Cook Islands

Anti-nuclear ‘dream team’ reunite

The day marked 20 years since passionate locals rallied together to promote an anti-nuclear Pacific, and five of those individuals came together to reminisce.

Brian Mason, Travis Moore, Peter Heays, Jolene Bosanquet and Cook Islands Voyaging Society captain Tua Pittman recounted the days they made history in our small nation.

“We did our best. We dared to care. We were part of the most amazing Pacific wide campaign,” said Bosanquet.

Nuclear weapons testing in Pacific waters occurred between 1966 and 1996 at Mururoa and Fangataufa in French Polynesia.

Fuel depot upgrade planned for Cooks' Penrhyn

One of the main projects for the force's Tropic Twilight exercise is the relocation and rebuilding of the fuel depot on Penrhyn.

New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully says improving fuel storage will enable better use of the patrol boat Te Kukupa to carry out fisheries surveillance around the islands.

The force's engineers will also upgrade buildings on Manihiki.

The exercise will involve China, the United States, the UK and France and is aimed at testing the force's abilities to provide disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.

Teaching jobs hard to fill in Cook Islands

Twenty two positions are currently being advertised including five jobs for principals and eight jobs at the main secondary school Tereora College.

There are also seven other vacancies at primary and secondary schools in the country.

A Director of Human Resources with the government Terry Utaga says an example of the problem is the field of accounting where potential applicants for an accounting teacher job prefer to stick to higher paying jobs outside teaching.

Cook Islands Judge blocks compensation fund raid

Two memoranda seeking to cancel an order made in the Land Court in June this year for compensation payment to landowners were lodged by Crown Law acting on behalf of Energy minister Henry Puna.

Had Justice Savage approved the order to cancel, government would have been able to access close to $300,000 (US$194, 615) and pay 10 people who Crown Law submitted were the rightful landowners of land in Tauhunu and Tukao atolls.

Cooks opposition MP says depopulation is a very real tragedy

Last week the Cook Islands prime minister Henry Puna told New Zealand reporters the Cook Islands does not have a serious depopulation issue.

Figures obtained from the Ministry of Finance Statistics unit show in the last four years the Cook Islands resident population has declined by 14%.

The 2011 census had the resident population at 14,974. The latest figures released by Statistics show there are 12,900 people in the Cook Islands.

James Beer, says it's disappointing that leader of the country has not done the proper research, and is dismissive of the issue.

Cooks anti-homosexual laws targeted

Homosexual acts in the country are punishable with a prison term of up to five years.

Te Tiare Association supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and says the newly-launched United Nations Pacific Free and Equal campaign has sparked a conversation about acceptance.

Its secretary, Valentino Wichman, says there has been minimal opposition to its plans to repeal laws that criminalise homosexuality.

Cooks' PM criticises NZ on climate change

The New Zealand government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below the level of 2005 by 2030.

The Australian government has a similar target, with plans to cut carbon emissions by at least 26 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

When asked about New Zealand and Australia's emissions targets, Henry Puna said it's up to New Zealand and Australia to decide what is good for them.

He says the important thing is that they come together regularly to talk about those difficult issues.

Puna challenges Cooks diaspora to help country

Mr Puna is in New Zealand as an official guest of the Government to celebrate the 50th anniversary of self government in free association with New Zealand

He says because Cook Islanders, as New Zealand citizens, are free to travel to New Zealand and Australia, they can't be stopped from travelling.

Cooks' PM criticises NZ on climate change

The New Zealand government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below the level of 2005 by 2030.

The Australian government has a similar target, with plans to cut carbon emissions by at least 26 percent of 2005 levels by 2030.

When asked about New Zealand and Australia's emissions targets, Henry Puna said it's up to New Zealand and Australia to decide what is good for them.

He says the important thing is that they come together regularly to talk about those difficult issues.

Team Cook Islands named for Commonwealth Youth Games

Team Cook Islands, to be headed by Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) sports manager Siniva Marsters, will be taking part in aquatics (swimming), athletics, lawn bowls and rugby sevens.

Marsters has become the second female after Rosie Blake to lead Team Cook Islands to an international event.

The athletes, aged 14 to 18 years, will be gunning for their personal bests in the week-long games in Apia.