Lewis, son of David Lewis former principal of Mangaia, Atiu and Tereora colleges and chairman of the 1989 Cook Islands Ministerial Taskforce on Education, grew up in the Cook Islands and was schooled in Mangaia and Tereora.
He was a Cook Islands scholarship student, represented Mangaia in athletics and was a member of the unbeaten Takuvaine U19 (E Grade) Rugby XV of 1983. He has degrees in mathematics and psychology and has been a qualified teacher.
Lewis has taught in Atiu, Tereora and Mangaia. He has over 20 years’ experience in working with Maori and Pasifika organisations in New Zealand. This includes tutoring at Te Wananga O Aotearoa, executive director of Pasifika Education Centre, regional manager of the Deaf Association, and for ten years general manager of Te Runanga O Te Rarawa.
He has an active involvement in sport and has served on several school boards. He has a good understanding of quality assurance in education and training, and considerable experience at leading an organisation to develop to its potential. His daughters, Cook Islanders Adoniah and Keziah Lewis are basketball scholarship students in the USA and are both NZ National Basketball age-group representatives. He has three other younger children who are also up and coming Cook Islands athletes. Owen will take up his employment in the Cook Islands in mid-June.