Posts filed under ‘Reports’

Vilsoni Hereniko at Festschrift

Reina Whaitiri, Albert Wendt and Vilsoni Hereniko

Professor Vilsoni Hereniko delivered a paper on cultural translation and contemporary filmmaking in Oceania at the Festschrift for Ron Crocombe, August 12-13 in Rarotonga.

Professor Hereniko is Director of the Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

The session was chaired by Emeritus Professor Albert Wendt of the University of Auckland.


August 31, 2010 at 11:20 pm Leave a comment

Prize winners of Pacific 2050 essay competition


Cook Islands Herald
11 Feb 09

CIRA is delighted to announce the prize winners of the Pacific 2050 essay competition held to promote the theme of their February conference of the same title.

There were five prizes and the winners in order of merit were James Beer, Makiuti Tongia, Teina Bishop, Kate Ngatokorua and Mahariki Tangaroa as adjudicated by a panel of judges.

First prize of $1000 went to James Beer for his passionate advocacy of alternative energy in place of petrochemical fuel in his paper called ‘A practical energy transformation handbook for the Pacific today and tomorrow’.

Makiuti Tongia won $500 for his paper on ‘Cultural Evolution, the next 50 years’ which he jokingly announced would come in handy for his children’s trip to NZ soon.

Teina Bishop won $250 for his interpretation of ‘Cook Islands Tourism, prospects and potentials’ chaired by Aunty Vereara from CIANGO.

Kate Ngatokorua won $125 for her futuristic essay on ‘The lesson is learnt’ and speaks of ‘greed taking over the islands heart and core’ where ‘island ways had vanished’ and the ‘great divide’ began.

Mahariki also won $125 for her paper called ‘Carving out a future in contemporary visual art’ where our artists continue to travel internationally and that will ‘have inevitable impacts on creativity’ and ‘virtual reality sites via the internet are evolving’.

Other presenters included Nandi Glassie’s paper on ‘The evolution of leadership and governance in Atiu’; ‘Imported trees in Atiu – past disasters and future hopes’ by Papa Paiere Mokoroa; Jeane Matenga’s paper on ‘Developments and potentials for Cook Islands Communications’; Dr Jon Jonassen’s and his ‘Global, regional and national perspective’ on the Pacific in 2050 and Iaveta Short’s futuristic paper on ‘Hopes and Fears for the next 50 years’ .

Saturday papers included a paper on ‘Opening our ocean gateway prospects for the future’; ‘Possible, probable and preferred futures’ for the Cook Islands by Petero Okotai; and ‘Coke and coconut trees aka Enhancing the spirit of enterpise’ by Dr Ngamau Tou.

The panel of judges were impressed about the calibre and variety of works presented for judging adding that some of the Saturday presentations may have won a prize except the writers had not provided advance copies.

CIRA president Angie Tuara thanked all those who presented papers and noted some papers were not submitted in the essay competition in the adult category at the request of the writers.

Meitaki maata to Tata Crocombe for sponsoring the essay competitions, which has now been extended to the end of 2009 for the school students’ category.

February 24, 2009 at 3:57 am Leave a comment

President’s Report Nov 08


November 2008

Kia Orana. We have made a very good start thanks to the active participation of our growing body of members and of the valuable cooperation of the University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus, Library and Museum Society, Ministry of Cultural Development and Ministry of Education.

As planned, we held out first conference on 7th, 8th and 9th February 2008, and our second on 6th and 7th August 2008.  Both were successful beyond our expectations.  I already reported to you on the first conference. A report on the second is attached below.  The many people who attended and took part in the conferences enjoyed them, and the Cook Islands News, Cook Islands Herald, Cook Islands Times, Television Cook Islands, Radio Rarotonga and Radio Matariki FM all gave extensive coverage to the conferences and to the many interesting papers and discussions presented. Our thanks to the media for the excellent coverage!

