an MP (numbers) because the Speaker does not have a vote but has a casting vote if the numbers are tied. The Government has more than enough numbers to stay within the House but maybe the PM is strategising politically for the future.
PM Puna’s decision sends signals of a cracked and fractured government caucus and conveys to the public a desperate leader of government who is blind to the needs and feelings of his team. It conveys arrogance when he ignored his own “buddies” perhaps for his own selfish reasons. Mrs Rattle and her family are very staunch Cook Islands Party supporters and this could be seen as some form of political reward for their patronage. What of the other Cook Islands Party people who worked hard to put their MP’s into office? Are they being ignored here?
I have said it before that the Prime Minister at the moment is stressing over the realistic criticisms from the Opposition and his behaviour thus far has always been in response to inadequacies of his administration pointed out by us. There is no plan in place and to govern the country in such a manner is dangerous and treacherous.
At this juncture I think it is important to point out that Mrs Rattle’s acceptance of the post is terribly disappointing in view of her enormous work to build Red Cross Cook Islands from small beginnings to what it is today. This is where she built her “mana” and legacy and after the construction of its premises not long ago, I would have thought she would steer it for some time yet. However she has chosen to accept the Speaker’s post and I have no doubt she will be a very capable one but she will be tarnished with the “grubberies” of politics. -Wilkie Rasmussen, Leader of the Opposition

Te Marumaru Atua departs
Departing to leave the shores of Rarotonga the Marumaru Atua crew and its 7 sister vessels left avatiu harbor early Tuesday morning in a flurry of tears, hugs and well wishes. Aboard the crew included the Cook Islands Heralds very own reporter Ngariki Ngatae, one of the four females to join this leg of the voyaging crew. With three new additions to the Cook Islands crew Ngatai will be joining the likes of Miss Cook Islands Uirangi Bishop, singer Kura Happ and Terri Pittman, an existing member of the Marumaru Atua Crew. The thirteen pax crew over the following 2 and a half months will set sail from Rarotonga heading first to Samoa, followed by Fiji, Vanuatu where they will dock at two separate ports and then lastly onwards north to the Solomon Islands. Ngatai who has been preparing for this “life changing experience” for several months now has informed the Herald that she has been enlisted with the cooking duties for the majority of the journey and warms to the idea of fueling the crew with her “hearty, Cook Island grub.” -Maria Tanner

CISNOC Presidency up for grabs

CISNOC’s executive board has called for nominations for two vice presidents positions and nominations have been received. Nominations are now closed. The board decided on Friday to also call for nominations for the position of President due to the recent passing of Sir Geoffrey Henry. Nominations will close on 28 May.
Senior Vice President George Paniani has been appointed acting President until the AGM. However, he retains his position as Snr Vice President.
All those nominated will be announced 7 days before AGM. The new President appointed will serve until 2013. Nominees must be endorsed by a National Federation.
The Agm will be called after the accounts have been audited. The audit commenced on Friday. -Charles Pitt

DPM to attend ACP-EU meeting
The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Tom Marsters, leaves Rarotonga this weekend to participate in Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) Meetings between senior political representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to be held in Horsens, Denmark, from 23-30 May.
The JPA is an institution established under the Cotonou Agreement which provides an ideal opportunity for political representatives from both ACP States and the European Union (EU) to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest and concern and possible areas where cooperation can be strengthened to promote shared objectives under the Cotonou Agreement and through other means.
Important subjects to be considered during the JPA meetings in Denmark include how the mining sector can contribute to the development of ACP States, the effect of possible changes in EU fisheries policy for ACP States, and renewable energy prospects and options for ACP States and how cooperation between the EU and the ACP Group can be fostered in each area.
“Each of those areas is of importance to the Cook Islands,” observed Mr Marsters, “and the Cook Islands can bring its own ideas to the table in the search for concrete areas for cooperation in future. While the focus of mining has so far been largely on land-based activities, I have been able highlight the importance of seabed mining for the Cook Islands and other Pacific Island countries and this has generated much interest among MEPs. Because we are also keen to develop closer fishery ties with European fishing interests and have given high priority to the development of renewable energy sources, those topics are also of great interest to the Cook Islands.”
The Cook Islands is a member of the JPA Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment and plays an active role in that Committee’s deliberations as well as in the JPA as a whole.
“There is no doubt but that the Cook Islands can certainly benefit from strengthening its ties with Europe and one good way of doing so is by participating actively in the JPA,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
The Deputy Prime Minister’s airfares to Europe and his per diems are being met by the ACP Secretariat.

