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Our Employees - Mrs Tanga Morris, Cook Islands National Statistics Office

Tanga Morris started working with the Cook Islands National Statistics Office (NSO) as a temporary employee in 1980 and officially became a permanent employee in February 1981. Don Hunter was the Government Statistician during this period, and was later succeeded by Andrew Turua. When she first started, there were about 24 Statistics Office staff at the time, compared to only 9 today. All of the processing and tabulation of Official Statistics was done manually.

Over almost 4 decades later, the mother of 6 children and 6 grandchildren has seen a number of major changes take place in NSO, and particularly during the economic recession 1996 which Morris considered as being the best solution for the NSO. The immediate and largest change was the downsizing of NSO to only 10 employees. NSO, now uses more electronic tools to manage their work. Programmes have been developed to electronically process and tabulate information so that it can be published on time.

In the 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey commonly referred to as HIES, NSO started using tablets to update their maps on Rarotonga and some of the Pa Enua. They are also using tablets to collect information for the current Labour Force Survey which removes the paper questionnaires. The information collected on the field can now be uploaded online and goes directly to the Office, which allows the NSO to respond back immediately to the Enumerators while they are still on the field.

Facilitating border movements and imports and exports is now made easier with online customs clearance of goods which captures about 60% of the imports and exports data. Capturing administrative records from other Ministries electronically reduces time with data entry in their Office. The aim is for technology (tablets/Ipads) and online completion of Census questionnaires and Survey forms to be the norm.

Morris worked on and contributed to many policies and plans including the Cook Islands Gender Profile 2012, Cook Islands Forum Compact Peer Review Report 2014, and the Ministry of Health Global AIDS Monitoring Report 2018 and has Morris would like to pay homage to many of the earlier employees of NSO, including the late Ngamata Moo, Ruamataiti Raitia (NZ), Amelia Ngatokorua (retired in 2016), Arapo John, Fanny Utanga (now with Air NZ), Bobby Mateariki (NZ), Steve Wearing (NZ), Andrew Hosking (Mauke), Makini Tutira (retired), late Ngapoko Bertram, Helen Sinclair (MOH), Thomas Makea, and Moetai Taruia (MOJ) to name a few.

Those who are keen to join the dynamic team at NSO need at least NCEA level 2 to enter at a Clerk level. Outside of NSO, Morris, has always been involved in voluntary work, particularly for the Church and especially with children and the women.

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