HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Minister of finance as CISNOC President: Absurd & Arrogant
How would you as a Cook Islander want Government Ministers and the Prime Minister to behave? I’m sure you and I and many others want them to act in our best interest and to be fair to all citizens of the country. Well, that’s the ideal; reality is quite different with the current lot.
Take for example the latest proposition by the Government. I learnt several days ago that the Minister of Finance has agreed to stand as the President of the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC). Not only is this absurd but it is downright laughable. If he did, then this is a complete disregard of the rights of representation of members of the public and the sporting codes. It is politics at its most base level and ugliness. It cuts right across the notion that “politics and sports don’t mix”. Frankly, it is a perpetuation of the Cook Islands Party arrogant claim on the management of CISNOC; a claim exemplified by late Sir Geoffrey Henry’s hold on the Presidency of this organisation.
However, at least Sir Geoffrey had retired from politics while the proposed nomination of Minister Mark Brown is nothing more than a snub at the public ownership of such offices. It is more than that though. It is a display that makes true the belief that CISNOC is a Cook Islands Party nest and political arm. No wonder CISNOC has been clouded with controversy because politics at its highest is played by the Executives of this organisation, who I understand is sponsoring the Minister’s nomination.
In the past, I have heard members of CISNOC perhaps innocently denounce political play as interfering with sports where sports needs to be left alone for the sake of the sportspeople. I subscribe to that principle because as a moderately sports-minded person, it is indeed very, very important to keep politics away from what sports people do.
If the Minister is nominated and wins the Presidency, what then? Good question, especially when he is in fact the Minister responsible for the same organisation that he wishes to be President of. And is there a conflict of interest? One could rightly ask; has he then as Minister of Finance hidden information with regard to funds channelled to CISNOC but mysteriously somewhere in the system. Is he obliging to protect some people or is he the CIP bulldog that steams his way through ignoring the rights of members of the public for the protection of the CIP political hive?
But more seriously, I have to say that the legal eagles are going to sharpen their pencils to question whether in doing so the Minister forfeits his seat as an MP for Takuvaine/Tutakimoa because he incidentally may have become a public servant.
Well, I think it is quite silly for a Minister to take over the Presidency of CISNOC. A friend of mine said it’s like wading into a sea of ferocious alligators. I also think that it will take up a lot of his time that the most important portfolio in the country that of Finance will be severely compromised, if not already.
Come on Minister, let’s stick to playing Marsters league or Golden Oldies rugby – it’s more fun and less stressful and certainly not lent to throwing our political weight around. -Wilkie Rasmussen, Leader of the Opposition

Time for the Tourism industry to step up
The time has come for a fundamental change in our outlook for tourism.
Since the international airport opened in 1974, we’ve had 38 years of the budget tourist mainly from New Zealand. Since then we’ve seen the industry grow to the point where it now accounts for around 70 of our GDP.
However, for the last few years our real GDP has languished around the $295 million mark with no sign or prospects of significant growth.
With tourism likely to remain our major money earner in the medium term, it is fair to ask ourselves if the future of our tourism industry lies in more budget targeted accommodations and tourists or should we be now setting our sights on attracting a new, bigger spending, higher class of client-the five star class?
A recommendation from the Economic Task Force set up by the last Demo government recommended we aim to increase visitor numbers from 115,000 or so per year to 150,000 per year due to the average length of stay being reduced from 10 days to five days.
If we aim for this increase in visitors, several questions arise. One is, where is the extra accommodation coming from? What local entrepreneur is going to build accommodation with interest rates so high? Will the increase in budget tourists actually provide a significant increase in new revenue?
An even more basic question is, do we really need to take the visitor numbers out to 150,000?
A better strategy might be to build a higher class of hotel (5 star) and attract bigger spenders. There would be less pressure on land and infrastructure and less visitors will mean facilities do not become overcrowded. Five star visitors would also attract a higher quality of services, crafts and goods. More importantly, such development would grow our GDP.
With government planning to upgrade some outer island airports, and with airfares unlikely to fall to a level attractive to the budget traveler, it makes sense to develop small but higher class hotels on the outer islands for the five star traveler. Such travelers could easily afford the airfares and less but higher paying visitors is preferable for the smaller, lesser populated outer islands due to infrastructure, land and labour constraints.
Where are the 5 star tourists going to come from? The answer is obvious. China. China has a growing upper and middle class who have the ability to travel overseas at 5 star level. In recognition of this, three large 5 star resorts are planned in Samoa. One is a 500 room hotel to be paid for and built by the Chinese and for the better off Chinese tourist. With the Chinese likely to fly directly into Samoa, one does not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that it is only a short air hop from Samoa to the Cook Islands. The opportunity would arise to establish an air service from Samoa to Rarotonga/Aitutaki and a direct route from Samoa to some of the northern group islands.
If government wishes to spend more than $200 million of overseas sourced funds on infrastructure, it needs the means to ensure the country can generate sufficient revenues to service the loans.
Building infrastructure in the “hope” it will attract commercial investment down the line, is a “pipe dream.” Government should not commit itself to expenditure on infrastructure unless there is a guarantee of a significant, simultaneous investment for example, in a tourism related revenue generating project.
Both forms of investment go hand in hand otherwise, what’s the point of it all?
Overseas donors of infrastructure loans would be more comfortable if they could see some guaranteed government or private sector led commercial development on the books.
Simply producing more of the same-budget traveler accommodations-is not going to cut it. This is not where the future of our tourism industry lies. -Charles Pitt