Our next conference will be held on Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th of February 2009.  It is about the Cook Islands in the future, and is titled COOK ISLANDS 2050.    February 2009 may sound like a long time away, but for those of you who plan to prepare papers for it (and I hope many of you will), you will need all the time.

If you prepare a paper you will be helping to clarify your own thoughts and those of everyone else, and helping our people and our country to light up the way forward a little better.  Let us remember George Burns’ advice to look to the future because that is where you will live the rest of your life; and Ann Landers, “Look ahead. That is where the future lies.” She might have added, “and that of your children and grandchildren even more.”

Anyone who writes a paper for this conference can go about it any way they wish, but if anyone wants another meeting about various ways to go about it, we can arrange that. If you plan to write a paper on any aspect of “Cook Islands 2050” for the conference, the speaking time will be 30 minutes per speaker plus 15 minutes for discussion.  Your paper can be 30 minutes (about 3,000 words or 6 pages typed) but can be as long as you like.  Only the speaking time has a limit.

As an extra incentive, Tata Crocombe has generously donated $4,000 in prize money for the best papers prepared for this meeting. Judging criteria for the awards for the best papers for the conference were discussed and a proposal will go to the first meeting of judges.  Essays be put on the web and public reaction will account for a percentage of the final judging.  Other criteria to be considered by the judges will probably also include a percentage for originality, logic, consistency, presentation etc. A day or period on Pacific 2050 will be added to the Cook Islands 2050 if enough people are interested.

If you want to know more about it, contact Angie Tuara (president), Ron Crocombe (vice-president), or any of the CIRA executive which includes Noeline Browne, Marjie Crocombe, Rod Dixon , Imogen Ingram, Jon Jonassen, Makiuti Tongia and Ina Teiotu.

It was felt that the conference on Marae Orongo in the Cook Islands was enriched by the contributions on Orongo in Hawaii, Tahiti and Rapanui.   Likewise it was agreed (below) for the 2010 CIRA conference to be linked to the Pacific Arts Association conference and focus on Cook Islands Arts.  Possible contributors on Pacific 2050 might be considered from Hawai’i, Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga and more broadly Oceania, as well as New Zealand, Australia, USA, Japan, China, Europe etc.

Many interested persons have said they would have been involved if more time had been available to plan and prepare, so the executive has decided on the following program:

September 2009: Te Moana e te Rangi: Our Sea and Sky – dealing with all aspects of the marine and atmosphere – anything relating to Cook Islands ocean and lagoon, ancient and modern navigational techniques, climate or any related field.

February 2010:  Cook Islands Communications – dealing with any topic relating to languages,  and to communications systems past, present and future.

August 2010: Focus on Creative Expression – The Pacific Arts Association (PAA), which meets every two years in a different country in the Pacific or beyond, meets in August 2010 in Rarotonga.   CIRA will join by having its August 2010 conference either back-to-back with PAA, or as a combined conference with PAA, whatever is found to be more convenient.

Annual General Meeting
It was decided to hold the annual general meeting in association with the conference in February 2009, and to confirm a constitution at that meeting.  Two drafts have been prepared.

Public Lectures
The Cook Islands Research Association has sponsored some informative public lectures in association with our partners.  Particular thanks is due to the USP Campus for providing the venue and other assistance.

Lectures sponsored recently include:
12 Aug 2008: Professor Margaret Boden, University of Sussex – Creativity and How to Foster it
18 Aug 2008: Professor Margaret Boden – What is Computer Art?
1 Sept 2008: Professor Hiroshi Moriwaki, University of Kagoshima – How Sea Level Changes affected the Lands we live on in Rarotonga over the past 6,000 years
9 Oct 2008: Dr Hilary Scotthorn – Cook Islands Tapa

Research Sponsorship
1. The team from the Centre for Pacific Islands Studies of the University of Kagoshima (Professor Hiroshi Moriwaki, Dr Toshiro Nagasako, Dr Kei Kawai) and Dr. Okuno of University of Fukuoka, needed a local counterpart person and organization in their application to the government for a research permit for their project on the changing shape of Rarotonga over the past 6,000 years.

