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October 2017

All Hands-On-Deck at Enuamanu, Mangere

All hands were on deck at Enuamanu’s Atiu Hall located in Mangere, Auckland. Since the Enuamanu Elections on February 11th, 2017, the elected committee and Enuamanu members have been working overtime to raise funds to refurbish the much loved Atiu Hall. On September 30th members worked around the clock to strip the hall’s old carpet, and prepare the floors for newly acquired carpet. Despite the challenges they’ve faced, Enuamanu continues to prove that it is committed to “making Atiu great again”.

A Step Closer To Breaking Ground – CIDANZ oneCHILD Project

The Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust has been working on the oneCHILD Project that will see the establishment of a Cook Islands full immersion Early Learning Centre. The Trust with Strachan Group Architects have applied for Resource Consent which will bring the project one step closer to breaking ground.

The Cook Islands community is the second largest Pacific ethnic group in New Zealand (after Samoans) making up 20% (61,839) of the Pacific population (295,941) with 59.5% (36,810) living in the Auckland region (Census 2013). Although our Cook Islands community is thriving, the Cook Islands Māori language and dialects are still considered endangered. This is not an issue that the Cook Islands community is facing alone. Many indigenous nations worldwide are dealing with increasing use of the English language.

The build is one innovative way that the Trust is working towards revitalising the language.

Miss CIDANZ Meets the Ta‘okotai’anga Board

Kua aere atu 18 staff te Ta’okotai’anga Trust (CIDANZ) i te Ruitoru 26 ki te Varaire ra 28 ki Awa Homestead lodge i Rotorua no te CIDANZ Team Building & Planning Away Day.

Our Visions – ‘A United & Prosperous Community’

Our Values – Te Vaerua o CIDANZ

Sustainable – Ruperupe

Professional – Tu Rangatira

Integrity – Tiratiratu

Respect – Akangateitei

Innovation – Kite Pakari Umereia

Togetherness -Taokotai

Kua kite ia te manako Ta’okotai’anga i roto i teia Iri-iri Kapu. Ko mataora teia akakoroanga no te Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust. Te ngutuare i no’o ei matou kua ki ia e te inangaro.

These are some of the faces behind the work of the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ), also known as the Ta’okotai’anaga Charitable Trust. From Wednesday 26th July – Friday 28th July, the team travelled to Rotorua for two days of planning and development.

Team Building is one of the most important investments that an organisation can make, despite its reputation for being unappealing to corporate staff. Team building builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration – an important aspect especially when working with our Cook Islands people. An effective team building means more engaged employees, that encourages a good organisation culture. It affirms the position of each person in the organisation, and the importance of the work that they do for the community.

On the first day away, the team focused on all aspects of the heart and getting to know each other. On the second day, they focused on organisational structure, and policy. Team members commented that “to serve and unite our people, we must first learn to work together inhouse. These past two days have confirmed one thing for us – we are a family… a village raising an entire community.”

The team day has seen a vast improvement in organisational productivity.

September 2017

Kare Atu Vainetini – Sacred materials receive a second life

The Kare Atu Vainetini are taking on a project that has never been attempted by a woman’s vainetini before! Working with a South Auckland Sikh community, a relationship bridged by Julio Bin and Raju Ramakrishna (The Southern Initiative and Healthy Families), the women have received a donation of beautifully woven material called a Rumalla. Rumalla is a Punjabi term for a square or rectangular piece of silk or cloth material.

Kare Atu Vainetini is a group of women creating sewn Cook Islands crafts from the traditional tivaevae to this never before attempted project. Under the guidance of Kare Atu Coordinator Tepori Teariki, the women have set about adding a little Kuki Airani flavour to the gold laced materials. Tepori comments “we want to make something that will give this material a second chance at life.”

In its previous life, the Rumalla had been used to cover the Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Book), when it is not being read. The Rumalla were donated to the temple by families who have woven the silk fabric with more than just the resources it is made from. In it is also the dedication and respect of the makers for their culture and way of life.

This is reflective also in the nature of our Cook Islands women to sew into their tivaevae’s the respect and love of our culture. However, the life of the Rumalla is not long. It may cover the Holy Book for a week, or an hour. Because of the sacredness of the Holy Book, the Rumalla cannot be passed on to another person, or used for anything else to protect that sacredness, and so it is respectfully burned.

The women can work with these pieces of material because the work that they do respects where the Rumalla came from, and what it was used for. Their end goal is to produce a piece of work that weaves together our Cook Islands culture, with that of the Sikh community.

Tere o te Aronga no runga ake ite Akau ‘Beyond the Reef’

Kua tae mai e 18 Social Business Entrepreneur ki konei I te Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anaga Charitable Trust i Kirkbride Road i teia ra Monite 25th September 2017.

Teia aronga na ratou rai ta Ratou Business e akaaere ana no te au Enua i vao mai ia Australia, Tinito, Thailand, takapini ia New Zealand. Ko ta ratou e rave nei kia akaoki ia rai te meitaki ki te iti Tangata.

Aere mai ratou i te akara e te akapeea nei te CIDANZ. Eaa ta ratou e rave nei. Kua riro na CEO Rouruina Emil’e-Brown e te Director Business Investment Ina Michael i akamarama kia ratou eaa te tupu nei i konei i to tatou Enua i Kirkbride nei. Na te oneBASKET i maani i te kai, i raro ake i te akaere a Kinleith e te Taokotai iti vaine.

Kua mataora te au Social Business Entrepreneur i ta ratou i kite. E tai tamaine Kuki Airani i roto ia ratou no Tainui mai Waikato. Ko Anna Glassie, tona Papa ko John Anau Glassie. E lawyer aia i Tokoroa. Kua tupu te mataora i te arave anga iaia.

Kia akameitaki ia te Atua no teia i tupu.

Organised by The Southern Initiative of Auckland Council & the Department of Internal Affairs, on Monday 25th September, CIDANZ hosted a group of international and local guests on a ‘Beyond the Reef’ tour of Auckland’s diverse communities and social enterprises. Third on their list of places to visit, it was an exciting day for the organisation as CIDANZ relaunched the Taokotai Pop Up Shop, showcased the enterprises inside the oneCOMMUNITY S.H.E.D, and allowed the organisation to share Cook Islands culture, heritage and food.

The agency would like to thank TSI and the DIA for including the organisation in their social enterprise and cultural tour.

August 2017

Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust – Winners of the Whanau Ora ‘2017 Outstanding Innovation Performance Award’

Pictured: Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) pictured with Minister of Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro, wife Mokauina Ngaro, Pasifika Futures Ltd. Chairman Dr. Tearikivao (Kiki) Moate, and Ta’okotai’anaga Charitable Trust Deputy Chair Paitai Taringa.

I te ra 31st o Tiurai kite ra tai o Aukete, kua pati ia mai te staff o te Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust ki te Pasifika Futures Whanau Ora Conference, tei rave ia ki ko i te James Cook Grand Chancellor i Wellington. Na te Pasifika Futures Ltd i akaaere i teia akakoroanga maata. Ko te manako maata no te akameitaki i te angaanga a te au Putuputu’anga no te Kimi Puapinga i te tauturu i te ora’anga tangata. Kua pati ia mai te CEO o CIDANZ Rouruina Emil’e-Brown e Miss Janet Akai te Communications Lead o te CIDANZ ei vaa tuatua no te ra po Monite ra 31 o Tiurai. Kua tupu te Ruperupe e te mataora no te Re-anga mai te (Award) no te Innovation – Kite Pakari Umereia i te Akateretere’anga i te Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust.

From 31st July to August 1st, Pasifika Futures held its Whanau Ora Conference in Wellington at the James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel. Whānau Ora partners and key agencies gathered together to acknowledge the commissioning work undertaken during the last three years by its providers, to share experiences, and to celebrate the Whānau Ora journey of the providers and families.

Prime Minister Bill English opened the event. In his address PM English supported and acknowledged the work of Whanau Ora providers, and that the services that Pacific Homecare Services, Fonua Ola Network, the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ, just to name a few, are necessary to uplift our Pacific communities in New Zealand. Chief Executive of CIDANZ Rouruina Emil’e-Brown and Communications Lead Janet Akai of Aitutakian/Atiuan descent, were invited to share their life journey at the event. Miss Akai comments that “it was nerve wracking speaking to a room full of my Pacific people, especially trying to hold my own against well recognized leaders in our community. It was a privilege and an honour to share a part of my story and I’m very thankful to Pasifika Futures Ltd for giving me that opportunity.”

At an Award Evening, individuals, providers, and partners of Whānau Ora from all sectors were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the Pasifika Whānau Ora work. One of the recipients was the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) who took away the ‘2017 Outstanding Innovation Performance Award’. CIDANZ Chief Executive comments that “we thank our families for making this work real and amazing. We couldn’t be Best Performing Innovators without you… this is your award.”

Te Epetoma o te reo Maori Kuki Airani Launch, Saturday 29th July 2017

Te Pukuru Pou Toru tei Matau’ia e tatou i te akaiki Aroa. E te au Taeake, tei rakei ia ki te au Rakei tukeke. E Reo Aroa Ma-ana-ana teia kia kotou katoatoa e te iti tangata Kuki Airani.

  • Ko te iti tangata kare ona reo
  • E iti tangata ia kare ona korero
  • Ko te iti tangata e kare ona korere
  • Kore te iti tangata kare ona Basileia.

Ko te manako maata: Te epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ’Āirani

`Ei rāvenga nāku i te tuatua i tōku reo Māori Kūki ’Āirani ka anoano au i te turuturu ā tōku ngutu`are tangata `ē te matakeinanga.

An encouraging home and community environment is what I need to build my love and my confidence to speak my reo Māori Kuki Airani.

Kua launch ia te Epetoma o te reo Maori Kuki Airani 2017, ki ko i te Auckland War Memorial Museum in Parnell i te Maanakai i topa akenei. Kua tae katoa mai to tatou Minister of Pacific Peoples a Alfred Ngaro e tona tokorua, e pera katoa Her Excellency Rosie Blake, Cook Islands Consulate General. Kua mataora te au angaanga te akakoroia no te Epetoma o te reo Kuki Airani. Kua launch katoa ia te Miss Cook Islands o New Zealand i te ra po. Manea te tamariki tamaine.

The Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust, in association with the Ministry of Pacific Peoples and the Auckland Museum, launched Cook Islands Language week flying colours, reo, song and dance at the Auckland Museum. Many members from the community attended including Minister of Pacific Peoples His Honorable Alfred Ngaro, Chairman to the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust Henry Herman, Cook Islands Consulate General Her Excellency Rosie Blake, and Senior Hamilton Community Advisor Mareta Matenga.

The evening was blessed by Pastor Mata Tumu-Makara, MC’d by Frances Fariu, with the debut of Miss Cook Islands NZ contestants introduced by Bernard Tairea, and a wonderful cultural performance by Te Au Moana Dance Troupe.

Many of those in attendant were proud of the event, including Chairman to the Ta’okotai’anaga Charitable Trust, Henry Herman. He comments that “every year we encourage our community to provide a theme that draws from the heart what we really need to preserve and celebrate our reo Maori Kuki Airani. Thank you, Hamilton Cook Islands Community, for a message that speaks to not only to the hearts of our people, but also the wider Pacific community.”

Kia akameitaki ia te Atua no te au angaanga e tupu nei. Praise the Lord for all the blessings bestowed upon our people.

Working Together for the Common-Unity

Pictured: CIDANZ Team

Kua aere atu 18 staff te Ta’okotai’anga Trust (CIDANZ) i te Ruitoru 26 ki te Varaire ra 28 ki Awa Homestead lodge i Rotorua no te CIDANZ Team Building & Planning Away Day.

