HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 650: 23 January 2013

Training prepares locals for career in seabed minerals sector

Cook Islands third year Otago University student, Marino Wichman, has been gaining invaluable paid, work experience with the Seabed Minerals Authority and Ministry of Infrastructure and planning MOIP, while back on summer break in the Cook Islands. Marino is a third year GIS student and finishes next year and hopes in the future to return and work back in the Cook Islands.
GIS is short for “Geographic Information Systems” which is a Tertiary Technical study for a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) in Geographic Information Systems. It looks at how spatial information is captured, integrated, modeled and visualized. This means studying satellite remote sensing, photographic techniques and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) along with information science. Results can be used by government agencies, businesses, health authorities, surveyors, planners and many others.
Cook Islands Seabed Minerals Commissioner, Paul Lynch, stated that “Having locals skilled in GIS is very important to the sensible development and future of our Seabed Minerals sector, as we need to accurately map and grid our huge Exclusive Economic Zone. Then SBM areas can be accurately determined for the use and benefit of future license holders and this government agency as the regulator.”
Recently, Marino Wichman gained “hands on” work experience initially in the SBM Authority and then the SBM Commissioner arranged wider, more practical GIS related work for Marino in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning (MOIP), under experienced local GIS expert, Vaipo Mataora. Marino has been helping to complete the accurate mapping of our islands in the Southern and northern Groups, using the latest satellite data. The results can then be used in all MOIP and government ministry work in the future.
“The Government wants to see more employment opportunities for locals to help grow our economy, so at the Seabed Minerals Authority, as a new government agency, we are working to start positioning talented Cook Islanders, like Marino and others, to see a future career in our new Seabed Minerals sector. This is the second SBM training placement we have been happy to facilitate, as currently a Cook Islands Auckland University Law graduate, Alexdryna Herman is on a Legal training placement with the DSM Project in Fiji and expected to come back to work at the end of the year”. Marino returns to Otago University in early 2013 to undertake GIS studies in their summer school program.
Paul Lynch - Seabed Minerals Commissioner Seabed Minerals Authority

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