HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 650: 23 January 2013

News Briefs


Steve Barrett has been appointed Programme Manager at the NZ High Commission after a brief stint in Foreign Affairs following a lengthy spell with Aid Management at MFEM. Vanessa Jenner has been appointed to work in the newly set up ADB Office within MFEM.

Joint meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Round Table

In a joint statement issued late last month, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), announced the First Joint Meeting of the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management and Pacific Climate Change Roundtable which will be held between 8 - 12 July 2013 in Nadi, Fiji.
It is expected that the Cook Islands will send representatives.
The meeting will be a milestone event for the Pacific. It will provide the setting for extensive discussions on the development of an integrated regional strategy for DRM and Climate Change for the Pacific by 2015.
The Joint Meeting will be preceded by a series of separate parallel meetings in the week 1 - 5 July also to be held in Nadi. The meetings are:
• 19th Regional Disaster Managers Meeting
• Pacific Meteorological Council
• Strategic Alliance Meeting of Pacific Islands Disaster, Fire &
Emergency Services and Police
• Pacific Climate Change Round Table
• Pacific Regional Water & Sanitation Consultations

Helpline quarterly report out

The ‘Youth helpline’ services within the Ministry of Internal Affairs, have released their quarterly report.
Youth helpline is free and confidential service that provides emotional support for people of all ages. According to the report, sending text messages is the most preferred method of contact, and between 1st of October – 1st December 2012, 1126 text messages were received, which is double the figure from the previous quarter. From a list of 10 issues, ‘Relationship with a partner’ proved to be the most prevalent. Radio Cook Islands understands that despite the increase, there was no need for urgent referrals to Police, or any other community organization.

Rugby League kicks off on 9 Feb

This year’s rugby league season is set to kick off on the 9th of February, according to Cook Islands Rugby League President, Charles Carlson. In previous years, the season began in the first week of February. The Titikaveka Bulldogs were victors of the competition last year, and Carlson hopes that this year’s rivals will have a more stimulating approach to their matches.

Composer’s competition entries now open

The Ministry of Culture is now accepting entries for this year’s National Composers Competition, which is set to take place on Thursday the 7th of March. The competition is restricted only to persons residing in the Cook Islands. Those residing overseas and are interested in competing, must either be back permanently, or residing for one month prior, and after the competition. Those living in the Outer Islands are invited to partake, however are restricted to funding their own way to the competition. The Ministry will be accepting a maximum of 12 participants, and all songs must be in Cook Islands Maori. Those who require further enquiries can contact Joseph Rae on phone 20725.


Senior students of Tereora College have gained outstanding results, according to Secretary of Ministry of Education, Sharon Paio. In comparison between 2011 and 2012, pass rates have risen from 72-81% at Level 1, 71-75% at Level 2, and 64-71% at Level 3. Paio added that she was extremely pleased at the increase in Merit and Excellence endorsements. At Level 1, 11 students received Merit endorsements, in contrast to only three in 2011. Two students also received Excellence endorsements last year, compared to none in 2011. Merit and Excellence endorsements at levels 2 and 3 remain the same. Paio added that on a subject by subject basis, results have proven to be more pleasing. In 2011, 26 students received Merit endorsements at Level 1, compared to 59 last year. Only two students received excellence endorsements in contrast to 16 last year. At Level 2, 18 students received Merit endorsements compared to 30 last year. Sadly there was a slight decrease in Excellence endorsements from 8 students to 5. At Level 3, 13 students received Merit endorsements in 2011 in contrast to 26 last year, and 2 students received Excellence endorsements compared to 6 last year. Paio said that Tereora College is opening its doors from 9am to 2pm this week, to students without computers or internet who wish to access their results, regardless of what school they attend.


6 acres of reclaimed land will be used as added parking spaces for Punanga Nui market goers. Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning, Teariki Heather, said that contractors are currently in the progress of installing drainage systems. Once this is completed, boulders will be placed to increase land stability, and protect the area from the potential effects of a cyclone, before undergoing beautification. Heather said that the land was filled using sand excavated from the Avatiu Harbor, which saved Government from purchasing sand from elsewhere, at the cost of $1 million.


The Queens Batten will be making its third visit to Rarotonga this year. According to Secretary General of CISNOC, Rosie Blake, the batten will be visiting all countries under the commonwealth, including the Cook Islands, and is scheduled to arrive on the 8th of December. The batten will be here for 2 days before departing for Tonga on the 11th. Members of the committee met yesterday to discuss how a special ceremony will be conducted, and who will be involved. She added that depending on the availability of funds, the committee will consider taking the batten to some of the outer islands.


Students at Levels 1, 2, 3 can now access their NCEA results online. Teresa Tararo of the Ministry of Education believes that results were released overnight. Continuing Education Manager, Ngarangi Tangaroa, said that they are now in the process of confirming scholarship awardees for 2013, and an official announcement will be made at a later date. Tangaroa said that there were 10 awards including three regional, six to New Zealand, and one Cook Islands Government Scholarship. She added that the deadline for the Cook Islands Scholarship and Overseas Student Assistance Application is due tomorrow at 12pm. A graduation for students from HTTC and Trade School will be held on the 30th of this month. The ceremony will also see the acknowledgement of scholarship graduates, as well as scholarship awardees for 2013.


Following the recent drought scare, Director of Public Health, Dr. Rangi Fariu, is concerned with water quality and food security in the Cook Islands. He said that based on observations, few homes have water tanks and artesian wells to compensate during the dry seasons. He added that this comprises water for drinking, agricultural production, food processing, and eventually, human health. In regards to human health, Fariu said that the Mental Health Services have seen nine more cases of stress related Anxiety and Panic Attacks in the past month. He said that although the number is too small to make an analytical meaning out of it, it is still worth thinking about. He added that Public Health has strengthened its surveillance on the matter, as well as its response to fish poisoning and infectious disease such as dengue fever and diarrhoea.

Local farmers hold retreat

An all-day retreat programme for local farmers was held on Thursday at the Ministry of Agriculture. Minister of Agriculture, Nandie Glassie, said that the programme will allow farmers to express any concerns surrounding the Ministry’s decision to export pawpaw, chilly, vanilla and maire. Director of Research, William Wigmore, said that the pawpaw heat treatment plant is ready for service, however export of the crops cannot commence due to its current lack of availability. Wigmore hopes that an abundant supply of the crops will be available in the next 4-5 months. He added that other crops such as dragon fruits, pineapples, and taro, are also being investigated for its potential for export. He hopes that the retreat will bring about new ideas to revitalize agriculture within the Cook Islands.

Creative Centre offers NCEA Level 1 Courses for members

In an approach to provide greater educational opportunities, the Creative Centre in conjunction with the Ministry of Education has introduced the South Pacific Educational Course (SPEC). Two members of the Creative Centre were elected to undertake the course, which will enable them to attain a certificate in NCEA Level 1 upon completion. Ten topics designed specifically for disabled people are covered in the course, which is approved and funded by NZQA. Director of the Creative Centre, Bob Kimiangatau, said that although the programme is being piloted in Samoa, Vanuatu, and the sister island Mangaia, this is the first time it was introduced to Rarotonga. He said the programme harmonizes the Centre’s objectives for the year; which are to encourage community participation, gain an educational qualification, and experience realistic employment opportunities. He added that he has confidence that the two will pass, and that more keen members will be given the opportunity to undertake this course in the near future.

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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