Cook Islands

Cooks govt sets 50 nautical mile exclusion zones

Cabinet this week agreed unanimously to the increased buffer zones which the country's traditional leaders, the Marae Moana Marine Park Project and environmental group Te Ipukarea Society have been lobbying for over the past four years

Describing it as a landmark decision, Prime Minister Henry Puna said it would have a minimal impact on the longline fishing industry and the needs of the Cook Islands people for food security and preservation of the ocean were paramount.


Photo: RNZ/Daniela Maoate-Cox The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna 

More tests, money needed to boost Pacific league teams

The Mate Ma'a will take on Fiji in May's Pacific Test, which has been boosted by the inclusion of England and the Cook Islands.

Woolf was excited by the growth of the international weekend.

"It's great to see that it's expanding and really good to see the Cook Islands involved - they've certainly deserved that for a while I think," he said.

"They were really competitive at the last World Cup and they were really hard for us to beat not that long ago in a World Cup qualifier as well.

Cook Islands aim for half of MPs to be women by 2030

About 70 women took part in the events which coincided with International Women's Day on 8 March.

Parliamentary Speaker Nikki Rattle said there were women in the community who wanted to be involved but don't know how.

She said in the current parliament there were just four women among the 24 MPs.

"[In] 2015, globally, we were to reach 30 percent of women in parliament - we didn't do that, and now the theme for this year is Planet 50/50 by 2030. So I think it is quite obvious that you do need the voice of women to be better."


'Huge task' to tackle plastic waste in Pacific waters

That comes after an announcement by the United Nations' environmental agency that it has declared war on plastic, saying that more than eight-million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean each year.

The UN is urging governments to ban or tax single-use plastic bags and legislates to reduce the use of other disposable plastic.

Technical director of Te Ipukarea Society, Kelvin Passfield, said he hoped that the Cook Islands and other Pacific nations joined the UN's campaign as that will put more pressure on the countries producing the plastic.

Fishing tackle blamed for ship's grounding in Cook Islands

The vessel, dubbed the "dream ship", was a brand new vessel from Norway but it hit the reef off Nassau just four months into its service in the Cooks.

Owner Tapi Taio said there was a vast quantity of discarded material from fishing boats, which he said were focussing on the waters around Nassau and Penrhyn.

Cyclone warning for Cook Islands

Bart was situated about 296 kilometres west south west of Rarotonga at 1am New Zealand time or 12-hundred UTC

The Fiji Met Service says a gale warning is in force for Rarotonga and Mangaia and a strong wind warning is in force for the rest of the southern Cooks.

RNZ reports Cyclone Bart is moving southeast at 35 kilometres an hour and has winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour.

The authorities are warning of flooding including sea flooding of low lying areas.



Cook Islands Rugby Union sack 15s coach

Cook Islands News reports that the move follows Wright's public statements about the Union's affairs and his suggestion to change its governance structure from the current executive to a board, in what he believed would be a positive change for the development of rugby.

CIRU said in a statement it made the decision to terminate Wright's contract on Tuesday after "misleading and disrespectful comments" made by the former national skipper in public about the organisation and its executives over the past couple of weeks.

Grounding disrupts shipping in Cooks outer islands

Its director Josiah Taio said it was "back to square one" for the company with just two ships supplying the northern and southern groups.

An inquiry was underway into how the 40-metre Moana Nui ended up on the Nassau reef last Thursday during a spate of rough weather.

A three-man insurance team has travelled to inspect the ship.

Mr Taio said the Moana Nui, which completed an epic delivery journey from Norway just last October, was to put an end to the outer islands going weeks without supplies.

New record for Cook Islands tourism

The country welcomed a total of 146,473 visitors last year.

The leading market for tourists, New Zealand, was up 18 percent while the strongest growth was in visitors from Japan at 76 percent.

A study last year showed the need for the sector to change its approach and focus on having people staying longer and spending more.


Photo: 123rf A Cook Islands beach. 

Buffer zones for fishing disputed in Cook Islands

Currently, purse seiners are not permitted to fish within 44km of any island, while the buffer zone for long liners is 22km for all islands except Rarotonga, which has a 44km buffer.

The Ministry of Marine Resources has said it is concerned that expanding buffer zones to 93km would have limited benefits.

It said in comparison a 44km buffer would provide sufficient conservation benefits without creating congestion in legal fishing areas or making it more difficult to monitor foreign fishing vessels.