Former Manager for Health Promotion Karen Tairea passed away on January 7, 2021 after a brave battle with cancer. 21011103.
Former Manager for Health Promotion Karen Tairea, who passed away earlier this month, has been described as the type of woman who people were proud to have in their lives.
She has been described as a “one in a million person” who
always accomplished all the things she put her mind to.
Born on March 28 1964, she is the youngest daughter to the
late Jim and Ramona (nee Helg), a loving wife to Brian Tairea, cherished mother
to Selane and Akeina and beloved sister to Gale Sorensen and sister in law to
Karen passed away peacefully on January 7 after a brave
battle with cancer.
Growing up on Rarotonga, she attended Nikao Side School,
Tereora College and later Otago University.
Karen was a vibrant, colourful, warm and loud soul who loved
her community just as much as her family with a passion.
She never hesitated to reach out to people in need and
welcomed them, she always did her best
to help people and her presence would light up a room.
All those who knew and loved Karen agree that Heaven has
gained an amazing angel and she will be greatly missed.
The Minister of Health, Vainetutai Rose Brown and staff of
Te Marae Ora, acting Secretary Bob Williams express their deepest condolences
to Karen’s family.
She was an admired and a respected member of the Cook
Islands Ministry of Health - Te Marae Ora team during her more than 30 years of
During this period, she completed a Bachelor of Science
(Nutrition) and post-graduate qualifications from the University of Otago.
A staunch advocate for public health, Karen joined the
Ministry in 1983 and worked as a dietician up until 1987 when she turned her
focus to nutrition.
Karen took early retirement in March 2019 – at the time she
was the Manager for Health Promotion.
“Karen made it her mission to impress upon people the
importance of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. Karen was also an integral
part of the small Te Marae Ora team who worked with the Rotary Club of
Rarotonga on several projects benefitting the community,” Te Marae Ora said in
The last project she assisted with was the Rotary funded
mobile health clinic, that has proved invaluable this last year and in many
respects serves as a legacy of Karen’s final service to Te Marae Ora.
“Karen’s unwavering support to projects in the wider
community where volunteering her services to help others was second nature to
“She was passionate about improving the lives of people
living in the Cook Islands, and contributed to the development of national,
regional, and international policies, plans, guidelines, including research to
combat NCDs and promote healthy living.”
Karen will be greatly missed by her many health colleagues
both nationally and internationally
Her family on Rarotonga will celebrate her life with a
service to be held on Wednesday January 13, 7pm at the Avana Sunday School
Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Karen will be cremated on Friday January 15 in New Zealand,
she will return home at a later date.