Mou i te kõ, Mou i te 'ere
Our Board of Trustees
Henry was born and raised in Rarotonga, Cook Islands before relocating to New Zealand to pursue his tertiary studies, graduating with a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Science. He is now a Partner (previously “associate”) at Rice Craig Lawyers in South Auckland.
He is married with four young children and feels very blessed to have their continuing love and support for all that he does. Henry joined the Trust initially as a volunteer over 8 years ago before joining the Board of Trustees in 2012. He has now been the Chairman for the past 5 years. Henry’s primary focus is a united and prosperous Cook Islands community and is committed to achieving this.
For over 10 years, Henry has worked predominantly as a Lawyer in Auckland. He has held previous governance roles in other South Auckland not-for-profit organisations. Outside of work and community commitments, having a young family Henry’s spare time is consumed by family activities and events.
Dr. George Ngaei
Trustee | Chairman of the Pacific Island Advisory & Cultural Trust
Trustee | Director at Complete Legal Ltd.
George Ngaei CNZM ONZM FRACS MBChB
Consultant General and Endoscopic Surgeon
Chairman Pacific Island Advisory Charitable Trust
Extensive governance experience and past member of numerous health related (and community) boards and committees.
Born in Rarotonga of Manihiki and Mitiaro descent.
Educated at Tereora College, Napier Boys High School and Otago University.
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 was recently made a Partner in her law firm.
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 married to Harry Fatu Toleafoa and they live in Mangere. 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.
Trustee | Electrical Tutor at Southern Institute of Technology
Trustee | Member of the Northland Health Consumer Council
Terekino is of Rarotongan/Atutakian holding a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering. He currently works as an Electrical Tutor with the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in Christchurch. Tino has over 15 years of experience in the Electrical industry across the Pacific and more recently with the Office of the Prime Minister, Cook Islands, implementing Renewable & Energy efficiency programmes and projects. Tino has interest and focus in the tertiary education sector, developing young people and empowering the Cook Islands community to be more self-sufficient.
Kia Orana. My name is May Seager and I live in Maungaturoto in Northland, Te Tai Tokerau. I was raised in Auckland by my Cook Islands grandparents and then my parents. I claim both Cook Islands and Aotearoa Papa’a heritage. My grandparents came from Tupapa in Rarotonga and Tautu in Aitutaki.
I have lived in many parts of New Zealand in the north and south islands which has given me a real appreciation of this beautiful country that I am proud to call my home. I have raised a family with my husband and we have settled in Maungaturoto, where we have lived for 24 years. It is a small rural town, just like a village in the islands – everybody knows your business (which can be really annoying) but when you need help, people are right there, willing to give a hand.
My working life has included working as a reporter for community and daily newspapers, as a team leader in the community health sector and as a manager for a not-for-profit organisation working with Pacific Islands families.
My experience in governance roles and volunteering over the years includes being on a Board of Trustees for a high school, leading sports and early education organisations, community groups and even serving in the local fire brigade as a volunteer support person.
Currently, I serve on the Parish Council of the local Presbyterian Church, an Advisory Council for a Primary Health Entity, the Consumer Council with the Northland Districts Health Board and the Ministry of Health’s Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory committee. I am a member of the Whangarei PACIFICA Branch and am associated with the Ta’okota’ianga o Kuki Airani o Te Tai Tokerau (Cook Islands group for Northland).
I believe that it is important to have all parts of Aotearoa represented on CIDANZ, including the rural areas. It is also important for us to include as many differing voices as we can, to ensure that we are helping to build a positive pathway towards the future, in improving the lives of all Cook Islanders, living in Aotearoa.
As a non reo-speaking Cook Islander who has lived away from places populated with Pacific Islanders for most of my life, I understand the struggle to gain and retain cultural identity. I am very interested in seeking ways to assist anyone, but particularly our youth, to know who they are and to be proud of their uniqueness in today’s world.
Trustee | Community Development Team Leader at Hamilton City Council
Trustee | General Manager at YMCA South Waikato
Mareta Cassandra Matenga (nee FORD) was born and raised in Hamilton, where she has called home for 47 years. Her parents Ere (nee Marsters, Pamati Island) and the late George Ford (Vaipae, Aitutaki Island) and together with her 8 siblings built their lives in Hamilton, pioneering and serving their Hamilton Cook Islands Community and their Pacific Islands Presbyterian faith community for close to 60 years together.
