Maara Vaiimene appointed new director of Cook Islands Meterological Service

Maara Vaiimene (Photo: Cook Islands News)

Former senior meteorological observer Maara Vaiimene has been appointed the new director of the Cook Islands Meteorological Service.

Vaiimene commenced the top role on 25 March.

Secretary for Ministry of Transport John Hosking confirmed that the new director is a returning Cook Islander who has been away since 2013.

Hosking said: “He is no stranger to Meteorological Services.”

Vaiimene was a senior meteorological observer for 23 years, and operations and quality service manager for five years at the Cook Islands Meteorological Service before moving overseas.

“Maara expanded his work experience from construction works, human resources management to mine sites and mine site aerodrome management roles in Australia,” Hosking said.

“His roles at the mine site widened his experience and qualifications in the management of teams. It was in the aerodrome role that enabled him to continue in meteorological services.

“Foremost, the application of international standards tailored to the Australian context for civil aviation meteorological services.”

Speaking to Cook Islands News, Vaiimene said being back at the Met Office felt like home. 

He said the only changes he had noticed compared to when he last worked at the weather office was the different gender staff as it was mainly a male’s job.

“And I come back this time, there are female staff, which is good, because then it balances out in terms of our work system. Females are taking up the challenge.”

Vaiimene, who is from Mangaia and part Maukean, said the role of a director would be challenging.

Hosking said that Vaiimene highlights the importance of managing a team well, through consistent and clear communication, training towards formal qualifications, employee retention, and succession planning, and focusing on meteorological services for public safety.

Looking at the applications received, Hosking said there was interest in the position including from overseas, however the Ministry received a small number of applicants at closing.

He added that the normal recruitment process was conducted and Vaiimene was the successful applicant. Arona Ngari, who served as the director of the Meteorological Service for 40 years, retired in February this year.