Five more young women are to be interviewed, Pa Enua contestants are being groomed for the event and endorsements have been received from the 50th Anniversary Celebrations Committee.
The launch evening for Miss Cook Islands 2015 is set to be a spectacular gala evening held at the prestigious Aroha Villa residence on Black Rock Hill.
Throughout what has been positive progress in organising the celebrated national event, a storm has been brewing in theh background over the legal validity of two separate Miss Cook Islands organising committees – the past organising committee. Miss Cook Islands Pageant Association (MCIPA) and the recently-formed Miss Cook Islands Association (MCIA) who are already in the full swing of delivering Miss Cook Islands 2015.
The ‘two-horse’ race began at the annual general meeting called by MCIPA, under the presidency of Clee Marsters, on March 30 at the Islander Hotel.
A large group of concerned Cook Islanders is reported to have turned up to have their say.
It’s reported that at the meeting MCIPA president Clee Marsters pointed out that only paid-up financial members were eligible to vote.
Addrienne Hosking-Tinirau (a former MCIPA president) voiced her concern about this requirement because an AGM had not been held since 2012 and that she doubted that any persons present at the meeting could meet the 12-month ‘paid up financial member’ status.
An agreement was then made to ‘delay’ the voting process to enable all members present at the meeting to pay their annual subscriptions to make them paid-up financial members of MCIPA, in turn, enabling them to vote.
Once fees were paid, the voting process was started by Metua Vaiimene with the approval of Clee Masters and Jeane Matenga.
A new executive committee, led by Dianna Clarke-Bates was appointed.
Shortly after being voted in, the new Executive Committee under Clarke-Bates’ presidency began basic housekeeping with the bank account and records.
“This was when we realised that MCIPA was in fact a dead organisation and that the recently-held AGM was a farce!” explains Clarke-Bates.
MCIPA did not hold an annual general meeting in 2013 or 2014 and in doing so breached its own requirements under its original 2009 Constitution.
“The process and intention of the AGM was true and took place with the best intentions of safeguarding the Miss Cook Islands concept.”
Clarke-Bates says she sought legal advice on the issue and it was recommended that a new organisation be formed, with an improved constitution, and so Miss Cook Islands Association Inc was born.
It was also discovered that the MCIPA was struck off the Register of Incorporated Societies on March 9, 2015, a fact CI News confirmed by paying a $5 fee to the Ministry of Justice to sight the MCIPA registration documents which had ‘struck off’ in red on the front.
However was denied by Ellena Tavioni in an email.
“I stress, MCIPA was never de-registered – Justice doesn’t have that right,” said Tavioni.
“MCIPA was simply sitting there waiting for some nice people to sort out a few hiccups.”
Tavioni has given Clee Marsters and his team credit for doing the best they could in regards to MCIPA despite the lack of support.
“I refuse to disrespect their effort over the years and will not criticize, but help.”
Tavioni is the vice-president of the new executive committee for MCIPA, with Clee Marsters remaining as president for the new committee formed during an ‘extraordinary special meeting’ in the first week of June.
A press release by MCIPA calling for pageant candidates in early June, which CI News did not print believing it would add further confusion to organising a Miss Cook Islands pageant, stated that the meeting was held by members of the association and, “intending members who want to ‘set the record straight’ and ‘protect the legacy of the Miss Cook Islands name.”
The press release goes on to say, “The Executive have asked the community and government please don’t confuse us with the new association.”
“The bottom line is, you all knew the voting in March was unconstitutional but you didn’t have the integrity to do the right thing,” said Tavioni in an email chain sparked by CI News efforts to seek clarity as to who is actually organising the Miss Cook Islands pageant.
Clarke-Bates and the Miss Cook Islands Association (MCIA) say that it was the ‘inept’ management, operation and maladministration of MCIPA that ultimately caused its demise.
“MCIA is committed to restoring the former glory and mana into Miss Cook Islands from 2015 onwards.”
MCIA has an exciting programme set for the Miss Cook Islands 2015 gala launch extravaganza scheduled for Saturday, June 27 at the prestigious Aroha Villa residences on Black Rock hill.
The programme will see all guests transferred to the villa by Raro Tours from the Islander Hotel and complementary food and beverages will be available for all guests. The programme will feature Miss Cook Islands ‘Values’, the presentation of a three-month personal development programme, presentation of three judged ‘pre-pageant’ events, the presentation of finale gala night programme and an introduction to Miss Cook Islands 2015 contestants.