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The Cook Islands Team


Ina Herrmann

Director of Learning & Teaching
Maraurau o te Pae Api'i - Cook Islands Ministry of Education

Ina has extensive teaching and curriculum development experience. In 1998 Ina joined the Ministry of Education as an Audit Review Officer and has held the roles of Director of Operations and CEO of School Support prior to moving to her current role in 2012.

Ina's vision for the Project is expressed when she says “The Project is about inspiring and motivating young people to explore and commit to the body of scientific evidence, both individually and collectively, and with the support of a school-science-health-community-driven partnership. It is about young people being the change catalysts in reducing and containing non-communicable diseases in order to live quality lives today and tomorrow. The Project aligns well with the Ministry’s Education Master Plan and opens windows to quality and life changing learning opportunities.
Total commitment by all partners is key to the eventual success of the programme.”


Karen Tairea

Health Promotion Manager, Ministry of Health

Well-known in the Cook Islands Karen Tairea manages all public health awareness programmes on Rarotonga and the outer islands through the Ministry of Health and other non-government organisations. Karen says "We often call NCDs (non-communicable disease) the silent killer, and in worse case scenarios people often suffer from organ failures, have limbs amputated or die.” "At the end of the day, people need to take responsibility for themselves," she said. "They can implement small things into their lives like moving more and sitting less, eating more fruit and vegetables and drinking water instead of drinks high in sugar." Karen believes it is up to the individual to make a change for the better.

Celeste Barrett-Watson

Celeste Barrett-Watson

Head of Social Science, Tereora College

Celeste taught at Thames High School and St Peter's College, Cambridge, New Zealand prior to joining Tereora College in 2013. She aims to 'inspire the young people of the Cook Islands as global citizens to make educated choices to enhance their own lives with regard to their health and well-being. Ideally those choices will start a legacy of health and well-being for generations to come.'


Delaney Yaqona

Deputy Principal & HOD Science, Nukutere College

Having taught at Tereora, Nukutere and Titikaveka Colleges over the last 10 years, Delaney has a wealth of experience in teaching science to adolescents. He describes himself as being totally passionate about science and maths and his teaching ethos is to encourage students to think for themselves and to ask 'Why?' This approach to learning carries over to discussions outside of the classroom. One parent commented "My son has come home and continued to discuss the day's lessons, finding and questions with enthusiasm." it is this approach to teaching and learning which underpins the Project.

Gaylyn Lockington

Gaylyn Lockington

Principal, Titikaveka College


Tania Morgan

Principal, Tereora College

Having studied at Waikato University and at Havelock North High School, Tania is now enjoying her role as Principal at Tereora College. Tania says she endeavours to 'foster a desire in our students to make informed choices in the advancement of human health and well-being.'

Neti Herman 2016

Dr Neti Tamarua Herman

Director of Public Health Services, Cook Islands Ministry of Health


Jane Taurarii

Language, Culture & Science Advisor, Cook Islands Ministry of Education

Jane Taurarii has been with the Ministry of Education in the Learning and Teaching Department, for five years since the closure of the Cook Islands Teachers Training College in 2008. Jane says she is 'very privileged to be part of the team supporting this great project that will help the community'.