As the Centre for Pacific Islands Studies at Kagoshima has long been the main centre for studies of this region, and has an established reputation, CIRA agreed to be their organizational counterpart and Ron Crocombe as individual.  We are also grateful for the assistance of George Cowan, Ata Herman, and Paul Maoate who acted as liaison with the landowners. The research was successfully completed and samples of old coral and shell were taken back for dating.  The team will send copies of their results to the government, to the two libraries, to USP and to CIRA.

2. University of Bergen, Norway has an extensive program of Pacific Studies.  They are working with Professor Jon Jonassen (who is a member of the CIRA executive) in Hawai’i and asked CIRA to cooperate in a traveling exhibition about historical events in Hawai’i, Cook Islands, Zanzibar and South Africa.  The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.  The exhibition is likely to take place here in association with USP Cook Islands Campus and the Cook Islands Research Association some time next year.

Financial Status
a.  Treasurer Darrin Walsh has resigned due to pressures of work. Anna Koteka was appointed as the new Treasurer. All papers to be handed to her when checking of the membership list is completed.
b.    Bank balance: $1,875 plus term deposit of $6,500.  Decided to put the term deposit on a five year term at the bank which offers the highest interest.

We now have 5 Life Members, 17 5-year members, and 73 annual members.  For those annual members who wish to renew, we encourage you to consider taking a $100 five-year membership, which is easier for you and for us rather than invoicing people each year.

Please pay membership to:
Anna Koteka
PO. Box 11
Phone 26750 (h) 20516 Ext 36 (w) mob 56705

We have made a wonderful start thanks to the support of all our members and supporting organizations.  We look forward to your continuing support, and to bringing in all interested new members.

Kia manuia

Angie Tuara
President, Cook Islands Research Association

November 17, 2008 at 8:24 pm 1 comment

President’s Report Mar 08

March 2008

First Annual Conference
7-9 February 2008

The conference was a great success, beyond all our expectations! We counted 82 individuals came through the door over this period, each day we had different numbers of people. The best thing is that the interest shown in all presentations before, during and after were awesome.

Media coverage was excellent, from the Cook Islands News, Cook Islands Herald and Cook Islands Times, Television Cook Islands and Radio Cook Islands. Even Radio New Zealand International covered it, as did Radio 531 PI. Some people overseas have contacted us to say they picked it up on Internet from one or other of those media.

Members of the Executive contributed lots of time and expertise in organizing, running and publicizing the conference, and I am grateful to all of them for their wonderful contributions. Special mention must also be made of Mrs Ngaiono Brothers and Ms Riki Tangaroa who volunteered to assist throughout the conference.

Availability of conference papers
Most presenters agreed to make their papers available to anyone interested. Such papers will be put on the Association’s website. The site is being managed by Karin Williams, who returned to Rarotonga after having lived overseas for some years, to present a paper at the conference. She plans to return home for a time to make films in the Cook Islands.

If any author wishes to make other arrangements to publish their papers, they are welcome to do so. The copyright remains with the author of each paper. The wider the availability the better.

Makiuti Tongia has offered to facilitate publication in a book, of the six papers concerned with land and water that were presented at the conference. They will be edited by Makiuti and Ron Crocombe and include an English translation of the one presented in Maori, and a Maori translation of those presented in English.

Our membership drive was very successful with CIRA having 74 paid-up members as of today. Among them the Association is honoured by the fact that four distinguished leaders of our community joined as Life Members (Dr Joe Williams, Mr Iaveta Short, Professor Jon Jonassen and Mr Ross Holmes). Any others who wish to become Life Members will be most welcome. There are also 11 five-year members, and 59 ordinary (annual) members. We have as yet no student members.

Tereora College and Nukutere College were invited to send final-year students, without paying membership fees, but the schools were busy in their 2008 program and declined. It was wonderful to see some student nurses at the presentation of the health-related papers.

