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, and Taiwanese.



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

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.

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

B.Mgt Accounting (University of Lethbridge, Canada)

Expertise includes Accounting, Auditing, IFRS & IPSAS accounting standards & Performance Auditing..

Jacqueline Tuara
Vice Secretary

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).

Michelle Foster
Vice Treasurer

Bachelor of Applied Management in Accounting

(Manukau Institute of Technology, New Zealand)

Teariki Taoiau Rongo
Committee Member

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

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

Ake Utanga
Committee Member

Expertise includes Cook Islands land tenure and legal issues.



Mitchell Tutangata

Expertise includes Information Technology and Communications.

Teariki Charles Rongo

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

Liam Kokaua

Expertise includes Climate Change, environmental issues, and traditional knowledge.

Jessica Cramp

Expertise includes Marine Science and Fisheries.

Jessica Puiri

B. Commerce Accounting & Management (University of Auckland)

Passionate about the environment and helping her Cook Islands people.

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.

Rima Raea-Araitia

Qualified chef

Expertise includes preparation of local Cook Islands Māori foods.

Stephenie Jansen

Owner and Skipper of Raro Reef Sub

Interests include environmental conservation and education.

Lokal Magazine Publisher

Expertise includes Creative Writing & Journalism.

Rachel Reeves
Inano Vaiitirau McMurchy

Massage Therapist (Taunga māoro)

Advocate of traditional medicine preservation and conservation, liaising with traditional healers to ensure the practice remains a living entity; environmental sustainability advocate.

Ian Karika

Expertise includes Cook Islands birds and traditional knowledge of navigation.

Pua Hunter

Expertise includes Information Technology and Management.

Celine Dyer

Master in Strategic Management & Marketing and Bachelor of Commerce (University of Wollongong, Australia)
Expertise includes Climate Change, policy development, and accounts.

Ani O'Neill

Artist and Designer

Passionate about Cook Islands culture and supporting indigenous people in looking after their environment and natural resources; keen to help tackle the global plastic pollution problem.

Teina Mackenzie

Cook Islands Traditional voyager and Contemporary Solution-Maker

Passionate about recommissioning traditional customs and practices for solutions to global problems.  An advocate and teacher of environmental education, national and regional developmental issues and gender equality in maritime. 

Maria Tuoro

Ta'arua Rangatira (Traditional Leader) and Environmentalist

Passionate about local and traditional knowledge, the welfare of the Cook Islands people, and conserving our environment for our future.

Utavarau Araitia

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

Ewan Cameron

Secondee at Nansen Initiative & SPREP

Interests include Environment & Conservation.

Sam Ataera

Lokal Magazine Publisher

Expertise includes Graphic Design.

Tuaine Papatua

Passionate about youth development, music, and strengthening our Cook Islands people.

Miller Rongo

Cook Islands Certified Chef

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

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.

Nadine Newnham

B.A. Economics (University of Auckland)

Expertise in offshore finance; Takitumu born-and bred, an idea girl and avid reader actively seeking positive role models; passionate about all things Cook Islands including banana poke as well as making a difference; Vaima`anga Homework Hub volunteer.

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.

Stormy Kara

B.A. Maori Visual Arts (Te Wananga o Aotearoa)
Expertise in tatau and whakairo; interests include traditional knowledge, plastic waste management/recycling and Cook Islands representation at visual arts gatherings.

Jesse Iete Totini

Operational Services Officer (Bluesky)

Passionate about telecommunications and helping Cook Islands communities.

Shane Andrew

Expertise in textile printing & painting.  Passionate about sharing indigenous Cook Islands knowledge through art.

Dan-Olaf Rasmussen

B.Sc Geography and Environmental Science (University of Auckland)

Expertise in GIS, analysis and research; passionate about the environment, protected areas and native and indigenous biodiversity.

Daniel Forsyth

Supports local business and agriculture through developing trade with farmers on Rarotonga and the outer islands. Promoting healthy living by supplying nutritious food to locals and visitors. Experience as a chef for 20 years and passionate about healthy food and a healthy lifestyle.

