Rashneel Kumar first came to the Cook Islands in 2009. An interesting story in itself he says. The Cook Islands hosted the Pacific Mini Games that year. John Woods at the time was the managing editor and publisher of Cook Islands News. John Woods sent a request to the University of the South Pacific, Suva, the main campus, suggesting that maybe a young sports journalism reporter would like to come for an attachment.
Rashneel’s university lecturer Dr Shailendra Singh recommended him, and it was his first trip out of his country, Fiji. He came here and felt a connection – riding on motor bikes and island friendly vibe covering stories. He stayed for nine days, returned to Suva, finished his university studies and began working for The Fiji Times newspaper.
He worked there for five years as a sports journalist. Then in 2015 out of nowhere, John Woods contacted Rashneel and asked if he would like to come to Rarotonga to work for Cook Islands News!
He accepted the challenge and came to Rarotonga. He started as a general reporter at Cook Islands News and it’s been quite a journey of which he is so grateful, Rashneel says.
I first met Rashneel mid-year 2020, he was the journalist that was assigned to break our story of the Kia Orana Podcast in the Cook Islands. Rashneel mentions that Haydn and I were pioneers in the Cook Islands back then in the podcasting arena for our country. At the time during the height of the Covid pandemic we didn't have a podcast coming out of the Cook Islands. Now we have several, Yay!
“The podcast space is going to become more a way of getting connected. It’s kinda like radio but online. A dynamic way of transmitting information to everyone,” Rashneel says.
“Being an editor is not an easy job … there are lots of challenges, tough decisions, late nights, etc.,” the 33-year-old Rashneel says. It has been a humble beginning for him, he says with great support from the publishers and team at Cook Islands News. “Every day is a challenge for me in this space,” Rashneel says. “But I wake up every day feeling happy about my professional challenges and willing to take them on.” Rashneel believes that you are only as successful as your team. He is proud to lead our daily national newspaper that covers our 15 islands in the Cook Islands.
Cook Islands News website (www.cookislandsnews.com) gives access to the newspaper and its daily content to readers worldwide – delivering information that Cook Islands News endeavours to present in an authentic and fair way. “We revamped our website with a significant investment just before Covid to give our digital space (website) a fresh, vibrant look. We aim to be a community newspaper where community issues are national issues given the size of the country we live in, with people and culture driven stories being our major focus. We want to promote humanised stories where Cook Islands people and their culture is celebrated,” Rashneel says.
Cook Islands News currently has a team of three reporters for daily news, Rashneel as the editor and also there is an online editor who looks after online and social media platforms. There are three people in production who do layout and designing, two people in print, proof readers for final copy checking, front office staff, accounts and sales. Total on the ground staff would be approximately 20. Cook Islands News copy sells at $2.50 each. People can also subscribe to their website for premium and other stories as low as NZD$11 a month or $130 a year. Visit their website for more d
Kia Orana, May you live long
Aere Ra, Farewell
Kia Manuia, Good Luck and Good Health
Find out where to shop, where to eat, what to do and more in the Cook Islands
The Kia Orana Podcast was created as a result of lock down Covid restrictions, in 2020.