GGACI have worked hard since 2010 to achieve this milestone. Guiding started in the Cook Islands in 1928 and NZ Guides has administering them until 1992, when GGACU became an associate member of WAGGGS.
They joined Armenia, Cameroon, the Republic of Guinea and Mongolia in becoming full members, while Myanmar was granted associate status.
“We are thankful to NZ and Australia for helping us in most of our administration work and the Asia Pacific Committee for their great support to enable us to comply to become a full member,” National President Ngara Katuke said.
Over 600 Guiding members and guests from 114 member organisations attended this global meeting along with nearly 300 volunteers and more than100 WAGGGS staff.
Attending from the Cook Islands, as delegates, were National Commissioner Haumata Hosking and National Secretary Tutu Mare-Simona (as youth delegate). National President Ngara Katuke attended as an observer.
The conference theme was: “Imagine More – Connect, Grow, Impact”.
The conference brought a consensus on WAGGGS governance review, drafted a new constitution and reviewed and recommended financial contributions, the Global Strategic Plan and the Membership Development Strategy. Influential keynote speakers were invited to share on global issues, encompassing topics on self-esteem enhancement, leadership, anti-violence and global youth community.
“We would like to say “thank you very much” to all those who have played an important role in our guiding, whether a leader, supporter, committee, a girl member, church leaders, community and traditional leaders, partnership groups or stakeholders. Meitaki maata for your contribution.
We honor this award to you all and to the people of the Cook Islands.”
Young delegate, Tutu Mare-Simona summed up the conference by saying: “My feeling attending this 35th Conference in Hong Kong was a memorable one and very exciting.
“I was honoured and privileged to witness the day we received our Special Certificate of becoming a Full Member of WAGGGS. I got up and did our cultural way of dancing in front of more than 1000 people in the conference arena. I just wanted to raise our Cook Islands Flag so high. Yes I had tears at the same time, but a special feeling, too, to remember all our leaders and girls back home. For more than five years our National Council Executive members have worked towards complying with all the requirements.
“For me, as a young delegate, I had the opportunity to participate in various side events like Youth Leadership, Vision 2020, International Experiences, a Free Being Me programme, Cultural Exchange and Promotion, sharing and meeting honorary members, such as Princess Benedicte, from Denmark, and other dignitaries from various parts of the world and major sponsors and so forth.
“As a young woman on our board it is a challenging journey and we deserve a huge celebration for the great success we have just achieved. I raise my hat and salute all those great women before me whom have kept our guiding growing every year for 85 years. “
When asked what she thought about where GGACI were heading in the future as a full member of WAGGGs, she said: “I would say, it is going to be very challenging pathway for us, however, we need to keep working hard to maintain our full membership of WAGGGS.
“There are areas to work on it annually such as: Membership, our relationship to society, finance, structure and management, educational programmes for girls and training for adults.
“We need your continuous support and contribution and I would like to encourage my fellow young women to come and join me to work towards another successful years in guiding, Tutu says.