In the dark over Rattle
Nikki Rattle’s appointment as Speaker of Parliament, has rattled a few of the Cook Islands Party (CIP) MPs.
The PM announced in a speech he made at the Titikaveka CIP’s by-election rally for candidate Teariki Matenga on Saturday evening 19th May, that a woman was being considered for the position of Speaker but the PM did not mention who. This was the first time anyone had heard that a woman was being considered.
The PM flew out to Okinawa, Japan to attend and co-host PALM6 the next morning, Sunday 20 May.
When the announcement of Nikki Rattle’s appointment was made in the daily paper on Monday 21 May, it came as a surprise to all MPs including those in the CIP Caucus. Even the Party President Rau Nga did not know. The Herald understands Minister Teina Bishop was another who did not know as he was overseas.
Following criticism by Norman George and Wilkie Rasmussen in the daily paper on Tuesday 22 May, the PM issued a press statement on Thursday morning 24 May accusing the pair of engaging in petty politics. However the PM also revealed in his press release that Cabinet had made the decision regarding Rattle, a month ago.
The question is why was the decision kept from the rest of Caucus? The CIP Caucus is usually informed on Cabinet decisions after Cabinet however, the Herald understands there has been no meeting with Caucus since February.
Perhaps the PM knew there would be some dissention among the ranks. The timing of the announcement also coincides with the PM being overseas and away from having to deal with the flak from his own party.
The Herald has also learnt that one spin off from recent events is that the CIP’s Rarotongan MPs are considering forming their own Caucus. -Charles Pitt

Koutu Nui held 39th Annual General Meeting in Aitutaki
The Koutu Nui Uipaanga Maata 2012 held in Aitutaki was a great success. Opening day was on Monday 21 May when eight new tribal chiefs were sworn into the Koutu Nui. The new Mataiapo are: Kaimarama M; Kavakura M; Tiikura Mataiapo; Rae Mataiapo o Taravao ; Tere’a Mataiapo as well as Tamakeu Mataiapo, Mama Puretu Heather, and two of her Rangatira, Api Rangatira and Ukura Rangatira.
Madame President of the Koutu Nui, Turi Mataiapo presided over the induction ceremony ably assisted by Tui Mataiapo of Puaikura and Koutu Nui Secretary, Itaata Rangatira of Ngati Kainuku.
The formal opening ceremony was held on Monday 21 May in the presence of the Ui Ariki of Aitutaki, Minister Teina Bishop and Aitutaki Mayor, John Baxter and the Orometua from all the churches in Aitutaki.
The Koutu Nui delegation included Pa Enua representatives: Kake Maunga Mataiapo (former Speaker of Parliament, Mapu Taia of Mauke); Paerangi Mataiapo and Puki Mataiapo (both from Atiu); and the new Tere’a Mataiapo who has taken the place of his mother, Mrs Maeu Allsworth-Short. From Rarotonga were Te Pa Mataiapo, Uritaua Mataiapo, Tairiterangi Rangatira, Rio Rangatira and Parliamentary assistant, Tepaeru Thompson for administrative support in organizing the AGM.
The meeting was held in Aitutaki at the invitation of the Vaka Mataiapo of Araura and who acted as host and local organizers on behalf of the Koutu Nui.
Koutu Nui release