Our Visions – ‘A United & Prosperous Community’

Our Values – Te Vaerua o CIDANZ

Sustainable – Ruperupe

Professional – Tu Rangatira

Integrity – Tiratiratu

Respect – Akangateitei

Innovation – Kite Pakari Umereia

Togetherness -Taokotai

Kua kite ia te manako Ta’okotai’anga i roto i teia Iri-iri Kapu. Ko mataora teia akakoroanga no te Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust. Te ngutuare i no’o ei matou kua ki ia e te inangaro.

These are some of the faces behind the work of the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ), also known as the Ta’okotai’anaga Charitable Trust. From Wednesday 26th July – Friday 28th July, the team travelled to Rotorua for two days of planning and development.

Team Building is one of the most important investments that an organisation can make, despite its reputation for being unappealing to corporate staff. Team building builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration – an important aspect especially when working with our Cook Islands people. An effective team building means more engaged employees, that encourages a good organisation culture. It affirms the position of each person in the organisation, and the importance of the work that they do for the community.

On the first day away, the team focused on all aspects of the heart and getting to know each other. On the second day, they focused on organisational structure, and policy. Team members commented that “to serve and unite our people, we must first learn to work together inhouse. These past two days have confirmed one thing for us – we are a family… a village raising an entire community.”

The team day has seen a vast improvement in organisational productivity.

Are you Enrolled to Vote for this coming Election on 23rd September?

Increasing engagement and participation in New Zealand’s elections is a shared responsibility, and the Electoral Commission and Pasifika Futures, the Pacific Whānau Ora commissioning agency have committed to working together to increase Pacific participation in New Zealand’s democratic processes.

In June 2016, the two agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to working together to promote awareness and understanding of elections and democratic processes among Pacific families.

Pasifika Futures works with regionally-based providers and partners to build the capability and capacity of Pacific families. One of those regionally based partners is the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) located in Mangere. Erin Temu from the Electoral Commission and Tofa Ramanlal from Pasifika Futures, popped in to see the CIDANZ family on Monday 14th August.

Erin, of Cook Islands descent, with the help of Tofa, had an open discussion with the team about the importance of voting. Janet Akai, one of the youngest of the team who voted for the first time in the 2014 General Elections, was there on the morning.

She comments that “now is better than ever for our community to have our say in this year’s General Elections… but our Cook Islands families need to understand that every vote matters, there’s no point in ‘hoping’ that the party you like will win! You have to put your thoughts into action – enrol, and turn up on the day to place your vote!”

The session finished on a high note with two members enrolling for the first time.

If you would like to register to vote, but don’t know how, the CIDANZ team invite you to their office at 283 – 289 Kirkbride Road, Mangere. Erin and Tofa not only inspired the team to enrol, they’ve also given them the tools to help you become registered too!

Now that most things are online, you can also visit to enrol or update your enrolment details.

CIDANZ holds its Annual General Meeting – ‘The Work That We Do’

Kua rave ia te Uipa’anga Openga Mataiti Annual General Meeting a te Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anga Trust (CIDANZ) i te Ruitoru ra 23rd o Aukete. Ko te Tumu Manako Maata kia kite e kia ariki tatou i te puapinga o te Tiratiratu mate akarongo i te aumea tei tupu ki muri, e te akara tamou ki te au mea te ka tupu no te tuatau ki mua.

E pera katoa no te National Cook Islands Development Action Plan (CIDAP). Kia akameitaki ia te Atua no kotou e te aronga tei aere mai i te turuturu i to tatou Ta’okotai’anga.

August has proven to be an intense month of reflecting for the Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust (CIDANZ) who held their Annual General Meeting on Wednesday 26th August. Headed by the Trusts Chair Henry Herman, the evening paved way for many insightful questions from attendees, especially queries about our collective efforts to bring our communities to the table, so that they too can be involved with the decision-making process. However, majority agreed that this behaviour is prevalent across all our Pacific communities.

During the evening, CIDANZ also re-launched its website:, and the evening concluded with attendees reviewing the Cook Islands Development Action Plan (CIDAP), a living document that guides the work of CIDANZ. Majority still felt that language preservation, a focus on our culture, and our young people, were still a priority for Auckland.

Proud Sponsors of Miss Cook Islands Contestant Olivia Esme Akekura Prouse

Pictured: (L-R) Ina Michael, Aileen Dave, Olivia Prouse, TeMarama Katoa, & Rouruina Emil’e-Brown.

On Friday 25th of August, the Cook Islands Development Agency became the proud sponsors of Olivia Esme Akekura Prouse. Chief Executive Rouruina Emil’e-Brown comments “we have always championed the development of our young people. We’ve done this through our enterprising Taokotai Youth Council, the Soakimi’s… our family focused on providing quality catering using kai tupuna recipes, and now Miss Prouse. It is a wonderful honour for us to be supporting such a young and accomplished Cook Islands woman!”

Around the table, Miss Prouse also gained the support of CIDANZ Director of Business & Investment Ina Michael, her Chaperone Aileen Dave, Taokotai Youth Council Enterprise Leader TeMarama Katoa, and the Chief Executive.

Olivia’s family hails from Akatokamanava. Born and raised in South Auckland, Olivia attended St. Mary’s College, and from there, worked towards becoming an Early Childhood Education teacher. In her first year of teaching at a South Auckland Kindergarten, Olivia has all the makings of what it means to be a proud Cook Islands woman! She believes in the well-being of our children, is learning the reo, and dreams of influencing the development of our reo in her friends, family, and future generations.

The newly formed Miss Cook Islands New Zealand Trust aims to promote personal development, build-character, foster friendships, build self-esteem, promote community service, and encourage goal-setting as an important part of New Zealand Cook Islands society for each participating young woman today and into the future.

CIDANZ has full confidence that Olivia is everything that Miss Cook Islands NZ is looking for, and more.

‘Aere mai kai manga’ - Acknowledging our Elders

The Mangere Polynesian Centre, hosted a beautiful gathering organised by Puaikura Executives and their team. The team wanted to acknowledge the elderly in our community by hosting a health workshop and feast for them. Among the organisers was Vincent Peters, who opened the gathering with a formal prayer and historical journey of the property.

The centre was built under the guidance of a Dutch Priest by the name of Father Brooklyn, who for a time, had lived and preached in Rarotonga. He was a Social Worker who helped our Cook Islands families migrating to New Zealand. He ensured that they had all the tools they needed to assimilate to kiwi culture, while retaining their Cook Islands culture.

The centre was the perfect setting for the Mama’s and Papa’s who attended on the day. Although it promised to be educational, with a CPR, Heart Attack, and Ambulance Distress workshop organised, the workshop coordinators were unable to attend for the time being. However, not to be deterred, the event went on without a hitch with full bellies and big smiles all around!

July 2017

Invitation to tour the Pacific with NZ Prime Minister Bill English

Pictured: On the RNZAF Boeing, Henry Puna (centre) with NZ Prime Minister Bill English.

Last month, Prime Minister Bill English visited the Cook Islands, Niue, and Tonga. In the small delegation of Pacific leaders invited on the trip was our very own Henry Herman, Chairman to the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust. It was English’s first visit to the Cook Islands and is reflective of a similar trail taken by John Key in 2009 after being elected as PM, and again in 2014. In the NZ Herald, English commented that the Pacific Mission “demonstrates the importance we attach to our relationship with our Pacific neighbours, but also to New Zealand’s contribution to global security with our role in the Pacific. It is important New Zealand remains a trusted partner to those countries.”

English met with Cook Islands PM Henry Puna, Niue’s Premier Toke Talagi and Tongan PM Samiuela ʻAkilisi Pōhiva. After 8 years of working closely with Key, it was also the Pacific leaders first time meeting with and sizing up English new Foreign Minister, Gerry Brownlee and a new Pacific Affairs Minister, Alfred Ngaro. English also visited tourism operators and New Zealand aid projects – since National came into power, the aid funding has been targeted at economic development such as tourism which is critical for the Pacific Islands’ economies.

In a previous article, Henry Herman comments that “this trip for me is partly recognition and validation of Ta’okotai’anga Trust’s role and status within the wider community in New Zealand. It is also an opportunity to further develop and strengthen our relationship and ties with key stakeholders in New Zealand, Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga. It is an honour and privilege to be representing the Board, the staff, volunteers of CIDANZ and of course our Cook Islands Community in New Zealand.” We feel that he has done exactly that, and because of the Pacific Mission, our relationship to our home island has been further strengthened.

Invitation to attend the Southcentral Foundation’s 7th Annual Nuka System of Care Conference in Alaska

Chief Executive to the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) Rouruina Emil’e-Brown, at the invitation of Pasifika Futures ltd., attended a Study Tour and the Southcentral Foundation’s 7th Annual Nuka System of Care Conference (SCF) in Alaska, 19-25 June 2017.

The purpose of the 17 PFL Study Tour was to discover, learn and think about ways to transform organizations; learn how to increase customer- owner satisfaction; and find out how to transform our New Zealand (Pacific) system into one that is customer-driven, relationship-based and focused on the whole person.

The theme of the 7th Annual Nuka System of Care Conference is system transformation, and PFL team spent 7 days exploring the elements of this system of care. The system transformation that established SCF’s Nuka System of Care is based on four simple and revolutionary, philosophies: Customer-ownership, Relationship, Whole System Transformation, and Ownership. These philosophies have a people-first approach that thinks about people not as patients, but as customers buying into a service that cares for them as a person and not a number.

Many cultures around the world use the word Nuka. Some of the common meanings include honor, strength, big living things, dignity, love, generosity, and support; these are many of the things that make up who we are. The relationship-based Nuka System of Care is comprised of organizational strategies and processes; medical, behavioural, dental, and traditional practices; and supporting infrastructure that work together – in relationship – to support wellness.

Emil’e-Brown comments that the experience had inspired in her “a paradigm shift… the experience wasn’t about a native-indigenous model, it was about a human-centred model of working with our community that puts relationships at the forefront of what we do and how we do it.”

Mangere-Otahuhu Volunteer Awards Evening

Pictured: Tom Wichman accepting the volunteer award for granddaughter TeMarama Katoa.

On the 29th of June, the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board celebrated our local heroes at a volunteer awards evening. Nominations were made for a Champion Organisation, Individual Champion, and a Young Champion. Local Board Cha Lemauga Lydia Sosene says that “there are so many people and groups out there who give so selflessly of their time for others”, of those people is TeMarama Katoa, winner of one of the Young Champion Awards. A Rarotongan local, Miss Katoa moved to New Zealand a year ago to care for her grandmother. While here she was introduced to the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) by grandfather Tom Wichman (who accepted the award for her), and like all young people she just ‘mucked in’. At CIDANZ she had taken on a leadership role with the Taokotai Youth Council, taught several workshops teaching how to make Cook Islands crafts, and took on several exciting enterprising projects. TeMarama couldn’t attend the evening due to work responsibilities, however she was humbled to receive the award and says that “being recognised for volunteering is nice, but I didn’t do it for me. I was just doing something that made me happy, and brought me closer to my culture.” TeMarama is the perfect example of strong cultural values and youthful energy. CIDANZ would like to thank her for her time and for keeping them “young in heart and young in spirit.”

Te Epetoma o te reo Maori Kuki Airani, July 31 – August 5th

“`Ei rāvenga nāku i te tuatua i tōku reo Māori Kūki ’Āirani ka anoano au i te turuturu ā tōku ngutu`are tangata `ē te matakeinanga.

An encouraging home and community environment is what I need to build my love and my confidence to speak my reo Māori Kuki Airani.

In the 2013 New Zealand Census, the Cook Islands Maori population had reportedly grown by 7% since the last 2001 census, and is reportedly the second highest Pacific population in New Zealand. However, the significant increase in population cannot be said the same for our reo. In 2001, only 18% of the population reported that they could hold a full conversation in Cook Islands Maori, and language week is one of many efforts to increase our language use.

