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[Media Release-INTAFF]14th Triennial Pacific Women's Conference

Wednesday 5 May 2021

14th Triennial Pacific Women’s Conference and the 7th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women

The Minister of Internal Affairs, the Hon Vaine Mac Mokoroa, supported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs led the Cook Islands delegation participating in the 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women at the Rarotongan Resort from 26-28 April 2021. The 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women convened by the Pacific Community (SPC) and hosted and chaired by French Polynesia. The Conference held virtually with over 1000 participants, reflecting the immerse interests the journey of Pacific women of all diversities towards equality. The participants included Pacific Island country and territory (PICT) government delegations, civil society representatives, development partners, academia, private sector and other stakeholders from within the Blue Pacific continent and beyond.

The theme of the conference “Our Ocean, Our Heritage, Our Future” Empowering All Women in the Blue Pacific Continent that our ocean is inseparable from Pacific peoples, cultures, economies and societies.

The 7th Meeting of Pacific Ministers for Women (the Ministerial) convened on 3 May 2021. The Cook Islands delegation was again led by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Honourable Vaine Mac Mokoroa. The meeting chaired by Honourable Isabelle Sachet, Minister of Family, Social Affairs and Women of French Polynesia and Minister responsible for women affairs and senior officials from SPC members. The Conference and Ministerial meeting focused on three priorities areas: women’s economic empowerment, gender-based violence, and gender response to climate justice and four cross-cutting themes: women in leadership and decision making; crises and disasters, sex, age and disability to ensure the perspective of Pacific youth voice heard.

The Conference and Ministerial recognized the national, regional and international commitments to gender equality that require a holistic and collaborative approach that leverages partnership between PICT government, civil society, private sector, academia, traditional and faith leaders, communities and families and political commitments at all level.

The event offered a platform to share and reflect on the challenges (including the impacts of COVID-19 and natural and humanitarian disasters affecting women and girls) and progress made; identifying strategic and practical measures, and proposed recommendations towards gender equality and the full realisation of women’s human rights in the Pacific.

Addressing the meeting, Minister Mokoroa emphasised the significant impact of COVID-19 on the women of the Cook Islands. “Women represent 48.7% of the workforce in the Cook Islands and are, by and large, the primary caregiver of the family. Despite maintaining an $8.00 minimum wage we have seen a high number of men leaving the country for short- term employment opportunities in New Zealand and elsewhere exacerbating this pressure on our women”.

Minister Mokoroa acknowledged the Government of Australia, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, the Honorable Marise Payne for the recent commitment of $170 million for regional gender equality and the promotion of women’s leadership and women’s rights.

By the close of the meeting the conference outcome document and recommendation were endorsed by the majority of countries.

The Minister was supported on Rarotonga by Ms Anne Herman, Secretary of Te Tango Akarangatira Ora’anga/Ministry of Internal Affairs (INTAFF) and officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Office of the Public Service Commission.

Queries regarding this media release can be directed to Mrs Angeline Tuara, Director of INTAFF’s Social Policy Business Unit at angeline.tuara@cookislands.gov.ck or phone 29370.


1 Cook Islands Participants at 14th Triennial meeting for Pacific Women.

2 Minister for Internal Affairs, Honourable Mac Mokoroa delivers the Cook Islands National Statement;

3 The logo for the 14th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women