Cook Islands

Cyclone Victor to be Category Four by Monday, as Cook Islanders hit by winds

The atoll has been on high alert as the cyclone, upgraded to category 3 on Sunday and centred several hundred kilometres away, moved slowly towards it.

Winds close to the centre are about 115 km/h. The Fiji Meteorological Service says the cyclone is intensifying and the wind strength will increase to 150 km/h.

Cook Islands atoll starts to feel cyclone Victor

The category two cyclone currently has winds of 90 kilometres an hour at its centre as it moves south-southwest past the northern atolls at about three kilometres an hour.

Palmerston is closest to the cyclone's path, and a resident, William Rowe, says every warning has Victor inching closer to the atoll.

Cyclone warning issued for Northern Cooks

The Fiji Met services says a tropical disturbance, which has been hovering over the northern Cook Islands over the last few days, has developed into a tropical cyclone.

It says cyclone Victor, a category two system, is moving southwest at nine kilometres an hour, and that close to the centre the cyclone is expected to have average winds of 92 kilometers an hour.

Teams receive Cook Islands welcome

The welcoming ceremony was attended by players from New Zealand, New Caledonia, Samoa, Tonga and hosts Cook Islands and along with CIFA President Lee Harmon, Cook Islands Minister of Youth and Sports Albert Nicholas and CISNOC President Hugh Graham who took time from their busy schedules to assist in making it a memorable occasion for the visitors.

Cook Islands ready to host regional football tournament

The tournament, which starts on Wednesday, will for the first time feature eight regional teams from Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

Tournament director and CIFA competitions manager Pauline Dean said preparation was well underway for the regional meet, which will end on January 23.

She said they were working around the clock to ensure a memorable tournament for the budding footballers from around the region.

Cook Islands message to the world at COP21

Over 150 leaders from across the globe met in Paris, France to demonstrate their support to save the Planet through a new climate change agreement. The form of this is to be finalised by the end of the two weeks of negotiations. The Cook Islands are uniting with the Alliance of Small Island States and are calling for a legally binding agreement that limits global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Call for decision on Cooks Sunday flights

In a referendum in April, a majority of the island's population voted to end Sunday flights to and from Rarotonga, with those wanting the ban saying Sunday is a sacred day when businesses shouldn't operate.

The prime minister, Henry Puna, called the referendum as part of a campaign promise in the lead-up to a by-election on the island, but has still not said whether he will honour the result.

The corporation's director of destination development, Metua Vaiimene, says the tourism industry is firmly in support of keeping the flights.

Call to conserve water supplies in Rarotonga

Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) water works division manager Wilson Rani says water intake capacity around Rarotonga is working at just 20 per cent to 50 per cent, mainly around Avatiu, Nikao and other elevated areas on the island.

The stream flow at water intakes across the island has dropped, reducing the pressure in the pipeline network and the flow of water to homes and businesses.

The stream at the Avatiu intake usually supplies up to 40 to 60 litres of water a second, but because of limited rainfall now supplies just 6 litres of water a second.

The Cooks return to the world of league

The Kukis haven't played a match since the 2013 World Cup, having been overlooked for the first three years of the Pacific Test programme.

They face Tonga later this month in a winner-takes-all qualifier for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

This Saturday's match-up against Niue is a chance to test players and combinations but coach Alex Chan says it's just nice to finally put a Cook Islands team back on the park.

Cooks pensioners to march again against NZ tax

The President of Grey Power, Dennis Tunui, says they're already preparing placards and are determined to ensure the demonstrations match their efforts last year.

Grey Power says the New Zealand pension was previously not taxed and it should stay that way.

A core group of 60 pensioners are still refusing to pay the tax, despite the Financial Secretary, Richard Neves, saying it's a simple matter of Cook Islands law.

Mr Tunui says the group will march as soon as Parliament sits again.