Smoke Signals

Smoke Signals are remarks and observations that range from the serious to the sarcastic. Typically anonymous, these quips capture the community's notes on life and events in the Cooks, or what's echoing over the Coconut Wireless. Smoke Signals and interesting island photos can be sent by email ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or text to 188, or call the newsroom on 22999.

Smoke Signals

Friday January 04, 2019


Just a friendly heads-up to the Rarotonga resorts that employ foreign chefs. Ika mata is a staple dish in the Cook Islands. It is not served warm with pineapple added. If you can’t get it right, employ local chefs to prepare our delicacies please!

Smoke Signals

Friday December 28, 2018


Court house - CCECC – 2004, police station – CCECC, sports stadium – CCECC, Avatea School – CCECC, Ring main TMV – CCECC. A trend, perhaps? Why is everyone surprised about the pipes when all the other projects have significant issues!

Smoke Signals

Friday December 21, 2018

I was appalled when switching on the TV early last evening around 5-5.30pm before the TVNZ Midday News. Mrs Brown's Boys, a BBC British comedy was screening on VAKA TV. I love this series – it’s very funny, but with regular four letter swear words being used and sexual innendo, it is not suitable for children.

Smoke Signals

Wednesday December 19, 2018

TMV debacle shows govt won’t listen to expert advice

Thanks to this government not listening to expert advice, and building Te Mato Vai water intakes first and ring mains last, I believe our new ring main pipe is now contaminated with mud, silt and stones from recent rain. So much for providing the island with clean potable water. Politicians should stay away from construction projects and leave it to the people who know what they are doing.

Smoke Signals

Monday December 17, 2018

Bad news from the Tokyo Olympics site

The secretary general of CISNOC said recently that the Olympic facilities in Tokyo are up to Cook Islands standards. Let’s hope not, since our sports arena is falling apart!

Smoke Signals

Wednesday December 12, 2018

Expensive Atiu roads a slippery path for taxpayers

It seems PM Henry Puna will go to extreme lengths to stay in power and give in to whatever Maggie, Rob and Rose want. Rumours are that the road works on Atiu cost $1.5 million and the fancy streetlights on the island cost taxpayers over $200,000. And yet the CIP government can’t even put medical doctors on each of the outer islands. There are now more pigs  than humans on Atiu and guess they will get to enjoy the disco street lights. The appointment of CIP supporters to  HoM and chief executive positions is pathetic and a complete joke – not to mention an apparent abuse of power.

Smoke Signals

Saturday December 08, 2018

No constricting belts or one-way roads, says Pence

“We don’t drown our partners in a sea of debt, we don’t coerce, or compromise your independence … we don’t offer a constricting belt or a one-way road.” US president Mike Pence takes aim at another world superpower bent on world domination, at the recent APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea.

Smoke Signals

Friday November 30, 2018

Smoke signal hits a nerve with Culture minister

Ahh...the smoke signal must have hit a nerve with minister Maggie as he responded through a letter to the editor, which was probably written by someone else. Maggie must have a short memory, because only four weeks ago he said something else on television. Now it looks like his memory is fading away and he is saying something different. Minister don't duck for cover when it suits you. Now it’s too much talk and no action.

SS: The smoke signal was clearly written by someone other than the minister, who now appears to have a staff member described as his “translator”.


The Demos, who appear to be sleepily coming out of hibernation, shouldn’t rely too much on winning a by-election on Mangaia. Word has it that there is some sly goings on in the background and all will become clear in the not-too-distant future.


It’s a shame this country no longer has an effective Opposition. Demo leader Tina Browne hasn’t said anything about any of the serious topics that have arisen over the last few months, being way too busy with her legal practice to even think about politics. The reticent parliamentary leader, Junior Maoate, hasn’t made any pronouncements of note either. However now that Maoate appears to have a PR representative, expect the Demos to play catch-up – if they can agree among themselves about anything, that is.


Look at the number of issues the “Opposition” have failed to even comment on: sea bed mining, the complete disaster that is Te Mato Vai, the incredible amount of travel being done by cabinet ministers for no discernible purpose and the increasing pressure on the island’s infrastructure as a result of the relentless promotion of tourism. They could also have had a field day with the public posturing of the embarrassing minister of Love, Peace and Corrections and his assistant clown, who seem bent on accumulating as many baubles from China as they can.


What does the future hold for Police Commissioner Maara Tetava? Police minister Mac Makoroa seemed bent on getting rid of him pronto and replacing him with his own man. However the new minister messed up badly with his incorrect calculation as to when Tetava’s contract was due to end. Meanwhile, sources at the police station say it’s business as usual and that Tetava has no intention of going anywhere. Things will get interesting when the Minister of Suspensions’ secretary attempts to sneak into Tetava’s chair. There isn’t room for both of them.


What’s with the cops just giving a warning to a tourist who drank and drove his motorbike and filmed himself doing all sorts of idiotic stunts, then posted a video on Facebook. This sends exactly the wrong message to other people and makes no sense when the police are continually warning against drink driving and other motoring misdemeanours.


One of the most interesting jobs on the island at present must be in government IT. Word is that these technicians are tracking visits by certain public servants to some very interesting websites that have nothing to do with their jobs. People further up the chain aren’t blameless either.


The toughening up on warrants of fitness has worked really well…not. There are still cars out on the roads that are falling to bits and are clearly unsafe. And what are the police doing about it? Absolutely nothing at all.


At least it’s just a return to how things have always been and not nearly as mystifying as the helmet laws, which are policed in very mysterious ways. Travel up any back road at random times and you’ll see under-aged youngsters driving bikes with no helmets. Out on the open road you’ll see bikes carrying two people – one with a helmet, one not bothering. You’ll see mothers over the age of 25 riding their bikes with no helmet (which is apparently legal), while the child on the pillion seat has no head protection at all.

Smoke Signals

Tuesday November 20, 2018

Let’s hear the truth about absent MP

It is beyond belief that instead of telling RAPPA where their elected MP is and giving a valid reason why he is not here, the CIP government chooses instead to redirect all of RAPPA to seek out the MP of Nikao for assistance. Why not Mark Brown on the other side in Takuvaine then? He is the Finance minister and closer to the money needed to help! RAPPA is getting continuously left out here with no representation. Voters in RAPPA should be VERY angry! 

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