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Irinaki event proves a winner

Wednesday September 05, 2018 Written by Published in Local
Guest speakers Regan Hillyer, JuanPa Barahona, with KOCo director Claire Wilson and Miss Cook Islands Alanna Smith. 18090416 Guest speakers Regan Hillyer, JuanPa Barahona, with KOCo director Claire Wilson and Miss Cook Islands Alanna Smith. 18090416

The Purpose Project and Internal Affairs, hosted a highly successful gala charity evening and motivational dinner at Moana Sands Lagoon Resort’s new Laguna Restaurant on Saturday night.


This event, held to raise funds for the Cook Islands Women’s Counselling Centre, Punanga Tauturu Inc (PTI), was an outstanding success with international motivational speakers JuanPa Barahona and Regan Hillyer entertaining the crowd and leaving them with practical tools to implement in their workplace and personal life.

Internal Affairs secretary and co-MC for the night, Anne Herman “It all started with BPW (Business Professional Women), and being asked to speak and share my vulnerability. This was the spark that encouraged me to do more.”

Purpose Project founder Natavia Furnell and Herman met at the BPW event. The Purpose Project works on projects in the community that are aligned with their values of serving humanity.

“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing an amazing group of people come together in trust to bring a vision into fruition. And to have such a generous community support our cause,” said Furnell.

With 70 people in attendance and a delicious three course meal provided by Rohan Ellis and his team, the night was full of laughter, colour and the “Kia Orana Spirit”. The night started with a touching video on the Kia Orana Spirit created by KOCo (the Kia Orana Collective), that highlighted some of the generous-spirited people in the Cook Islands community.

“The video is a way of saying meitaki ma’ata to a community of generous people who have welcomed me wholeheartedly into their lives,” said Claire Wilson. She has lived on Rarotonga for five years now and her heart is filled with kia orana spirit, driving her passion to give back to the community.

The evening continued with heartfelt speeches from some inspiring Cook Island’s women and leaders: Helen Greig (president of PTI), Rebeka Buchanan (PTI manager), Lynnsay Francis (human rights activist) and Alanna Smith (Miss Cook Islands 2017).

“The evening just flowed,” said co-MC Thomas Wynne. “The courage shown by our local speakers was humbling and the tools so eloquently shared by Juan and Regan on balance and abundance, were life-changing.”

The Irinaki Tribe would like to pay a huge tribute to the generous supporters of the event who are all aligned in value and vision in terms of supporting the Cook Islands Community: Moana Sands Hotel Group, Laguna Restaurant, Raro Cars, Raro Printing, CITC, Sea Change Villas, Koka Lagoon Cruises, Storytellers, TAV, Matman, Vibe Café, Eddie Chambers, and FAVE Designs.

All proceeds from Saturday’s evening will go towards generating greater awareness for PTI through marketing and communications.

“The event was brilliant. It means PTI are going to be the recipient of more funding that we need, more assistance from like-minded people in the community. I was really proud to be able to speak at Irinaki,” said Helen Greig.

This is the first of many fundraising events to come from the Irinaki Tribe, so stay tuned for the next event. Follow them @irinaki.event or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

If you are a keen follower of Irinaki, the organisation has t-shirts for sale for $25 each. Please email your orders to the above address.

The name “Irinaki” is Cook Islands Maori for “to trust or to believe in”.

“And here you had a tribe of people who all believed in the vision, believed in one another and in this community,” said Wynne.

            - Release