HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 650: 23 January 2013

News Briefs

Building Mangaia’s Vaka

A new book has just been published, which gives an account of the building, in 1992, of Mangaia’s ocean going vaka, “Rangimatoru.”
The vaka was built for the 1992 Festival of Pacific Arts which took place in Rarotonga.
The book which was published by the University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus, is written in Maori by vaka maker Tuaiva Mautairi who is also an author and chief of Veitatai, Mangaia. It is part of the USP’s Korero Collection.
The English translation which appears on the opposing pages, was carried out by Ngateina Rani and USP Director Rod Dixon.
The 60 page book features illustrations by local artists Nga Vakapora and David Teata.
This fascinating, factual account of the building of the vaka which began on Monday 6 May 1991 with the cutting down of the trees for the hull, comes with colour photos, black and white illustrations by the two artists, drawings of the vaka and diagrams of the motifs.
The attention to detail by the author, the precise measurements, times, quantities, reveal the extent of the technical skill and knowledge required to build such an ocean -going vessel able to endure high seas.
When completed and after sea trials, the vaka set sail for Rarotonga two weeks before the Festival began. The trip took two days and two nights, in high seas without an escort vessel. Mautairi was not among the crew.

Gender equality in the labour market a long way off

While a handful of women may be doing well in the labour market, the big picture as revealed by the 2011 Census report, shows women as a group, still have a long way to go to achieve parity with men in the labour market.
While it must be acknowledged that some of the data in the 2011 Census report may not be 100% reliable, a picture is emerging of the position women are in as regards education, employment and remuneration in relation to their male counterparts.
In terms of educational qualifications, females outperformed males. Nationally, around 50% of females had secondary qualifications compared to 44% of males. Just over 11% of females had tertiary qualifications compared to 9.7% of males.
When it comes to employment and remuneration, males clearly have the upper hand. Of those over 15 years of age, 76.6% of males were employed compared to 65.4% of females.
The unemployment rates are about the same, 8.2% for males and 8.1% for females. The national rate for unemployment is 8.2%.
Unemployment is slightly higher on Rarotonga than the outer islands, 58.9% and especially so in the youth groups aged 15-24 years.
A glance at the income range, shows that men and women are about the same up to the $35,000 to $39,000 income range. From then on, women start to lag behind males.
The average income for males was $16,848 and females $13,243. The national average was $15,028. So it can be seen that the average for females falls below the national average. Disturbing is that most of the males fell within the $10,000-$14,000 income group while most females were in the less than $5,000 income group. Perhaps a factor is that there are more women in part-time work-511 compared to 403 males. At current prices, GDP for the 2011 calendar year was equivalent to $17,799 per capita. That the average income women should fall so far behind that for men (by more than $3,000) and also the GDP per capita (by more than $4,000), should concern government if it is paying attention to gender issues. Some new benchmarks to monitor progress towards gender equality in the labour market should be established.
What is clear is that women still have some way to go to achieve parity with men and this is a matter which should be researched. While more women than men stay at school longer (12.1% females completed high school compared to 10.4% of males), something is disadvantaging women in the labour market.

Education covered at talks

4 December, 2012, Doha, Qatar - By the end of the first week of UN Climate change negotiations, the agenda item on Article 6 – training, education and public awareness, had reached a decision to be adopted.
The Doha Work Programme on Article 6 of the United Nations Convention Framework on Climate Change is an 8 year plan up to 2020 and to be reviewed in 2016 on how to approach awareness of climate change will be presented to the parties to the convention next week for adoption.
This was a moment to celebrate in these negotiations, where reaching an agreed position is not always easy.
“We are really happy that we have reached a concensus right at the last minute, it shows the true spirit of cooperation and compromise in this process,” said Mii Matamaki of the Cook Islands National Environment Service, she was following this arm of negotiations.
“Article 6 is important to us in the Cook Islands as we do a lot of awareness work with our communities on climate change. We really wanted to follow this through to lobby for more funds so there is no burden on our national budget in carrying out Article 6 of the convention.”
There are six thematic areas in the Doha Programme of work under Article 6, these are; Education; Training; Public awareness; Public access to information; Public participation and; International cooperation.
The New Dehli Programme of work that guided all Education, public awareness and training ended this year. It was reviewed and gaps that were identified were included in the Doha programme of work to be adopted by the parties and implemented as of next year.
The Cook Islands have conducted a number of different climate change awareness activities. The ‘Climate Change in the Pacific’ booklet produced by WWF South Pacific was translated into Cook Islands Maori using local examples and actions. Presentations on climate change were made with primary and secondary schools, Cook Islands Christian Church council meetings and the theological college.

