Pacific Insights - Island Notebook

Pacific media strategists and information solutions

Island Notebook



Assistant Commissioner Peter Marshall

Inspector Patrick Tasker
May 10.- Two New Zealand police officers have been appointed to senior posts in the South Pacific.

Peter Marshall, one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded police officers, took up the position of Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police just weeks before a tsunami struck the archipelago killing 12 people last month.

Inspector Pat Tasker, area commander of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, has been chosen as the Cook Islands new police chief, a role he expects to take up by the end of June.

Assistant Commissioner Marshall replaced Superintendent Graham Emery, a fellow New Zealander who had been the Solomons’ Deputy Commissioner since 2005.

A popular and widely experienced officer who many thought was in line to be New Zealand’s own police commissioner, Mr Marshall has served with the criminal investigation branch and was seconded on two overseas assignments.

From 1988 he was based at the New Zealand high commission and the Australian Federal Police headquarters building in Canberra working as a police liaison officer where, among other duties, he co-ordinated investigations and extraditions.

Mr Marshall was the first New Zealand police officer stationed at New Zealand’s embassy in Washington DC where his main task was to interact with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on terrorism-related issues.

Another career highlight was his involvement in the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation [APEC] leaders’ summit --- including former US President Bill Clinton --- in Auckland in 1999. Responsible for security, Mr Marshall had about 2500 police officers under his command.

He was police operations commander for the 1999 America’s Cup on Auckland Harbour over five months.

For his commitment to the two high profile events, he received the New Zealand Order of Merit.

A graduate of the FBI National Academy, he worked out of the Office of the Commissioner from February 2004 until his secondment to the Solomons.

Inspector Tasker, a keen trout angler, has been chosen to take up a two-year post as the Cooks’ commissioner to succeed the retiring chief Pira Wichman.

Mr Tasker won selection to the job ahead of at least 15 other applicants, about two thirds of whom are New Zealand officers.

During his 20 years with the New Zealand Police, Mr Tasker has worked in both the uniformed branch and the CIB. He’s served in Waiouru, Wanganui, Whakatane and Rotorua, spending the past two years as area commander for the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Aged 43, Mr Tasker will be accompanied to Rarotonga by his wife, teenage daughter and young son.



Governor-General Anand Satyanand.
May 10.- The Governor-General Anand Satyanand plans to visit the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tokelau over the coming months.

The trips follow his first as Governor-General to the tiny island of Niue in April.

In an exclusive interview on his return to New Zealand, His Excellency said: “Samoa is on the radar screen because of its closeness to New Zealand in a family sense because it is also the 45th anniversary of its independence in 1962.

“I’d like to go to Rarotonga because I have a number of connections there through the law, judiciary and ombudsman’s lives I’ve previously had as well as other people in government.

“I’d also love to go to Aitutaki where I’ve been once before and, if an opportunity arises, to one or more of other Cook Islands places such as Penryhn or Rakahanga or Pukapuka.”

Of his three-day trip to Niue, the Governor-General said: “I was conscious of a small place trying to do its best in a whole variety of difficult circumstances.

“I saw a place that has potential but there are all sorts of difficulties to be confronted.

“I was able to do things like assure the warmth of the connection with New Zealand.

“Many, many Niueans have left the islands in order to make their life in New Zealand and, in many places, there’s evidence of houses which are no longer lived and land which is not being intensively cultivated.”

His Excellency said he believed Niueans needed to be encouraged to go home for holidays or to link up with their families.

Asked if anything surprised him during his visit, he said: “I was positively by the spirit present at the school and amongst the schoolchildren, both primary and secondary.

“I saw young, well nourished, alert people proud of their language, proud of their country, proud of being part of New Zealand.”

He said there would be opportunities for him to convey his impressions of Niue to people such as the Prime Minister Helen Clark and to Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials with responsibility for Pacific Islands issues.