In 2016, a small team from the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) travelled to Hamilton to meet with Mareta Matenga and a collective of Hamilton’s Cook Islands women to set the theme for this year’s Epetoma o te reo Maori Kuki Airani. It was an emotional workshop where three generations, a grandmother, mother, and daughter, shared their views on language use, and what they needed to encourage them to use the reo. Many spoke about their difficulties learning the reo, especially in an environment where others would tease them for trying to speak the reo, and at the same time, discourage them. Despite these discouraging moments, all of the women spoke about how being able to hold a full conversation in the reo would “complete my Cook Island’ness”. Their thoughts not only reflected their personal struggles, but also that of our New Zealand-born Cook Islands young people, most of whom are either displaced from their culture, or have been encouraged to integrate fully into the culture of our Westernised-cousin’s.

Many of our Cook Islands community across New Zealand are already gearing up with exciting community activities that will be shared on the CIDANZ Facebook page, and Ministry of Pacific Peoples website. This year’s language week is already proving to be an emotional one that will truly celebrate us, and encourage us all to create a safe encouraging space for our language to grow. CIDANZ would like to send out a special thank you to the Hamilton community for being part of making this year’s language week, a reality.

Cook Islands Women host the Auckland Consular Corp

Kua riro nana i host i Women of the Auckland Consular Corp.  Ko ratou te Consulate o te au Enua ta taki tai o te Pacifica i Akarana nei. Kua rave ia teia I tera ake Epetoma ki ko I te MIT Pacific Community Centre.Te Tumu Manako Maata:  Akaepaepa’anga I to tatou Iti Vaine Kuki Airani, I te showcase. Te Turanga Teitei tei rauka ia ratou, e pera katoa tatou (Culture) Peu Tupuna.

Te au Vaa tuatua tei pati ia:

  • Mary Ama – Art & Craft
  • Rouruina Emile Brown – Business
  • Tina Mataiti – Healthy Families

Kia akameitaki ia te Atua no kotou te Aronga tei rave maroiroi I teia ra o te Au Vainetini.

Meitaki Ranunui.

On Friday 14th July, Consulate General Rosie Blake, the Cook Islands Consulate, and our Cook Islands women, successfully hosted the Women of the Auckland Consular Corp at MIT Manukau’s Pacific Centre. All respective leaders in their own community, the women came as far as Korea to be wowed by our Cook Islands women. Guest speakers included Mary Ama who spoke about her successful journey in the Arts & Crafts world, using authentic cultural skills taught to her by her mother. Rouruina Emil’e-Brown spoke about the strength and ingenuity of our women. And Tina Mataiti spoke about the health of our families and what we can do to strengthen ourselves. The event ended on a joyous high with the Consular Corp enjoying authentic Cook Islands food catered by Tiare Events (Michelle Potoru). It was truly a spectacular occasion made even better with a string band from the Mauke community, and the artful displays of Te Pua Inano Vainetini. Congratulations to all our Cook Islands women involved in this spectacular event!

Local Government NZ Conference 2017

I teia ra manea Monite ra 24 o Tiurai, te CEO o te Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) Rouruina Emil’e-Brown, te mata o te Taokotaianga Trust, te akakite nei aia ki te 500 tangata tei pati ia kia tae ki te NZ Government Conference, hosted ia e te Sky Cityi teia popongi. Tuattua aia no runga i te Community face o te Taokotaianga Charitable Trust NZ – te akapeea nei to ratou tu e ta ratou angaanga i teia tuatua.

On July 24th, Chief Executive to the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ Rouruina Emil’e-Brown, presented that Taokotai story & progress to an audience of 500 at the Local Government NZ Conference, hosted by Auckland’s Sky City. She spoke about ‘Community Faces: How people are shaping the future’.

June 2017

U21 Training hard for Netball World Youth Cup

Pictured: Executive members of the Auckland Cook Islands Sports Association (Vaine and Takau Areora) with the U21 Cook Islands Netball Team.

On Friday 2nd June, ACISA (Auckland Cook Islands Sports Association) held a small kaikai for the U21 Cook Islands Netball Team. Coached by John Glassie and managed by Mary Patutama, the team have successfully qualified for the Netball World Youth Cup 2017 hosted by Botswana.

They have been training intelligently, and look forward to competing against their first rival – Jamaica. Words of wisdom were offered on my night by Tupou Manapouri – “it doesn’t matter how tall they are, you know what to do, use your body!” Backed up by Vaine Areora “keep your eye on the ball, look for the space, and get in their face!” But most of all, have fun and good luck.

Enterprising young people from Mangere College seek expertise and funding for light up idea!

Pictured: (L-R) Mangere College Students – Peniata Asafo, Moeata Tararo, Ha’amonga Tuipulotu, Aiga Lologa, and Ulisese Senitu.

Moeata Tararo (second from left) is a Mauke student from Mangere College. Her Business class is part of the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme’, a programme that gives students the opportunity to set up and run a real business, with dedicated business titles. Because of this, Moeata is now the proud Chief Executive of the small start-up business called SALT – Supplying A Light Tonight. In her group is Marketing and Sales Director Peniata Asafo, Financial Manager Ha’amonga Tuipulotu, Communications Director Aiga Lologa, and Production Manager Ulisese Senitu. Through ‘YES’, students learn about business planning and operations, develop a range of personal and business skills, and expand their networks through community and business consultations.

SALT’s light up idea starts with everything that makes a successful student – being organised. Taking a cork board and some LED push pins, they’ve dubbed the idea ‘Kanban Board Pro’ where tasks or assignments are arranged and pinned according to urgency. CEO Tararo says that “these days everyone uses technology, and we want to steer people away from that because sometimes an app reminder isn’t enough – with one swipe the notification is disarmed.” Kanban Board Pro is a physical visual reminder that cannot be easily ignored with a kinaesthetic benefit. It’s great for students, small businesses, and anyone wanting to get a little organised.

SALT is seeking experienced people to help them get their project off the ground e.g. funding, donating cork boards, or connections. For more information on the project and how to get involved, contact Communications Director Aiga Lologa on

Enuamanu Makes Positive Connection with Local Otara Shop Owner

Pictured: The Fabric Shop owner Steven Mackenzie proudly donates fabric to Enuamanu Atiu-nui Maruarua.

Steven Mackenzie is the proud owner of ‘The Fabric Shop’, located on Lovegrove, Otara. For many years he has been supplying our local communities with a variety of fine materials that are sewn into our Sunday-best, made into traditional Polyfest costumes, and island-wear. Enuamanu Atiu-nui Maruarua community have been working hard to uplift, and as the adopted slogan says ‘make Enuamanu great again’. To achieve this, the community has been working together to refurbish Atiu Hall, including replacing the old coverings on all their mattresses. Mackenzie has helped Enuamanu by donating $1,200 worth of fabric to re-cover the mattresses. He is a fine example of how local businesses can give back and at the same time, empower their local communities. Enuamanu would like to extend a warm and special thank you to Mackenzie and ‘The Fabric Shop’ for their donation.

Kare Atu Vainetini Workshop – Friday’s 10.30am – 3.00pm

Pictured: (L-R), Nana Kamo-Mataroa, Vaine Areora, and Mama Kimi.

Our resident Mama’s at the Ta’okotai’anga Trust have been running a workshop to teach anyone interested in learning how to make a tivaevae. This week, Mama Kimi (far right) has successfully sewn her first tivaevae with the guidance of Taokotai Vainetini Lead Tepori Teariki. Mama Kimi travels all the way from the Northshore to learn from Tepori and our Mama’s, displays her tivaevae proudly. In the past, tivaevae making has not only encouraged the creativity of our Mama’s, but also provided them with a safe space to share and be among like-minded women. If you’re interested in learning how to sew, or just want a space to come and spend time with other crafters, the Kare Atu workshop is open to you. It operates every Friday, 10.30am – 3.00pm. For more information, contact our office (Cook Islands Development Ageny NZ (CIDANZ) on 09 256 1403.

Need Coffee on the Go? We’re Open for Business!

Pictured: Fokikovi Soakimi serves Nana Kamo-Mataroa a piping hot cup of Atiu Coffee.

The Taokotai Youth Council have had many wins this year! They’ve held a stall at the TeMatatini Festival hosted in Hasting’s, created heritage products that were sold under popUP South at the Wynyard Quarters, successfully completed their first big catering job at the Zero-Waste Awards, and have finally opened a coffee cart in old Papatoeotoe! The coffee cart is headed by Fokikovi Soakimi who has worked around the clock to ensure that everything is up to grade for her customers. A proud Tongan, Fokikovi grew up in the limelight, starring in two films and several NZ commercials. Her passion however, has always been with food! Over the years she has worked tirelessly to produce meals that are loved by corporates and community members alike. Innovative, headstrong, and driven, she aims to one day own a business that would allow her to experiment with food, to create out-of-this-world recipes. The coffee cart is in Old Papatoetoe, 35 Saint George Street, outside the Papatoetoe Council Chambers. There you’ll be able to enjoy a steaming cup of Atiu Coffee, freshly baked goods and Fokikovi.

Enterprising Sothern Cross Students – Donuts With A Fruity Twist!

Pictured: [L-R] TeMarama Katoa (Enterprising Lead), Sulitta Tavui (student), Paitai Taringa (Deputy Chair), Florence Masipau (student), Rouruina Emil’e-Brown (Chief Executive), Raj Dawson (Business Teacher).

At the Ta’okotai’anga Trust, we like to provide a space where young people can feel free to test their ideas. Whether it’s learning how to sew, painting pareu’s, making coconut oils, or cooking donuts, the space is always available for anyone with an idea and the drive to grow it. Last week, we had the pleasure of working alongside two Southern Cross Campus students – Sulitta Tavui and Florence Masipau, with the support of their Business Teacher Raj Dawson. Chief Executive of the Ta’okotai’anga Trust Rouruina Emil’e-Brown was impressed with the students and their business idea, quickly offering up the space and help to see their idea through.

The student’s business class are a part of the Youth Enterprise Scheme. The enterprise program uses a combination of teachers and members of the business community to provide an experience that is both authentic and relevant. Through it students learn how to create a business plan, they get to test their ideas, and put it on a real market with potential buyers. They also learn how to adapt to changing circumstances, learn how to fail fast, feel success, but most importantly, they learn how to collaborate with other students to unleash their entrepreneurial spirit. The programme also has the added benefit of teaching students how to manage their own money.

Through the help of the Taokotai Youth Councils Enterprising Lead TeMarama Katoa, and other Trust staff, the students tested three donut recipes’, quickly ruling out what worked and what didn’t work. Along the way, they refined their recipe, and best of all, eagerly conducted donut taste tests. The Trust would like to wish the girls well in their endeavour, and will continue to support the students where needed.

Te Akata’anga o te Arorangi South Auckland Committee

Kua rave ia teia tamataora’anga i roto i te Mangere e te Omatapa! Koia oki ko te Manukau, Manurewa, Takanini, Papatoetoe, Papakura, i te Maanakai ra 17 June, ki ko i te Takitumu. Ko te Mamako maaka i te koukou mai i te Vaka Puaikura kit e ngai Okotoai. Kua raveia teia na roto i te Imene Tuki, Kapa Rimia, Rutu Pau, e te vai atura. Okooko kai e $5.00 i te meriki. Kua uti te Reva Kuki Airani e te Reva o Puaikura. Kua raveia teia ta mataora mate meitaki e te au, e jua kitea ia te Ruperupe e te manako Taokotai i rotopu i te Vaka Puaikura.

Kite au VIP tei pati ia kia akameitaki te atua no kotou katoatoa. Meitaki Ranunui. Queen Pa Ariki, Cook Islands Consulate General Rosie Blake, Elmay Robait, Rev. William Cutters e tona tokorua Rev. Enere Wichman e tona tokorua Mr. Paitai Taringa no Takitumu, e Mr. and Mrs. Takau Areora, e te vai ara. E pera katoa te Akaaere o Puaikura, Re. Nio Jim Mare e tona tokorua, ekua tae katoa mai te mata o Hastings a Taime Pare-anga Samuel. Te Atua te Aroa.