PM to co-host PALM6 in Japan
The Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna will open and make closing remarks at key events to occur as part of the 6th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM6) being held in Nago, Okinawa, Japan from 24-26 May 2012.
Co-host by Japan and the Cook Islands, the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting is a summit-level meeting held every three years since 1997. Leaders openly discuss various issues that Pacific Island countries are facing in order to build close cooperative relationships and forge a bond of friendship between Japan and Pacific Island countries. It is expected that discussions will focus on (1) response to natural disasters (2) environment and climate change (3) sustainable development based upon human security (4) people-to-people exchanges and (5) maritime issues.
Benefits that have come from previous PALM meetings include assistance received to transform the electricity supply of Pukapuka, Nassau and Rakahanga from diesel based to renewable energy. Implementation is scheduled to begin next month.
Participants at Palm6 include Japan, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to co-chairing the PALM Meeting, at 9.30am on Thursday 24 May 2012 Prime Minister Puna will open the Pacific Islands Exhibition & Festa 2012 and will host a midday reception for the event which is held to promote exporting and investment, and strengthen business partnerships in the Pacific.
Mid-morning he will make the keynote address at the AFDP Pacific Leaders and CEO Summit (Business Roundtable) and will briefly address an evening gathering of Pacific leaders hosted by Japan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Koichiro Gemba at Iikura Guest House.
On Friday 25 May 2012 Prime Minster Puna will provide a vote of thanks at a leaders’ lunch hosted by the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Mr Hirokazu Nakaima, followed by a brief address to the Young PALM Exchange Programme gathering of high school students in Miyako.
That evening he will make closing remarks at a formal dinner hosted by the Prime Minister of Japan H.E and Mrs Yoshihiko Noda, at Bankoku Shinryo-kan.
On the final day of the PALM6 meeting spouses will visit Onna Village Elementary and Secondary School where Mrs Puna will respond to a formal welcome by staff and students.
She will also briefly speak at a visit to Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and at the IRENA workshop on ‘Accelerating Renewable Energy Development in Pacific Islands Countries – Meeting the Challenges.’
The Prime Minister will depart Rarotonga on Sunday 20 May 2012 and will continue on route to Apia to join Samoa’s 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations before returning to the Cook Islands on 3 June 2012.

Old Salt 94
On Saturday 26 May 2012, Robert (Bob) Sell QSM will be 94 years old.
Bob is an old salt (seaman) who served aboard merchant ships since the age of 16yrs until just after the end of the second world war.
After the war he emigrated to Australia with his first wife then later went to New Zealand where he eventually achieved fame as the person responsible for revolutionizing dining out at a time when dining out meant going to an early closing café for fish ‘n chips and a milk shake.
During his time Bob started up and ran 16 very well known licensed restaurants including La Boheme, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Beef Eater’s Arms (in Wellington). One of his best known was the Hungry Horse in Auckland where on a Friday night they would serve 900 meals. Over 300 Cook Islanders worked at the Hungry Horse over the years when Cook Islander Tere Nicholas (deceased) was Manager.
Sell also started up and ran a popular night club “The Colony” where many of NZ’s top entertainers including Kiri Te Kanawa and the Howard Morrison Quartet got their first big break.
Bob has the honour of being the first entrant in NZ’s Restaurant Hall of Fame.
In 1965 the NZ Government asked Sell to assist the Cook Islands establish a major tourist resort. He arrived and checked various sites for locating a hotel. Sell first suggested Muri Beach but Premier Sir Albert Henry said that was not possible as the Church would not allow it. Bob’s next choice was accepted which is where the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa is today. Sell was present at the ceremony in 1965 when Sir Albert was sworn in.
It was this long association with the Cook Islands and Cook Islanders that persuaded Sell to retire in the Cook Islands. He is twice married and has a daughter and two grandchildren (that he knows of).
After retiring from the restaurant business, Sell became a popular late night talk back host for Radio Pacific in Auckland for some years.
Bob lives in Kii Kii, Rarotonga. -Charles Pitt

Indian High Commissioner visit to Murienua
On Friday 4th May 2012, the DPM, the Hon. Tom Marsters took the visiting High Commissioner of India. Exc. Vinao Kumar, on a “grass-roots” inspection tour of his Murienua constituency in Arorangi. The village of Arorangi was one of the fortunate recipients of a generous donation of funds from the India small grants fund. The funds were be accessed and managed by Aid Management. The funds went to various small community projects in villages and schools.
The Minister said “We are very grateful to our friends from India for their generosity which is a sign of the strengthening of the bonds of friendship between our two nations”.
The India funds were used in Murienua to re-roof the important Rutaki meeting house and to build numerous concrete roadside tables and chairs, from which village growers and producers can sell their foods, crops and handicrafts. The Minister said “The High Commissioner was clearly impressed how we have managed the funds well and that the economic benefit is being felt by many of our local planters and families”.

