"Working Together for the COMMON-UNITY"

Our Team

Rouruina Emil'e-Brown

Chief Executive

I was welcomed into the Trust with all the hopes and aspirations of making a difference by working for the Cook Islands Community. I’ve stayed on, now over 10 years because I believe in the vision of this place, that communities who work and cooperate their resources, talents and knowledge together can prosper.

I love the people who work here and the families who inspire me every day with their brilliant minds, their giving hearts and willingness to do amazing things to build their families future. My hope is for the Trust to be sustainable and successful across its entire business, that our families are confident and ready entrepreneurs, and that we have a national governing Board at the helm of our Vaka enabled by a progressive, proud and knowledgeable working team to lead us into a prosperous future.

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Nana Kamo-Mataroa

JP & CIDANZ Ambassador

Dr. Gillian Stewart

Director of Research, Impact & Evaluation

Salamo 116:12: Eaa ra taku e apai atu na Iehova i te au takinga meitaki katoa nana iaku nei  – What can I offer the Lord for all his goodness to me.


Kia Orana, I was born in the Beautiful Vaka Puaikura, of Rarotonga, to Kamo Tavitai of Arorangi and Moearoa Tarurongo of Areora Atiu (Te Ngati Ingaatu). I am always inspired by this land of ours, and the people who lead this organisation. With a group of community leaders, I started at the Ta’okotai’anga Charitable Trust in 1999; in 2001 the Trust was formerly established. 

The turning point of this place really came during 2008 with a newer generation coming through to pick up the work. Although we struggled back then, with steady, strong and smart leadership, we moved forward together, challenged by our community to create a strong home for Cook Islands development. As we continue to move forward, I’ve seen the organisation change to keep up with the demands of our people. Now with a younger team and help from those who’ve become our life-long friends, we’re achieving so much that back in 1999, had only been a dream.

Today I’m still here as the lead for our Pa Metua Super Gold Club that recognizes and appreciates the elders in our communities. And when I am not here, I volunteer as a Justice of the Peace, and visit other Pa Metua’s in the community. I’m so proud to see that in New Zealand, our Cook Islands people have a place to call home. I love this place and hope that it continues to flourish. But most of all I look forward to when our oneVILLAGE and oneCHILD centre stands tall in this community, and with it I hope, our people too.

Born in the North of England, UK, I came to live in New Zealand in 2002 following years of study in Southern Africa. I have two children, Thomas (11) and Molly (9) and we live in rural Pukekohe where I own and operate the family’s commercial fig orchard, alongside several other passions and ventures.

I am trained and experienced social researcher and social impact (SIA) and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) professional. Since founding Co- Creationz Ltd in 2014, I have worked with a number of community groups, Mana Whenua across Tāmaki-makau-rau, several Māori and Pacific Trusts, NGOs, and local and central government agencies providing research and evaluation, as well as policy and strategic consultancy support across a range of issues, including:

Community-led and youth development, Social infrastructure, housing and employment, Social enterprise and cooperative development, Sustainable development and local economic development and systems- based wellbeing modelling. The ability to answer ‘so what’ – what are the perceived and actual consequences of the decisions we make and the actions we take on people’s lives and the planet – is powerful. It is also necessary.

Being accountable and transparent about our impact on the world is fundamental not just to our social license to operate and our avoidance of harm, but to the creation of opportunities and benefits that regenerate societal and environmental wellbeing and make a positive contribution to the interconnectedness of things.

I care deeply about the legacy we are all now imprinting upon the future, for our children and their existence on this world we are impacting and shaping. We are mindful and conscious about the past, present and future, and enabling others to do the best that they can, across all areas of life, with enhanced knowledge and self-determinism.

Elizabeth Fa'alili

Operations Manager

Johanna Chetwynd

Financial Controller

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Kia orana, Talofa Lava, I am a Cook Islander who was born and raised in Mangere, where my husband and our two children still live. I have over 19 years’ experience in business administration, previouses who work and coly working for Manukau City Council, Auckland Council and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. 


I have a deep appreciation for how organisations like CIDANZ seek to improve the quality of life for the community. I joined the team in May 2019 because I felt it was time for me to contribute by translating my skills, experience and knowledge into value for CIDANZ and the people we serve.


Being a Kiwi-born, I feel a strong connection to my Cook Islands heritage here, surrounded by so much culture. I hope to be speaking the reo soon.  Being a woman, I feel heard and recognised by everyone. Being a professional, I feel included and supported by an incredible Leader who is literally “on the ground” running around like the rest of us. This is an amazing place to work.

Kia Orana! I am a New Zealander who grew up in Taihape and moved to Australia at the age of 15 with my family where I finished high school and University.

