Pa Teuruaa who for years has taken tourists on nature walks around and to the interior of Rarotonga has won a top award More
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Atiu's run down airport is getting a NZ$4 million upgrade, as part of a plan to boost the island's tourism More
A dramatic sign post now marks an historically and culturally important site on Rarotonga More
Two Olympians are among 39 athletes representing the Islands at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland More
CATERPILLAR INVASION WREAKS HAVOC ON MAUKE
Taro crops on Mauke are being devastated by an invasion of caterpillars (left). The armyworms are not new to the island, but the speed with which the pest is working its way through plantations is alarming farmers. Extra taro patches have been planted this year ahead of an expected influx of visitors for the manea (southern group islands) games. Eggs from the pest have also been found on banana leaves and some islanders say dragon fruit plants and watermelons have damaged too. Farmers are discussing a slash and burn approach to clear the worst affected taro patches.
POLICE RAID CABINET MINISTER'S OFFICE
Police have raided the office of Cabinet Minister, Teina Bishop in connection with alleged bribery and corruption. The search took place at the same time as a raid on his home in Aitutaki. Cook Islands News understands three search warrants were issued. Bishop's lawyer described it as a "fishing expedition" by police and said his client was co-operating with all the investigations, which themselves have been going on for six months. A raid was also carried out at the offices of the Business Trade and Investment Board.
AIRLINE SAFETY VIDEO GETS A BUMPY LANDING A new in-flight safety video filmed on Aitutaki for Air New Zealand is causing controversy around the world. It features swimsuit clad models from 'Sports Illustrated' magazine. New Zealand feminist commentator and university lecturer, Deborah Russell say it's using women as highly sexualised objects to grab viewers' attention. And TV3 news anchor, Hilary Berry said she's incensed at the way it demeans women and has called on the airline to scrap the video which was shot on Aitutaki. There has also been outspoken cricticism on social media. Air New Zealand says its providing the safety messages in an entertaining way and hopes it will also encourage people to travel to the Cook Islands. Watch the video and have your say about it at the foot of this page Sources: Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, UK and news agencies
EU HELPS BLACK PEARL FARMERS
The European Union is helping pearl farmers on Manihiki. It's providing a special type of bouy which monitors weather and water quality, both of which can impact on pearl production in the waters of the island's lagoon. A workshop has been held on Rarotonga to train the farmers on how to use the bouy and interpret the data which is provided hourly.
TOURISTS PICK THEIR BEST AND WORST ABOUT THE ISLANDS
Lagoon cruising is the most popular activity for Cook Islands visitors, according to the results of a new tourism department survey. It was followed by going to the beach, attending church on Sunday, having a meal at a Cook Islander's home, island celebrations, and cultural tours. The unspoiled environent and the friendliness of the islanders also got top scores. Least popular were the quality and cost of public services, facilities and infrastructure, the numerous stray dogs and the poor quality and value for money of tourism services.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE URGES URGES MORE LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE
The Chamber of Commerce wants 100% of local infrastructure to be provided by local companies by 2020. And it's pushing for a 50% target by the end of next year. Chamber president, Steve Anderson said more local involvement in projects at the inception stage would also help to ensure their success. He ssyas the beneifts will be more jobs, more tax for the government and an incentive for islanders living abroad to return to home to work.