“Al-Salam Alaikum”, Peace Be Upon You – A Message from Our Chairman

[Pictured: Al-Madinah School students with their wonderful signs at the commemoration held on Wednesday 20th March]

Al Salam Alaikum – peace be upon you, is a Muslim greeting that has blessed and opened many vigils across New Zealand. Before March 15th, it was a greeting spoken among our Muslim communities as a sign of respect to one another. Over the last few days, it has been spoken by all community leaders across our diverse nation. It is a greeting that is inclusive and has welcomed us into spaces made safe by us all to mourn and commemorate the lives of those taken.

As news of the attack came through various media networks and social media, our organisation reacted as any would by connecting with and sending prayers to our Board Member Terekino Vaireka based in Christchurch, and through him our Cook Islands Christchurch community. It wasn’t until later that evening that we came to learn that it was a targeted attack on our Muslim brothers and sisters in a place they felt safe, their place of worship – their mosque temples. As with many across New Zealand and the world, our hearts mourned not just the lives taken, and the families affected, but those who had migrated here on the premise that they would be safe from acts of terror.

I reflect on our Prime Minister Jacinda Adern’s words to the families affected by this tragedy “we cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage. We can. And we will, surround you with aroha, manaakitanga and all that makes us, us. Our hearts are heavy, but our spirit is strong.”

The way that we react to tragedy is determined by those in leadership. Jacinda’s words were prophetic in that following the days after the shooting, we as a country have united to surround our Muslim community with love, kindness, generosity, support and respect. In speaking Al Salam Alaikum, we choose to stand in solidarity with our Muslim community because “we are them, and they are us.”

Despite what has happened, our Muslim communities have held strong and continue to open their arms and their doors to us all. If you would like to pay your respects to them, this Friday 22 March mosques across Auckland will open their doors to the public, their holiest day of the week. We can learn a lot from our Muslim communities.

With our utmost respect, we will be donating to the Christchurch families on behalf of the Cook Islands community we serve. If you’d like to do the same, here is the link to the donation page: https://bit.ly/2USm9lj. With this, we also send our love, prayers and condolences to the families affected.

Ko te Atua to tatou akapu’anga e te maroiroi i te tauturu vaiata roa ia, me rokoia e tumatatenga – Salamo 46:1

God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.


Meitaki Ma’ata, Henry Herman


Pa Metua Super Gold Club Goes to Waiheke


Led by our Ambassador Nana Kamo-Mataroa, our Pa Metua Club went to Waiheke Island on March 12th, 2019.

The Club was officially launched on October 2, 2018 with twelve new members pledging three things: to share and preserve their cultural knowledge for future generations, to document in a journal their insights and experiences; and to guide and nurture new and existing leadership in the community. “This club is for our 65+ year olds because like Auntie Nana, we value our elders and their place in our communities. We wanted to create a space where they were able to come and be among others, to share their cultural knowledge, experiences, insights, and mostly just to connect with those who understood them. During the time since the group’s formation, we’ve learned that most of them are at home alone. Their children have either moved on to raise their own families, or their partner has passed away. For some it’s a very lonely time in their lives” says Rouruina Emil’e-Brown, CE of CIDANZ. “There are treasures within their lives that we want to learn from and to preserve, like our language and the different dialects we have in our small nation alone. Most of these dialects have been taught through songs, dances and legends. Through the simple act of transcribing their thoughts in their dialect in a journal, they’re taking a step towards preserving those dialects.”

When they’re not sharing from their journals or singing traditional hymns, they’re taking part in workshops with positive social enterprise outcomes. One of those workshops was upcycling pillowcases donated by the University of Auckland’s Student Accommodation team. The members were able to screen print traditional Cook Islands motifs onto pillow cases that were then packaged and sold in the Kia Orana cooperative community store. The store is stocked by locals and because of this, the stores policy is to ensure that profits go back into the community, in this case, profits went back to the club where it was used to support the groups next outing – “a trip to the pictures.”

In all the years that club members had lived in New Zealand, 70% of them had never been to the cinema’s before. “I remember taking my children to the Civic in the city to watch the ‘Sound of Music’ when it first screened. That was a long time ago! They didn’t have the fancy seats like they do now, and ice cream inside the movies wasn’t done. The other Mama’s had never been to the pictures and at first, they were worried about it, but were then amazed at how easy it was to get from the carpark, up the stairs to the picture room where they were served their little popcorn, ice cream, and drink. Then after the movie we were picked up, taken back to CIDANZ where we had fish and chips for lunch”, says Nana. Mama Kura Rasmussen also recalls having a wonderful time, “it was my first time going to the movies! It made me feel young again, like I was going on a school trip with my friends.” Mama Rasmussen also comments “I look forward to my Tuesday’s. I like coming to the shed, to sing and be around others.”