I te topiri i te Angaanga ta-mataora a te Arorangi South Auckland. Kua aere atu ratou kit e Pure i ko i te Mangere PIPC Church i te ora 4.00pm i te Sabati ra 20 o Tiunu. I muri ake i te Pure kua Rave ia Uapou. Kua mataora te Anau a Timomana ko te taime mua rai teia i kite ei ratou i teia anga Mane ate uapou. Kia akameitaki te au akaaere o te Arorangi South Auckland Committee. Te Atua te Aroa mei-taki Ranunui.


Photoshoot for Te Epetoma o te Reo Maori Kuki Airani

Kua aere atu te iti Vaine ki ko i te Auckland War Memorial Museum, no te nenee tutu no te language week – Te Epetoma o te Reo Maori Kuki Airani, te ka akamata ia a t era 31 o Tiunu – kit e ra 6 o Tiurai. Kua tae katoa mai e 4 vaine no Hamilton mai, na Mareta Matenga i apai mai ia ratou. Na Janet Akai i akaaere e teia anganaga, e na Adrian McBirney koia te Photographer. Meitaki Ranunu kit e au Maue.

Te Vaine Toa – Agnes Daniel

Ko Agnes Purotu Ernestine Daniel tona ingoa, e 20 ana mataiti, te aere ei aia no te apii o te Turanga 3 & 4 i tana pepa Turoto (graduated with level 3 &4 in Travel & Tourism) i tei amataiti e ko te tumu manako, kia rauka te turanga teretere ki rotopu ia marike e te Kuki Airani. E angaanga ei meitaki no te iti tangata, e kia rauka iaia i te akoki ite marama e te kite pakari ki te iti tangata Kuki Airani.

E tamaine teia na Tiki e Geoergina Daniel. E mokopuna na Daniel Apii e te late Annie Daniel e pera katoa te late Vira Pokia e Tangia Teono. E Ina a Agnes na te Dame Margaret Karika.

Kua rave ia te fundraising i te po varaire ki ko i te Ryan Irish bar. Kua auction ia te Cook Islands jacket, t-shits, pearl earrings, pearl rings e te vai atura. Kua tae katoa mai te Pupu Ura a te Mauke e ta te Arorangi Mangere South Auckland i te turuturu i ta tatau Tamaine.

Me ka tika Pure mai no ta tatou tamaine a Agnes no tana Akakoroanga. Te Vaine Toa.

May 2017


Pictured: Cook Islands community leaders gather and committ to a Joined-Up Taokotai –United approach for the Cook Islands Community and the 2017 Akirata Ou Festival.

The Cook Islands ANZAC commemoration left the community reflective, humbled, and united. Encouraged by this positive outcome, Cook Islands community leaders regathered together to set the foundation for a cooperative model that truly works. These are leaders from nine of 12 Auckland Enua and Vaka Marae’s (Manihiki, Atiu, Penhryn, Te Au o Tonga, Puaikura, Mauke, Mangaia, Mitiaro, Te Ulu o Te Watu), the Cook Islands Health Network, The Cook Islands Nurses Association, Heimana Music, Miss Cook Islands New Zealand, Kia Rangatira – Tertiary Education, Auckland Cook Islands Sports Association, Cook Islands Rugby NZ, the Consulate office, CIDANZ, the oneCOOPERATIVE, and church leaders.

The commitment to a joined-up approach is a serious start to change the face of Cook Islands social, cultural and economic development, where before our community had worked in silos to individually develop and celebrate our community. With the formation of this united leadership under the Akirata Ou umbrella, there is now increased room for our leaders to share in the task of preparing and sustaining the prosperity of our community.

Chief Executive of the Ta’okotai’anga Trust Rouruina Emil’e-Brown comments that “this can be seen as a new dawn of leadership that takes a cooperative joined-up approach to solving old issues. Our community can be stronger because we are united in our efforts to consolidate our thinking and resources, focus on the real needs and share in the role to improve the ways we serve our people and to preserve our identity.” Several attempts have been made to ‘taokotai’ – to unite and bring together our cultural and sector leaders to sit together under a united ‘Akirata Ou’ umbrella – a new dawn and movement with our people. The amalgamated group will be hosting the Akirata Ou Festival in November 2017. The event will comprise of a cultural dance and performance, to be formally launched as Kapa Nui NZ; business, sport, health, and uapou. This event is a vehicle for social and economic well-being and prosperity for Cook Islands families and the community. The pictured team will be the drivers with governance and administration support from the Cook Islands Ta’okotai’anaga Charitable Trust.

Sunday 7th May - Final day on the Waterfront

Pictured: Our beautiful pop-up shop keepers Vaine Areoa & Tia Wilson.

Pictured: Artwork mouth painted by Wayne Te Rangi.

The Wynyard Pop-Up shop has been very popular with international visitors, Auckland locals and our Cook Islands community. This Sunday at 4.00pm, the pop-up shop will finally come to a close. PopUP South, the oneCOOPERATIVE, and the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust would like to send out a warm-hearted thank you to the families who worked together with us to make this possible.

Taking Papatoetoe one Coffee at a Time – Youth & Family Enterprise in Papatoetoe

The Taokotai Youth Council has been offered a wonderful opportunity by Panuku Development Auckland at Papatoetoe. Starting from Tuesday 9th May, a small food truck operated by Cook Islands young people with their families, can be found at Papatoetoe. They will be selling the infamous Cook Islands Atiu Coffee with our other Pacific cousin’s coffees. Through this mini project, council members hope to gain a little more than just job experience. They’ll get to understand the ins and outs of operating their very own enterprise from the sale of goods, to the stocktake, and the daily reconciliation.

Becoming Social Housing Ready

Pictured: Executive members from Akatokamanava, Enuamanu Atiu Inc., Vaka Takitumu, Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust, and Habitat for Humanity – Warren Jack, Claire Sazbó, and Byran.

On Saturday 6th May, Executive members from Akatokamanava – Mauke, Enuamanu Atiu Inc., Vaka Takitumu, and the Ta’okotai’anga Trust attended a social housing workshop held by Habitat for Humanity. Successful completion of this workshop would mean that the executive members would be one step closer to becoming the first Cook Islands Social Housing Providers. In the Cook Islands Development Action Plan (2013-2015), Cook Islands communities across New Zealand listed ‘Accommodation and Housing’ as its third priority including “investigating existing and or new opportunities to acquire and or build Social Housing.” Claire Sazbó commented that “leaders are a symbol of what is happening within an organisation.” Guided by this comment, the workshop allowed members to look inwards to assess if they were housing-ready by assessing their Management levels, Governance – if they had the right skills on board, and Financial Viability. They then moved on to assess whether they were ready to take on the important task of being a provider by looking at Tenancy Management, and Property and Asset Management. Every family deserves to live in a warm home, after the workshop, executive members were left inspired and willing towards become providers of warm homes for our Cook Islands community.

Mayor’s Walkabout in Old Papatoetoe

Pictured: Auckland Mayor Phil Goff (centre) has coffee and brownies provided by the Taokotai Youth Council outside the Papatoetoe Chambers Office.


Old Papatoetoe is getting a facelift! Led by CE Robert McDonald from Panuku Development Auckland, development at Papatoetoe will include a Shopping Mall with eleven brand new shops currently under construction, better public open spaces, a refreshed supermarket and around 80 homes in what used to be an underused carpark. After checking out the construction, the Mayor of Auckland Phil Goff popped in at the Taokotai Food Cart outside the Papatoetoe Chambers to enjoy a cup of Atiu Coffee, Brownies and Rukau pie provided by enterprising youths from the Taokotai Youth Council Fokikovi Soakimi, TeMarama Katoa and Janet Akai. The food cart will officially open on Tuesday 16 May, 7.00am – 1.00pm, and will be serving coffee and other delicious treats.

International Nurses Day – Celebrating The People Who Care For Our People

Pictured: The Pacific and Maori community turn out in full forces to celebrate the work that our nurses do.

12th of May marked International Nurses Day. This year, the Cook Islands nurses, the wider Pacific, and Maori Nurses Association, all gathered at Te Unga Waka Marae in Newmarket to celebrate our nurses. This year’s theme was ‘Nurses Leading Care Innovations’ – innovation can be anything from the tools used, to the technologies built, the processes developed, or the way organisations behave, work or act. As mentioned by the New Zealand Nurses Association – “internationally, nurses are fast becoming the first and primary point of contact for health services, often for people who find it difficult to access the mainstream health services. “The need for innovative solutions has never been greater as health care environments globally struggle to provide equitable, safe and effective health services, while at the same time containing costs.” New Zealand is no different and the current economic climate makes this need all the more apparent.”

Pasifika Medical Association states that demand for Pacific nurses are very high, especially when engaging with our Pacific communities and the health challenges we face. Recognising the contributions of our nurses to the health of our communities is important because as Debbie Sorensen (Pasifika Medical Association Chief Executive) comments “These dedicated professionals make a difference in the quality of life of the communities they serve. They make an enormous contribution to the health systems and their services shouldn’t go unnoticed to the families and individuals they serve.”

The celebration at Te Unga Waka Marae was well attended, filled with joyous laughter, and ended on a high.

A Success for Enuamanu’s Atiu Day!

Pictured: ImpactNPO Volunteers getting amongst the activity.

Pictured: Mangere Gifts & Flowers shop owner Michael Qi popped in to donate several floral pillars to Enuamanu.

Over the weekend, Enuamanu Atiu-Nui Maruarua Society Inc. held Atiu Day. Under the leadership of the new executive team appointed in February, Atiu Hall has been buzzing with continuous activity from the elections, to the amalgamated church gatherings, working bee’s, and now the fundraiser. Visitors from ImpactNPO, a non-profit organisation who had previously worked with a few executive members from the Taokotai Trust, Vaka Takitumu and Atiu to improve the community’s social media presence, attended the event. Members from ImpactNPO commented that they’d “never been to a community event quite like Atiu Day” and were excited to be trying some authentic Cook Islands food. Atiu also received a generous donation of floral pillars from shop owner Michael Qi, who operates Mangere’s Gift & Flower Shop. The donation was well received, and Atiu would like to extend their warmest thank you to Qi. Aitu Day was a wonderful success and together Enuamanu raised $52,230!

Taking A Step Towards Zero-Waste

Pictured: Taokotai staff gets waste disposal training from zero-waste expert Therese Mangos.


In September, the community’s rubbish collection days will see pathways lined with green bins instead of the usual black rubbish bags that we’re all so used to seeing. Over the upcoming months, each household will receive a new bin (120 litre), but for larger bins, landlord owners will need to pay $55, followed by a yearly annual payment that’ll be added to their rates. These bins will not be collected until September 4th. This would mean that families would be required to cut down on waste by recycling and disposing waste wisely. This week, the Taokotai Trust team received a hands-on demonstration from zero-waste expert Therese Mangos. She guided the team through different types of waste and the proper eco-friendly way to dispose them. The team has vowed to take on her advice, one even commenting how she would “like to get her family onboard” with Mangos’s waste disposal methods. Therese will also be hosting an upcoming workshop for families interested in learning how to reduce their household waste – details to be released soon.

CIDANZ connects with the Wanganui Cook Islands Community

Pictured: Wanganui and Palmerston Community meet with the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust at Wanganui Learning Centre.

