Category Archives: disability


The Destitute and Infirmed Payment is set to increase from $165 a month to $200 a month from 1 July 2016 and the Old Age Pension rate for those aged 70 and over will increase from $650 a month to $660 a month.

The Destitute and Infirmed Payment is a means tested payment targeting working age people, primarily those with high disability needs, who are unable to secure employment. There are approximately 200 people currently receiving this payment.

While the rate is set to increase to $200 a month, the Government has stated an intention to progressively increase the Destitute and Infirmed Payment over time so that there is parity with the Old Age Pension.

The increase to the Destitute and Infirmed Payment was announced as part of the 2016-17 Budget at an additional cost of $92,000 bringing the total cost for the payment to $528,000 in 2016-17.

The increase in the Old Age Pension was originally announced last year and will cost an additional $87,000 bringing the total expected expenditure on the Old Age Pension for those aged 70 and over to $5.8 million in 2016-17. This is in addition to $6.3 million allocated in the 2016-17 Budget for Old Age Pensioners aged from 60 to 69.

Australia donates disability mini-van to the people of Mangaia

TO commemorate the Cook Islands 50th Anniversary of self-government, the Australian Government is pleased to donate a disability-inclusive mini-van for people with disabilities on the Island of Mangaia.

The mini-van is currently being sourced and fitted out but both governments have taken the opportunity for Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Warren Truss to announce and present the mini-van symbolically during a ceremony at Rarotonga’s Mangaia Hostel to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Heather Teariki.

“Under our Development for All 2015-2020: Strategy for strengthening disability-inclusive development in the aid program, Australia is proud to provide support for people with disabilities in developing countries,” Mr Truss said.

“Assisting people in the Cook Islands to find pathways out of poverty and to realising their full potential is a fitting way for us to recognise the Cook Islands’ half-century of self-government.

“Through this gift, Australia welcomes the opportunity to assist people with disabilities of on the outer Island of Mangaia and, in a practical way, help them to have better access to community services.”

In accepting the mini-van, Deputy Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Heather Teariki said: “The Government and people of the Cook Islands extend our gratitude to the Government of Australia for this prestigious gift.”

The ceremony took place in the presence of the Mangaia Te Maeva Nui team.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Teariki Heather

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Teariki Heather during the hand over ceremony.

Media Contacts
For Mr Truss: Brett Heffernan 0467 650 020
For: Ms Teariki Bredina Drollet 29370

Funding to improve economic empowerment of women and reduce domestic violence

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has signed service agreements with 5 key service providers valued at $614,000 over 3 years to support economic empowerment of women and eliminate violence against women, as part of the Australian Government funded Gender Equality and Empowerment Project.

“I’m looking forward to the roll out of these projects,” stated Secretary of Internal Affairs, Bredina Drollet, “and I would like to thank the various organisations and people that have given their time and assisted in developing these projects”.

The Chamber of Commerce will take on a lead role in coordinating activities that increase economic opportunities for women already in business or proposing to start up a business.

The Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute (CITTI) will provide both formal and informal training programmes and certificates which will help women learn more about business and business management.

These business courses will be supplemented by a mentoring programme which the Chamber of Commerce will coordinate to ensure that women in business who attend the CITTI courses have access to ongoing advice and guidance for their business development.

The National Disability Council will coordinate a programme that offers study, training and support into employment for women and girls with disabilities.

Punanga Tauturu (PTI) will lead the activity on eliminating violence against women. This is a specialist area in which they have worked for many years in collaboration with other key agencies – Police, Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and a local men’s counselling service.

PTI will be responsible for developing a coordinated referral services policy, with support of relevant Government agencies, and has been provided with funding to enable women in need to access legal advisory services which were previously not available to them.

Training on improving public services in domestic violence cases will be provided by PTI on Rarotonga and the Pa Enua. The National Council of Women will provide advocacy services and training for women based on the results of the Ministry of Health’s 2014 Family Health and Safety Survey.