So a big Meitaki Maata to all our valued Members, Thank you for becoming part of the team. Of course we will welcome new members!

The Association aims is to build up a trust fund so it can fund some research and publishing from the interest on it.

The first annual conference was facilitated by a generous grant from PDL Foundation of $1,087.50 our 2 radio sessions, printing including printing of our programme in our local newspapers, snacks for our cocktail, there was enough left over to cater for our daily morning & afternoon teas. Again, Meitaki Maata PDL Foundation!

We also received a kind donation of drinks for the opening cocktail party from the Bond Store, and by provision of lunch on the Friday by the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa. Members of the Association kindly brought food & fruit for the morning and afternoon teas.

Apart from the above help in kind, the Association’s other income to date has been members’ fees as follows below (to be confirmed by Treasurer):

PDL Sponsorship $1,087.50
Membership Fees $7,114.15
Interest $2.58
Total $8,204.23

Expenses $1,165.51

Total Balance $7,038.72

There has been some thinking around putting aside the Life Members fees, and those of five-year members fees into a trust fund and the interest only used for research and publishing. Further thinking is that this trust be managed by a committee of five of whom three shall constitute a quorum, and that the members of the committee be the President of CIRA, the Treasurer, a nominee of the Life Members, and two others.

Alternately, $6,000 be invested or put in a Trust Fund and the remaining funds for operational expenses, e.g printing expenses for mini conference coming up in August 2008.

I welcome your ideas of course and no doubt we shall be seeking further funding (as needed) as we progress. Meanwhile we are still building and planning our projects and are open to your ideas and innovations.

Two draft constitutions were kindly supplied by Imogen Ingram and Iaveta Short. There are only minor differences between them, and Iaveta and Noeline Browne are now working on a final draft to be put to the Association. We will probably do that by e-mail to all members first. If everyone is agreeable with the draft they produce, or wants only minor amendments that can be sorted out by e-mail, then we can adopt it that way. If any member prefers a meeting of all members to consider it, that can be arranged.

Gifts to the Association
Rod Dixon for USP Campus has kindly acquired the magnificent Mangaian ceremonial adze for the Association to use as a mace for our conferences. Ron and Marjie Crocombe have donated the historic pate that was made by the Ministry of Culture for the 1996 conference on Cultural Policy in the South Pacific that was held at USP, Rarotonga. Both will be displayed in a glass case at USP. Thank you Rod, Ron & Marjie!

Future conferences
The Association originally agreed to hold one major annual conference of two or three days (which we just held) at which any topic of relevance to the Cook Islands or Cook Islanders could be presented, and two minor one-day conferences. The first of the one-day conferences is to focus on issues of the past and present, and the second on the future of the Cook Islands and Cook Islanders.

The first one-day conference is scheduled for Wednesday 6 August 2008, and is being co-ordinated by Rutera Taripo and Makiuti Tongia with the help of other members of the Association who are kind enough to offer help to them. Persons wishing to present papers at the conference should contact Rutera ( or Makiuti (

The second one-day conference is scheduled for 17 December 2008 and is being co-ordinated by Professor Jon Jonassen (

The 2nd major annual conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday 6th and 7th February 2009, and if there are more papers than can be fitted in two days (as it was this year), then also on Thursday 5th February. Those wishing to present papers should contact the Secretary, Imogen Ingram ( or Ron Crocombe ( or me (

The one-day conferences for 2009 are scheduled for August (on the past and present), and December (on the future).
Some New Zealand members have suggested that the 3rd major annual conference be held in Auckland in February 2010 but a firm decision on that will be made after the 2009 conference.

On behalf of all members of the Executive and the Association, I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to make our first conference such a wonderful success. We look forward to your continued support and cooperation.

Kia Orana e kia Manuia!
Angie Tuara

April 1, 2008 at 5:47 pm 1 comment


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