On Tuesday 30th May, a small team from CIDANZ met with the Wanganui Cook Islands community for the first time. Situated 5 hours from Auckland and 45 minutes from Palmerston North, Wanganui’s Pacific population was reported to be 1,113 by Statistics NZ in the 2013 census. Of those, 200 indicated Cook Islands Maori as their ethnicity. Although small, the community is alive with activity, their next focus being the Cook Islands language week. They’re hoping to have a Cook Islands cooking class, their very own ‘Bring & Buy’, and several language classes. Among the group were also members from the Palmerston Cook Islands community who have also been focused on empowering their people to taokotai and work towards an empowered and enterprising community. The Taokotai Trust was humbled to be welcomed by a tight knit community working towards developing our Wanganui Cook Islands community with a strong focus on young people and language.

April 2017

IT Volunteers spend a weekend with our Cook Islands Community

Pictured: impactNPO organisers, IT specialists and volunteers, Vaka Takitumu executives, Atiu Enuamanu Executives, and members from the Taokotai Trust.

Over the weekend, executive members from Vaka Takitumu, Atiu Enua, and the Ta’okotai’anga Trust attended a life altering workshop with impactNPO and a group of young IT volunteers. ImpactNPO gathers volunteers with a wide range of technical skills from coding programs, to website design and marketing; to assist non-profit organisations with their technological challenges. On the night, the Taokotai, Takitumu and Atiu pitched their challenges to the volunteers. The workshop was well attended with well over 40 volunteers working together to help Vaka Takitumu set up their very first website, and Enuamanu set up a Facebook page that connected to their website. Over the three days, the IT gurus also enabled the Taokotai sails to fly high, technologically pushing the Trust forward by creating a system that shared internal files and community events in real-time. They also developed a website, a landing platform that connected to both Takitumu, Atiu and other Vaka’s and Enua’s who might in future decide to set up their first website, upholding their mission to unite the Cook Islands people so we can prosper together as one.

It was a momentous three days that was emotional, heart-warming and allowed our Cook Islands community to connect with each other, and with the community of IT specialists. Setting up websites and Facebook pages may seem simple, however the organisations have seen improvements to the way their messages are shared and organised. To Atiu, Takitumu and the Taokotai, it wasn’t just a website or a social media page, it was a re-strengthened connection of the organisations to their people, a connection of the IT gurus to the Cook Islands community, and a way forward for all. The Taokotai would like to send a special thank you to everyone involved in the project and look forward to advancing and sharing more with the Cook Islands community.

A Day of Love for our 500 ANZAC Tupuna’s

Pictured: Tepoave Araitia welcoming Prime Minister Henry Puna, Minister Alfred Ngaro, and Consulate General Rosie Blake to the Ta’okotai’anga Trust.

Adorned with bright red poppy’s, ei katu’s, and in their Sunday best, a crowd of 300+ from the Cook Islands community turned out in full force to commemorate our 500 ANZAC soldiers. The day opened with a turou from Cultural Expert and Community Leader Tepoave Araitia welcoming the Honourable Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, Consulate General Rosie Blake and the Honourable Minister Alfred Ngaro to the Ta’okotai’anga Trust where the event was held. Prime Minister Puna and Minister Ngaro took the time to celebrate with our families, the sacrifices of our Tupuna’s, and to lay a wreath in their honour. In his address, Minister Ngaro spoke about how our Tupuna’s sacrifice inspired the unity and love felt on the day, “our Tupuna’s has united us as one people, with one purpose.” Minister Ngaro also spoke about the significance of the event not only to the families, but also to the younger members of our Cook Islands community and the role that we as a village play in their upbringing, “our children will see in us a vision for hope.”

Ideally the Taokotai Trust was established with the vision of ‘togetherness’ and ‘prosperity’ in mind. The commemoration was visual proof that our community is achieving this vision. Board Chair Henry Herman and Board members were honoured to welcome this event to the Taokotai, and are even more honoured to welcome a monument for our soldiers to be laid in the 2018 ANZAC Commemoration. The Board would like to extend a warm-hearted thank you to the families, Vaka and Enua Leaders, Church Leaders, Community Leaders, and everyone who attended on the day. As a community, we were moved to tears by the families who shared their history, inspired by our leaders, and united by the sacrifice of our ancestors. On this day, we were truly one people, come together for one purpose, to uplift, uphold, and remember our fallen soldiers.

West Auckland Creativity Loud and Proud!

Pictured: Mama Kimi Akaoro at the Pasifika Festival 2017

Kimi Akaoro is a Cook Islands Mama living in West Auckland. Her particular skills are in creating high end classy Cook Islands products. Using Pandanus leaves and other Cook Islands materials, she creates high end rito hats and other products that would make any Cook Islander proud. When she’s not creating beautiful, innovative products, she inspires other business women to believe in themselves, to never give up, and to trust in their God-given talents. She is walking-talking proof of the advice she gives out as pictured in her stall at this year’s Pasifika Festival. In recent times her courageous advice has helped galvanise a new coming together of vainetini groups across Auckland. She is an inspiration for young and old, and is truly one of the best in the west.

Cook Islands Democracy in Action, Mauke Enua

Pictured: TeUra Ina Papa casting her vote at the Mauke elections.

On Saturday 1st of April, the Auckland Mauke community held its elections for its three executive positions. The two elected candidates for President were Marcell Ina Papa and Ngatupuna Maeva, and elected for Secretary was Mata Enua and Rai Brothers. Officiating the elections was Justice of the Peace Bernard Tairea, along with a small team from the Taokotai. The elections were well attended with over 100 eligible and registered voters interested in selecting a leader to take them forward into the future. The day was attended by young and old, and despite the seriousness of the event, the mood was cheerful and celebratory. The results of the day saw TeUra Ina Papa (pictured above) as Treasurer, Rai Brothers as Secretary, and the most encouraging of the results on the day was the split votes for both candidates running for President. The community made their votes known and both gentlemen were of equal standing in the eyes of the registered voters. Officiator Tairea recommended that the two presidents, their executive team, and the Mauke community deliberate the next steps.

Good Partnerships are critical to Community Development

Pictured: Saia Latu (Director/Business Development Manager), Papa Tom Wichman, Joe Vagana (Training & Development), and Ina Michael.

Pictured here with Ina Michael and Papa Tom Wichman are a team from TROW Group. The TROW (Te Riu O Waikato – the Valley of Waikato) is a collective of 15 maraes who have joined together to build and strengthen the Tainui Iwi. Their vision focuses on driving business development, delivery, and growth for the economic and social development of their Iwi and the Waikato Region. TROW Group is one of the businesses supported by TROW, specialising in New Zealand civil contracting. They provide resources, expertise and industry partnerships to deliver infrastructure projects. Recently a relationship has been struck between the Cook Islands community and the TROW Group. “We know that to make a difference we need to work with other like-minded organisations and people who want to further the development of Pacific people” says Rouruina Emil’e Brown. TROW Group and executive members of the Taokotai in Mangere see a future in working together, sharing resources – human and industry. Saia and Joe have been working to build communities through their business for over five years, and today are a successful civil contracts employer. A draft memorandum of understanding is being developed; watch this space.

Old Tennis Court Becomes Community New Forecourt

Pictured: Sean Herman & Ina Toa at Dunholme Tennis Club in Remuera.


The oneCOMMUNITY S.H.E.D is about to welcome visitors via its new, but old, green carpet. A great bargain, the forecourt was first spotted on TradeMe, and after some discussion with Remuera’s Dunholme Tennis Club, the AstroTurf was successfully acquired. Through torrential rain, and into late into the night, a small team from the Taokotai, and a voluntary group from the Punjabi community successfully extracted the carpet and placed it on a truck to make its way to its new home in Mangere. Taokotai Sustainability Advisory Papa Tom Wichman says that “there is no such thing as rubbish, we just have to find a new way to use old things”, which is why the tennis court will be a much welcome addition to Taokotai. The tennis court will not only cover the forecourt, but will also bring some welcome colour and attention from visitors and those driving by the oneCOMMUNITY S.H.E.D.

The Whanau Ora Spirit - “Don’t give up! Keep on Going!”

Pictured: Wayne Te Rangi (centre) with parents at the popUP South Wynyard Quarter pop-up shop.

Wayne Te Rangi is an award-winning Ngapuhi mouth painter from Pukekohe. He became a tetraplegic in 1985 after a freak accident at work. Most people would have given up after losing their motor skills, but Wayne is not like most people. In fact, Wayne works for the Te Roopu Waiora Trust, a unique kaupapa Maori Organisation founded and governed by whanau with physical, sensory, and intellectual disabilities. He engages with government departments to “ask the hard questions” because he believes that policy decisions about those living with disabilities should be discussed with, and made by those living with a disability. Part of Wayne’s Kaupapa is to put the “life and direction back into the hands of whanau living with a disability”, to affect positive change not only for his Maori people, but for all people with disabilities, and he doesn’t just tell them, he shows them!

Wayne is a member of Sailability Auckland, an organisation that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to experience the thrill of sailing in safety. He enjoys playing soccer with the Auckland Powerchair Soccer Club, goes fishing, and even does a little skating. Wayne’s natural ability to draw encouraged him to enrol in art classes at the Otara Spinal Unit, where he quickly developed the skill of mouth-painting. Coupled with his love for outdoors sports, his paintings capture the serenity of New Zealand and belief that “we do not own nature, we are only the guardians… the kaitiaki of this place.” For a limited time, his beautiful paintings can be purchased at the popUP South Wynyard Quarter popup shop located in the Auckland CBD.

What makes Wayne special isn’t his ability to draw or sail, but his “never give up” attitude and positive outlook on life – “Your life never ends until you’re buried. Don’t give up, keep on going!

PopUP South Wynyard Quarter Pop-Up Shop not so ‘Popped Up’

Pictured: Tepori Teariki, Vaine Areora & Nana Kamo-Mataroa at the oneCOMMUNITY Shed.

With torrential rain last week, and more expected to fall this week, the opening of the popUP South Wynyard pop-up shop has been pushed back several days. Despite all of this, members of the Taokotai Vainetini group and members of the Niuean community have been working diligently to tag and package arts & crafts products from Auckland’s Pacific community. Pictured below are also school children who, although were on a school trip, stopped in to see what we had on shelf.

Cook Islands ANZAC Day Commemorating Cook Islands Soldiers

Image: Uploaded by the Cook Islands Library & Museum Society. The First World War contingent of Cook Islanders at Narrow Neck Camp, Auckland.


Anzac Day, 25 April, marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. According to the Cook Islands Library & Museum Society, 500 Cook Islanders enlisted to serve in the New Zealand armed forces during World War I. Over 300 of them saw active service, while others died on entering training camps or were returned to Rarotonga as soldiers unfit for military service. A committee comprising of Enua and Vaka leaders, and community, facilitated by the Consulate Office, met on Tuesday 11th April to agree on the draft program for Anzac Day. This year the Anzac Committee is working on erecting a monument recognizing the 500 Cook Islands soldiers to be unveiled in 2018. The change of venue from Enuamanu Atiu Hall to the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust (283 – 289 Kirkbride Road, Mangere), signals a desire for Auckland’s Cook Islands community and wider, to gather on shared ground owned by the whole of the community. As said by the Chief Executive of the Trust Rouruina Emil’e-Brown, “the Ta’okotai’anga Trust is owned by all Cook Islanders and their families. It is not just a building, but physical proof of how our collective efforts and work can benefit our Cook Islands Community.” The Committee will organise a media release this week inviting all Cook Islanders to commemorate this special day on April 25th, 2.00pm at the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust.

Aravei’anga Aroa – A Visit of Love

Last week, members of the Ta’okotai’anga Trust visited three Cook Islands families with ailing members. The visit of grace entailed an introductory meeting (akaaravei), followed by a rima aroa, then uriuri manako, and a prayer (pure akameitaki) to close. Each family welcomed the visit with open arms with one family member commenting that the visit “was an act of love.” These visits are a reminder that as Cook Islanders, we love in so many ways, whether it’s through acts of kindness, praying, preparing food, or home visits, our face-to-face interactions are what keeps us connected and united. This Easter the Ta’okotai Trust would like to wish each family a wonderful and safe Easter.