I had 6 years working in London UK then moved back to NZ in 2010 to raise my own family as kiwi kids. I am a self-employed business owner of Evolve Your Business Limited and  have been contracted to CIDANZ for 2 years now. 


I am passionate about small business and take on a strong support role with all of my clients. I understand the importance of keeping financial accounts up to date and the positive impact this can have on a growing business. With over 18 years’ experience in small business accounting, administration and operations management, my skills extend to but are not limited to Bookkeeping, HR, Payroll, GST, System Upgrades and File Conversions. I am a Certified Bookkeeper, Certified Xero Advisor, NZBAI Member, Smart Payroll Partner & Flexitime Payroll Partner.


Richard Taurima

Business Growth & Investment Lead

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Janet Akai

Communications Lead


Kia Ora,  I’ve been with CIDANZ as the  Business Growth & Investment Lead since November 2019, and have come to appreciate the hard working nature of the Cook Islands and Pacific people. 

My career & experience is within the Business Development area and international relationships with foreign governments and organizations that deal in foreign projects. This has enabled me to introduce a number of tech companies and products/services into a number of countries.

 I have owned a number of companies, many have failed and many have scaled. I have the ability to recognize a viable commercial opportunity, positioning the business to grow through coaching and mentoring. 

I introduce companies of interest to potential partnerships which include tech/security/products and specialist services to cater for specific political projects.


Kia Orana, I was born in Aitutaki, raised between home and Atiu, moving to New Zealand in 1998. I became immersed in the Kiwi-culture and in a large way, lost a piece of my cultural identity. Being in this organisation has allowed me to regain some of that identity and at the same time, has opened my eyes to the challenges our communities face. Previously I’d been studying at AUT University and working at Auckland Council. Those valued experiences have helped me thrive in CIDANZ. 


It has been seven years since the first day I’d walked into this organisation, and since then I’ve gained a better understanding of myself and our people. I’ve stayed on because not only do I believe in the vision and values of this organisation, but because I feel that I owe it to my community to apply my learned knowledge into the development of our people. I hope that when I do move on from this place that it’ll come to be known by all as the home of our culture, and act as the catalyst that secures and gathers our people in one place.


Tauraki Rongo

Language Lead

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Tere Papatua

Regional Support Worker

I was born in Rarotonga with roots extending to most of the Islands. I Grew up in Rarotonga and made my first trip to New Zealand in 1978 as part of the Cook Islands U11 rugby team.  I completed my secondary school years in Dunedin and two years at Otago University. I was meant to return to complete a Bachelor of Science but was asked by the Government to stay back and help with the shortage of teachers to teach Maths and Science.


This was the beginning of my life experience where I have taken on numerous roles without qualification. Throughout my years I began to realise how fortunate I have been to have a father who’s a teacher and a mother with entrepreneurial skills who make money from sewing. This unconsciously created a mind-set in me that there are people out there who are less fortunate.


Since moving back to New Zealand 8 years ago, I have come to realise that there are a lot of my people out there who lack the capacity to progress in this fast changing world. This includes members of my own family.



While I am the producer of the Cook Islands program at Pacific Media Network (PMN) I found that working with CIDANZ is complementary to my passion in helping my people. I’m happy to be part of the team at CIDANZ, as long as it contributes to raising the standards of living of our people.

Tangi Ke! My name Tere Papatua Iorangi. I hail from the Island of Mangaia journeyed with my family to Rarotonga where we build a life there however like everybody else family want to seek greener pastures and family decided to move on to NZ and now residing in Invercargill.

I am so grateful for the opportunity given to take this role as a Community Support Worker for our Cook Is people. . I am dedicating my service to be their voice, arms and legs in service for our Cook Island people here in Invercargill.

 I aim to bring our people together as One Big Invercargill Family…. help me God.


Jay Taivairanga

Youth Development Lead

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Kia Orana, 

My name is John Taivairanga, and I have a passion for people. Our Mapu (Youth) interest me so much because how innovative, passionate, driven, loud, risky and agents of change this group can be when you take the time to talk to them, play with them, hear them and give them responsibilities to lead out and participate in decision making opportunities. 

This to me is the true essence of what it means to lead and to breed great leaders. John Quincy Adams says, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Our young people inspire me, every time I get to work alongside them, I am amazed at how our Mapu discover things, display things, cultivate and nurture things. 

And because of that, I am assured that our Mapu can lead and will lead our people into a brighter future. 

The questions I leave with you are, do they inspire you? Are you confident in your young people? Have you truly invested all you can for not only their future, but the future of our people? 

I do hope you answered Yes! And if it’s a no? Or your sitting on the fence. 

I ask you, what are you doing about it? 

Kia Manuaia.