The visit to Waiheke Island was one they would never forget. The club sang from Auckland CBD all the way to Waiheke and back. Entertaining and charming travelers near and far. Once on the Island they stopped over to visit a local gallery owned and operated by a beautiful Maori Artist Jeanine Clarkin. They then had what is considered the “best fish and chips on Waiheke”, and concluded their outing with dessert at the Tantalus Vineyard where they were hosted by Alibi Head Chef Marco Edwardes. Marco had fallen in love with our Cook Islands people while he had been working in Rarotonga last year.

Tokoroa Cook Islands Community Set the Theme for Cook Islands Language Week 2019


Cook Islands language week has been a project that we have committed to administering across New Zealand for our Cook Islands communities. We do this in partnership with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, and have done so for over four years now. It is a project of the heart because the process of setting the theme has always been a vulnerable one because we hear the stories of our people right across the country.

In 2018 we attended a CILW event held by Tokoroa Cook Islands Society. It inspired our team so much that this year  we reached out to our sixteeth star with the proposal to set the theme for language week 2019. Tokoroa is a community rich in our culture, and when we traveled down on February 22nd, we were again reminded of that fact. We were welcomed by students of Tokoroa High School and the Tokoroa Cook Islands Society with a tuoro befitting a high chief.

The community had also gone above and beyond to set the theme for language week 2019, and we couldn’t be more proud. The theme is currently being finalised by MPP, with a release date yet to be decided.

Meitaki ma’ata to the Cook Islands Community Society Tokoroa Inc and the students of Tokoroa High School not only for hosting us, but for being champions of our reo and culture. Here is a video of the community singing a beautiful song: https://youtu.be/zier168Ns0E

A Message from our newest Board Member – Terekino Vaireka


Kia Orana,

I was appointed onto the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Board of Trustees in July 2018. I’m honoured for the appointment and the opportunity, and look forward to the challenges this role may present, but even moreso to the good work that we will no doubt do in our communities. First and foremost, I want to offer words of gratitute to the Chairman, Board members, and CEO for the introduction and the on-going support whilst being in this role, of which I am very humbled by.

My interest and inspirations have always been heavily focused on the development of our people and community, and more importantly enhancing individual and collective resiliance. I’m located in Christchurch (South Island), where resiliance has been integral in providing us with the will and motivation to rebuild our city, and regather our communities. It is my hope that my role as a Board of Trustees member will provide significant opportunities and benefits to our Cook Islands communities on the South Island.

During the months I’ve been in this role, I was impressed with the level of passion, commitment and the strategic direction which the Board and CIDANZ offers to the community. The portfolio under my guidance is the oneCHILD project, a significant milestone in the development of our Cook Islands language and culture in New Zealand. We look forward to turn soil this year.

There are two distinct focus area’s that Id like to see going forward into the future. For one, a rise in investment opportunities in the South Island so that our communities there continue to gain from the good work done in Auckland. And secondly, for more South Islanders to sit on the Board, a vision I know that the Board will be moving towards.

I understand the challenges our communities face, and the reluctance to trust an organisation like CIDANZ, so here is a little word of encouragement: CIDANZ is equipped with the right tools and instruments such as strategic development plans (both short and long-term), supported by unique partners. They are servants of the people, working not for their own benefit, but for the good of us all. It’s in our best interest to align ourselves not with their vision, but our vision of a united and prosperous community. And lastly, we need more champions to take our work forward, so when the next elections comes around, please consider championing an organisation working for the people, and apply to be a board member.

Meitaki atupaka

Te Atua Te Aroa

Terekino (Tino) Vaireka | Christchurch

Email: tino@cidanz.co.nz

Whanau Ora – Social Innovation Made ‘Accessible’


CIDANZ is funded by Pasifika Futures ltd (PFL) under the Whanau Ora programme. As a key innovation partner of PFL our organisation has been a part of various opportunities to ensure that our family enterprises are able to access a market that values them and the services they provide.

We have recently reconfirmed (oneBASKET program) with Papakura Netball Centre contract for 2019. oneHERITAGE program with Te Papa, Wellington, we have placed another (oneBASKET program) proposal for Fresh Café & Kiosk in Otara, which we have been shortlisted for. In the months ahead oneTRADES will, through a subcontract process with JAPP Ltd, enter into bid for earthworks for the oneCHILD Project. The team has also built a number of collaborations for Up-cycle goods as Social Enterprise opportunities with Oceania Youth Academy and Atiu-Enuamanu. We will test the process for this model of enterprise development over the next 6 months and look to work with a couple of other not for profit groups in the community.

Our capacity is stretched, but with a skilled young team around the table, we continue to fulfill the work needed to ensure that our families are living economically free, and reaching their goals and aspirations.

Pictured is a few of our enterprising families with Minister Peeni Henare who visited our site in April. Minister Henare holds the Portfolios for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Whanau Ora, and Youth; and is also the Associate Minister of Social Development.