“Kia tupu ra te aroa ua ia kotou, e te kite i to tatou Atua ra, i te kite i to tatou Atu ra, i te Ora, ia Iesu Mesia. Ei iaia te kaka i teia nei e e tuatatau ua atu. Amene. [2 Peter 3:18]”

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

The Team Behind the Pasifika Festival

Pictured: Benard Tairea (Cook Islands Village Coordinator), Tuaratini (MC), John Kiria (MC, not pictured), and 2017 Pasifika Cook Islands volunteers.

More than 40,000 spectators attended this year’s Pasifika event at Western Springs. The two days were filled with good vibes, good food, and a safe space where families gathered to celebrate our Pacific culture. Normally set before Polyfest, this year the event organisers decided to host the event after Polyfest to get our mapu more involved. This year the event went off with back-to-back performances and non-stop entertainment at the Cook Islands stage that included overall Polyfest Cook Islands stage winners Mangere College, and Miss Cook Islands herself. In the foreground was a field filled with two long rows of stall holders from across New Zealand and the Cook Islands, selling their arts, crafts and kai tupuna. In the back and scattered around the field, were all the volunteers, led by volunteer coordinator Tatriana who ensured that everyone had a role, and that they performed that role well. The 25th Pasifika Festival would not have been possible without the coordination of Bernard Tairea, the comedic presence of Tuaratini and John Kiria, the volunteers, the in-house band, and our Cook Islands community.

Monthly service at Enuamanu Atiu Hall

Pictured: Service goers at Enuamanu Atiu Hall.

On the April 16th, Enuamanu Atiu-Nui Maruarua Society Inc hosted a monthly service that combined Cook Islands community churches. The service was well attended by many and is an example of how we taokotai.

Ko te Okotai PopUp South – Finally Popped Up!

Pictured: Teachers from Manurewa Intermediate pop in to pick up their very first ei katu.

Teia te ta manako’anga a te nga CEO Rouruina Emil’e-Brown e CEO Ina Michael, kia akaru keia te akatuera-‘anga o te Toa a te Ruirua ra 18 o Apirira akaoti atu a te Monite i te era 8 o Me. Ko te Nuti mataora kua oronga akaou ia mai e tai Epetoma akaou (extra week) no te PopUp South, ki Wynyard Crossing, Akarana. Akatuera i to ora 10.00am popongi kite ora 4.00pm avatea te au ra katoatoa. E reo akameitaki’anga kite Taokotai Vainetini, Te Au Mapu, te au Papa e te katoatoa tei turuturu pakari mai i teia akakoroanga, mate ngakau, tae tikai.


Due to torrential rain, the popUP South Shop opening had been postponed. However, this week’s weather has proven that the wait was worth it!  Our Pacific crafts can now be purchased by Auckland locals and tourists at the pop-up shop near the Wynyard crossing. Opening hours are 10.00am – 4.00pm, and we’ll be there until May 8th. Only our third day back to Wynyard, and we’ve already had a variety of visitors come through, including a teacher from Weymouth Primary. She picked up an ei katu created by the Taokotai Youth Council and is excited to show her students it when they return from their holiday.

March 2017

Kayla Whitcher, First Scholarship Student of Apii Enuamanu

Kayla Whitcher from Mapumai Atiu, has received a scholarship from the Ministry of Education Cook Islands, to study Applied Sciences at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). A bright student, Kayla had grown up in Mapumai Atiu under the guidance of grandfather Papa Moe Akai, and mum Tumoe Akai. During her final year at Apii Enuamanu, she had studied diligently, and in the end received the DUX award. New to New Zealand, Kayla has successfully attended her first week of lectures and although she is overwhelmed, she is also excited about the next few years of her life.

A Ground Blessing of “A Home Away from Home” Learning Centre, Christchurch

Pictured: Poe Kairua, Centre manager (Front standing 5th from Left) with dignitaries and staff.

Last Thursday, 17th February saw the grand blessing of returning of the sod at the grounds of “Hornby Pasifika Early Learning Centre”, in Christchurch. The event was attended and witnessed by dignitaries and representatives in the communities including; Barnardo NZ, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Pacific People, Pacific Advisory Group from University of Canterbury, the Cook Islands community and staff of the Learning centre. Cook Islander centre manager, Poe Kairua (Pictured front 5th from L) acknowledges the support from the stakeholders and communities. Our mission at Hornby Pasifika Centre is a place “A home away from home”, that nurtures a sense of pride, sense of belonging, sense of togetherness for all, while celebrating the language, identity, and culture of Māori and Pasifika children in a fun and loving environment. The Whanau and communities are at the forefront of what we do and what we believe in. Hornby Pasifika Early Learning centre is a learning environment that acknowledges the dual partnership of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, with Māori (Tangata whenua) and Pasifika celebrating identity, language, and culture, through the use of Te Reo Māori and Pasifika languages (Cook Islands Māori, Tonga, Samoa) represented through our children and teachers will be spoken and tikanga practices woven into our curriculum and documentation. We are an integrated service that offers support in accessing the services that are provided under the banner of Barnardos NZ. We acknowledged Dr Tom Barnardos for his dedication to young children and families.

A cardboard jungle of generosity

The Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) received a generous donation of goods from All Heart NZ. All Heart NZ, founded by Joe Youssef, is a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting communities. In 2015, Joe noticed that his friends accounting business had a pile of unwanted computers and other office supplies stacked in a corner. He saw those items through fresh eyes; “they were no longer a waste of space, rather a pathway to bringing about social change in communities throughout New Zealand.” All Heart NZ provides a framework for businesses who believe, at their heart, in sustainable operations and positively impacting local communities. By recycling goods through All Heart NZ, excess goods are given new life and help enable the development of social enterprise business throughout Kiwi communities and empower fellow New Zealanders. During the week, Mangere and Auckland’s wider community has benefitted and continues to benefit from the generosity of All Heart NZ.

‘Your career can wait, but your youth can’t’

Pictured:Brandon Ulfsby, AUT University Student pops in to check out Caroline Bishops dance class.

Brandon Ulfsby is a Manihiki/Rakahangan currently completing his final year at AUT University. A social media wiz, his childhood years were spent under the guidance of his grandparents with whom he attended traditional birthdays, weddings, funerals, and church with. Those experiences strengthened Brandon’s cultural identity, so it was natural for him to feel a sense of purpose when it came to writing and sharing our Pacific stories. Brandon commented that “your career can wait, but your youth can’t” because after University he hopes to study Flight Attending to broaden his horizons and travel the world. A career in communications requires commitment and will always be a focus for Brandon, however at this moment in his young life, he’d like to gain as much experience and develop his professional skills before settling into what will be a very successful career in communications.

Dad’s take their daughters to dance class

Pictured: Caroline Bishop (dance tutor) teaching young Cook Islands girls how to dance.

Every Wednesday at 6.30pm, parents bring their children to the oneCOMMUNITY Shed in Mangere for a Cook Islands dance class. Dads Wayne Samuels & Henry Herman brought their daughters along to the class with hopes of them connecting with and appreciating the Cook Islands culture. Wayne’s Maori daughters, Ngaia, Tepaea, & Tika were inspired to join the class because of their grandma. She was a wonderful Maori woman who performed Cook Islands dances. Henry Herman brought daughter Hayley along because he wanted her to connect with other young Cook Islands children and a culture he strongly identified with. Our culture prospers because of Dads like Wayne and Henry who understand how a strong cultural identity can empower their daughters.

Atiu Enumanu, Moving Forward Together!

Atiu Hall was buzzing with activity this weekend as a working bee of Enuamanu members came together to spruce up the place. Under the leadership of a new committee and Chairman Matapo Teariki Rakei, all the Pa Metua’s and community worked diligently. Outside the Papa’s, assisted by several young people, pruned the trees, mowed the lawns, mended fences, water blasted the building, cleared the rubbish from inside, which were all emptied into the skip. Inside the Mama’s recovered over 100 mattresses by sewing new coverings onto the worn through mattress coverings. They also decorated the room for the Ariki’s, cleared out their first aid room, and cleaned up the conference room. The team of almost 100 helpers were then treated to a wonderful meal prepared by several Mama’s. It was a weekend to be proud of and Enuamanu is looking forward to round two of their working bee on April 1st, 2017. The organisers would also like to thank everyone who came out and lent a helping hand on the day.

An old-school twist on modern items

Pictured: Mii Daniels & Mii Ake proudly showing their first re-vamped laptop bag.

The Kuki Airani Vainetini Taokotaianga group is an amalgamation of several vainetini groups across Auckland. These include Manea Vainetini, Te Pua Inano Group, Tiare Taina, and Atiu Vainetini, among several others. For the past month since their official formation, they have been testing and revamping modern day items like tote bags, baby blankets and even laptop bags to be sold alongside their own crafts at several upcoming pop-up shops. Headed by Tepori Teariki, these women are a powerhouse sustaining our cultural heritage. The group often meets on Mondays at the oneCOMMUNITY Shed to share and test their newest products. However, Tepori understands that not everyone can make the meetings, so often does home visits to continue inspiring and motivating members. For more information on the group, or to become a member, contact Tepori on 02102713459.

Local Mangere Community First ‘Bring and Buy’

Pictured: Ina Toa selling his produce from the ‘Old School Garden’.


The first Mangere community ‘Bring and Buy’ was held on Thursday 16th March at the oneCOMMUNITY Shed. It was an event where stall holders were invited to bring along their produce to be sold to the Mangere community. Stall holder Ina Toa was one of those locals. His stall held an assortment of freshly picked kumara, zucchinis, pumpkin, and honey from the Old School Reserve Teaching Garden. It was a relaxed evening wrapped in the beating drums of the children’s Cook Islands drum classes, and delicious food produced by Ina Simpson & Michelle Potoru in the oneBASKET Food Truck. Lydia Tokahere also brought along her Mama’s Hangi, the Taokotai Youth Council sold their hand-printed pareu’s, oils and ei katu’s, and Tearoa Potoru also brought with her some home-grown pears, and traditional poké, among other delicious treats. The Mangere community came out in hoards to support the ‘Bring & Buy’. Organiser Michelle Potoru is looking to host this event fortnightly to provide local growers and cooks with a cooperative platform to sell their produce.

South Auckland Returns To The Wynyard Quarter

Pictured: popUP South Collective market on the Wynyard Quarter.

Following the success of the oneCOOPERATIVE and popUP South shop at Wynyard Quarter last December, Aucklanders and Tourists will be able to visit again a true Pacific market from the 5th – 17th of April. popUP South is a collective of local South Auckland artists, mama’s and papa’s, talented families and individuals showcasing contemporary handicrafts, food and entertainment. Through popUP South, Aucklanders will be able to purchase these locally produced goods, with the guarantee of the proceeds going back to the creators. Purchasing a product not only supports the creators to continue producing these wonderful pieces of art, but also supports their families and community. For more information on this event, visit the popUP South Collective Facebook Page.

The Team Behind the Pasifika Festival

Pictured: Benard Tairea (Cook Islands Village Coordinator), Tuaratini (MC), John Kiria (MC, not pictured), and 2017 Pasifika Cook Islands volunteers.

Pictured: Michelle Potoru & Tearoa Potoru, owners of Tiare Events & Catering.

More than 40,000 spectators attended this year’s Pasifika event at Western Springs. The two days were filled with good vibes, good food, and a safe space where families gathered to celebrate our Pacific culture. Normally set before Polyfest, this year the event organisers decided to host the event after Polyfest to get our mapu more involved. This year the event went off with back-to-back performances and non-stop entertainment at the Cook Islands stage that included overall Polyfest Cook Islands stage winners Mangere College, and Miss Cook Islands herself. In the foreground was a field filled with two long rows of stall holders from across New Zealand and the Cook Islands, selling their arts, crafts and kai tupuna. In the back and scattered around the field, were all the volunteers, led by volunteer coordinator Tatriana who ensured that everyone had a role, and that they performed that role well. The 25th Pasifika Festival would not have been possible without the coordination of Bernard Tairea, the comedic presence of Tuaratini and John Kiria, the volunteers, the in-house band, and our Cook Islands community.