The Gender Project is funded by the Australian Government through the harmonised New Zealand Aid Programme. The funding is part of a $300 million commitment over 10 years to the Pacific under the Pacific Women Shaping Development Initiative.


Bredina Drollet, Secretary
Ph 29370

EEW Taskforce Meeting 28 May 2015

EEW Taskforce Meeting 28 May 2015

Community groups who have been allocated funds from the Australian Aid Gender Equality Project, met today to present their proposed programmes and activities to the Economic Empowerment for Women Taskforce team. The funded agencies are the Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute, the Chamber of Commerce and the National Disability Council. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and was also attended by representatives of the Creative Centre, Rotaianga, and the Ministry of Marine Resources.

Economic Empowerment for Women Taskforce meeting

Economic Empowerment for Women Taskforce meeting

First Disability Inclusive Development Newsletter

Click here to read Volume 1, Issue 1 of the Disability Inclusive Development Newsletter  In  this issue you will find:

p1 New Minister visits Disability Office

P2 Mangaia Disability Stakeholders trained; Diability Database Development in Progress; CRPD training opened eyes.

p3 Aitutaki participants grateful; Including you women with disabilities

p4 Inclusion promoted in schools; CINDC representatives in Geneva; Well done to Helen and Margret

p5 Inclusive Education Snapshots

p6 Disability Inclusion vital for Social Development



Disability workshop at PacINET 2014

Members of the Disability community gathered on 22-23September at the PacINET 2014 conference held at the Pukapuka Hostel.

PacINET Disability Team


The workshop was coordinated by Gunela Astbrink who is an international advocate for people with disabilities, especially in relation to their access to and use of the internet.  The workshop provided an introduction to policy development and advice on ensuring that people with disabilities get access to appropriate services that enables them to use the internet. The follow-up meeting that have resulted from the workshop will ensure that there will be tablet training for people with disabilities in the outer islands and that there is further development of policies that will address access issues for people with disabilities.  Gunela was interviewed by CITV about the workshop and its programme. A copy of the news item is available on request.

The Internet Society was represented at this conference by Maureen Hilyard (Board Chair of the Pacific Islands Chapter) Ellen Strickland (PICISOC Vice Chair), Gunela Astbrink and Holly Raiche (ISOC -Australia) and Ali AlMeshal from the Bahrain Chapter of the Internet Society,

Local attendance at the workshop included members of the Disability Unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Nono, Lani and Iva), Special Needs Advisors from the Ministry of Education, The Cook Islands National Disability Council and members of Te Vaerua and The Creative Centre.

They contributed to the workshop programme of PacINET which is the conference of the Pacific Islands Chapter (PICISOC).  The conference itself took place on 24-25 September and was opened by The Minister of Telecommunications, Hon. Mark Brown. Also in attendance was OPM Chief of Staff, Liz Koteka and Cook Islands Internet Action Members – Pua Hunter (ICT Unit), Rex Valoa (BCI), William Tuivaga (SRIC), Mii Nimerota (Policy), Rebekah Daniels and Mathilda Miria-Tairea (MMR), Caroline Tiria (Seabed Mining), Ano Tisam (Statistics), Mana Etches (EMCI), Nathan Tisam (Weather), Harmon Harmon (ICT Unit), Steven Boggs and Maureen Hilyard.

PacINET presenters

The overseas presenters included (from left); Gunela Astbrink (ISOC-Au, Australia), Michael Alex (Kacific, Singapore), Nurmul Islam Roman (APNIC), Ali AlMeshal (ISOC-Bahrain), Holly Raiche (ISOC-Au, Australia), Peter Dengate-Thrush (New Zealand), Save Vocea (ICANN), Don Hollander (APTLD), Elly Tawhai (APNIC), Ellen Strickland (PICISOC Board, InternetNZ), Graham Hassall (Victoria University, Wellington), Professor Rowena Cullen (Victoria University, Wellington)