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Raising awareness of gender parity

Thursday 9 March 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National


Raising awareness of gender parity
Davina Hosking-Ashford, centre, with ANZ Cook Islands staff following her inspirational speech yesterday. 23030835

Democratic Party candidate and businesswoman Davina Hosking-Ashford was among those embracing International Women’s Day and sharing her inspiration with others.

Hosking-Ashford gave an early morning speech on Rarotonga yesterday, in aid of International Women’s Day, marking the achievement of women and seeking to raise awareness around taking action to drive gender parity.

While staff at ANZ Cook Islands were inspired by her speech - other organisations on the island including the Cook Islands Family Welfare Association and the New Zealand High Commission also celebrated the day.

University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus staff also recognised the day.   

“What an amazing team of vaine Toa we have working on the USP Cook Islands campus. It is a privilege to work with such an incredible group of such skilled people,” the university said in a post on Facebook.

Cook Islands Family Welfare Association “celebrated the beautiful, head strong and phenomenal women who work together to make CIFWA what it is”. 23030831

Hosking-Ashford, born and raised on Rarotonga, said she left the island to undertake tertiary education and gain a Masters in Geography.

She juggled multiple jobs including stints at The Warehouse and National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research before becoming a flight attendant “. . . something totally different to my degree.”

She then returned to Rarotonga.

“When I came home, I wanted to help my community; I lived a very city life in New Zealand.”

Hosking-Ashford said she is still very busy as a wife, mother, daughter and friend, while juggling various community responsibilities.

In taking on many responsibilities, she encouraged women to “let go of the reins and take two steps back, but don’t completely let go of them”.

“Be happy, the last thing you want to do is become cynical and bitter.

“Sometimes things don’t go to plan.”

While recognising International Women’s Day, Hosking-Ashford said she didn’t look at people as male and female, but as Cook Islanders.

“They need to work together; I look at the relationships and the value they both add.

University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus recognised International Women’s Day. 23030830
University of the South Pacific Cook Islands Campus recognised International Women’s Day. 23030830

“My mum and dad were hard workers, they moulded me into who I am today.”

She referenced both her grandmothers and her paternal grandfather.

One of her grandmothers had encouraged her to play tennis, a passion which she had followed into adulthood, while her paternal grandfather had taught her the value of being bilingual.

In co-managing a business on Rarotonga, Hosking-Ashford said she was now part of a team which gave young professionals a platform to develop social skills.

She is also the president of Tennis Cook Islands.