Friday, January 2

Happy New Year from Rarotonga

Two thousand and nine got off to a quiet start on Rarotonga. The weather was fine and no doubt there were plenty of people out and about counting down 2008, but I wasn’t one of them. The police have had a high profile over the holiday period, targetting drunk drivers, underage drinkers and troublemakers in bars and nightclubs. It seems to have worked over Christmas with only a few accidents, one fight in town and a couple of noisy parties reported.
In Nikao at midnight, as the old year ended and the new one began, there were no shotgun blasts, no fireworks and no cars honking their horns. Come to think of it I didn’t hear many cars at all. And on New Year’s Day in Avarua there were no signs of broken glass, smashed bottles or empty cans. A peaceful start to the year.
The Cooks received four Queen’s New Year Honours awards.
Marjorie Crocombe, one of the first CI graduates from the University of the South Pacific, got an OBE for services to the Pacific and Cook Islands in education and literature; Tutai Toru, former long time head of immigration and a stalwart of Avatiu sports club, got an MBE for services to the public and sport; Tom Wichman was awarded a BEM for services to the community and scientific inventions. Tom has been promoting alternative energy sources in the Cooks for many years. Justice of the peace Pae Tuteru also received a BEM for services to the public and church.
Amazingly there were no politicians on the list! Mind you the pols always keep the KBEs for themselves and presumably there’s a limit to the frequency they can give one or other of themselves a knighthood.
Congratulations to Marje, Tom, Tutai and Pae. Let’s hope the rest of the year is full of more glad tidings.