Learning from a working full immersion indigenous model

Kohanga Reo means ‘language nest’, a place where a child’s learning and education begins with family – aunties, uncles, nana’s, papa’s, mum’s, dad’s, the whole tribe. The success of a Cook Islands total immersion Early Childhood Centre can be shaped by learning from those who have, for years, built a successful foundation of language learning. Hoani Waititi Kohanga Reo in West Auckland, is one of those foundations and where a small team of Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) visited to learn about how to shape their oneCHILD Early Learning Centre. CIDANZ’s aim is to develop a total immersion Kuki Airani ECE model that mirrors our indigenous cousins ECE’s and benefits our Cook Islands children. Kohanga is the full nurturing of a child’s learning with family. This principal and way of working will guide oneCHILD coupled with the requirements of New Zealand’s Ministry of Education. The CIDANZ team met with ‘Nan’, the heart Hoani Waititi Kohanga Reo, and two of her young Kai Mahi (teachers). The Kai Mahi expressed with love their journey as mums with children at the Kohanga, and as teachers. They are achieving what our Cook Islands community is working towards restoring – our language, culture, and family.

Good Leaders are Great Stewards

Pictured: Teariki Veiou (Atiu Enuamanu Executive Treasurer, CIDANZ CE, and Alan Petrie (Building Inspector, Auckland Council).

The recently called Atiu executives have been hard at work bringing together not just a great team, but a team concerned with the future of the resources and facilities falling in their stewardship. Many Cook Islanders, in particular Atiuans, have enjoyed over several years, the use of their beautiful facility – Atiu Hall in Mangere. Today the building continues to welcome and celebrate weddings, birthdays, and civic events. The old building is strong and steady, requiring a touch of paint, some new carpet, a spruced-up kitchen, and bathroom, to give it a well-deserved and much needed facelift. The new committee has enlisted some friends to help with the spruce up. Pictured here is Teariki Veiou, CIDANZ CE, and Building Inspector Alan Petrie, to provide a building audit for improvement. The loyalty of the Committee to their community motivates them to ensure that the building is up to code so that Cook Islanders can continue to enjoy their events and activities in this grand old building.

February 2017

A Cook Islands Cultural Leader in the Making

Pictured: Arana Tyrrell (centre) performing a Tuoro surrounded by his early learning class.

International Cultures Day celebrates the diverse ethnicities who have made Hawkes Bay their home. The day is filled with colourful cultural performances and delicious food. In 2016, an early learning class attended the culture day dressed in their pacific best. One of those young students was Arana Tyrrell, a bright three-year-old who loves his Cook Islands culture so much that on the day, he performed a traditional Tuoro. Few children, let alone adults, have the skill and knowledge to perform a Tuoro, however Arana performs it confidently and proudly. His grandmother Taime Pareanga Samuel mentioned that they often went to Cook Islands celebrations and Arana had simply “learned from watching his elders and other performers.” Son to Linda and Alan Tyrrell, Arana is an excellent example of how our parents, grandparents and elders are vital to the cultural development and survival of our Cook Islands culture in New Zealand. Arana continues to perform Tuoro’s at events and has even moved on to drumming! Surrounded by great role models, there is no doubt that great things will come of this three-year-old.

Gearing up for the Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival, 25th February

Pictured: Te Taokotangianga Kuki Airani o te Tai Tokerau.

The Northland Cook Islands community (Te Taokotangianga Kuki Airani o te Tai Tokerau) like other Pasifika communities in Northland, is gearing up for the Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival held on 25th of February, 10am-3pm, at Hihiaua Park. This is the 3rd year that the festival has been operating for and with each year, numbers attendees have grown significantly. All of Whangarei’s Pasifika communities plan months in advance for this day, in fact the Cook Islands community have been practicing for their 15-minute show since October! Stall holders have also been encouraged to come and sell their traditional Cook Islands cuisine, arts and crafts at the Cook Islands village.

People are drawn to the festival to watch the traditional games like the Vaka Ama at the opening, to marvel at the Pasifika performances, and to enjoy the traditional foods. Often the food sells quickly because Northlanders take regular trips back to the Cook Islands and the cuisines are a warm reminder of home. The event also attracts Pasifika celebrities like John Tui and Pua Magasiva who MC’d last year. And there’ll also be a special appearance by Che Fu who’ll be performing at the pre and after party for the festival.

CYIM Test their Entrepreneurial Skills

Under the umbrella of Vaka Takitumu, the Cook Islands Youth Movement (CYIM) have been offered a stall at the Te Matatini Festival. CYIM’s entrepreneur leaders Tim Boyd and TeMarama Katoa, with the youth council, have taken on the challenge to produce 150 ei katu’s, 150 coconut oils and 500 pareu’s to be sold at the festival. TeMarama comments that “the festival gives us young people a real-life chance to work on our leadership skills, to test our entrepreneurial skills and to be part of a very big and very important Maori event.” They will be in Hastings from the 22nd to the 26th of February.

Celebrating Fabian Kairua

Pictured: Fabian Kairua (centre) with parents and siblings.

The minds of our Cook Islands young people are being nourished rapidly. Fabian Kairua, eldest son of Hilton & Poe Kairua, is one of those brilliant minds. In 2016, he graduated from the South Institute of Technology (SIT) with a National Certificate in Electrical Engineering. Fabian’s achievement was celebrated by his friends, family and the Cook Islands community who attended and cheered him on at the ceremony. Recently Fabian has been considered for an electrical apprenticeship training program by a local Christchurch company. Christchurch has a small and active Cook Islands community. With the re-build of the city comes many opportunities that the Cook Islands community can capitalise on. Fabian is doing just that by going into a career that will benefit his family, Cook Islands community and Christchurch community.

The families and the Cook Islands community in Christchurch would like to extend and wish Fabian all the best in the future.

Akamaroiroi e Te Atua Te Aroa.

A Beautiful Taokotai Setting

On Waitangi Day, 24 mamas from six vainetini groups across Auckland gathered for the first time at the Mangere Taokotai oneCOMMUNITY Shed. Individually they are craftswomen sustaining our Cook Islands heritage; together they are a powerhouse of mama’s sustaining our community. Prosperity comes when we can taokotai and when taokotai is being nurtured through a Cook Islands mama vainetini organisation. On the night, the women were asked what they would like to leave behind for future generations. Many commented that they would like to leave their “culture, reo, heritage, pe’u, songs, crafts and joy” for their grandchildren to embrace. There were many voices, strong opinions, a lot of laughter and jokes about the potential to work together to prosper our community. However, the true strength of the group was their ability to create an equal platform that recognized each mama’s strength, knowledge and the strength of their knowledge when combined. The purpose of the group is to preserve, celebrate, cultivate and to work as a collective because of all the legacies they hope to leave behind. The women will meet again on the 20th of February to agree, or not, to progress and establish a Cook Islands Taokotai Vainetini group.

The ANZAC Cook Islands Committee in motion

Pictured: Members of the Cook Islands Anzac Committee.

Every year for the past 100 years, New Zealanders have commemorated and remembered those who have given their lives for their country. Over the past 3 years, there has been a focus on Cook Islands men and women who served in World War 1. The 500 soldiers who have been named and treasured by their families are now also being commemorated by the wider Cook Islands Community. Every year the Cook Islands Anzac Committee meets to plan the year’s event during Anzac Day. This year it will be held on the 25th of April, 2pm, in Mangere. The committee has been wonderfully supported by honourable Minister Alfred Ngaro as a special project recognizing his own tupuna who served valiantly during world War 1. He continues to champion the committee in Auckland, chaired by Maitu Karora from Atiu Enua, and strongly supported by Consulate General Rosie Blake. A strong team of 15 will meet again in February to finalise programs for this year’s Anzac event.

Ernestina Bonsu Maro – The Akuyanga Fashion Show

Pictured: Ernestina Bonsu Maro (far left) and other models in the Akuyanga Fashion Show.

The 2016 Te Ulu O Te Watu Akuyanga Fashion Show was an event that showed Pukapukan heritage and culture in all its spectacular grandeur. Of those who modelled on the night, was Ernestina Bonsu Maro of African/Cook Islands descent. A beautiful and strong spirited young woman, Ernestina is proud of how the event had captured and displayed the beauty, talent, creativity, and ingenuity of her Pukapukan community. She was also proud of how each model, designer, artist, and everyone involved, had brought their own unique spark to the stage. As a model on the night, she says that “it was a magical moment stepping on that stage… it was my first time doing a runway in pacific wear and the excitement was unreal, especially in front of my family.” In the Cook Islands community, our culture and family are always our first teachers and motivators, this is no different for Ernestina. “I think being African/Cook Islands gives me that extra strive to be bolder, and greater in every opportunity that is given. I appreciate the support of my mother Nickie Maro who has always supported me in everything that I do. I would also love to acknowledge everyone that was part of this extraordinary show; it was a kick start for many of our beautiful and talented young people to get involved in events such as the show. Definitely looking forward to this year’s one!”

Enuamanu Elections – “Make Atiu Great Again!”

Pictured: Auckland Enuamanu community voting.


Over the weekend, the Enuamanu community held an election to appoint a new president, secretary and treasurer for Atiu, preceded over by Justice of the Peace Bernard Tairea. The day was fraught with great excitement from the Auckland Atiu community who, from young to old, showed up in full force. Before voting opened, the presidential nominees, Maitu Karora and Matapo Teariki Rakei, were given a moment to address the community, with a resounding applause for the adopted and reworded Trump slogan “make Atiu great again!”. All 300+ voters mulled over who they would like to lead Atiu, and with it, who they would appoint as secretary and treasurer. Supported by the Taokotai CIDANZ youth council (Cook Islands Youth Movement), the community was aided through the voting process and in the end, celebrated the new appointees – Matapo Teariki Rakei for President, Itikura Matenga as the Secretary, and Teariki Veiao as Treasurer.

Richard Tekeu, Taking the Pacific to the World!

Pictured: Richard Tekeu, owner of Varu and the carved boards given to the Taokotai Youth Council.

Varu, a Cook Islands dress line owned by proud Rarotogan/Aitutakian Richard Tekeu, takes a fresh young approach to Cook Islands and Pacific Muumuu dresses. Inspired by his mum, family and culture, the beauty of the Muumuu dresses celebrates the silhouette of the female body. It is also a reflection of Richard’s vision to see Varu worn world-wide as well as having a Varu clothing store. With all the hard-work he and a small team have put in, Richard is on the right track. He comments that “I am extremely proud of the attention our Varu dresses has captured during the one year we have been around for. We were invited to take part in the Pacific Runway-Carriageworks 2016 in Sydney, alongside many Polynesian designers. It was an amazing experience.” Richard has sewn Varu garments for customers in New Zealand, Australia, the Cook Islands, Hawaii, Samoa, and America. He has also received several opportunities to take part in upcoming Fashion shows. A few weeks ago, the Cook Islands Youth Movement (CIYM) put out a call asking for carved boards to block print Pareu’s. Being someone who owned several boards, Richard graciously answered that call by donating two boards to the youth council. They were both welcomed with much enthusiasm and the youth council who extend their deepest gratitude.

Enterprising Youth at the Te Matatini 2017

Pictured: Members of the Taokotai Youth Council with Te Matatini volunteer Marama.

Pictured: Tim Boyd (Enterprising youth leader), demonstrating to Te Matatini festival goers how to block print pareu’s.