Maire Forsyth

Passionate about the environment, providing support in the education of our youth through programmes that broaden their horizons, and a proponent of a healthier lifestyle through sports and healthy local food.

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.

Raymond Newnham

Master of Arts (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

Experience throughout the value chain in the Cook Islands Black Pearl Industry.  Served as a Director on various Boards; consultant with recent projects in the area of Climate Change; project management and policy development skills.  Interested in economic and social development issues that affect the Cook Islands. Passionate about Cook Islands football.

Peggy Turua

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

Justine Flanagan

Passionate about protecting our natural environment and ensuring human development does not compromise ecosystem functions.

Lesley Katoa

Cook Islands Red Cross (President)
Passionate about improving CPR / First Aid education in the Cook Islands community.

Helene Johnson

Sailor & Crew Member (Marumaru Atua)

Born in Rarotonga in the southern Cook Islands and raised in Manihiki in the north; passionate about Sailing and has represented the Cook Islands at international events since 12 years of age; interested in utilising family land for sustainable crops.

Jay Tapoki

Environment Officer

Passionate about protecting the natural environment of the Cook Islands.

Johnny Beasley

Film maker & Waterman

Passionate about documenting and sharing stories from the Cook Islands, especially with a focus on the marine environment; loves sustainable and selective spearfishing, free diving and 'oe vaka paddling.

Alanna Smith

BAppSC Environmental Management (Otago University)

Project Coordinator for Te Ipukarea Society and member in the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management team.  Interests include deep sea ecosystems and deep sea mining, sea birds as well as native and endemic terrestrial avian conservation.

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.

Nooroa Henry

Passionate about keeping Cook Islands culture alive and keeping communities together.

Sakiko Okazaki

B.A. Policy Studies

Engaged in the tourism industry; passionate about learning the Cook Islands culture and proudly promoting to Japanese friends; fluent in Japanese.

Romani Katoa


Passionate about promoting Cook Islands Māori culture through building design; passionate about future generations learning and appreciating their culture and heritage.

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.

Nina Neubauer

BSc Anthropology (Oxford Brookes University, UK); MA Anthropology, Development and Social Transformation (University of Sussex, UK)

Passionate about Cook Islands culture and supporting environmental and cultural initiatives of Cook Islanders; expertise includes anthropology and sustainable development.

Ioana Puna-Turia

Film maker & 'Oe Vaka Paddler

Passionate about our marine environment and protecting the ocean and reef in the Cook Islands; of Aitutakian and Manihikian decent and has represented the Cook Islands in 'oe vaka paddling.

Myra Timena Moller

Cook Islands Commonwealth Games Cyclist & Short Film Director

Passionate about honouring my Cook Islands heritage (e.g., Rakahanga / Manihiki) through cycling representation and connecting home through sport; interested in our history of navigation and leadership and how the ocean connects us culturally and celebrating this through Art and Film.  Experience: 20 years experience in international Elite cycling; Mountain Biking World Cup Winner; and mountain bike marathon and hill climb time trial specialist in Australia.  Other interests: Otago Polytechnic Swift Water Rescue; White Water Rafting; Adventure Tourism; Hospitality Management TAFE Australia; and MONA Museum Australia Cycling Art projects.

Teniinii Bishop

Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) 2010, Victoria, Australia

Passionate about my Cook Islands heritage, Culture, and language;

specifically passionate about my Northern group heritage – Manihiki and Rakahanga; concerned about environmental issues pertaining to climate change, especially for the low lying atolls of Manihiki and Rakahanga – our precious paradise.

Lexi Sumaringa Mackenzie-Hoff

Huge supporter for the revival and education of authentic and indigenous knowledge and traditions of the Cook Islands; passionate about teaching and educating our youth the importance of our culture and the environment and how they work together; hoping to bring Cook Islands culture and language to mainstream education and society.

Elsie Hosking

Currently studying Bachelor of Arts (Double major in Pacific studies and Anthropology)

Specialist in Cook Islands archaeology and Museum Curating; founder of Tua Korero an indigenous Cook Islands storytelling initiative; passionate about Indigenous Knowledge, Decolonisation and revitalising cultural practices and teachings as well as climate change.

© 2020 by Kōrero o te `Ōrau.