“Solidarity, the common good of us all”

If our purpose resonates with your beliefs, then you are ready to move along with us, and there are many ways for you to take part.

Join the movement and help change the way we do things!

…Some of the arms helping to paddle this Vaka: 


Henry Herman


Henry was born and raised in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, before relocating to New Zealand to pursue his tertiary studies where he graduated with a Bachelor of Law and Batchelor of Science.  He is currently an Associate at Rice Craig Lawyers in South Auckland. Henry feels joined the Trust initially as a volunteer over 7 years ago before joining the Board of Trustees in 2012.  He has now been the Chairman for the past 3 years.  His primary focus is on a united and prosperous Cook Island community and is committed to achieving this. Outside of work and community commitments, having a young family Henry’s spare time is consumed by family activities and events.

Paitai Taringa

Deputy Chairman

Paitai is not your average Cook Islands man. Born in Rarotonga, Paitai has contributed to many Cook Islands organisations and projects. When the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust was established in 2001, Paitai was nominated as the first Board Chair. At the time, he was also the Chair for Vaka Takitumu. Whether it’s fixing the CIDANZ truck, hooking up an industrial oven onsite, or representing the Board at community gatherings, Paitai is always willing to help.

Pastor Mata Tumu-Makara

Rev. Mata Tumu-Makara is married to Tabitha Makara, together they have four teenagers. He has been involved in variety of Christian Ministries, and is currently the Pastor of the PGM Christchurch Church in Ponsonby Auckland for the last 12 years. He has a Bachelor and a Masters’ Degree in Theology from the Bible College of NZ/ Laidlaw College with a research focus on the missionary period of the church in the Cook Islands. Mata is a church leader with a special interest of discovering our true Pacific identity in Christ and our unique cultures. He is excited to be involved in an organization that unite and prosper people and especially Cook Islanders.

Naomi Dashwood

Naomi has a strong background in Cook Islands Heritage and Culture. She has performed Cook Islands dances across many stages, and wears her culture proudly. She has been closely involved in the development of CIDANZ, including being the Project Lead for oneMARKET in the 2013 Akirata Ou Festival, to now sitting on the board as a Trustee. An advocate for strong Cook Islands women, Naomi is also the Secretary for Miss Cook Islands NZ Trust that focuses on empowering young Cook Islands women.

Lena Wong

Lena has been on the Board of Trustees since May 2016. She is of Cook Islands, Tahitian and Fijian descent but was raised in Vaka Takitumu in Rarotonga. Her grandfather was the late Teariki Framhein of Mauke/Atiu and her late grandmother was Mereana Monga Framhein of Rarotonga. Lena attended Nikao Maori Primary, Avatea Primary and then Nukutere College before moving to New Zealand to attend College and then University.

Lena is currently a practicing lawyer in South Auckland and specializes in Family Law. Lena has previous work experience with both the Cook Islands Government and various New Zealand govt. ministries such as the Ministry of Pacific Island Peoples, Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Social Development.

Lena is passionate about creating a prosperous Cook Islands community and supports the Trusts vision to combine the efforts of all Cook Islands people in New Zealand in one place.



Rouruina Emil’e-Brown

Chief Executive


Ina Michael

Director of Business & Investment


LJ Unuia

Business Development Manager


Janet Akai

Communications Manager


Nana Kamo-Mataroa

Cook Islands Development Agency NZ Ambassador


  • Pasifika Futures Ltd
  • Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board
  • Pacific Business Trust
  • Auckland Council
  • The Southern Initiative
  • Impact NPO