MMR Workshop in Manihiki and Rakahanga

Manihiki and Rakahanga are in a hype of excitement with training workshops that has been organized by the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR). MMR Senior Fisheries Officer, Sonny Tatuava and Senior Policy Adviser, Kelvin Passfield are there for two weeks to take the participants through fishing techniques, safety at sea and seafood handling hygiene.
The 46 participants from Manihiki alone were familiar with some of the techniques that were shown but were appreciative of learning about the different lures and baits for Tuna and other pelagic species.
An early morning fishing excursion was organized for the workshop and the participants donned with their new safety bags and the knowledge gained the previous night, went out fishing for resources for their seafood handling hygiene / processing course. Two boats went out and caught a total of 18 fish weighing 180kg which was used this purpose. The participants were taken through the process of filleting thinly sliced fish, coating them with different flavours and leaving them to dry in the sun. These products will be available for sale during the Constitution by the people from the Northern Group.
MMR Pearl Support Officer Rangi Johnson, based in Manihiki, said “more people were really interested in attending this workshop but with the pearl farming harvesting and seeding going on, it was hard for some to attend. They know the benefits that these workshops bring to their Island as it can only enhance their ability to generate income through other business ventures, besides pearl farming.”

Te Tango o te Peu Maori
E reo porokiroki teia na te ui tupuna kia tatou; kia upoko tu, kia tu ma te ngaueuekore e kia tu ma te akarakara matatio i te au mea e tupu nei ki to tatou au enua tatakitai. Te akamatakite’ia mai nei kia tatou; kia iki i te peu tau ta te porena ka apai mai ki roto nei i to tatou parataito, e kia kopae i te peu te ka riro ei akatietie i ta tatou uaorai peu Maori.
Ko te peu tupuna ko tetai tuanga puapinga teia i roto i te ora’anga o te iti tangata. Te turu pakari nei te Kopapa Kura Apii kia ‘aka-ari’ia mai te tu tikai o te Kuki Airani i roto i te apii’anga a te au apii e kia kapiti katoa’ia mai te peu tupuna; te ora’anga e te irinaki’anga vaerua. Te akamaroiroi’ia nei te au apii no ta tatou tamariki kia matutu i ‘atuitui’anga i te reo a tona uaorai enua, te au peu e te akono’anga tupuna ma te oronga i te irinaki’anga vaerua, te korero tupuna e te au mea i tupu i te tuatau i topa ki muri e pera ki te peu o teia tuatau.
Te turu katoa’ia nei e kia o’ora’ia atu teia marama ki te au tamariki e ko to ratou reo e apai nei e reo papaa. Ka riro teia ei ravenga i te akakoukou mai i te peu maori e kia apii’ia ki roto i te pia apii; ma te akara katoa atu ki te peu ta te iti tangata o roto i te oire e rave nei ma te akao katoa mai i te reira ki roto i te porokaramu apii. I roto i te Kura Apii o te reo maori, kua akatuanga’ia te peu maori e toru tuanga tei karanga’ia e ko te tino apii peu no te apii i roto i te pia apii. Ko te irinaki’anga me akamou’ia te apii’anga e te tamou’anga ki runga i te tino apii peu, ka matutu te marama o te tamariki no runga i ta tatou peu. Kua akamou’ia te au tino apii no te apii’anga e te tamou’anga i te peu na runga i ta te au enua tatakitai. Ko tetai tu’anga puapinga, ko te apii’anga kia rauka i te tamariki i te akao mai i te peu e te akono’anga a to tatou ‘ui tupuna na runga i te au enua tatakitai.
* Te iti tangata e to ratou irinaki’anga keretetiano
*Te iti tangata e ta ratou ‘oroanga, e pera te irinaki’anga e te akono’anga
*Te iti tangata e to ratou aorangi
Ko teia i reira te tuatua aka-araara i te au apii…”kua oro ana te ui tupuna i puna kiore, kua ‘ina’ina te ta’a, kua ‘au i te marae….” Ko te kaveinga rai te reira ta tatou kia akatinamou ki roto i te apii. -Tataia e Bernadette Teremoana