Fifty thousand are expected to turn up to Te Matatini 2017. Of those attending is also the Cook Islands Youth Movement also known as the Taokotai Youth Council. Under the umbrella of Vaka Takitumu, the youth council have brought a twist to the usual market stalls by setting up a live demonstration of how they make their AMD Pareu’s with a carved board. The youth council have been preparing for Te Matatini for the past 7 weeks and with the help of parents, several Mama’s and CIDANZ staff, they were able to create 500 hand printed pareu’s, 150 akari pi, and 150 ei katu’s. The youth have shown much enthusiasm and dedication, often sacrificing their weekends to finish creating their products. Even with a lot on their plate, just a few hours before the festival began, the youth council ‘mucked in’ and helped the set-up crew for Te Matatini, hang a few decorations. They are a great example of how we can help our young people become confident entrepreneurs and all ‘round good Cook Islands people.

Marouna Tunui, A Carver with A Cause

Pictured: Marounai Tunui (Roaming Artist), completed carving a board for the Taokotai Youth Council.

Marouna Tunui is a self-employed Aitutakian carver and tattooist living in Ashburton. In 2008, he made the decision to leave Aitutaki to take up a job in the freezing works. Drawing intricate Cook Islands designs had always been a hobby of Marouna’s. He decided that carving would be a great move and so picked up his firsts tools and began teaching himself how to create the intricate boards loved by many Cook Islands and Pacific crafters. Tattooing only came natural to Marouna, it was similar to creating the boards, only different canvases. This week, Marouna travelled to Auckland to visit family and at the same time, helped the Taokotai Youth Council by carving a board for them. Marouna is a great example of what Cook Islands people can do by developing and using the skills that they already have.

January 2017

Leadership in Action – The Cook Islands Youth Movement

Pictured: Members of CIYM cleaning up the Okotai pop-up shop.

On October 8th, 2016, a group of young people came together to voice their thoughts on what makes a great leader, to define ‘youth voice’, youth entrepreneurship and why all three are very important. Often our young people are not heard because of their youth and with it, the assumption that they are inexperienced. The Cook Islands Youth Movement (CIYM) is a youth council put together to give our Pacific young people a voice in their communities. CIYM will have the opportunity to advise the Cook Islands Development Agency NZ (CIDANZ) Board of Trustees on matters concerning young people. Headed by Iakopa Samuel and Nina Boyd, the group of 15+, including the support and guidance of their parents, have delved into their first project – cleaning up the Okotai pop-up shop. Nina is one of the youngest members of CIYM who says that “the best part about CIYM is meeting lots of different people and being able to hear all their different thoughts and ideas.” These young people are not only developing and practicing their leadership skills, they are also providing a platform for young voices to be heard while at the same time, learning about entrepreneurship and responsibility.

Small Community Enterprises Grow Well

Pictured: Peia Tumumakara and her new sewing machines.

In Cook Islands home’s all over Auckland, and we suspect across the whole of New Zealand, there are Mama’s & Papa’s producing cultural products in their homes. With the support of the popUP South Collective, the Mitiaro Mama’s vainetini group came together to produce small products for the Wynyard Quarter pop-up shop. Ei katu’s, fashion items, arts, crafts and tivaevae’s were some of the products that the Mitiaro Mama vainetini group produced. The Wynyard Quarter pop-up shop located in Auckland’s busy central city, with a foot traffic of around 100,000+ per year, attracted thousands of buyers over the 21 days it was there for. The Mitiaro Mama’s sold many of their products to local visitors, local businesses, and the local viaduct community. Pictured here is Mama Peia Tumumakara with new sewing machines. They are a small investment supported by the Cook Islands Consulate General Rosie Blake and the Cook Islands Development Agency Board of Trustees to encourage the continued growth of small Cook Islands enterprises.

From Small & Simple Things

Pictured: Kim Tere Poto with an ei made for Prime Minister Henry Puna

Prime Minister Henry Puna has been adorned by many ei’s during his career. All extravagant and at the same time, humbling. Kimi Tere Poto a member of the Pacific Islands Presbyterian Church (PIPC), pictured with a freshly made ei for the Prime Minister, has unknowingly created a ‘dial an ei’ service with potentials to become a small business. The Cook Islands community is well known for our colourful ei’s made with plastic flowers bought at our local town centres. However instead of buying the materials, Kimi simply picked the flowers from her garden – a practice well known to our Cook Islands people back home. This is a great example showing that becoming a business owner doesn’t require a bank loan or a University Degree. Sometimes all we need to do is to look in our own backyards.

Taokotai Vainetini Group assembles for the first

Twelve vainetini groups will be meeting on the 6th of February, 6.00pm at 283-289 Kirkbride Road for the very first time. The focus of the meeting is to potentially establish a regional Taokotai Vainetini group. There are many benefits for establishing this group, including sustaining the knowledge and skills that go into creating traditional crafts like tivaevaes.

A Pacific Party on the Waterfront

Pictured: Visitors and Locals enjoy a Pacific night on the waterfront

Pictured: Dancers of Te Rau Manu o Enuamanu – Cook Islands Dance Group & Entertainment

Many gathered for an evening of Pacific performances, food, arts, and crafts at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter. Supported by the popUP South Collective and the oneCOOPERATIVE, the evening brought the flavours of the pacific to tourists and Auckland city dwellers. Te Rau Manu o Enuamanu, a Cook Islands entertainment dance group, performed several of their routines on the evening, including the popular and often funny ‘Around the World’. The audience came alive with laughter and joy, some even commented how they had “never seen such a beautiful dance” like that before and would definitely like to learn how to do it. Several of the audience also enjoyed popular cultural dishes that included chicken, mainese, chop soy and other delicacies. It was an evening that the Wynyard Quarter will continue to remember.

Rukau Pie, a hit in Melbourne!

In December, the Rukau Pie, created by the input of many Cook Islands minds and taste buds, then perfected by Tearoa Potoru – Kai Tupuna Lead, went to Melbourne for the very first time. For years, the Cook Islands people have enjoyed meals with rukau as the star of the dish, a staple that has graced many tables in many recipes. In pie form, this meal has now graced the table of Melbourners who have commented that it was a “full meal” that they could recreate. This is what Kai Tupuna has been created to do – to preserve the traditional meals of our grandparents, great grandparents and so forth by recreating the dishes we’ve all grown up on.

Honouring a Cook Islands Athlete and Role Model

Pictured: Luisa Peters

In 2016, 9 athletes were selected to represent the Cook Islands in the Olympic games hosted by Reo de Janeiro, Brazil. Pictured, weightlifter Luisa Peters was one of those athletes, competing in the women’s super-heavy weight category (+75kg). Though young, Luisa is a well-seasoned athlete who has also competed in the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 Commonwealth games, and also won bronze at the 2015 Pacific Games. To add to her successes, Luisa was also elected to be the first female vice-president of the Oceania Weightlifting Federation (OWF). Luisa is an excellent role model for Cook Islands women proving repeatedly that weightlifting is also a woman’s sport. In Fiji Sun Online’s May article, she had an important message for aspiring female weightlifters. “For young ladies who wish to take up the sport, weightlifting is a good sport and you should go for it. Don’t be intimidated by men because in this competition, the women are just as strong as the men.”

“It’s a marathon, not a race” – A visit with Teremoana Yala

Pictured: (Right) Cook Islands High Commissioner Teremoana Yala

On a perfect Friday afternoon, the High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, her excellently Teremoana Yala, spoke openly and candidly about her new role, her dreams, and her aspirations for her Cook Islands community. Due to the tremors felt all around Christchurch, Teremoana’s office has been closed temporarily for safety reasons. However, she hasn’t allowed this to slow her down and instead has opened her home to the community. This proud community woman welcomed an array of questions from Aucklanders looking to learn and be guided by her in their work to unite and prosper the Cook Islands and New Zealand. The CIDANZ team were inspired by her to meet regularly, and to ‘pulse check’ projects currently happening throughout Auckland, because these projects will have a flow on effect that will reach across the whole of New Zealand. She has also inspired the team to “not give up”, to “play the long game”, to remember that “it’s a marathon, not a sprint”, and that “if your heart is in the right place and you believe in the dream, keep going!” Teremoana is a very dignified woman who walks, talks, and wears her ‘Cook Islandsness’ with immense pride.

Visiting Invercargill’s Cook Islands Community

The Cook Islands community in Invercargill is small, but filled with bursting potential. With the support of the Pacific Islanders Advisory & Cultural Trust Inc., going forward the community has made it a priority to create sustainable jobs, to keep the reo at the forefront of their development, and begin plans for a Cook Islands Early Childhood Centre. Coupled with this, Invercargill also plans to develop a map identifying skilled Cook Islanders in New Zealand. Because our community is largely collective, having a mapped network of skilled Cook Islanders would bring Invercargill one step closer to achieving their priority to create jobs. Not only this, Invercargill Cook Islands community are also attempting to put a twist on the Rukau pie we Aucklanders have come to know and love. As their own rukau suppliers, owning two 25 meter greenhouses that are currently growing taro and rukau, testing a new pie recipe won’t be a problem for this lively and motivated Cook Islands community.

An Energetic & United Dunedin Cook Islands Community

Pictured: Reverend Dr Joesph Tokerau, Papa Iaoba, Rouruina Emile-Brown, Papa Piniata and Rev.

Dunedin has a young Cook Islands community energised and already on the go. Together the community has united four Cook Islands groups – Ngaputoru, Paitokerau, Mangaia, Rarotonga & Aitutaki (together) through a strong Matakaingna Group. The unison between the groups is strong because it is held together by four major areas that binds Cook Islanders together through Faith, Sports, Culture, and language. The Matakaingna leaders representing the Enua’s, help the Dunedin community stay connected to what is important to the community. Cook Islands Maori Early Childhood education, scholarships to help the academic advancement of Cook Islands students, and to continue reviving the Cook Islands language, are a few areas the community has shown interest in. Dunedin Cook Islands community is a great example of taokotai, and no doubt they too, will also show us how we can all prosper.

Vaka Takitimu – Honouring A Rich Cultural Heritage

Pictured: High Chief Pa Ariki

Te Matatini, held every two years, is a significant cultural festival that honours Maori performing arts. On February 18th, Queen Pa Ariki and Vaka Takitimu will take a Pou, a carved wooden post that marks territorial boundaries or significant places, to Te Matatini for a blessing and celebration. Vaka Takitimu, with migration ties throughout the Pacific, was one of seven great canoes that Maori travelled on to reach Aotearoa shores. The Pou is a representation of Takitimu’s contribution to that rich cultural heritage, and is also a reflection of our relationship to the ancestors, the environment, and the reputation or standing of tangata whenua. To support Takitimu, on the 11th of February they will be hosting a Pou Fundraiser featuring Te Au Moana Performing Arts, a live band, and prizes drawn on the night. The fundraiser will be held at Takitimu Hall, 9 Tanners Road, 8.00pm, $10 for adults, and $5 for secondary students. For more information, contact Mataroa Paroro on 021 0284 8830.

A professional rugby player in the making

Pictured: (Left to right) Kingston Ikimaka, Stephen Takai, Devontae Here, & Kose Mataia

Stephen Takai, a student of Onehunga High School, has committed the next two years of his life to work towards his dream of becoming a professional rugby player. Recently, Stephen was offered the opportunity to attend Christchurch Boys High School. The High School as stated on the school’s website is “arguably the number one rugby school in the world.” Their rugby programme has produced several professional rugby players including 15 All Blacks and 2 All Blacks Coaches. Stephen comments that attending Christchurch Boys High School would “help me improve in my studies and allow me to gain more confidence in myself especially when playing rugby.” With the support of his friends and family, Stephen leaves Auckland for Christchurch this week. He knows that to achieve his goal, he’ll need to do more than attend Christchurch Boys High School. He’ll need to work twice as hard to improve his technique and skills on the field, while studying smart and diligently in the classroom.