Weekend reunion
On Friday, my good friends, Niroa, Taylor and Maejo paid me a little visit, just to check up on me and all (Because they really care about me, unlike other people.) It was a refreshing sight, seeing young people, instead of the same old (literally) faces of my mum and dad. It was kind of annoying, the way my dad checked up on us every, like, two seconds, but despite that, my friends thought he was cool. They had come to pick up a hard drive (which I wasn’t ready to let go of, but oh well...) and we sat around my trampoline and had ourselves a little chit-chat. The Tereora College Inter-House Soccer Tournament was held on that Friday and because I didn’t go to school (personal reasons), they had to tell me the bad news: House One swiped the first placing. One thing that ticked me off was that they all arrived on their bikes. Argh, I was green with envy when they left me hanging.
I had expected another boring, dull weekend to come my way (especially with this dumb weather. Argh! Plans ruined much). I wanted to escape the usual ‘Go-to-Staircase-and-work-for-love’ routine and gap it with some of my friends, but none of them wanted to go through the hassle of picking me up. Sad one. So I just sat down at Staircase, by my lonely self. I thought it was pretty pathetic. This isn’t how normal teenagers should spend their weekends. I should be out and about, mucking around with whoever was willing to be a fool alongside me. Pfft, I wish. Reality never really agreed with me, and neither did the weather. Bleh!
Little did I know, I was in for a surprise. A single phone call changed that boring, dull weekend into a supercharged-packed evening that I would never forget. My real mum had called in from New Zealand, asking if she and her “brood” could come over and stay with us. In a way, I was excited to know that my little brothers and sisters were coming, but I wasn’t too pleased with the fact that I would have to share everything now. I’m so used to being independent that I don’t know what it’s like to SHARE. I’m going to have to give up my room (which is the biggest in the house. Lolz) and I’ll have to find somewhere else to have some peace and quiet.
I have a pretty diverse family. The eldest sibling, Jennifer, who is ten, is the drama queen of the lot, always commanding attention. Despite this, she’s my favourite and I dote on her all the time (which is cruel to my other siblings, but I can’t help it. I like who I like) Joanna is feisty; a lot like my mum, and will not hesitate to give you a piece of her mind. David, who was only a wee tiny bubba when I last saw him, is the most humble (thank goodness, there’s someone who’s got a straight head in this family). -Norma Ngatamariki

Balance in life
There are two types of teenagers, the crazy ones who have massive social groups, and know everyone and the ones who are focused on school like nothing else matters. Those focused people usually don’t have as many friends as the latter, and those who know nothing else but partying and crazy fun are the ones who aren’t as focused on school.
It’s a perfect balance when you know how to focus on school, achieve good grades and do your best, while also having amazing times during your teenage life. I think you would have a wonderful life if you work hard but also know how to take time out to live!
People who work hard non-stop, sometimes don’t have a choice, but it is their own decision whether they quit and find a new job that suits them better or to take life by a storm! Remember, you only live once.
And then there are those people who have fun all the time, but end up never achieving anything in their life. They never have that feeling of accomplishment, yet they can be amazingly happy because of all the amazing experiences they’ve had. Everyone leads different lives; some work hard all their life and others don’t.
Some people climb right to the top of the ladder without a break, working hard and never stopping to take a look at the view on each step, and see how important it is to live their life. Therefore they are missing amazing things, and then before they know it, they’ve already reached the top of the ladder, and only images of them working flashes before their lives. It’s important to take breaks, to maybe, take a step down to appreciate how far they’ve come, and where they are.
Those who never try to climb, miss out on the grand view right at the top! They stay at the bottom, at the same old view and miss out on so much.
Balance your life out and climb that ladder slowly! Take in every step, work hard to climb higher, and take breaks to appreciate life and do amazing things!
By the end, you’ll look back and realize how great your life was, no matter how much you suffered!
Keep this in mind, you’re kids or grandchildren don’t want to listen to you drone on about how awesome sitting in offices all day were, they want to hear about the times you tried skydiving, or the time of how funny it was when you got in trouble. You want to show them they only live once, no matter how young they are, but you also want to show them that it’s important to work hard as well.
If you balance your life out, with working hard and having crazy times, I think your life will be perfect.
Remember, if your life flashed before your eyes, what would you want to see? -Dante Numa

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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