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Apii Rongo

In Memory of Eruera (Ted) Te Whiti Nia

Our founder and friend...

Are Korero
Eruera Nia

26 September 1949 — 9 June 2016

Kōrero O Te `Ōrau is an environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) incorporated in 2017, consisting of Cook Islanders who are passionate about protecting the culture, environment and natural resources of the nation.  Kōrero o te `ōrau in Cook Islands Māori translates to "knowledge of the sky, land, and sea".  Team members hail from diverse backgrounds with expertise ranging from Geography, Marine Biology, Climate Change, Fisheries Management, Policy, Cook Islands Land Tenure, Psychology, Communications, Accounting, Information Technology, and traditional knowledge of Cook Islands culture.  Languages: Cook Islands Māori (various dialects), English, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Tagalog.


Teina Rongo
Dr Teina Rongo

Ph.D. Marine Biology (Florida Institute of Technology, U.S.A.)

Expertise includes Climate Change, Marine Ecology, ciguatera poisoning, and traditional knowledge.

Jackalyn Rongo
Jackalyn Rongo

B.A. Marine Science (University of Hawai`i, U.S.A.)

Expertise includes Marine Science, Communications and Management.  Passionate about the environment, languages, and providing support for indigenous people especially through youth education programmes.  One of 200 Leaders selected representing 33 countries in the inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia Pacific Convening for 2019 - 2020.

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Tuaine Papatua
Vice Secretary

Passionate about music, culture, and working with youth to grow in always including spiritually.

Joshua Jim
Committee Member

Expertise includes traditional knowledge around planting, fishing, tapa making, and hunting; passionate about working with youth.

Sheryl John
Rangi Mitaera-Johnson
Vice Chairperson

New Zealand-certified Chef

Expertise includes preparation of traditional Cook Islands cuisine and food preservation techniques; passionate about utilizing local ingredients and reducing the dependency on imported foods.

Thomas Lowry
Thomas Lowry

B.Mgt Accounting (University of Lethbridge, Canada)

Expertise includes Accounting, Auditing, IFRS & IPSAS accounting standards & Performance Auditing.  Passionate about family and caring for traditional places.

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Michelle Foster
Vice Treasurer

Bachelor of Applied Management in Accounting

(Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand)

Passionate about youth support and sports.

Mata 'Sunshine' George
Committee Member

Expertise includes traditional knowledge in weaving, fishing, and subsistence living in the Cook Islands.


Sheryl John
Jacqueline Tuara

B.A. Political Studies (Victoria University of Wellington)

Cook Islands dance choreographer and tutor passionate about Cook Islands Culture & Performing Arts and the preservation of our cultural heritage and natural environment. Co-founder and lead tutor of Te Manava Ora o te Ivi Maori (creating learning spaces for children of Cook Islands Maori descent to be immersed in Cook Islands Culture through the medium of Cook Islands Performing Arts).

Ian Karika
Ian Karika

Expertise includes Cook Islands birds and traditional knowledge of navigation.

Teariki Charles Rongo
Teariki Charles Rongo

Cook Islands Boatmaster, PADI Divemaster, ISLA Open Water Lifeguard, Red Cross CPR/!st Aid.

Ake Utanga
Ake Utanga

Expertise includes Cook Islands land tenure and legal issues.

Sheryl John
Nana Tokari

Cook Islands Boatmaster, PADI Divemaster, ISLA Open Water Lifeguard, Red Cross CPR/!st Aid.

Expertise in traditional dancing and chants; passionate about photography and videography.

Teariki Taoiau Rongo
Tearik Taoiau Rongo

B.Sc. Geography (University of Otago, New Zealand)

Expertise includes Environmental Impact Assessments and policy development.  Passionate about traditional plants and medicines.

Mitchell Tutangata

Expertise includes Information Technology and Communications.

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Roberta Murray

Teacher - Avarua Primary School (Cook Islands)

Experience teaching in New Zealand, including lead teacher on the environment at Oturu Primary (a green gold environmental school); passionate about teaching and learning through environmental interactions for our children to recognize, understand, and learn about the impacts we are having on our Paradise.

Jessica Cramp
Jessica Cramp

Ph.D. Candidate
Expertise includes Marine Science and Fisheries.

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Lori Lowry

Accounts Manager for JTA Group

Studied Secretarial Science in Alberta Canada; passionate for family and Cook Islands culture and music; advanced pianist in the classical and contemporary styles.

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Jacqueline Evans

M.A. Geography (University of Hawai'i)

Environmental and marine science qualifications and background in both the government and NGO sectors; supports Te Reo Māori as a first language for Cook Islanders as part of their broader and deeper understanding of the Cook Islands environment and culture.

Sheryl John
Utavarau Araitia

Expertise includes Cook Islands Māori culture, especially composing traditional songs, dances and chants.

Sheryl John
Rima Raea-Araitia

Qualified chef

Expertise includes preparation of local Cook Islands Māori foods.

Sheryl John
Tauraki Raea

Broadcaster at Radio 531pi (Auckland, New Zealand)

Expertise in media and public relations spanning 30 years in the Cook Islands and New Zealand; passionate about Cook Islands Māori language, cultural and environmental issues; conservationist and environmentalist focusing on education awareness in our communities.

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Peggy Turua

Passionate about living sustainably and utilizing the natural resources around us to nurture our families.

Sheryl John
Miller Rongo

Cook Islands Certified Chef

Passionate about local and traditional food preparation as well as promoting Cook Islands culture.

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Sergio Lai

Traditional voyager & welder

Passionate about sharing traditional knowledge on wayfinding and canoe making with the next generation.

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Catherine Evans

Bachelor of Laws (University of Auckland)

Former Legal Adviser in the New Zealand Government and Cook Islands Government as Deputy Solicitor General; currently in private practice.  Passionate about the well-being of our Ipukarea because "it nurtures us, so we much nurture it back."  Believes that we must put policies in place now for smart management of so-called development.

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Merian Noovao

Takitumu Primary School (Secretary)

Passionate about our Cook Islands culture, environment, food, sports, traditions and youth.

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Diana Tschan

Student at the University of New England, Australia (B.A. Human Geography)

Passionate about the revival of traditional and cultural Māori knowledge and practices for her children; supporter of sustainable and earth-friendly practices; desires for her family to embrace Te Reo Māori as part of their broader and deeper understanding of being a descendent of the indigenous people of this land.

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Kura Happ

Ariimoana (reef walk tours)
Experienced free diver & Advanced Open Water SCUBA Diver; passionate about the marine environment and educating our people and visitors alike about respecting our resources.

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Tiaretaina Lowry-Mailau

Associate of Arts & Sciences - Mathematics (Brigham Young University - Hawaii)
Experienced math tutor; passionate about being apart of the education journey of our youth.

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Rose Winters

SCUBA Instructor

Experienced free diver; passionate about sharing love for the marine environment.

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