Sports Minister lives it

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mark Brown at grassroots, never planned to be Minister. After years of contact sports – new minister of sport Mark Brown says he’s keen to take on a more cerebral sport like lawn bowls or maybe even yoga.

The 47-year-old father of two says he never planned to be the minister of sport when he decided to get into politics.

But he adds that being in sports at the club level has meant that he has always been at the grassroots of the community.

“It is here that you talk to everyday people and you listen to their everyday problems at a village level,” says Brown.

“The step up to national politics has been shaped by my community involvement.”

You could say the Brown has gone through all the phases of sport from being a national representative as an athlete, coach, manager and administrator and now the minister.

Brown has also been the president of the Cook Islands Touch Rugby Association and the president of the Takuvaine Rugby Union and Rugby League clubs.

“My involvement in Takuvaine club sports started from my days playing F grade rugby as a kid for the club back in the 70s until now playing Golden Oldies for the Takuvaine Legends.”

Brown has often teamed up with his wife Daphne, daughter Tiarn (13) and 6-year-old son Tiki for social sporting events such as golf and the recent Boxing Day touch tournament.

Brown says that sport is a critical component of our national identity and our national health.

“Just as we encourage life-long learning to keep our minds stimulated and productive so too must we encourage life-long sport, fitness and healthy eating to keep our bodies strong and productive, even into our old age.”

As the new minister of sport – Brown would like to see greater participation by kids in all sports.

“As the minister I have been very encouraged by the performance of our sports codes at local and international level.”

Brown adds that ensuring the island’s various international standard sports venues and facilities live up to their expectations by being utilised as much as possible will be one of the challenges for the new government.

“I think that the code specific venues are doing a fantastic job such as the new Tennis Centre. It is a venue for top class regional and international competition, it is being utilised fully from what I can see by the local members.”

As well as sports – Brown is also the minister of Finance and Economic Management, Business Trade and Investment Board, Cook Islands Investment Corporation and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

To the elite athletes of the country preparing for sporting tournaments this year including the New Caledonia Pacific Games, Brown says that there are no shortcuts to success.

“We have a proud history of achievement – it is based on commitment and hard work and sacrifice – there are no shortcuts to success.”

  • Matariki Wilson