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This update: 20th November, 2014
An exclusive summary by the website author who is a former BBC TV and radio journalist
The following  - unless otherwise credited - is a summary of the latest stories from  Cook Islands News,  the daily newspaper of the Cook Islands which is published Monday to Saturday inclusive.

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Its web site www.cookislandsnews.com is now updated daily.  The summary is published with the permission of the copyright owners Cook Islands News Ltd.     Click on any underlined headlines for the full story on the newpaper's own website.   Photos unless otherwise credited are copyright Cook Islands News
Scientists are dazzled by the results of whale tagging in Cook Islands waters
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Tagging a humpback whale
A new survey shows Pukapuka's lagoon is all but empty of sea life and its coral is mostly bleached and broken
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Part of Pukapuka's lagoon
Greg Stanaway with the six top travel awards
Resort and boutique properties in Rarotonga and Aitutaki have been awarded  six travel industry 'Oscars
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A cruise ship passenger has been given a VIP welcome to Palmerston 60 years after he was shipwrecked on the remote island as a teenager.  Stanley Mathurin (right) from St Lucia in the Caribbean was a 16 year old aspiring captain on the 33-foot ketch Solace which foundered on Palmerston's reef in November, 1954.  Commander Victor Clark was circumnavigating the world when his anchored vessel was severely damaged after a wind threw it on to the treacherous coral.   Under the supervision of Ned Marsters, men, women and children from the island dragged the Solace ashore and then spent nine months repairing her by hand.  

Children from Palmerston Lucky School welcomed Stanley with a dance.   He was then given a guided tour of the island and visted the home of the same family who hosted him 60 years earlier where he was treated to a local feast of bosun bird, parrot fish and breadbruit from a tree he planted himself while he was on the island in 1954. 
(The photo is from Commander Clark's book, 'On the Wind of a Dream' first published in 1960 by Hutchinson)



Stanley Mathurin
Fifty years of self-government in the Cook Islands will be marked by a whole year of special events in 2015.   A new year's day concert and party, thanksgiving service, international rugby league competition and 50 days of cycling are among the items already pencilled in for January.   A street carnival, film festival, operatic arias on Aitutaki, and  the Miss Cook Islands contest are also part of the draft plans just released.  Events will climax with a very special Te Maeva Nui (the annual constitution celebration event) in August.   Nick Henry, who's chairing the celebrations steering committee said the aim is involve every single Cook Islander.  NZ$500,000 has been set aside to fund events and market them.  And a competiton is aleady underway to find a logo for the celebrations.  Right: Te Maeva Nui is the annual celebration of independence and means "the most important or most special event". And the organisers of the 2015 anniversary are determined it will be just that

Constitution celebnrations set to last all year
Islanders in Mitiaro have cast their votes in a by election which could be crucial in deciding who rules the country.   But the results of their ballot won't be revealed until next Friday.   That's when a High Court judge will rule on a number of appeals in relation to the general election held in July.   The votes on Mitiaro were tied that time round and a by election was ordered to break the deadlock.   The Cook Islands Party currently has an overall majority of just one seat in Parliament.


Surveying the wreckage
Eight to 12 cyclones (hurricanes) are expected in the Southern Cook Islands over the next five months, according to regional weather agencies.  And 3 of those are expected to reach category 4 (on a scale where 5 is the most severe).  That means wind speeds of up to 99mph (159kph).  Four are predicted to be category 3 where the wind reaches 73 mph (118kph). 

Islanders on Manihiki, Rarotonga and in New Zealand ushered in the new cyclone season with a prayer service for the 19 people who died when Cyclone Martin hit Manihiki head on in 1995.   The most recent cyclone to cause extensive damage (but no injury or loss of life) was in 2010 when Cyclone Pat hit Aitutaki (aftermath picture right, courtesy of the International Red Cross)

Pa Ariki speaks out
A Cook Islands traditional leader has has spoken out strongly against Cook Islands laws which criminalise gay people.   Takitumu paramount chief Pa Ariki (left) said said she believes gay people should be treated on an equal basis with the rest of the population. "<They> are knowledgeable and contribute to society and to home life.  They are human like everyone else...".  Pa Ariki was speaking after the annual Hui Takataapui in New Zealand which focuses on improving the lives and health of gay and lesbian indigenous people in New Zealand and the Pacific nations.   Sex between men in the Cook Island is punishable by up to seven years in prison and gay marriage was banned in 2000. 
The head of the Cook Islands Investment Corporation has defended the Chinese against claims of "shoddy workmanship" on three public buildings which will cost US$600,000 to repair.   Tamarii Tutangata said leaks, rust and damage to the court house, police headquaters and sports arena (right) on Rarotonga, the Corporation failed to specify the types of materials that should have been used in the Cook Islands climate. And he blamed pressure to build and a lack of local supervision for the problems.  Informal discussions are taking place with the Chinese building company to look at reimbursing the cost of repair work.
The leaky sports arena