The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration would like to welcome Kairangi (Nani) Samuela to her new position as the Principal Immigration Officer (PIO) as of last week. Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Myra Patai expressed her “absolute commitment to providing Nani with the necessary support she requires to turn Immigration Cook Islands around.” Patai further added that the “general public expect the new PIO to deliver much improved Immigration services to them with courtesy, professionalism, transparency and efficiency”.
For Nani, last week’s focus was about creating open line communication with immigration staff, to understand what we do, how we do it and the relationships between different agencies in Government.
Nani also stated there have been initiatives and recommendations made within Immigration, and it is just a matter of documenting the procedures putting also allocating resources to be able to maintain them.
An issue from the Development Partners Roundtables was the frustration from the business sector on the lack of accountability, transparency and awareness of rules in our immigration system. To address this, Nani aims to have the fees schedule available to the public within the next week so everyone is aware of what their costs are and also a complete checklist for permit requirements across various sectors seeking different services from Immigration.
“There is nothing more frustrating than getting all your papers together and thinking you’re at the end of the process only to be told that there is an additional piece of information that you need to get before we can process your application’.
“The biggest goal is for people to trust the immigration service again. We can’t solve all the problems that people come up with straight away. But the belief and trust that these issues will be dealt to and addressed through a more sound procedure will put more people at ease.”
The wealth of experience Nani brings to this role will allow her to bridge the gap between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and its stakeholders. The Ministry has been working on a draft policy and the impetus is be specific in identifying potential areas for improvement to provide a better service to the People of the Cook Islands and our visitors.
Previously, Nani has been serving as the Manager of the Cook Island's Women's Counselling Centre, Punanga Tauturu Inc. and been a gender equality advocate in the region for over 10 years. She has also been a Board member on the Cook Islands Family Welfare and Planning Association and the Chair of the Compliance Committee at the Bank of the Cook Islands
She has worked extensively on legislative and policy change to recognize and include gender based violence, as well as advance wider gender justice within the Cook Islands and the Pacific. She is passionate about Outer Islands Development and Social Justice.
We wish Nani all the best in her new role.