18th February, 2013
The swearing in ceremony of newly elected Member of Parliament for Tamarua – Tetangi Matapo, will be held on Monday 18th February. Clerk of Parliament, Tupuna Rakanui said that Parliament will need to ensure that the 7-day petition period is adhered too. The 7-day period ended February 7th, and as no lodges were made against Matapo she was flown to Rarotonga on the Friday the 15th.
Only two votes separated the two candidates in the Tamarua by-election held January 29th, with the Democratic Party candidate Ms Tetangi Matapo taking out the contest by 28 votes to 26.On election night Matapo was three votes ahead (25-22) of the Cook Islands Party’s Tokorua Pareina. However Matapo was able to secure three of the seven special votes counted on the following Tuesday afternoon.
Of the special votes, chief electoral officer Taggy Tangimetua said there were four advance votes, one postal vote from New Zealand, and two votes by declaration – that is, voters who were not on the electoral roll before the date of the by-election on 29 January.
Matapo, who was the deputy principal of Mangaia School before the by-election, said she was happy but wasn’t surprised at the final result. She said there were no celebrations and if there is going to be a celebration, it will be for everyone in Tamarua – not just her supporters. Matapo said that when she campaigned house-to-house, she asked that after the by-election that the villagers forget their political differences, support whoever wins and work together for the good of Tamarua.
She has in mind things she would like to do for the constituency but she wants to take things one day at a time. Parliament is due to sit within the next two weeks. A teacher for most of her working life, Matapo said that one does not stop teaching or learning.
She would like to extend her appreciation to those who supported her and also to God for giving her the opportunity to become MP for Tamarua. Matapo also thanked government for the proposed projects that it has in mind for Mangaia.
by Moana Moeka’a, for Cook Islands News