Old School Reserve – The Heart of Community Unity & Prosperity

On the 3 October 2018, the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board approved the Old School Reserve Master Plans for Public Consultation. This development has been a 9-year long journey for the Trust, several iterations over the years landed in September 2018, giving the Trust the best opportunity to finally build a sustainable community owned facility. oneVILLAGE has been represented strongly through the plans, the Public Consultation will take 6 weeks, a report back to the Local Board reflecting public feedback will be written for the Local Boards final approval in February 2019.

The site plans take into consideration tenants currently doing great work on the site, namely Auckland Teaching Garden’s, and two early learning centers. The plans propose a vertical garden area, created and run by Auckland Teaching Gardens (ATG). The large field to receive drainage improvements, be a host for a long-term incubator kitchen and our Cook Islands ANZAC Soldiers War Memorial, a great space for young people and families to enjoy a play area, basketball court, potential informal BMX track, and be the home of oneVILLAGE.

We look forward to seeing these plans become a reality for our many diverse communities to enjoy!

oneCHILD Project Build Set for early 2019!

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We are one step closer to achieving a vision that has been in the works since the development of the Cook Islands Development Action Plan set in 2013 to 2022.

The Ta’okotai’anga – CIDANZ is building the very first ‘total immersion’ Cook Islands Early Childhood Education Centre in Auckland.  Approved funding through the Ministry of Education for a 60 children facility in Mangere was received in 2015 and in 2016, the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board approved to lease approximately 640m² of Old School Reserve in Mangere for the building of the facility.  With the incredible Project Management and Architectural support of Strachan Group Architects and its many agents the resource consent was approved in January 2018, and final plans signed off by our Chief Executive.

As we draw closer to the turning of soil for the oneCHILD Centre Project this year, so too is the completion of the first ‘total immersion’ curriculum framework for the centre.

On Friday 15th June the oneCHILD Project Group met to view and discuss the proposal: Rima Akataka Approach – this is a hands on experience in learning for the tamariki potiki of the centre, based on tacit knowledge of the Cook Islands (indigenous people’s knowledge developed over time, and continue to develop). The discourse in literature and group discussion covered the Cook Islands Maori Reo, quality learning, quality teachers, authentic learners, practical and literate learning, nature studies, literature, global approaches and theories.

The centre will be indigegogy based, where our tamariki potiki will be totally immersed in the Cook Islands Maori reo and a Cook Islands Maori worldview. Our tamariki potiki will learn through a culturally responsive-relational pedagogy with a collaborative pathway to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the Cook Islands Maori Reo, Akonoanga and People in a new indigenous cultural environment. We are creating a new and exciting wave of learning for our tamariki potiki in Aotearoa.

Currently the Trust is going through a rigorous process to select the right builders for this work. We look forward to beginning the new year with a soil turning ceremony to mark this momentous occasion.

Pa Metua Super Gold Club Launch


Our elders have lived rich lives rife with even richer knowledge. On Tuesday 2 October 2018, the Pa Metua Super Gold Club was lunched. The Purpose of the group is to embrace, to remember, to help live on the knowledge and precious teachings and lessons of my Ui Tupuna, yesterday, today for my tamariki tomorrow.

12 members strong, the aim of the group is to preserve and learn from the knowledge of our elders.

Exhibition & Launch of CITVCNZ


On Monday 22nd October, the Cook Islands Taokotai’anga Vainetini Collective NZ (CITVCNZ) was officially launched at a Cook Islands exhibition. The Collective was first set-up in 2016 with three members – Tepori Teariki, Nana Kamo-Mataroa, and Vaine Areora. Over time, the group grew, becoming 44 members strong and steadily rising.

With a vision to unite and prosper the Cook Islands community, CITVCNZ have several projects underway, including upcycling materials donated by the Takanini Sikh community, and adapting Cook Islands to be sold at the Te Papa Museum.

The launch of CITVCNZ was met with great enthusiasm from the Cook Islands community who rallied together in support of the women. We look forward to seeing more from our Mama’s.


Tā’okota’i’anga 2018 Cultural Competition, Sat 1st Sept.

On Saturday 1st September, the Auckland University Cook Islands Association will be hosting a competition called Tā’okota’i’anga. It is a conference and cultural competition for all of the Cook Islands Students Associations from various tertiary institutions across New Zealand to come together, compete and celebrate our beautiful culture.

Where: 7 Atiu pl, Favona, Auckland
When: Saturday September 1st, 6pm. Doors open at 5:30pm
Cost: Adult: $5. Child (12 years and under): $2. Pay at door. All door sales will go towards the running of Tā’okota’i’anga.

This year, the theme is:

“Tuia te rito tangata e te rito vaerua 
Itiki’ia ki te pito enua e toou tupu’anga rangatira 
Ma te raranga kapiti mai i te au peu tūkētūkē.”

“Thread the fibres of humanity
Thread the fibres of spiritual well being
Bind together the essence of cultural identity
Weave together the diverseness of cultural awareness.”