National Environment week
The annual National Environment Week starts next week Monday 4th June.
The NES has organised 2 events on Rarotonga to celebrate this week, and the NES Pa Enua offices have also developed their own programme for the week.
We would like to encourage any group to recognise and support National Environment Week with us in any way you prefer and we do have some groups who are doing just that!
SLM Recycled Sculptures Competition
11 large sea creatures will be displayed during National Environment Week next week at various locations.
There are 2 categories – one for government departments and an open category (businesses, community groups, schools). The aim is to encourage adults to participate this year, and particularly encourage government departments as role models and decision makers in the community.
All sculptures will be displayed at the group’s chosen location or place of work, for all to admire.
They will also be promoting their workplace green practices which are also a significant part of the judging criteria.
Our judges, made up of NGO, private sector and community representatives as well as an artist, will judge all sculptures on the last day for Environment week, Friday morning the 8th.
This event is organised by the National Environment Service with cash prizes sponsored by the NES/MOIP Sustainable Land Management Project.
Last minute entries are welcome!
Cloth Bag Art Exhibition
Cook Islands artists are supporting the Cook Islands National Environment Service (NES) and the Sustainable Land Management Project (SLM) in their campaign to promote re-usable shopping bags this year as part of the Taau Taku Tita Campaign.
The NES in collaboration with The Art Studio have coordinated this event with thirty (30) calico bags distributed amongst local artists this month. These are expected to come in this weekend, ready for exhibition from next week for National Environment Week. The Cloth Bag Art Exhibition will be from Wednesday 6th to 13th June at The Art Studio. All bags will be on sale thereafter.
NES appreciates the collaboration with The Art Studio, Ian and Kay George, as well as the artists for their support.
This event is funded by the NES/MOIP Sustainable Land Management Project.
Distribution of Waste books
NES are distributing Waste Education Handbooks and other resources (DVDs, posters, factbooks) to ALL schools within the Cook Islands in time for Environment Week. This will be used to supplement classroom lessons on the environment, in particular waste management.
The Waste Education Handbooks are great for any group, including youth and community groups, so if you’d like a copy, please come in a see us!
Recycle Cards
NES and the MOIP-WATSAN will be distributing information cards, a friendly reminder about separating your waste for recycling but also information on where you can take other waste types such as cardboard boxes, light bulbs, white ware, ewaste and green waste.
It’s been a long time coming, the last time we had such a flyer was in 2008 and 2009 which was distributed during the Tutaka programme. Most of these ended up as rubbish themselves so this time we have improved these with magnetic strips on the back in which you could stick to your fridge or even pin to your board at home/work as a constant reminder.
These will be made available to everyone.
Pa Enua Programmes
Aitutaki Vaine Tini are embroidering cloth bags for an art competition as part of its Say YES to reusable bags campaign also. Aitutaki is also keeping their annual tradition of a float parade around the island after a much smaller scale beauty pageant contest called the Miss Ozone contest – in support also of the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.
Mauke has several community work activities planned for next week including a clean up of the island’s waste site in their bid to transfer as much recyclables as possible to their new transfer and recycling station on the island. They also plan to continue their monitoring of the invasive red passionfruit plant on the island.
For the final evening of Environment Week, Mauke NES officer has planned an Environment Quiz Nite for the community.
Atiu and Mitiaro both will be working with community groups on the island to clean up as well as replant significant trees such as fruit trees around public places on their island.

Dante’s Birthday!

