Queen’s Birthday honour for service to the community

Tuesday June 05, 2018 Written by Published in Local
Caren Rangi (left) celebrates her Queens Birthday honour with Jaewynn McKay on Friday evening, before heading off to the BCI Opera in Rarotonga event at The Islander. PHOTO: Supplied. 18060304 Caren Rangi (left) celebrates her Queens Birthday honour with Jaewynn McKay on Friday evening, before heading off to the BCI Opera in Rarotonga event at The Islander. PHOTO: Supplied. 18060304

Cook Islands Investment Corporation director Caren Rangi, has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community and to governance.

Of Cook Islands Maori descent, from the islands of Rakahanga, Rarotonga and Aitutaki, Rangi works as an accountant auditor in Napier, New Zealand and has contributed services to the Pacific community in a range of governance roles.

Now visiting Noumea, she was on Rarotonga last week when her award was announced. 

Married with two children Rangi was schooled in New Zealand and studied at Massey University. Soon afterwards she began working in the Office of the Auditor-General in Wellington.

In March this year she was a member of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern's delegation to the Pacific and in April was appointed to chair an independent Whanau Ora Review Panel.

A bachelor of business studies and a member for 25 years of the Chartered Accountants institute of Australia and New Zealand, of which she was made a Fellow in 2015, she said she had realised some years ago that there was a reason for her to feel more comfortable about being around the board table — so that her people would have voices at that level.

Since 2002 she has sat on a range of boards at both government and community level, and in 2008 established Ei Mua Consulting, of which she is principal consultant. She is also a director of Pacific Co-operation Broadcasting.

She was national president of the Pacific women's council PACIFICA from 2015 to 2017, during which time she headed a number of initiatives and mentored other women into leadership roles.

Another person of Cook Islands descent to receive an honour at the weekend was Tauranga, New Zealand resident Irene (Hiriwa) Eva Curnow

When Curnow, who is also of New Zealand Maori descent, found out she was on this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list, she immediately acknowledged her tupuna (ancestors) and thanked her family.

Curnow said it was hard to believe the honour was meant for her.

“I kept thinking I must have done something wrong.”

Her QSM was awarded for services to Maori and education. Curnow was the head of Maori Language Studies at Tauranga’s Otumoetai College from 1981 to 2013, the platform that helped her achieve much of her endeavours.

She was the first Maori member of the Otumoetai College board of trustees and was a driving force for the establishment of a school marae.

Curnow says the honour wouldn't have been possible if it hadn’t been for the thousands of students, teachers, members of the community and local iwi members she had worked with over the years.

She also acknowledged her late husband, partner, five children and mokopuna for their support throughout her career.

Curnow is still involved with the Tauranga Teen Parenting Unit and works with Tauranga Girls College and Tauranga Boys College.

"I just love teaching and I love kids."

            - NZ Herald/CS

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