4 Sep 2006

The new leader of the Cook Islands Party ready to take over from Sir Geoffrey Henry

7:51 pm on 4 September 2006

The opposition Cook Islands Party begins its campaign for this month's election without Sir Geoffrey Henry for the first time in 40 years after the veteran politician retired last month.

The party's Manihiki candidate Henry Puna has been elected to replace him with Tupou Faireka as his deputy.

Mr Puna, the third leader in the party's history, says following in Sir Geoffrey's footsteps is a challenge.

"Had the privilege and pleasure of serving my apprenticeship as it were under such a great leader and a great statesman in Sir Geoffrey, and while we all miss him terribly, nevertheless he has presented us with new opportunities and new challenges, and we have no intention of failing him more importantly failing the people of this great country."