I had waited eagerly for this day (or night) to come. It looked like there was a hurricane going on, but that didn’t do anything to dampen my mood. It was a big day for a special girl by the name of Dante Numa, who was hitting the big one-seven. She had made the announcement that her birthday was to be held at Staircase Restaurant and Bar, which worked out fine for me because, you know, I spend most of my Saturdays there. It probably meant that I would see the decorations and food preparations before anyone else...Hehe, tricky.
As expected, Dante and her bestie, Dayna, arrived to check out the set up for Staircase. I think they were pleased with what they saw, because they were smiling most of the time. They asked my mum if I could tag along with them (which I was secretly pleased with). So off we popped to Edgewater in the sturdy Smurf (cute nickname for Dante’s ride) to pick up the birthday cake. We had arrived a bit earlier than scheduled, so we took a detour to pick up another friend of Dante’s, Mama.
Heading back to Staircase, I knew what to expect. Decorations were going to have to be put up and that meant blowing up balloons. A whole bunch of them. Now I am ashamed to say that I was given a basic tutorial on how to tie a stupid balloon, which required more skill than I thought. Grrr, those balloons were giving me a real hard time. After all that effort, our small group had managed to create a tiny lake of black and white balloons. It was now time to pick up the cake, and to be honest, I couldn’t wait to see it.
The cake was a monstrous three-tiers, covered in blue and green icing. Only one word could describe it: Yummy! Maneuvering it into the car was an entirely different story though. Lucky Dayna got to hold it up close. She carried it up to the restaurant with gentle ease (of running up the stairs can be called gentle ease) and placed it in the fridge, where it wouldn’t be presented later on in the night. So when all the decorations were taken care of, I headed back home to see what was happening with my “costume”.
I was planning to come as a mushroom (Yes, you read right. A mushroom) but things didn’t go according to plan (When do they ever do?) I had to ring my awesome aunty for a ride there. My friends, Michael and “Tweedle Dum” a.k.a Anau arrived, so we braved the elements together. We had no idea on what awaited us. Everybody was hogging the Photo Booth (Because we are all so vain) and for me, that was the highlight of my night. Everybody danced the night away, singing and laughing and just having a great time with friends. The party rocked! -Norma Ngatamariki

I hate those awkward moments, when you do something wrong on the road, and every other single driver on the road around you stares at you like you’re a terrorist or something!
It’s like THEY had never done anything wrong or stupid on the road before, flipping hypocrites! But, then again, when I think about it, if someone drives out on the road in front of me, or swiftly turns into driveways without indicating, I stare at those people like they’re a stupid terrorist, forgetting about all the times I stuffed up on the road, and how many people I had staring at me like they wanted to run me over. Good times.
I still remember the first time I learnt how to drive, it was a little green car, and it was awesome, and for months after that, all I wanted to do was to drive around and around, and around for like, ever! It takes you a while to get over that driving ‘buzz’ and all you want to do is drive!
My friends and I use to fight over who gets to drive, yelling at each other, “I want to drive!” “Aww! Can I drive!” and now, a year later, it’s like “Can you drive! I can’t be stuffed” or “Nah, you drive!”
I never use to understand why my mum could never be bothered driving down to the shop for me when I couldn’t drive myself, all I would think about was the fact that, it shouldn’t be tiring because, you’re in a truck and it really isn’t that hard!
And then, when I was just learning how to drive and was in that stage where I wanted to live in a car and just drive it around all day, I still didn’t understand why my mum hated driving, because to me, driving was so freaking awesome!
But now, having been driving for over a year now, I fully understand why my mum can never be stuffed driving down to the shop. Once she’s home, she’s home, there ain’t no way in moving her.
It’s actually quite tiring driving everywhere, back forth to places, in and out of the car, handbrake up, handbrake down, reverse, accelerate, brake, turn, its just so endlessly tiring. Plus you have to constantly be aware of yourself and your car so you don’t end up in court after ramming into the back of a van or some other vehicle.
It’s also a real pain trying to get your license, as there’s always flocks of tourist piling up at the police station waiting to get their own licenses. Waiting in lines is not my thing, so imagine my disappointment when I lost my first license and realized that I would definitely have to wait forever in another line to get a new one. It so wasn’t my day that day. It was hot, and I was bored and this kid kept running around screaming.
This article may not have much of a point to it, but SAFE DRVING EVERYONE! And don’t drink and drive! -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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