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'Acting for change’

19 July 2022

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Cook Islands lawyer opens new office

Saturday 28 May 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Business, National

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Cook Islands lawyer opens new office
Numangatini Ariki Tangitamaiti Tereapii (left), lawyer Michelle Tangimama, Tinomana Tokerau Ariki, Makea Karika George Ariki and president CICC Reverend Tuaine Ngametua at the opening of the new law firm in Rarotonga this week. Photo: Melina Etches/22052507

Barrister and solicitor Michelle Tangimama, 33, is back home to serve.

Now practicing on her own, this week she opened her new office premises situated at Ingram House in Avatiu.

She has been studying law since 2007 through to 2020. “I’ve worked hard to get here, to where I am today, and I believe my purpose is to serve the community and assist the people,” she said.

“It’s not just about knowledge, knowledge is just the icing on the cake. 

“It’s been a long journey and I’m very excited, to have my own (law firm) is really something special” said Tangimama.

Tangimama returned to the Cook Islands in 2019 for the first time in 18 years, for a holiday.

Reconnecting with her roots, she felt overwhelmed and yearned to return and live here. Just realised that dream in 2020 and was admitted to the Cook Islands High Court as a barrister and solicitor in December that year.

“It feels like it was only yesterday since I’ve moved back.”

One of the challenges she found pretty tough moving home was getting used to the close-knit community, “and how tight the community is. I realised that while living here.”

Tangimama hasn’t yet “nailed” which area of the law she’d like to specialise in.

At present she does a bit of everything, she’s been in the criminal court for a year now and has started venturing into land court.

Tangimama was born to parents Keni Tangimama and Tangimama in the village of Ivirua, Mangaia on December 11, 1988.

She attended Ivirua Primary School and at the age of eight, she left Mangaia for Melbourne with her parents.

Numangatini Ariki - Tangitamaiti Tereapii, Tinomana Tokerau Ariki, Makea Karika George Ariki and president of the Cook Islands Christian Church Reverend Tuaine Ngametua and invited guests attended the occasion.

Tangimama expressed her gratitude to lawyer Tim Arnold, to her parents in Melbourne and her island parents Naea Robati and Joe Taoro for their support.

“I couldn’t have done this without them.”