NZDF

Cook Islands Youth Benefit from NZ Defence Force Expertise

Cook Islands Youth Development Unit participants are put through their paces as part of the course currently being run in Rarotonga. Photograph courtesy of Cook Islands News/Photographer: Aleyna Taripo
Cook Islands Youth Development Unit participants are put through their paces as part of the course currently being run in Rarotonga.
Photograph courtesy of Cook Islands News/Photographer: Aleyna Taripo

28 November 2014

Around 60 Cook Islands students will benefit from two youth development programmes that are currently being run by the Cook Islands Police Service in association with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

Five NZDF personnel who have experience working on Youth Development Programmes in New Zealand are in Rarotonga assisting the Cook Islands Police Service with the programmes, which cater for two different target groups.

The Cook Islands Youth Development Course, which was run for the first time in 2013, aims to teach at risk youth teamwork, time management, discipline, teamwork, drill and physical training.

Additionally this year, a new course, the Cook Islands Leadership Course, will aim to develop the leadership potential of students who are currently completing their NCEA exams. 

Staff Sergeant Mike Wallace, who was involved with the very successful inaugural Youth Development Course in 2013 said, “We have around 30 students on each course aged from 12 to 19 who learn important life skills.

“Stemming youth offending at this early stage has to be a winner for all, the individual, family, vaka (village), community and the Cook Islands as a whole. The programmes will allow the Cook Island people to move into the future.

“What is different this year is that the NZDF will take a back seat and allow the local police to lead.”

Two Cook Islands Police Service instructors who attended training workshops in New Zealand with the NZDF earlier this year will help facilitate the delivery of both courses.

New Zealand Police Advisor, Community and Youth Policing Nga Utanga said, “The two community programmes have become the focal point of community engagement by the Cook Islands Police Service. We are putting in place a process so that the Police Service can follow up with the kids and evaluate their progress in 12 month’s time.”

ENDS

For further information please contact the Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.

This page was last reviewed on 27 November 2014.