A sole parent for her only son Marque Cherish (24yrs, Makomako, Waharo, Tainui), who has blessed her with two Grandsons, Elijche-George (4yrs) and Ezeiah Aybal (1yrs). Mareta married her best friend Tapaki Matenga (Pukapuka Island) in 2015 and loves doing life with him.
Mareta has been working with young people for more than 30 years, in different capacities and joined the Hamilton City Council in 2002 as a Youth Worker. Mareta loves contributing to the Community Development space and building capacity within Hamilton communities. She currently leads a team of Community Advisors as the Community Development Team Leader and currently has a focus on working with the Pasifika communities and supporting the development of the proposed Pan Pacific Hub.
In 2019 Mareta completed the Mana Moana Experience programme with Leadership NZ and currently is challenging herself to learn her Cook Islands language.
Mareta enjoys volunteering her time and serving as a Trustee/Board member for The Serve Trust, Hamilton Cook Islands Association Board, Pasifika By Nature Trust, Street Dance NZ Trust and the Westside Presbyterian Church Parish Council. She enjoys cooking, travelling, making music and singing, spending time with family – in particular her mokopuna.
Born and raised in the heart of the Timberland, I credit all I am and all I achieve firstly to our Heavenly Father and secondly to the village that is the 16th Island of the Cook Islands, Tokoroa.
I have a background in Community, Social Services, and the Youth Sector and in my professional role I serve as the General Manager of the South Waikato YMCA, a not for profit organisation that aims to build strong children, strong families and strong communities through the various programmes and services that we provide and deliver. The YMCA works predominantly with Youth and Children and is the core Youth Service for the South Waikato region.
I am heavily involved with various community organisations that aim to promote and engage our Cook Islands and Pasifika languages and culture, actively advocate for youth within our community and serve to meet the needs of many. Overall it is my hope to bring the skills and experience I have to support the overarching vision and mission of CIDANZ moving towards the future.
Trustee | Senior Academic Staff Member at Waikato Institute of Technology
Trustee | Community Support Worker
Rose’s joy in life is aspiring to be a positive influence and role model for her six mokopuna. She is supported in all her endeavours by her husband Dale and their four children. Rose hopes to be able to make a significant difference in her community through collaboration that promotes constructive transformation that promotes positive change.
Rose Marsters is a servant to her communities through her heart and her hands. Her current PhD study in Indigenous Enhancement and Advancement. It is led by ngākau (heart) in the hopes to encourage culturally responsive pedagogies and intelligence to support achievement and success for Indigenous people.
Her current lived experience has been varied in the service of people in local and wider communities from early childhood education, social services and currently in tertiary. Her roles have involved building capability, authentic leadership development and working from a strengths and values based perspective that resonates with our Cook Islands culture.
Rose has been endorsed by Wintec in the Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Excellence Award (2017) and received the Staff Excellence Award and Māori Achievement Award, Wintec (2015). She is a proud member of the Hamilton Cook Islands Association and is a passionate lead social transformation specialist in Manawanui Research Centre around its sustainability projects.
Kia ōrāna kōtou kātoatoa i te aro’a mā’ata o te Atua.
My name is Elizabeth Hira and I am based in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay. I was born and raised in Hastings to my mother who is of Cook Islands, Tahitian, and Chinese descent, and my father who is of New Zealand Māori and Italian descent. My heritage is one I am most proud of. It links me into many different places, cultures and people which empowers me as a culturally aware and responsive individual.
I am from the town of Hastings and Porangahau, a coastal settlement in Hawke’s Bay. I work as a Community Support person, a Researcher, and as a Practitioner of Holistic Therapies. I am privileged to also support people in a professional capacity who are experiencing challenges with violence and abuse. I feel strongly about this issue and having a part in the change with this global epidemic.
I have a background in environmental work of which I enjoy as I love nature. To be in service and active in these ways is one of my greatest blessings.I am involved in various groups and personal projects that service my local communities in many different ways. These all share a desire to uplift and assist people to engage in their lives and communities stronger in their self-identity and their wellness, both physically and spiritually. Having opportunities to learn and engage with others, especially our Cook Islands people and youth in a faith-filled journey is also important to me. I recognize and celebrate that being a Board Member will allow me to contribute to the purpose of “Strengthening and Sustaining individual and collective well-being” with integrity and respect.
It is my honor to work towards making a positive impact in this role, and I am committed to upholding the values and mission of CIDANZ. I would like to acknowledge the vision of CIDANZ “A United and Prosperous Community” and how much this speaks to my heart. Therefore, it is with humility and gratitude that I can be part of a team and a movement that will strive for the betterment of our people and everyday life for all of us, now and into the future.
Te Atua te aro’a.