Educational Fisheries Materials

Michel Blanc from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in New Caledonia visited our shores this month for a follow up with the Bonefishing Project in Aitutaki. Michel was one of the SPC consultants who assessed the Bonefishing situation in Aitutaki and highly recommended the marketing of bonefishery for sports-fishing. The information compiled in his report assisted the Ministry of Marine Resources with the completion of the Marine Resources (Aitutaki and Manuae Bonefish Fishery) Regulations 2010.
While they were in Rarotonga, Michel and his colleague Aymeric Desurmont met with Curriculum Advisers of the Ministry of Education to discuss how SPC can furnish educational materials for the benefit of primary students in the Cook Islands. Samples of fisheries resource materials produced by SPC were shown to participants and discussions were held as to what materials could be prepared by SPC for primary schools here in Rarotonga. Principals from three (3) schools were eager to discuss this further with their teachers to provide a feedback to MMR and SPC.
Michel said “developing materials for schools’ is important but more importantly it is to ensure fisheries education becomes enshrined in the local curricula, from kinder garden to secondary education. This may be a long process but it is the only way, in my opinion, to sustain fisheries education in schools.”
MMR will be the focal point for the distribution of these materials and hopefully these new materials will be available by 2014 for the schools and other NGOs.

Forum peak of Government’s mid-term relationship-building

The 43rd Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga and Aitutaki last August has been the highlight of Government’s mid-term efforts in international relationship-building, Prime Minister Henry Puna says.
Of special note, the hosting of the Forum, which was financed over two financial years, came under the funds available to the Government, the Prime Minister confirmed today.
The total funds available for hosting the Forum came to $2,028,133.33, according to the figures being reconciled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, and the Finance Ministry. Total expenditure was $2,010,273.56. After factoring in an accommodation refund, there is an account balance of $64,769.88 of available POBOC money.
Total funding for the Forum available in 2010/2011 was $318,733.33 – of which AUD200,000 was a grant from Australia. Total funding available in 2011/2012 came to $1,709,400 – comprised of USD1,000,000 from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and two grants from New Zealand, which totalled $209,400.
The Prime Minister said he was deeply grateful for the help from Australia, China and New Zealand. Government was able to attract considerable financial assistance from these valuable partners and the national effort produced multiple benefits and spin-offs for the country, he said.
In-country gains were made largely in the accommodation sector and the Leaders’ Retreat in Aitutaki. Security, transport and drivers, and meeting venues benefitted with considerable funding also going to branding efforts and the Opening events, which included a Leaders’ Kia Orana dinner.
The Prime Minister said he was proud of that national effort because the people – especially the school children – showcased the country to the outside world in ways that were unique for the Pacific region.
Historically, the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum made world-wide headlines thanks to the first-ever visit by a United States Secretary of State to the region. Global interest in the Cook Islands was also generated by the announcement of what was then the world’s largest marine park, the simultaneous signing of multiple maritime boundary treaties, and the first tri-partite project involving the Cook Islands, New Zealand, and the PRC.
The Prime Minister said Government’s diplomatic achievements over its half-term set new highs and international interest in the Cook Islands has leaped over the past two years.
Over the course of the Forum year, the Foreign Affairs Ministry registered 26 visits by diplomats, heads of organisations, and ministers. This is up from the 15 in 2011 and 9 in 2010. A further five countries established diplomatic relations with the Cook Islands in this time, including Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, Philippines, and Singapore. And formal ties with South Korea are close to confirmation.
Puna says the spread of international interest was the result of Government’s broad efforts to promote the country beyond the region.

Christmas in a Box!

Christmas in a Box is a charity organization, and a food hamper project, that was instigated from the Life Church, located in New Zealand.
The Assembly of God (AOG) Church here in the Cook Islands, in partnership with the Aroa Mou trust, has taken on this initiative as they aim to give a large number of Christmas Boxes, which include goodies such as Christmas cakes, cookies, sweets etc. as an attempt to liven up this year’s festive season for local families who are in need.
Members of Impact, the youth group who is partaking in this worthy cause, are proud to be active participants in this project, as seen by their hard work and effort down at the Punanga Nui Market. They have been carrying out this mission for almost three weeks, which the group members find rewarding, in its own way. “I think that this is a great way for us youth to serve and give back to the community,” says Nadia George, a member of the youth group. “Sometimes, it’s like we never do enough,” Dean Tangata adds, “but with Christmas in a Box, we have an opportunity to make a difference and ‘Impact’ a family’s life this Christmas.”
Co-ordinators of the Christmas in a Box initiative are Derek Peyroux and Vaiana George, with the much-appreciated of Impact youth and AOG church members. If you wish to make a donation, there are many coin boxes situated at most local stores, or pop down and visit the team at the Punanga Nui Market, located just behind the new stage.

Cook Islands Wiring Block Course – Level 3:

Last Friday saw the fifth and final day of the Cook Islands Wiring Block Course, Level 3.
The course, which began last Monday, offered tasks associated with motor winding, electrical installation, control systems, water pump systems, and rectification systems.
Nine staff members from across electrical companies including Te Aponga Uira, Andersons, and John Koteka’s Electrical Wiring, took advantage of this NZAID funded course.
Theoretical tutor, Tino Vaireka, told the Herald that he assisted the Block Course tutor, Andrew Boyle, in his quest to give their students ample training in order to qualify for local home wiring. He said that prior to this course; students only undertook theoretical lessons for the duration of 18-24 months, through correspondence with Open Polytechnic in Wellington. He added that their practical experience came from assisting their superiors at their respective companies.
Boyle told the Herald that having different machinery to the norm in New Zealand was a minor setback in the course. Regardless, he is very pleased with the student’s level of knowledge and experience, and has no doubt in their ability to progress through to level 4 of this course – which will enable them to qualify for New Zealand registration.

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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